EVEN PEOPLE WHO believe in an afterlife and the possibility of ghosts are often skeptical when it comes to the idea of spirit animals. They don't have souls or spirits, goes the argument, and therefore cannot have a life in the next world. But cats, dogs, birds and other animals are made up of the same energy that humans are, and it may be as possible that this energy can survive death, just as it can for people. Anyone who is close to their pets will testify to the psychic connection they share. Psychic energy and spiritual energy may all be a part of the same phenomenon, and so animals might have as much of a connection to the unseen world as we do.
Maybe more. Animals not only may appear as ghostly forms, they may also be more sensitive to the proximity of spirits. Barbara S. tells of a stray black-and-white cat that her family adopted in the Queens section of New York City. They lived in an old attached house that had no history of strange activity, as far as they knew, but this high-strung kitten seemed to be able to see things Barbara's family could not:
- She would look at the stairs, her gaze slowly moving from the bottom to the top, as if she was observing someone walking up the steps. At other times, her green eyes would be transfixed upon a certain spot on the ceiling above me. While I couldn't see anything, the cat was definitely watching something. After my son went away to college, I decided to put the house up for sale. One evening, shortly after the real estate agent that I contacted had looked at the house, I sat in my favorite chairwith my little cat nearby excitedly looking at the ceiling above me. I heard people run down the stairs in the house next door. Maybe the noise triggered what happened next, which was truly horrible. What I heard sounded like the heavy, thumping steps of a big man with real heavy boots walking on my living room ceiling upside down. The cat was absolutely frantic. She looked at the ceiling, hissing and spitting. After about ten seconds of deafening noise, there was silence. The cat stopped looking at the ceiling. I checked the upstairs rooms, but, of course, there was no one [else] in the house.
Dogs can be just as sensitive as cats when it comes to sensing the unseen. Elven M. tells of ghostly figures in her home that made their presence known so often that her family actually named one of them: Bill; the other was the ghost of a little girl. Elven believes that her dogs -- a seeing-eye trained German Shepherd, Haywood, and a blue healer, Tuscon -- were the first to notice them. Elven was on the phone one day...
- Haywood was lying at my feet and began to growl. Tuscon went and hid behind the stereo in the corner. As Haywood stood up, I felt a gust of cold air brush past me, and he continued to growl. He moved to the top of the stairs that led into the family room, and the hair on the back of his neck stood up as he growled and snarled into the dark basement. I feared that someone had broken into the house. I turned on the downstairs light as I stood directly behind Haywood, ready to let him run and attack whoever it was in the basement. I saw nothing, yet he continued to growl. I stayed on the phone and went across the room and pulled into the corner, scared to death. My boyfriend at the time was consoling me, telling me there was nothing there. At that moment, a little girl's voice came from the vent in the floor next to me. Haywood came and sat beside me as though he was protecting me, growling across the room the whole time. By the time my parents returned home, I was very upset and very scared as the voice continued.
"There is an obscure superstition that goes something like this: Knowing that animals can see ghosts, when an animal sees a ghost one can, from behind the animal, look between their ears toward where the animal is looking and see the ghost that they see," says Scott P. Yet he tried this very thing and discovered that the superstition is not true. He had the opportunity to test it as a young boy on a winter's day in his family's 100-year-old home,which had previously been a funeral home:
- I, with my cat and dog curled up for warmth, sat on a heater vent wrapped in a blanket. I was in the living room with a perfect view of the entryway. From here I heard some footsteps upstairs. The cat's and dog's ears both perked up at the sound of the footsteps as they seemed to go down the hall toward the top of the spiraling staircase in the entryway. Both animals watched some invisible presence slowly walk down the stairs and through the living room then into the dining room. I, quite apprehensively, looked between both my cat's and my dog's ears as their heads and eyes seemed to follow someone walking though my house. Both animals' heads moved in tandem and the acted very much aware of the presence. Yet I could sense nothing aside from the sound of steps and the reaction of the animals. I was somewhat disappointed.
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