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Ghosts & Hauntings

Why Not An Animal Afterlife?

It is the dog returning, the same dog or a different one, a shadow dog I cannot clearly perceive, it has no definite form or color… – Swedish poet Artur Lundkvist from Journeys in Dream and Imagination, 1991

Like people, animals seem to be able to come through in many ways after they have died. A good friend of mine from Ottawa had a feline apparition that regularly bounded across her apartment’s hallway. She had lived in the century-old apartment building for many years, and saw the shadowy cat a few times a year.

“Out of the corner of my eye, I’d see this black shadow zip across the width of the hallway. I used to write it off as shadows from the sun, but every time it happened, it was in the same spot, but at different times of the day.” Her immediate thought, whenever it happened, was that it was a black cat. “My first roommate said, ‘Oh yeah, I see it too. It’s our black cat.’ And we’d joke about it.” My friend received further verification from subsequent roommates who also saw the ghost cat. The greatest substantiation of what she saw came when a maintenance man was replacing the fire doors in her apartment. When he was done, he came to speak with her. He turned around, and then looked back at my friend. “Oh, do you have a cat?” he asked, describing a black cat darting across the hall. Having a visitor witness the phenomenon excited my friend, and she called her roommate over and had the mystified repairman repeat what he saw. Interestingly, he saw the cat from a different position than people would usually see it in the hallway. “It would never occur to you in the depths of your mind that it was anything other than a cat,” she told me.

Animal apparitions and afterlife contact is not all that uncommon. Famed medium Allison Dubois (who inspired the popular TV series Medium) wrote in her book Don’t Kiss Them Goodbye that passed on pets figure significantly in the readings she does. In one memorable reading, Allison saw a bird perched on the finger of her client’s recently departed mother-in-law, and the client confirmed that her mother-in-law’s bird died around the same time she did. “Although I knew dogs and cats crossed over,” Allison wrote, “I wasn’t aware that birds could come through from the other side.”

Photo by Christopher Laursen, Gudhjem, Bornholm, Denmark, 2012.

Maybe everyone will be reunited with the pets they loved once they die.

My Mom certainly believes so. She recently recounted to me a variety of experiences that she agreed to share here. Her beloved collie, Katie, died in April 2006 from lymphoma. This was quite hard on my Mom who lives on her own. In the years leading up to Katie’s death, two of her cats had died: Kitty and my own cat, Mookie, adopted by my Mom when I moved to Ontario. After Katie’s death, it was very sad for me to think of my Mom returning to an empty house every night after work and going for walks alone.

But she wasn’t completely alone, I later found out. A week after Katie died, my Mom heard two distinct barks in her house. “I know her barks like you would know your kid’s voice,” my Mom told me. “It was like her saying, ‘I’m still here, I’m okay.’” The signs continued on in the ensuing weeks after Katie’s death. Early one morning, my Mom awoke to hear Katie lie down in her crate in a room down the hall; the crate creaked as she did so. In August 2006, my Mom heard the sound of Katie shaking out her coat in the sitting room. The audible evidence that Katie was still around the house was further verified for my Mom in several dreams she had, where she would be visited by Katie and find that she no longer had the lumps from lymphoma.

When I was younger, after my childhood cat Sylvester died, I remember lying on my parents’ bed on a warm afternoon. I felt what seemed to be Sylvester jumping on the bed, doing circles and resting on the bed near me. I just left my eyes closed. It made me smile. Of course, there was no cat on the bed when I opened my eyes, but I felt that Sylvester had curled up next to me one last time. My Mom has had such experiences as well. Maybe the most interesting experience occurred after Katie’s death in the wee hours of morning. She heard Katie come into her room, turn around to lie down on the floor beside her and smack her lips as if she were going to go to sleep. Then she felt her old cat Kitty come under the blanket (something her cat was prone to doing when she was alive). She reached her hand under the blanket and could feel Kitty’s tail and her rump. She felt Kitty sniff her hand. “It was like I was having a dream, but it was more than a dream,” she said. Whether this was a dream or something experienced while she was awake, the animals’ presence comforted my Mom.

“But what really blows me away are the actual things that have shown up in my house after Katie died,” my Mom said, recollecting how she had found individual pieces of Katie’s fur. “They seemed to come when I was most upset and needed to know that she was okay. The hairs would always stick straight out so I could see them.” One long collie hair appeared on her sweater, and another time, she found one on the upper part of her dining room curtain. Perhaps the strangest finding during this time was when she opened her clothes closet a few weeks after Katie died and found one of Kitty’s claws sitting on the carpet just inside the closet. This was especially unusual since Kitty had been dead for two years. I should mention that my Mom keeps her home meticulously clean.

In November 2006, my Mom adopted a new bounding spirit into her home – an energetic collie puppy by the name of Holly. My Mom maintains a very detailed journal of these experiences, and in the year following her adoption of Holly, she regularly found pieces of cat litter around the house – very strange since she hadn’t had a cat in about three years at that point.

One January morning in 2010, my Mom awoke to a 5 a.m. alarm and as she stood up from her bed, she heard the sound of a dog’s feet approaching her bedroom in the hallway. She thought it was Holly and saw the outline of a dog in the dark. “I bent down to pet her as she walked by me,” my Mom recorded in her journal, but my Mom “didn’t feel her,” and thought the dog went into a large carrier that she keeps in her bedroom, but she didn’t hear the dog enter it. She went to the bathroom and put the light on, and her dog Holly was lying in the sitting room on the other side of the house from her bedroom, looking at her. Was it an apparition of Katie that my Mom experienced?

Photo by Jim Wegryn, Grand River southwest of Lansing, Michigan.

These are extraordinary experiences. Numerous people have reported having such experiences after their pets have died. For example, cat enthusiast and writer Dusty Rainbolt encountered so many stories of people encountering apparitions and signs of their cats’ presence after they had died, that she wrote a book, Ghost Cats, based on these accounts in 2007. Another animal lover and naturopath, Kim Sheridan, has written two volumes on animals and the afterlife, the most recent due for an upcoming release. And the parapsychologist and painter Raymond Bayless collected many accounts in his 1970 book Animal Ghosts. Some further books and accounts are included in the links below.

In a review of Sheridan’s first book in about.com, the reviewer concluded that “This book should offer much-needed comfort to those who have either recently lost a pet or face the imminent loss of one. It offers compelling anecdotal evidence that life after death indeed exists for the animals we love.” My Mom expressed how grateful she is for these types of books in finding that others have also had such experiences. The meanings of these experiences are extraordinarily powerful and personal to those who encounter deceased animals.

The ghostly black cat that darts across the hall. A bird perched on the finger of a deceased relative in a medium’s reading. Apparitions and physical evidence that deceased pets remain present. These are but three types of experiences people have had involving animals in ways that do not work within conventional explanation.

Such uncanny encounters with animals is no doubt an area worthy of further study. If you have had any such experiences, please feel free to share them in the comments below, or send me a message and I will consider including your account as part of my documentation of people’s extraordinary experiences.

Ghosts & Hauntings

The World’s 7 Most Haunted Forests Will Make You Never Try Camping Again

by Tommy DePaoli

Growing up in New England, I was surrounded by shadowy forests that seemed to go on forever. As I got older, I began to discover bits and pieces of local lore that trickle down into campfire tales and scary bedtime stories. It seemed to me that every forest had enough history to be haunted, which led to me having a Blair Witch Project reaction any time anyone suggested camping.

Now that I’m a bit older, I can see that while these spots may have had their own merits, they didn’t have anything on the really haunted forests in the world. Here are the seven most spine-tingling, scream-inducing woods across the world that you should never, ever step foot in.

7. Old House Woods, Virginia

Let’s start this list off with something nearly every haunted forest requires: a violent history. Old House Woods in Virginia was home to many a gruesome battle during the Revolutionary War and American Civil War. As a result, people have reported the ghosts of soldiers and slaves between the trees, searching for a way out.

Adults tell local children not to venture into the woods, lest they never return. Those who were lucky enough to come back reported precipitous drops in temperature, spectral figures in military regalia, and misty women floating before disappearing completely. Apparently, these woods are privately owned, and the owner will call the police on trespassers if he sees one. Could he be protecting folks from an even darker force hidden in the forest?

6. Screaming Woods, United Kingdom

Outside of Pluckley, also known as the “most haunted village in Britain,” are the Dering Woods. Despite having a normal name, most people refer to them as the Screaming Woods due to the fact that most visitors who happen upon them are bombarded with blood-curdling, banshee-like screams that are far from simply human.

These screams are said to go all the way back to the 18th century, when a highwayman named Robert Du Bois was captured by villagers and brought to the woods to be killed with a sword. Du Bois continues to harbor a grudge against those who find him in the woods. If you’re there and hear the sound of footsteps with no discernible body attached, run back the way you came.

5. Ballyboley Forest, Northern Ireland

Based on the circular trenches and distinctive stone arrangements, Ballyboley Forest in Northern Ireland is considered to be an ancient Druid site. From 1400-1700, this forest was notorious for the disappearances of several individuals without any explanation. The freakiness has only become more pronounced with time.

Very few people are willing to enter these woods, but those that did explore them have reported billows of black smoke and disembodied screaming voices in the distance. In one particularly terrifying episode, two men thought they heard a lady howling in pain. Leaving the path to attempt to find her, they discovered a tree dripping with thick strokes of blood. As they fled from sounds that started to encroach on them, one man turned around to see human-like figures in the forest, motionless and watching in brown head coverings. Stories like these have led people to believe that Ballyboley is a gateway to the Celtic “Otherworld.”

4. Freetown State Forest, Massachusetts

Part of the Bridgewater Triangle area known for a bevy of paranormal activity, the Freetown State Forest is where most of the haunting occurrences take place. Its haunted status goes all the way back to colonial times, when settlers purchased the land from the Wampanoag Tribe. This deal was dicey at best because the Native Americans believed the forest to be sacred (housing multiple American Indian burial grounds), and some consider this exchange to have driven it to be cursed.

The curse lives on into modern times as the area became synonymous with Satanic cults and murderous rituals. One famous case involved a local pimp named Carl Drew who slaughtered women as a sacrifice for his occultist leader. In an especially sadistic show, Drew ripped out a woman’s hair and fingernails before removing her head to kick around like a ball with his followers until he ended the ritual by raping her headless corpse. These dark forces continue to haunt the forest, leading visitors to feel pushed and prodded among sounds of heavy breathing and screams.

3. Devil’s Tramping Ground, North Carolina

In horror movies, pets and other animals are often the first to recognize an otherworldly presence, but humans rarely heed their warning. In real life, things aren’t much different. Dogs are said to flee from the forest clearing known as the Devil’s Tramping Ground in North Carolina, a burnt, lifeless circle of ash where nothing ever grows.

The local legend goes that the circle of devastation is caused by the Devil, who uses this area to “tramp” and contemplate ways to destroy all of humanity. No vegetation or wildlife thrives in this circle, and scientists have taken samples to study this baffling phenomenon to no avail. Those who have tried to spend a night there either don’t last until sunrise or go mad. Stranger still, any inanimate objects placed in the circle overnight are thrown outside its limits by dawn, a result of the Devil brushing aside anything in his wake.

2. Hoia-Baciu Forest, Romania

In an area often referred to as the Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania, the Hoia Baciu Forest is notorious for unexplainable paranormal activity. Though locals have long been terrified of entering those woods, the forest became notorious in 1968 after a biologist named Alexandru Sift recorded a UFO-like object hovering overhead.

Supposedly, the creepily curved trees grew normally for decades, until a supernatural presence warped them. Those brave enough to enter the forest have reported rashes, nausea, vomiting, migraines, and intense, debilitating anxiety while roaming the forest, especially the constant sensation that they were being watched. The most disturbing but repeated theory is that Hoia-Baciu is home to an interdimensional portal, which causes people to disappear and have no concept of how much time has passed.

1. Aokigahara Forest, Japan

The well-known “Suicide Forest” borders Mt. Fuji in Japan and has a depressingly accurate nickname. Since the 1950s, an estimated 500 people have journeyed to Aokigahara to end their lives, and the forest continues to beckon people to die. Those who have visited the forest as tourists have come across rotting bodies swaying from tree branches and skulls and bones littering the ground.

Due to the sheer amount of tragic death, the forest has become something of a purgatory, filled with ghosts known as yurei who howl with suffering for their lives that were ended too soon. Some say that the trees themselves are filled with a malevolent energy that wants to keep you in the forest, possibly explaining why so many choose to commit suicide there. Indeed, even those who have just gone to check it out have admitted feeling a sense of permanence, like they were bound to the forest for the rest of their lives.

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Ghosts & Hauntings

Cops saw ‘ghost’ during 9/11 rubble search

A retired New York City police officer claims he encountered a ghostly figure while sifting through the rubble from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Retired Lt. Frank Marra said he saw what appeared to be a black woman holding a tray of sandwiches while he searched for human remains in the rubble taken to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, reported the New York Post.
The former officer said he saw the woman, who was dressed like a World War II-era Red Cross worker, several times.

She always appeared to be more than 50 yards away, Marra said, and would vanish as he strained his eyes for a better look.

“But you could clearly see it was a person,” he said.

The 48-year-old Marra said he buried the memory of the ghostly woman until 2013, when he conducted interviews for a book, “Hallowed Ground,” with others who had searched the landfill.

“You ever hear the stories about the old Red Cross worker trying to serve sandwiches and coffee out by the sifters?” said one retired crime-scene detective.

The recollection triggered Marra’s own memory.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks — I had put that dormant – and it just reminded me that I remembered seeing her,” Marra said.

He said a psychic medium later explained to him that he and the other officers may have seen a “soul collector” who guides other spirits to the afterlife.

Marra said other law enforcement officers told him about shadows and “large black masses” they saw while sifting through the rubble.

The remains of more than 1,600 people killed at the World Trade Center have been identified, he said, but the remains of 1,000 victims were never found.

“How many had their ashes and remains uprooted and brought to this place?” Marra said. “Why isn’t their presence believable?”

Watch video of the search efforts posted online by WTC911demolition:

Source: Raw Story

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Ghosts & Hauntings

‘Ghost’ captured on CCTV at former Nazi concentration camp blamed for making objects disappear

A shadowy figure is seen on camera at the 400-year-old castle in Czech Republic

A ‘ghost’ has been captured on CCTV in a 400-year-old Czech castle that was once used as a Nazi concentration camp.It has been blamed for the mysterious disappearance of objects from a closed exhibition, as the building is now used as a museum for local history.

In this video, a shadowy figure appears to move in front of the camera when all rooms were locked and closed.

It is also reported that no cleaners were in the room at the time.

The 17th century castle in the Czech town of Ostrov was captured by the Nazis in 1939 and turned into a concentration camp for Czech resistance fighters and opponents to the regime.

Shadows on the the surveilance camera

Mysterious: A shadowy figure appears on camera

CCTV footage was reviewed after objects allegedly started to vanish, and the strange figure was seen on the 12th and 14th of last month.

The story was published in local media after the matter was reported to police.

The camera is in the exhibition room where treasures belonging to the former castle owners – the Schlick family – are stocked.

Franz Joseph Heinrich Graf Schlik zu Bassano und Weisskirchen was born in 1789 in Prague and was the former owner of the castle.

His family was a Czech-German noble family and his father Count Joseph Heinrich Schlick was an Austrian imperial ambassador to the Danish kingdom and in the German state of Hessen.

Castle Ostrov

Castle: The 400-year-old building was once used as Nazi death camp

Franz Heinrich served in the Austrian army, and later he became a general in the army fighting against Napoleon, playing a major role in Aspern in 1809 when Napoleon was beaten for the first time.

The count lost his right eye in 1813 in the battle of the nations in the German city of Leipzig when he fought against Napoleon’s soldiers.

He ended his army career in 1859.

He died in the Austrian capital Vienna in 1862 in age of 72.

The castle’s guide Jana Dvorakova told Czech TV Nova: “I would never go there alone, not now.

Town of Ostrov

Ostrov: The town as it looks today

“I must admit I never had a good feeling about the place and now I am afraid.”

Paranormal investigator Hana Mackeova, who was called to look into the matter, said: “I felt some negative zones in some rooms.

“Something is definitely wrong there.

“I was very weak, felt sick and I had to leave.”

Local council employee Zuzana Zelezna, one of those who have offices in the castle, said: “The ghost removes objects at night.

Franz Joseph Heirich Graf Schlik

Owner: Franz Joseph Heirich Graf Schlik who lived in the castle

“We know that nobody cleans the rooms affected.”

“According to family legends Franz Joseph Heinrich Schlik carried a silver box always with him, even at battles.

“The silver box was a case for important documents and coins.

“The legend says that he has been guarding his silver box even after his death.”

The Count is reported to have been a popular figure during his lifetime, introducing educational reforms and developing both local agriculture and the economy.

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