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Animal Ghosts or Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter by Elliott O'Donnell


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Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter

In a subsequent note in his diary a year or so later Mr. Dane says: "After innumerable enquiries _re_ the history of No. ---- Lower Seedley Road prior to our inhabiting it, I have at length elicited the fact that twelve years ago a Mr. and Mrs. Barlowe lived there. They had one son, Arthur, whom they spoilt in the most outrageous fashion, even to the extent of encouraging him in acts of cruelty. To afford him amusement they used to buy rats for his dog--a fox-terrier--to worry, and on one occasion procured a stray cat, which the servants afterwards declared was mangled in the most shocking manner before being finally destroyed by Arthur. Here, then, in my opinion, is a very feasible explanation for the hauntings--the phenomenon seen was the phantasm of the poor, tortured cat. For if human tragedies are re-enacted by ghosts, why not animal tragedies too? It is absurd to suppose man has the monopoly of soul or spirit."

_The Cat on the Post_

In her _Ghosts and Family Legends_ Mrs. Crowe narrates the following case of a haunting by the phantom of a cat:--

"After the doctor's story, I fear mine will appear too trifling," said Mrs. M., "but as it is the only circumstance of the kind that ever happened to myself, I prefer giving it you to any of the many stories I have heard.

"About fifteen years ago I was staying with some friends at a magnificent old seat in Yorkshire, and our host being very much crippled with the gout, was in the habit of driving about the park and neighbourhood in a low pony phaeton, on which occasions I often accompanied him. One of our favourite excursions was to the ruins of an old abbey just beyond the park, and we generally returned by a remarkably pretty rural lane leading to the village, or rather small town, of C----.

"One fine summer's evening we had just entered this lane when, seeing the hedges full of wild flowers, I asked my friend to let me alight and gather some. I walked before the carriage picking honeysuckles and roses as I went along, till I came to a gate that led into a field. It was a common country gate with a post on each side, and on one of these posts sat a large white cat, the finest animal of the kind I had ever seen; and as I have a weakness for cats I stopped to admire this sleek, fat puss, looking so wonderfully comfortable in a very uncomfortable position, the top of the post, on which it was sitting with its feet doubled up under it, being out of all proportion to its body, for no Angola ever rivalled it in size.

"'Come on gently,' I called to my friend; 'here's such a magnificent cat!' for I feared the approach of the phaeton would startle it away before he had seen it.

"'Where?' said he, pulling up his horse opposite the gate.

"'There,' said I, pointing to the post. 'Isn't he a beauty? I wonder if it would let me stroke it?'

"'I see no cat,' said he.

"'There on the post,' said I, but he declared he saw nothing, though puss sat there in perfect composure during this colloquy.

"'Don't you see the cat, James?' said I in great perplexity to the groom.

"'Yes, ma'am; a large white cat on that post.'

"I thought my friend must be joking, or losing his eyesight, and I approached the cat, intending to take it in my arms and carry it to the carriage; but as I drew near she jumped off the post, which was natural enough, but to my surprise she jumped into nothing--as she jumped she disappeared! No cat in the field--none in the lane--none in the ditch!

"'Where did she go, James?'

"'I don't know, ma'am. I can't see her,' said the groom, standing up in his seat and looking all round.

"I was quite bewildered; but still I had no glimmering of the truth; and when I got into the carriage again my friend said he thought I and James were dreaming, and I retorted that I thought he must be going blind.

"I had a commission to execute as we passed through the town, and I alighted for that purpose at the little haberdasher's; and while they were serving me I mentioned that I had seen a remarkably beautiful cat sitting on a gate in the lane, and asked if they could tell me who it belonged to, adding it was the largest cat I ever saw.