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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 do not know for how long we stood there looking at one another, it may have been minutes or hours, or, again, but a few paltry seconds. He took the initiative from me, for, as I leaped forward to raise him in my arms, he glided through the stone steps into the area.

"Convinced now that what I beheld was Robert's apparition, I determined to see the strange affair through to the bitter end, and entering the gate, I also went down into the area. The phantom had come to an abrupt halt by the side of a low wooden box, and as I foolishly made an abortive attempt to reach it with my hand, it vanished instantaneously. I searched the area thoroughly, and was assured that there was no outlet, save by the steps I had just descended, and no hole, nor nook, nor cranny where anything the size of Robert could be completely hidden from sight. What did it all mean? Ah! I knew Robert had always had a weakness for exploring areas, especially in H---- Street, and in the box where his wraith disappeared I espied a piece of raw meat!

"Now there are ways in which a piece of raw meat may lie without arousing suspicion, but the position of this morsel strangely suggested that it had been placed there carefully, and for assuredly no other purpose than to entice stray animals. Resolving to interrogate the owner of the house on the subject, I rapped at the front door, but was informed by the manservant, obviously a German, that his master never saw anyone without an appointment. I then did a very unwise thing--I explained the purpose of my visit to this man, who not only denied any knowledge of my dog, but declared the meat must have been thrown into the area by some passer-by.

"'No one in dis house trow away gut meat like dat,' he explained, 'we eat all we can git here, we have nutting for de animals. Please go away at once, or de master will be very angry. He stand no nonsense from anyone.'

"And as I had no alternative--for, after all, who would regard a ghost in the light of evidence?--I had to obey. I found out, however, from a medical friend that No. 90 was tenanted by Mr. K----, an Anglo-German who was deemed a very clever fellow at a certain London hospital, where he was often occupied in vivisection.

"'I dare say,' my friend went on to remark, 'K---- does a little vivisecting in his private surgery, by way of practice, and--well, you see, these foreign chaps are not so squeamish in some respects as we are.'

"'But can't he be stopped?' I asked. 'It is horrible, monstrous that he should be allowed to murder our pets.'

"'You don't know for certain that he has,' was the reply, 'you only suppose so from what you say you saw, and evidence of that immaterial nature is no evidence at all. No, you can do nothing except to be extra careful in future, and if you have another dog make him steer clear of No. 90 H---- Street.'

"I was sensible enough to see that he was right, and the matter dropped. I soon noticed one thing, however, namely, that there were no more pieces of meat temptingly displayed in the box, so it is just possible K---- got wind of my enquiries, and thought it policy to desist from his nefarious practices.

"Poor Robert! To think of him suffering such a cruel and ignominious death, and my being powerless to avenge it. Surely if vivisection is really necessary, and the welfare of mankind cannot be advanced by any less barbarous system, why not operate on creatures less deserving of our love and pity than dogs? On creatures which whilst being nearer allied to man in physiology and anatomy, are at the same time far below the level of brute creation in character and disposition.

"For example, why not experiment on wife-beaters and cowardly street ruffians, and, one might reasonably add, on all those pseudo-humanitarians who, by their constant petitions to Parliament for the abolition of the lash, encourage every form of blackguardism and bestiality?"

This concludes the letter of correspondent No. 2, and with the sentiment in the closing paragraphs I must say I heartily agree--only I should like to add a few more people to the list.

One other case of haunting of this type is taken from my same work.

"One All Hallow E'en," wrote a Mrs. Sebuim, "I was staying with some friends in Hampstead, and we amused ourselves by working spells, to commemorate the night. There is one spell in which one walks alone down a path sowing hempseed, and repeating some fantastic words; when one is supposed to see those that are destined to come into one's life in the near future. Eager to put this spell to the test, I went into the garden by myself and, walking boldly along a path, bordered on each side by evergreens, sprinkled hempseed lavishly.