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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

From the Hebrides there comes to me a case of the phantasm of a black bull, that, on certain nights in the year, is heard bellowing inside the shed where it was killed.

There are many accounts of ghostly cows heard "mooing" in the moors and bog-lands of Scotland and Ireland respectively, and not a few cases of whole herds of phantom cattle seen, gliding along, one behind the other, with silent, noiseless tread. Though I have never had the opportunity of experimenting with cows to see if they are sensitive to the superphysical, I see no reason why they should not be, and I feel quite certain they will participate in "the future life."

Apropos of pigs, Mr. Dyer, in his _Ghost World_, says, "Another form of spectre animal is the kirk-grim, which is believed to haunt many churches. Sometimes it is a pig, sometimes a horse, the haunting spectre being the spirit of an animal buried alive in the churchyard for the purpose of scaring away the sacrilegious."

Mr. Dyer goes on to say that it was the custom of the old Christian churches to bury a lamb under the altar; and that if anyone entered a church out of service time and happened to see a little lamb spring across the choir and vanish, it was a sure prognostication of the death of some child; and if this apparition was seen by the grave-digger the death would take place immediately. Mr. Dyer also tells us that the Danish kirk-grim was thought to hide itself in the tower of a church in preference to any other place, and that it was thought to protect the sacred buildings. According to the same writer, in the streets of Kroskjoberg, a grave sow, or, as it was called, a "gray-sow," was frequently seen, and it was said to be the apparition of a sow formerly buried alive; its appearance foretelling death or calamity.

_Phantasm of a Goat_

Mrs. Crowe, in her _Night Side of Nature_, relates one case of a house near Philadelphia, U.S.A., that was haunted by a variety of phenomena, among others that of a spectre resembling a goat.

"Other extraordinary things happened in the house," she writes, "which had the reputation of being haunted, although the son had not believed it, and had thereupon not mentioned the report to the father.

"One day the children said they had been running after 'such a queer thing in the cellar; it was like a goat, and not like a goat, but it seemed to be like a shadow.'"

This explanation does not appear to be very satisfactory, but as I have heard of one or two other cases of premises being haunted by what, undoubtedly, were the phantasms of goats, I think it highly probable it was the ghost of a goat in this instance, too.

_The Phantom Pigs of the Chiltern Hills_

A good many years ago there was a story current of an extraordinary haunting by a herd of pigs. The chief authority on the subject was a farmer, who was an eye-witness of the phenomena. I will call him Mr. B.

Mr. B., as a boy, lived in a small house called the Moat Grange, which was situated in a very lonely spot near four cross-roads, connecting four towns.

The house, deriving its name from the fact that a moat surrounded it, stood near the meeting point of the four roads, which was the site of a gibbet, the bodies of the criminals being buried in the moat.

Well, the B----s had not been living long on the farm, before they were awakened one night by hearing the most dreadful noises, partly human and partly animal, seemingly proceeding from a neighbouring spinney, and on going to a long front window overlooking the cross-roads, they saw a number of spotted creatures like pigs, screaming, fighting and tearing up the soil on the site of the criminals' cemetery.

The sight was so unexpected and alarming that the B----s were appalled, and Mr. B. was about to strike a light on the tinder-box, when the most diabolical white face was pressed against the outside of the window-pane and stared in at them.

This was the climax, the children shrieked with terror, and Mrs. B., falling on her knees, began to pray, whereupon the face at the window vanished, and the herd of pigs, ceasing their disturbance, tore frantically down one of the high roads, and disappeared from view.

Similar phenomena were seen and heard so frequently afterwards, that the B----s eventually had to leave the farm, and subsequent enquiries led to their learning that the place had long borne the reputation of being haunted, the ghosts being supposed to be the earth-bound spirits of the executed criminals. Whether this was so or not must, of course, be a matter of conjecture--the herd of hogs may well have been the phantasms of actual earth-bound pigs--attracted to the spot by a sort of fellow-feeling for the criminals, whose gross and carnal natures would no doubt appeal to them.