Ghosts Of Pets

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
27,985
Likes
28,056
Points
309
Location
HM The Tower of London
#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

Dingo took my tray bake.
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
1,391
Likes
3,770
Points
154
Location
The Chilterns
#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

Piffle Prospector
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
12,790
Likes
10,712
Points
309
#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.
 
Last edited:

Naughty_Felid

No longer interesting
Joined
Mar 11, 2008
Messages
6,264
Likes
7,088
Points
294
#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

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 30, 2003
Messages
1,996
Likes
3,943
Points
184
#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

Almost uniquely humourless
Joined
Jul 9, 2012
Messages
3,092
Likes
6,095
Points
209
#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?
 

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
27,985
Likes
28,056
Points
309
Location
HM The Tower of London
#49
Nicked from the Facebook 'Railway Ghosts' page -

Hey folks, I was talking to my dad about these ghost stories and he mentioned a new story. So this occurs from 1959 to 1965 at Bletchley MPD (steam shed) my dad was a fitter there at the time.

So when I dad started the shed had 3 shed cats. However they always put 4 bowls of food out for them. They had varied names but he couldn’t remember the 3. When he asked why four bowls they said oh we leave them for “molly” the ghost cat. My dad at the time didn’t believe but simply let it be. He would often feed the 3 and often thought one of the other 3 would eat the 4th bowl.

One night my dad was in the shed office doing yellow perils (a maintenance form) and could see 4 cats eating the food. He simply smiled to himself and carried on. In the morning he said to the fitter coming on shift about the fourth cat how he knew it was real and it must be from the local houses and the fitter said “was it the black and white one with a white tipped tail and two spots on its left side”

My dad said yes and he was told that the cat he saw is in fact molly and she was killed some years before in a Freak Accident involving a conrod. The next week he was back on the night shift and left out the four bowls and sure enough molly returned when he was watching and he went out to say hello (convinced it was a cat from a local house) as soon as he left the office “molly” was startled and ran into a store room, my dad followed searched the room as it only had one door and no openable windows or holes and the cat was not there.

My dad said it really freaked him out and he never disturbed “molly” again and always left food for her until the shed closed.


Apparently over the next 10 years the car was spotted by train crews looking at where the shed once was and eventually left all together.
This always sticks with my dad. He himself saw molly one final time in 1974 when he was on the station looking towards the car park where the shed once stood and saw molly sat patiently waiting to be fed where the office once stood.
 

Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
Joined
Sep 18, 2001
Messages
38,607
Likes
27,008
Points
309
Location
Inside a starship, watching puny humans from afar
#50
Nicked from the Facebook 'Railway Ghosts' page -

Hey folks, I was talking to my dad about these ghost stories and he mentioned a new story. So this occurs from 1959 to 1965 at Bletchley MPD (steam shed) my dad was a fitter there at the time.

So when I dad started the shed had 3 shed cats. However they always put 4 bowls of food out for them. They had varied names but he couldn’t remember the 3. When he asked why four bowls they said oh we leave them for “molly” the ghost cat. My dad at the time didn’t believe but simply let it be. He would often feed the 3 and often thought one of the other 3 would eat the 4th bowl.

One night my dad was in the shed office doing yellow perils (a maintenance form) and could see 4 cats eating the food. He simply smiled to himself and carried on. In the morning he said to the fitter coming on shift about the fourth cat how he knew it was real and it must be from the local houses and the fitter said “was it the black and white one with a white tipped tail and two spots on its left side”

My dad said yes and he was told that the cat he saw is in fact molly and she was killed some years before in a Freak Accident involving a conrod. The next week he was back on the night shift and left out the four bowls and sure enough molly returned when he was watching and he went out to say hello (convinced it was a cat from a local house) as soon as he left the office “molly” was startled and ran into a store room, my dad followed searched the room as it only had one door and no openable windows or holes and the cat was not there.

My dad said it really freaked him out and he never disturbed “molly” again and always left food for her until the shed closed.


Apparently over the next 10 years the car was spotted by train crews looking at where the shed once was and eventually left all together.
This always sticks with my dad. He himself saw molly one final time in 1974 when he was on the station looking towards the car park where the shed once stood and saw molly sat patiently waiting to be fed where the office once stood.
Yellow perils - I used to help my Mum deliver a church newsletter that was printed on some orangey-yellow paper, and she called them 'yellow perils'. :)
 

mrs_mose

Fresh Blood
Joined
Nov 1, 2016
Messages
19
Likes
86
Points
14
#51
Nicked from the Facebook 'Railway Ghosts' page -

He himself saw molly one final time in 1974 when he was on the station looking towards the car park where the shed once stood and saw molly sat patiently waiting to be fed where the office once stood.
Aww, even though its a ghost cat I feel bad that it was sat waiting to be fed :( poor little bugger
 

blessmycottonsocks

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
3,897
Likes
6,053
Points
209
Location
Wessex and Mercia
#52
Aww, even though its a ghost cat I feel bad that it was sat waiting to be fed :( poor little bugger
I do find such stories incredibly sad.
I realise there's no real consensus as to what ghosts really are. If, though, they are the spirits of beings (human and animal) who are still hanging around on Earth because they don't realise they're dead, then that is just too poignant for words.
When the much loved feline member of our family passes on, I would hate to think of her still visiting her old "haunts" but in a state of stress and confusion.
 
Top