Short, scary ghost stories

short, scary Ghost Stories home | Classic Ghost Stories

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


page 20 of 22 | page 1 | Table of Contents

Animal Hauntings and the Hereafter

"'Hulloa!' the latter exclaimed, looking not a bit disconcerted, 'that's a curious mode of making your entrance into my domain! Why didn't you come by the door?'

"'Because,' O'Farroll replied, pointing to a patch of soot near the washstand, 'I followed you. Own up, Dicky Belton. You're the culprit--you did for them all.' And Belton laughed.

* * * * *

"Yes, it was true; overwork had turned Belton's brain, and he was subsequently sent to a Criminal Lunatic Asylum for the rest of his life. But there were moments when he was comparatively sane, and in these interims he confessed everything. Anderson had told him that he was going to hoax the Dean, and filled with indignation at the idea of such a trick being played on a College official--for he, Belton, was a great favourite with the 'Beaks'--he had accompanied Anderson on the plea of helping him, intending, in reality, to frustrate him. It was not till he was in the chimney, crouching behind Anderson, that the thought of killing his fellow-students had entered his mind. The heat of his hiding-place, acting on an already overworked brain, hastened on the madness; and his fingers closing on a clasped knife in one of his pockets, inspired him with a desire to kill.

"The work once begun, he had argued with himself, would have to be continued, and he had then and there decided that all unruly undergraduates should be exterminated.

"With what measure of success this determination was carried out need not be recapitulated here; but with regard to the phantom dog a few words may be added. Since it appeared immediately before the committal of each of the three murders I have just recorded (it was seen by Mr. Kelly before the death of Bob Anderson; by Brady, before the murder of Maguire; and by Hartnoll, before Brady was murdered), I think there can neither be doubts as to its existence nor as to the purport of its visits.

"Moreover, its latest appearance in the University, reported to me quite recently, preceded a serious outbreak of fire."

_National Ghosts in the form of Dogs_

One of the most notorious dog ghosts is the Gwyllgi in Wales. This apparition, which is of a particularly terrifying appearance, chiefly haunts the lane leading from Mousiad to Lisworney Crossways.

Belief in a spectral dog, however, is common all over the British Isles. The apparition does not belong to any one breed, but appears equally often as a hound, setter, terrier, shepherd dog, Newfoundland and retriever. In Lancashire it is called the "Trash" or "Striker"; Trash, because the sound of its tread is thought to resemble a person walking along a miry, sloppy road, with heavy shoes; Striker, because it is said to utter a curious screech which may be taken as a warning of the approaching death of some relative or friend. When followed the phantom retreats, glaring at its pursuer, and either sinks into the ground with a harrowing shriek, or disappears in some equally mysterious manner.

In Norfolk and Cambridgeshire this spectre is named the "Shuck," the local name for Shag--and is reported to haunt churchyards and other dreary spots.

In the parish of Overstrand, there used to be a lane called "Shuck's Lane," named after this phantasm.

Round about Leeds the spectre dog is called "Padfoot," and is about the size of a donkey, with shaggy hair and large eyes like saucers. My friend Mr. Barker tells me there was, at one time, a ghost in the Hebrides called the Lamper, which was like a very big, white dog with no tail. It ran sometimes straight ahead, but usually in circles, and to see it was a prognostication of death. Mr. Barker, going home by the sea-coast, saw the Lamper in the hedge. He struck at it, and his stick passed right through it. The Lamper rushed away, whining and howling alternately, and disappeared. Mr. Barker was so scared that he ran all the way home. On the morrow, he learned of his father's death.

In Northumberland, Durham, and various parts of Yorkshire, the ghost-dog, which is firmly believed in, is styled Barguest, Bahrgeist, or Boguest; whilst in Lancashire it is termed the Boggart. Its most common form in these counties is a large, black dog with flaming eyes; and its appearance is a certain prognostication of death.

According to tradition there was once a "Barguest" in a glen between Darlington and Houghton, near Throstlenest. Another haunted a piece of waste land above a spring called the Oxwells, between Wreghorn and Headingley Hill, near Leeds. On the death of any person of local importance in the neighbourhood the creature would come forth, followed by all the other dogs, barking and howling. (Henderson refers to these hauntings in his _Folk-lore of Northern Counties_.)