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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

I have heard that the "Yeth Hounds" were seen, not so long ago, in a parish in Yorkshire by an old poacher called Barnes. Barnes was walking in the fields one night, when he suddenly heard the baying of the hounds, and the hoarse shouts of the huntsman. The next moment the whole pack hove in view and tore past him so close that he received a cut from "the whip" on his leg. To his surprise, however, it did not hurt him, it only felt icy cold. He then knew that he had seen the "Yeth Hounds."

_A Spectral Pack of Hounds in Russia_

A gentleman of the name of Rappaport whom I once met in Southampton told me of an experience he had once had with a spectral pack of hounds on the slope of the Urals. "It was about half-past eleven one winter's night," he said, "and I was driving through a thick forest, when my coachman suddenly leaned back in his seat and called out, 'Do you hear that?' I listened, and from afar came a plaintive, whining sound. 'It's not Volki, is it?' I asked. 'I'm afraid so, master,' the coachman replied, 'they're coming on after us.'

"'But they are some way off still!' I said.

"'That is so,' he responded, 'but wolves run quick, and our horses are tired. If we can reach the lake first we shall be all right, but should they overtake us before we get there--' and he shrugged his great shoulders suggestively. 'Not another word,' I cried. 'Drive--drive as if 'twere the devil himself. I have my rifle ready, and will shoot the first wolf that shows itself.'

"'Very good, master,' he answered. 'I will do everything that can be done to save your skin and mine.' He cracked his whip, and away flew the horses at a breakneck speed. But fast as they went, they could not outstrip the sound of the howling, which gradually drew nearer and nearer, until around the curve we had just passed shot into view a huge gaunt wolf. I raised my rifle and fired. The beast fell, but another instantly took its place, and then another and another, till the whole pack came into sight, and close behind us was an ocean of white, tossing, foam-flecked jaws and red gleaming eyes.

"I emptied my rifle into them as fast as I could pull the trigger, but it only checked them momentarily. A few snaps, and of their wounded brethren there was nothing left but a pile of glistening bones. Then, hie away, and they were once again in red-hot pursuit. At last our pace slackened, and still I could see no signs of the lake. A great grey shape, followed by others, then rushed by us and tried to reach the horses' flanks with their sharp, gleaming teeth. A few more seconds, and I knew we should be both fighting, back to back, the last great fight for existence. Indeed I had ceased firing, and was already beginning to strike out furiously with the butt end of my rifle, when a new sound arrested my attention. The baying of dogs! 'Dogs!' I screamed, 'Dogs, Ivan!' (that was the coachman's name) 'Dogs!' and, in my mad joy, I brained two wolves in as many blows. The next moment a large pack of enormous white hounds came racing down on us. The wolves did not wait to dispute the field; they all turned tail and, with loud howls of terror, rushed off in the direction they had come. On came the hounds--more beautiful dogs I had never seen; as they swept by, more than one brushed against my knees, though I could feel nothing save intense cold. When they were about twenty yards ahead of us, they slowed down, and maintained that distance in front of us till we arrived on the shores of the lake. There they halted, and throwing back their heads, bayed as if in farewell, and suddenly vanished. We knew then that they were no earthly hounds, but spirit ones, sent by a merciful Providence to save us from a cruel death."