Do Dogs See Ghosts?
Do dogs see ghosts? It is a question we are often asked ‘do you think pets and other animals see/sense ghosts?’ The honest answer …. we really don’t know! Yes, our fur-covered friends are often seen staring into the abyss, seemingly looking at nothing, yet staring intently into nonetheless. They have been noticed to suddenly react to something that isn’t visible to us, showing either familiarity or aggression to the ‘empty’ area. Does this mean they are really seeing beings from beyond the grave, or is there another explanation?
If you are a firm believer in the paranormal, you are more than likely going to be convinced that your pet, when acting strangely, has seen a ghost. It does make sense in a way, especially if your pet constantly stands and stares at a particular chair where a departed family member once sat. The question then has to be asked, are they actually seeing something or just repeating an action they have done many times before?
We know that some of us humans have seen, heard or even felt our beloved pets that have crossed over the ‘rainbow bridge’. Even at some of our venue’s, animal ghosts have been reported. Take Tailem Town for instance, before the ‘Wonder View Cinema’ tragically burned down, for years guests on tours had been reporting the feeling of a cat wrapping itself around their legs whilst they were sat in the dark as cats do. The guest bends down to stroke the feline intruder, only to find that there is nothing there! A horse and a dog have also been seen/heard, but again, nothing is there. Interestingly, all of these animals were once pets at this location. So, if humans can pick up on deceased animals, can our pets pick up on dearly departed animals and humans too? I thought I would delve further into this subject with a balanced view.
Research – Natural Answers to ‘Do Dogs See Ghosts’?
Let’s take dogs for example (sorry cat lovers). Dogs have been around for thousands of years and are extremely sensitive animals. It is said that they can hear twice as many frequencies than humans and also from a much greater distance (about 4 times further away). So, if dogs suddenly become alert, are they hearing a departed loved one or is it simply something from far away, out of our own earshot? Could it be a deceased animal friend or that annoying cat from 3 streets away?
A dog’s sense of smell is far more sensitive than ours too (between 10,000 – 100,00 times greater). So again, if your pet picks up on a smell, is it sensing a former owner, or an enticing smell from next door as they cook their roast dinner? If your pet is sitting in their loved one’s chair, are they sensing the departed family member, or are they settling into a comfortable chair, with a familiar smell? When they react, are they picking up on a recently departed furry friend that suddenly disappeared out of their lives or have they just got a whiff of their missing friend’s scent from a nearby toy, giving them comfort?
Hounds are also capable of picking up on temperature changes and weather conditions too. Being a greyhound owner (or long snoot servant as we like to call ourselves), I don’t have to look outside to know it’s raining, as my lazy couch potato will refuse to budge and go to relieve herself until it is all over (their bladders must be enormous). So, if an animal is acting strange, could it be from a change in the atmosphere that we aren’t noticing or picking up on something totally different?
It is also said that we can put our feelings on to our pets. If you show fear of something, they will too. Is it the case that if your dog stands and stares at an ‘empty’ place, you then show fear, the dog picks up on that and shows fear too? Patting these animals during this time heightens that fear. It can be the same with aggression, reinforced by us humans at times. If our furry friends are acting frightened or aggressive in one particular area, are they picking up on something paranormal, or acting from learned behaviour?
It is a shame that dogs can’t talk, as sadly we may never know for sure just what it is they are reacting to. We can only surmise based on our knowledge of the individual situation and on what we believe to be there.
Do Dogs See Ghosts? – Case Study in Z Ward Asylum
At Z Ward (the former home of the criminally insane) we had the pleasure of having a well trained Support Dog on one of our tours. This was an extremely beautiful and exceptionally well-behaved dog called Morpheus. My only concern about the night was having a big black dog spread out on the dark floor, in a dark building. I was terrified of either standing on or accidentally kicking him!
At the beginning of the tour, we always allow our guests a bit of free time so that they can experience the building for themselves, hence not putting anything into their heads. The owner reported that that the dog would not enter two rooms in particular, both of which were known ‘active’ rooms. He had no issues with any of the others, just these two.
During the tour, our furry friend laid down and slept. He didn’t have a care in the world and seemed very comfortable indeed. Every time we moved location, he got up, moved to his new spot, laid down and promptly fell asleep.
Break time and even then, he wasn’t particularly interested in anything, apart from the attention from the other guests.
Soon it was time for the investigation and, after going through how the equipment works, we ALL set off upstairs to see what we could find, if anything. Our four-legged friend lay on the floor and fell asleep almost instantly. Not moving, not even stirring. The investigation was very quiet upstairs, so the decision was made to make our way downstairs and to the end where the dog hadn’t liked a couple of the rooms.
Now downstairs, Morpheus took up residence on the floor and went back to sleep (oh to be a dog). All was quiet until it was reported that a figure had been seen down the end of the hallway. The now sleeping dog was already up and looking down towards the same area. This was all simultaneous. He hadn’t got up because of excited voices, as he had ignored all of those before, he had jumped up and was looking down the far end at the same time the figure was reported being seen! He was lunging on his lead and eventually started to growl. Now growling was something this dog never did! It wasn’t in his nature, but something was obviously upsetting him. He didn’t do this just once, but twice, towards the same area. The first time his owner took him down to see where he would take her (they went to a disused toilet and then the bathroom that he previously wouldn’t enter). The second time he wanted to investigate another two cells, one was new to him, the other was a cell previously resisted by him. All was fine this time though.
He came back and took a long time to settle, but he eventually did and laid down to resume his nap. Shortly afterwards he leapt up just before the ‘flux’ (a yes/no device), which was positioned down the other end of the hallway, triggered. He started pulling at his lead again as though he wanted to investigate what was going off.
It finished as quickly as it started and suddenly he relaxed and fell back to sleep.
So, the question is, did he pick on paranormal activity or not? Was he reacting to ghosts or could he hear or sense maybe a possum in the distance? Things to note are that this is a highly trained dog. They are taught how to and how not to behave. They are chosen for being gentle, intelligent animals. They should not act as he did, they should not pull and growl. Were all of his actions co-incidental, or was he picking up on something? Coincidence is fine if it happens once, more than that becomes more than a little strange. Having experienced it for myself, it was a very interesting night indeed and one that I will never forget.
A big thank you to our lovely 4-legged paranormal investigator and his owner for joining us on the night and also for allowing us to share footage of this event. The link for the video is below.
Do dogs see ghosts? There seems to be so many outstanding questions within this blog that I just cannot answer. Will we ever be able to prove that our pets can pick up on deceased loved ones (human or animal) and be 100% sure? Sadly not, as we can’t even prove that the paranormal actually exists! The only way of ever knowing what these animals are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling or thinking is if they could talk to us and, as none of us are Dr Dolittle, this isn’t about to happen.
There is no harm in believing that your pet is picking up on the deceased, as they may very well be doing that. As long as it isn’t a scary experience for you or them, then what is the harm? There will always be the believers and the non-believers, no matter what evidence you have. The one thing we can be sure of is that the love of a lost pet or the undoubting bond a pet has for its deceased owner never dies.
Watch Video of Morpheus Below
©Adelaide Haunted Horizons 2021
Articles written, are not always the view of Haunted Horizons
Written by Kag Allwood
Paranormal Researcher, Blogger and Tour Guide