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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

"Nothing happening, I was about to desist, when suddenly I heard a pattering on the gravel, and turning round I beheld an ugly little black-and-tan mongrel running towards me, wagging its stumpy tail. Not at all prepossessed with the creature, for my own dogs are pure-bred, and thinking it must have strayed into the grounds, I was about to drive it out, and had put down my hand to prevent it jumping on my dress, when, to my astonishment, it had vanished. It literally melted away into fine air beneath my very eyes. Not knowing what to make of the incident, but feeling inclined to attribute it to a trick of the imagination, I rejoined my friends. I did not tell them what had happened, although I made a memorandum of it in one of my innumerable notebooks. Within six months of this incident I was greatly astonished to find a dog, corresponding with the one I have just described, running about on the lawn of my house in Bath. How the animal got there was a complete mystery, and, what is stranger still, it seemed to recognize me, for it rushed towards me, frantically wagging its diminutive tail. I had not the heart to turn it away, as it seemed quite homeless, and so the forlorn little mongrel was permitted to make its home in my house--and a very happy home it proved to be. For three years all went well, and then the end came swiftly and unexpectedly. I was in Blackheath at the time, and the mongrel was in Bath. It was All Hallow E'en, but there was no hempseed sowing, for no one in the house but myself took the slightest interest in anything appertaining to the superphysical or mystic. Eleven o'clock came, and I retired to rest; my bed being one of those antique four-posters, hung with curtains that shine crimson in the ruddy glow of a cheerful fire. All my preparations complete, I had pulled back the hangings, and was about to slip in between the sheets, when, to my unbounded amazement, what should I see sitting on the counterpane but the black-and-tan mongrel. It was he right enough, there could not be another such ugly dog, though, unlike his usual self, he evinced no demonstrations of joy. On the contrary, he appeared downright miserable. His ears hung, his mouth dropped, and his bleared little eyes were watery and sad.

"Greatly perplexed, if not alarmed, at so extraordinary a phenomenon, I nevertheless felt constrained to put out my hand to comfort him--when, as I had half anticipated, he immediately vanished. Two days later I received a letter from Bath, and in a postscript I read that 'the mongrel' (we never called it by any other name) 'had been run over and killed by a motor, the accident occurring on All Hallow E'en, about eleven o'clock.' 'Of course,' my sister wrote, 'you won't mind very much--it was so extremely ugly, and--well--we were only too glad it was none of the other dogs.' But my sister was wrong, for notwithstanding its unsightly appearance and hopeless lack of breed, I had grown to like that little black-and-tan more than any of my rare and choice pets."

The following account, which concludes my notes on hauntings by dog phantasms, was sent me many years ago by a gentleman then living in Virginia, U.S.A. It runs thus:--

_The Strange Disappearance of Mr. Jeremiah Dance_

"Twenty pounds a year for a twelve-roomed house with large front lawn, good stabling and big kitchen gardens. That sounds all right," I commented. "But why so cheap?"

"Well," the advertiser--Mr. Baldwin by name, a short, stout gentleman, with keen, glittering eyes--replied, "Well, you see, it's a bit of a distance from the town, and--er--most people prefer being nearer--like neighbours and all that sort of thing."

"Like neighbours!" I exclaimed. "I don't. I've just seen about enough of them. Drains all right?"

"Oh, yes! Perfect."



"Everything in good condition?"

"First rate."

"Loneliness the only thing people object to?"

"That is so."

"Then I'll oblige you to send someone to show me over the house, for I think it is just the sort of place we want. You see, after being bottled up in a theatre all the afternoon and evening, one likes to get away somewhere where it is quiet--somewhere where one can lie in bed in the morning inhaling pure air and undisturbed by street traffic."

"I understand," Mr. Baldwin responded, "but--er--it is rather late now; wouldn't you prefer to see over it in the morning? Everything looks at its worst--its very worst--in the twilight."