Archive for the ‘Paranormal’ Category

The stories of the Radnorshire “hauntings” have given rise to the greatest interest among those who revel in ghost lore. The readers of the “Western Mail” have expressed so strong a desire to learn more of these remarkable cases that it was thought desirable to make fuller inquiries into the matter, and I undertook to report thereon. I commenced my journey absorbed in meditation of a decidedly “ghostly” nature, endeavouring to predict what the next few hours would bring forth. I was shortly to interview one of the principal witnesses, to hear from his lips what his eyes had seen and his ears had heard. On alighting from the train at the little village of I gazed around upon the beautiful country. Below me the River Wye was winding gracefully along the valley reflecting the luxuriant trees which grew in rich profusion upon its verdant banks, on the clear and even surface of its sparkling waters. In the distance the hills rose majestically on either side, studded with fields and shrubs of varying hues and forms. On the rough land, numbers of rabbits sported and frisked among the ferns, whilst the air was made musical with the melody of feathered songsters, and the sound of cheery voices in the distance. Surely, thought I, “this cannot be the land of ghosts, hobgoblins, and dragons of the pit? But my business was not to speculate but investigate, therefore, after taking a final survey of this charming spot, I pressed forward with an elastic step to the anticipated interview. I found Mr. —— a very unassuming, genial, and intelligent man, totally unlike the kind of folk usually associated with ghost stories, and our conversation proved him to be keen and critical. It is evident that we cannot in justice declare that this witness is either “over credulous,” “subject to hysteria,” or to be predisposed to accept the “spirit” hypothesis without (at least to him) adequate proof. I found this gentleman very candid, and it is evident that his veracity cannot be doubted. When I introduced the subject his face immediately assumed a serious expression. “It is a fact,” he said, “there can be no doubt about that.” “Have you always believed in supernatural occurrences?” I asked. “No,” he replied, “up to the time of the hauntings I never believed in ghosts of any description, and treated the story of this case with contempt, until I was forced to believe in the facts as I had seen and heard them.” “What were the phenomena as witnessed by you?” Well, many things happened. Rapping’s, noises of various kinds, movement of articles of furniture, &c., and many things of a private nature.” “What did the raps resemble?” “They varied considerably, commencing with a sort of scratching sound, apparently proceeding from the window, then they became louder and more distinct, and at last assumed a definite thump, thump, thump.” “Were the sounds always located in the same place?” No, they changed considerably; sometimes they came from the floor, then from the wails, again from the ceiling, and various parts of the room.” “Did you ask questions and receive answers from the ‘ghost?” “Yes. I said, ‘If you are a spirit, rap once, and, accordingly, we heard one distinct thump. Again I said, ‘Rap twice, three times etc, and raps resulted, and were always of the number I requested. This experiment I have repeated many times, and in every case I received the number of raps asked for.” “Did the ‘ghost.’ exhibit any intelligence?” “Yes, for the result of the rapping experiment clearly proved that it heard and understood my questions. I asked, however, other questions of a personal character, but never received a reply.” “Are you a spiritualist “No, nor any of those who witnessed the phenomena.” “Did you put your questions in the orthodox spiritualistic fashion?” “I don’t know what that is. I said ‘if rap once,’ and so forth.” “Do you think it probable that these knockings were produced by trickery in connection with an inmate of the house for instance?” I at first thought that trickery was practised; and my suspicion fixed on an individual in whose presence the phenomena usually occurred, but after testing this person in many ways, I am convinced that my suspicions were utterly unfounded, for the individual is evidently perfectly honest.” Why were you suspicious of this person?” Because the raps occurred under circumstances in which imposture could be practised. For instance, sounds were heard in the room in which the individual was while we were in the room underneath. Being removed from one room to another, the raps followed the person, always proceeding from the room he occupied, but while in the company of others no sounds were heard.” “Under the circumstances, why do you consider him above suspicion?” “Because the raps were heard while he was asleep, and they at last became so loud, as to be completely out of the power of any child to produce. Again, many things occurred, such as the movement of furniture in locked rooms, which could not have been produced by any living person.” In rooms when the doors were locked?” “yes, under the circumstances heavy sacks were thrown down, trunks emptied, and their contents deposited upon the floor; furniture was moved, and things generally disturbed, and dairy utensils were flung about. These disturbances have occurred when the whole family were out of the house, which was left locked up in perfect order, but upon their return, disclosed a state of general confusion.” “How long did these remarkable occurrences continue?” “Sir months; during which time scarcely a, night passed without something supernatural occurring.” “Were apparitions seen?” “Nothing was ever seen that I know of.” The gentleman endorsed the statements contained in the article which appeared in the “Western Mail”, declaring the report to be fundamentally accurate. In the course of the interview many things were revealed of a private nature, which Mr. —— obtained my promise of secrecy. Practically, the investigation has only begun, but from the commencement, we may predict interesting details in the near future. Several witnesses have to be interviewed, and arrangements for further research are now being made, and it is hoped that in the space of a fortnight we shall be in possession of many new and interesting facts. In the meantime, it will be premature to attempt to formulate a theory or hypotheses; we must content ourselves with the simple record of facts.
Evening Express 30 July 1897

Seeing things at night, it appears, is an experience whose thrills not only interest the human nervous system but also agitate the animal.
A great many esteemed psychic researchers have performed experiments in haunted houses with cats and dogs, as well as with other animals, and have often found the animal to have been frightened.
One researcher remembers an occasion at a haunted house in St. James’ Road, Brixton:
“Again and again dogs have refused to accompany me to a room where ghostly phenomena have been alleged to take place. I remember on one occasion at a reputed haunted house in the St. James’s Road, I had a huge bulldog with me, the last creature in the world one would suspect of having nerves.”
“I arrived at the house about 10 o’clock at night, and was giving it a thorough examination before settling down to my vigil, when Pat (my dog) sprang back from a half-open door on the top of the landing, snarled, whined, and finally flew downstairs, and, as nothing would induce him to return, I had to go on with my investigations alone.”
“Next day I made inquiries of the owner of the house and was informed that it was in the room that frightened Pat a man had once hanged himself, and that it was the latter’s ghost that was supposed to haunt the premises a fact quite unknown to me at the time of my visit.”
It is widely believed that some animals are very sensitive to the advent of death. Owls and other night-birds will screech dismally outside a house where somebody dies shortly afterwards, and cats have been known to leave a house suddenly on the eve of a death and not come back to it until several days after the burial.

There is no doubt that the reason for this strange behaviour is that the animals detect the presence of a peculiar type of phantom that has actually been seen by people gifted with second-sight hovering by the bedside of those doomed to die shortly. I could quote many instances in proof of this.
Now what does all this really point to? Why, I think without any doubt, that animals do posses souls. Is it likely that; if such were not the case they would have been brought in closer contact with the unknown than Man, and endowed with a more highly developed psychic faculty!
Italian Psychical Researcher Prof. Ernest Bozzano prefers the term ‘a supernatural psychic perception’ to ghost, and has found sixty-nine cases of sort or another, which he says may easily be doubled. Wherein the beasts of the field, he says, are party to either telepathic hallucinations, to phantasms or spectres, or to “phantasmogenic localities,” commonly called haunted houses or regions. In twenty-three of these instances the animals became aware of the uncanny presence before their human companions and therefore could not have received their impressions through any contagion of feeling or thought transference.
The first proofs of these weird animal experiences came from H. Rider Haggard, the novelist, who dreamed that his dog was dying, only to find a day or so later that the nocturnal vision had been enacted in reality an hour or two previous. Bob, his good old retriever, having received a mortal wound from a night train, was thrown into the water among the brushwood where his master had seen in his dream, and instantly perished. The story was noised abroad widely, rigorously investigated, and documented by Mr. Haggard himself and by the Anglo-American Society for Psychical Research, drew the attention of psychical researchers to the study of possible telepathic transmission between man and animals, and finally, through the investigations of Prof. Bozzano, has brought to light the trials and terrors of canines, felines, equines, and others of the four footed folk in their encounters with spooks and spectres.
One of these encounters is reported by Mme. d’Esperance, a distinguished woman, universally known in the field of psychical studies, who in 1896 took up residence in her present home. ” I knew the place well,” she says, having paid several long visits to it previously, and also knew that it had the reputation of being haunted, but beyond this, few of the stories had reached my ears, first because I know scarcely any one in neighbourhood, and, secondly, because those I did know did not understand my language nor I theirs. Communication was therefore, for some time at least, extremely limited, to that what I saw or fancied I saw was not the result of previous information.”
In her daily walks Mme. d’Esperance generally went through a little wood. A public road runs along one side of the wood and she frequently had noticed that horses shied and were frightened when passing it. This behaviour always puzzled her for there was never anything to account for it. Once or twice when accompanied by a couple of canine friends she found them absolutely refusing to enter the wood but laid themselves down with their muzzles between their paws, deaf alike to threats or persuasion. They would joyfully follow her in any other direction, but if she persisted in going through the wood, would break loose from her and scamper off home with every symptom of fear. When this had happened two or three times she mentioned it to a friend, the lady of the manor, who said that such things had happened ever since she could remember, not at all times but at intervals, and not with all horses and dogs.
One day Mme. d’Esperance was strolling along the western part of the wood with this friend when before her stood a red brown calf. She uttered a surprised exclamation and the creature ran into the wood. As it darted into the brushwood a curious brightness flashed in its large eyes, giving the impression that they emitted fire. Since then once or twice at long intervals rumour had it that the calf with the fiery eyes has been seen by some one and the wood for a time has been carefully avoided by the peasantry.
Nearly every day, accompanied by two or three canine friends, Mme. d’Esperance has walked or driven through the wood, never, however, meeting the mysterious calf until a few weeks ago when she entered the grove with two collies and a terrier which, before entering, laid themselves down and exercised all their persuasions and art to induce her to take another direction. Finding her persistent, they attended her with visible reluctance. They seemed to forget after a while and gamboled on ahead.

Suddenly they rushed back and crouched at her feet while the little terrier sprang into her arms. Almost at the same moment a sound of beating hoofs approached rapidly from behind and before she could move out of the way a herd of roe deer came in full stampede, galloping past, unheeding both her and the dogs, nearly throwing her down as they passed. She looked around alarmed and saw a red brown calf turn and lose itself in the brushwood. The dogs, which under ordinary circumstances would have given chase to the flying deer, yelped with excitement, crouched, trembling and whining at her feet and the little terrier refused to leave her arms. For several days afterwards he refused to go through the wood and the collies went only under protest, plainly showing suspicion and fear.
“The result of all our enquiries,” says Mine. d’Esperance, “only confirmed our first impression that the calf with the fiery eyes was no ordinary, living, earthly creature. I do not doubt that the strongly intuitive or clairvoyant faculties of the animals made them aware of some unusual or unearthly presence in the wood and that the shrinking from the supernatural which in human beings we call superstition was the cause of their strange behaviour. Had I been the only person that had seen the mysterious creature it is more than possible I never would have mentioned it, but it has been seen at different times by many persons living on the estate.”
To this Prof. Bozzano agrees, noting that horses, dogs, and deer usually are not frightened at the sight of a harmless calf and that a living calf would not account for the panic of fear often shown by the horses and dogs when to all appearances there was nothing abnormal to the senses of men.
In the terrible case of haunting given by one Mrs. S. C. Hall, who was herself familiar with the main facts, the haunted man had not been able to keep a dog for years. One which he brought home when Mrs. Hall became acquainted with him could not be induced to stay in his room day or night after the hauntings began, and soon afterwards he ran away and was lost.
To this historical case is added a recent and wonderful instance of hauntings in Pennsylvania when the apparition of the white woman appeared to the informant’s brother. The third night he saw the dog crouch and stare and then act as if driven around the room. The man saw nothing but heard a sort of rustle and the poor dog howled and tried to hide and never again would that dog go to that room.
A ghost a cat was seen in a room illuminated by the light of the fire. Puss, otherwise known as ” Lady Catherine,” lay with her head upon her young mistress’ arm in a pensive attitude of drowsiness and purring. Of a sudden her purring ceased and she exhibited rapidly increasing signs of uneasiness. Struggling to her feet despite her mistress’s endeavours to soothe her and spitting vehemently, with back arched and tail swollen, she assumed a mingled attitude of terror and defiance. Looking up, the young woman who held Lady Catherine now perceived with inexpressible horror, a little hideous wrinkled old hag occupying a chair at the opposite corner of the fireplace, stooping forward and steadfastly gazing with eyes piercingly fixed and shining.

The cat, after some most desperate efforts, escaped from her mistress, leaped over tables and chairs and all that came in her way, and repeatedly threw herself with frightful violence first against one and the other of the two closed doors of the room, and becoming every instant more frantic. The mistress had regained her breath and screamed. Her mother ran in immediately, and the cat, on the door opening, literally sprang over her head and for upwards of half an hour ran up and down the stairs as if pursued.
Each of Prof Bozzano’s spectres is more marvellous than the last and they bring him finally to the conclusion that “Even if we wish to show ourselves particular and strict in the analysis of single cases, even if we wish to exclude a certain number from the total count, and even if we assign due weight to the inevitable error and amplifications arising from lapse of memory, in spite of all this we shall still have to admit that there are a good number of which the substantially and incontestably genuine character cannot be doubted.
“From all this it results that now and henceforth it is not permissible to deny à priori the possibility of the occurrence of psychic perception in animals. And if on the one hand it is incontestably true that from the point of view of scientific research there is yet a long distance to be traversed before the category of phenomena in question can be considered as definitely gained for science, on the other hand, however, and on the basis of the facts above set forth, it is permissible henceforth to recognize without fear of error that the verdict of future science cannot be other than fully affirmative.”
Animals, besides sharing with man the intermittent exercise of faculties of supernormal psychic perception, show themselves more normally endowed with special psychic faculties unknown to man, such as the so-called instincts of direction and of migration, end the faculty of precognition as regards unforeseen atmospheric disturbances, or the imminence of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.
I have always believed animals have souls; we have as humans; so why not other life forms. My time as a pub general manager led me to witnessing many strange instances with not only deceased animals but living pets. In the Rose and Crown, Bulford, I saw a black dog running around in the flat above the pub, this happened on many occasions. Our pet Staffie would often be seen watching something moving in the corridor, he would sometimes dart in that direction, after a period of time he stopped doing this and just watched. I witnessed this phenomena in several other pubs over the years.