Ghosts Of Pets

escargot

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#31
Just to add. Like Houdini's wife I fully expected the Old Fella to make the effort and contact me from beyond the grave. He couldn't be arsed.
Someone once told me that when people die they see how trivial our earthly lives are. It's like when you grow up and leave behind your deep love of Crackerjack. You know it's not important any more.

Or it's like the dragonfly parable, where the dragonfly larvae promise to come back from where everyone disappears to when they climb up the stalk and out of the pond; but when it's their turn they fly and swoop and forget all about life in the mud.

Must be the same for animals too.

 

Bad Bungle

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#32
We seem to be accepting a distinction in this thread between ghosts of pets and ghosts of animals. I sort of hope that animals don't have a soul because I've killed a few and eaten more - I think it was on the FT forums that some-one pointed out the lack of ghost stories involving cows for example (or gold fish ?). So what are we as humans adding to the equation that makes the family dog or cat sometimes re-appear ?
 

JamesWhitehead

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#33
So what are we as humans adding to the equation that makes the family dog or cat sometimes re-appear?
I think the answer implied is "heart!" Yet there do seem to be curious gaps. Given the emotional investment many young girls have in their ponies, we have few tales of their phantoms*. Ghost doggies and pussies abound but phantom rabbits and gerbils are rare. Ghost fish even more so.

I will hazard a guess that dreams of these species follow a similar pattern, though I know how attached some relatives - and board members - have been to their rodents and fishies.

Echoing - and distorting - Siegmund in Die Walküre, there are many of us who have decided that a Valhalla without our pups and moggies isn't worth the name. :doggy:

The cartoon above is more like it!

*There are lots of ghostly horses - or horse-noises, at least - especially associated with battles, ghostly coaches etc. These are almost never individual animals but beasts defined by their work.
 
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Naughty_Felid

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#36
We seem to be accepting a distinction in this thread between ghosts of pets and ghosts of animals. I sort of hope that animals don't have a soul because I've killed a few and eaten more - I think it was on the FT forums that some-one pointed out the lack of ghost stories involving cows for example (or gold fish ?). So what are we as humans adding to the equation that makes the family dog or cat sometimes re-appear ?
Naughty Bear!
 

gattino

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#37
I think it was on the FT forums that some-one pointed out the lack of ghost stories involving cows for example
I first heard this on QI several years ago when they were scoffing about the idea of ghosts. Someone asked why they're never of animals like cows and earth worms. No one pointed out that ghostly animals are commonly reported - dogs, cats, horses... But one of the other comics not unreasonably asked "how would you know?.. If you saw a ghost of a cow in a field its not like it would be wearing a victorian top hat". Or maybe i just imagined they said that because they should have done. At any rate their light protest was silenced by Stephen Fry sneering about how you'd notice a cow or pig in your living room. (implication being that your habitat would have once been fields and therefore animals would have occupied the space..so their ghosts should be there too).

The mockery being more important than knowledge, the "discussion" seemed devoid of any rational argument. But i've read the "why are ghosts never animals" argument used a number of times since, like a triumphant game-changer. The failings of it, it strikes me are...
1) As I said ghostly animals are reported, and widely. Even if you'd never heard of read the literature on actual apparitions you'd be culturally aware of the idea of ghostly horsemen or horse and carriages


2) How WOULD you know if an animal was an apparition? If it doesn't walk through a wall or do something extraordinary in a place it should or could not be (side note - ABCS? Lake Monsters? hairy hominids?) then why would the idea of it being a ghost ever cross anyone's mind? Again, as an aside, how can we be sure none of the people we pass in a crowded city street are apparitions? The only sincere response to "have you ever seen a ghost?" is either "yes" or "i don't know"!


3) And this is the most significant point, I think. The unspoken and idiotic implication was that everything that dies is meant to turn into a ghost. That's never been believed by anyone or any culture anywhere. That we all end up as ghosts. If it doesn't apply to humans why on earth would it apply to animals? The popular "spirit of the dead" hypothesis for human apparitions generally interprets their presence to unfinished business or attempts to communicate with the still living, typically loved ones. How would either of those scenarios apply to a lemur, a dinosaur or a fruitfly? A beloved pet on the other hand can easily be imagined to have those motivations for appearing to a human after death, if such things are possible. And what do you know, apparently some of them appear to do just that. Bessie the sheep on the other hand has no message to convey.
 

Krepostnoi

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#38
Bessie the sheep on the other hand has no message to convey.
I broadly agree with the thrust of your post. But this potentially muddies the waters: I remember James Herriott describing bluff Yorkshire farmers who would get so attached to the pig they kept as a waste-food recycling device that come, er, "harvest" time, they'd have to ask a neighbour to do the deed. Now, pigs are intelligent animals, and - I guess - capable of forming bonds. So it's not beyond the realms of possibility that they would also grow somewhat fond of the farmer. Some ghosts are reputedly murder victims come back to avenge their deaths - have there ever been accounts of porcine revenants?
 
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