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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

For my own part I am inclined to think that whereas, in some cases, the ghostly coach horses are the phantoms of horses that were killed on the highways, in others they are either Vice-Elementals, or Elementals whose particular function it is to prognosticate death,--either the death of those who see them, or the death of someone connected with those who see them.

_A Phantom Horse and Policeman_

According to one of my correspondents, Mr. T---- P----, a comparatively modern phantom rider has been seen in Canada. Writing to me from C----, where he lives, he says: "It is stated that this town is periodically haunted by the phantom of a tall, fair policeman mounted on a white horse and clothed in the uniform of the 'forties--namely, tail coat, tight trousers, and tall hat. His 'phantom' beat extends from a gateway at the commencement of Cod Hill, along the Park side of Pablo Street to Sutton Street, and Adam Street, down Dane Street, and back, through Pablo Street, to the gateway on Cod Hill."

A gentleman well known in the art world, who, in order to avoid publicity, wishes to be designated Mr. Bates, gave me his experience of the phenomena as follows:--

"Yes, I have seen the ghostly policeman and his milk-white horse. I was walking along Pablo Street on the Park side, one grey afternoon in November, with the express intention of meeting a friend at my Club in Royal Street, when to my surprise, just as I was about a hundred yards from the gateway on Cod Hill, I was overtaken by a tall, fair-haired man, riding a white horse. He was so dressed that I stared in astonishment. He was wearing the costume of seventy or eighty years ago, and reminded me of the policemen in Cruikshank's illustrations of Dickens. I was not frightened, because I thought he must be someone masquerading; and, in my curiosity to see his face, I hastened my steps to overtake him. I failed; for although he appeared to be riding slowly, hardly moving at all, I could not draw an inch nearer to him. This made me think, and I examined him more critically. Then I noticed several things about him, that, at first, had escaped my notice. They were these: (one) that although he was mounted he was wearing walking clothes--he had on long trousers and thick, clumsy boots; (two) that his ears and neck were perfectly colourless, of an unnatural and startling white; (three) that despite the incongruity of his attire, no one but myself seemed to see him. On he rode, neither looking to the left nor to the right, until he came to Sutton Street, when, without paying the slightest attention to the traffic, he began to cross over. There were crowds of vehicles passing at the time, and one of them rushed right on him. Making sure he would be killed, I uttered an ejaculation of horror. Judge, then, of my amazement, when, instead of seeing him lying on the ground, crushed out of all shape, I saw him still riding on, as leisurely and unconcernedly as if he had been on a country road. THE VEHICLE HAD PASSED RIGHT THROUGH HIM. Though I had hitherto scoffed at ghosts, I was now certain I had seen one, and suddenly becoming conscious how very cold it was, I tore on, not feeling at all comfortable till I had reached the warm, cheery, and thoroughly material quarters of my Club."

To corroborate the evidence of "Mr. Bates," I append a narrative given me verbally by Miss Hartly, who, like Mr. Bates, had, up to the time of her experience, posed as a pronounced and somewhat bitter sceptic. She was an emphatic freethinker, and had then no belief whatsoever in a future life. Now she believes "a sight" more than most people.

"One afternoon, in February, 1911," she stated, "just as twilight was commencing, I left the Park, where I had been exercising my dog, and turning into Pablo Street, made for Bright Street. At the corner of Wolf Street I saw something so strange that I involuntarily halted. Riding slowly along on a big white horse, a few paces ahead of me, was an enormous policeman in the quaint attire of the 'forties--top hat, tail coat, tight trousers, just as I had so often seen portrayed in old books. He was riding stiffly, as if unaccustomed to the saddle, and kept looking rigidly in front of him. Thinking it was someone doing it either for a joke or a wager, I was greatly tickled, and kept saying to myself, 'Well, you are a sport, an A1 sport.' I tried to catch him up, to see how he made up his face, but could not, for although the horse never seemed to quicken its pace--a mere crawl--and I ran, it nevertheless maintained precisely the same distance in front of me. When we had progressed in this fashion some hundred or so yards, I perceived a City policeman advancing towards us.