Recently I encountered what may in fact be the apparition of a cat. Whilst the sighting may indeed be classed as subjective due to the fact that I was the sole witness at the time, it was later corroborated in a most interesting fashion.
Upon entering my new home one evening, I was startled to see a medium sized adult cat race by me along the entrance hall corridor and dart into an adjacent room. My initial reaction was to question how a cat had entered my home. Determining that no such animal could have entered nor exited the premises, and that there was no cat to be found, I quickly chalked up the experience to a trick of the light and a tired mind. I discounted the experience so swiftly that I did not bother to tell anyone about it.
The following week my companion commented on an unusual event he had experienced whilst in our kitchen. He related seeing a black and white house cat sitting by the refrigerator as if in anticipation of his/her noonday feeding. His reaction was similar to mine in that he immediately thought, "how did you get in here?" He turned his head momentarily and the vision was gone, he also assumed it was a trick of the light.
I must admit that my jaw slightly dropped and I rushed to tell him that I too saw what I believed to be a cat. We had not discussed this before and at this point I realized that there may be something more to this "cat" then initially presumed. To further add mystery to the experience we were later asked by a third person about "our cat," of which we do not have one. At least not a living one!
Three witnesses does not remove the probability of subjectivity from these sightings completely, however it does add some objectiveness to this kind of report.
Reports of animal specters are certainly not new in fact they are ancient. One needs only to study various folklore and traditions to realize that the sheer volume of phantom animal stories matches if not exceeds the "human" variety. Case studies collected by research organizations such as The Society Of Psychical Research (SPR), P.R.O and the GHRS tends to bear this out.
Just about every manner and variety of animal has been sighted, and much like their "human" counterparts animal apparitions are usually reported as solid entities that break light, and display characteristics normally associated and attributed to them. Witnesses will accept them as an actual animal until such time as something unusual occurs, such as they evaporate, or if the apparition is recognized as a deceased pet. It is at this moment when the average witness realizes that something is not quite right so to speak.
In our case whomever or whatever we have witnessed is not known to us. However, a large number of sightings are reported from pet owners whom have suffered a loss. One of our readers writes that her dog of 15 years had to be put down. Soon after "Bandit's" death she and her youngest child were startled to see a vision of their beloved pet bounding towards their backdoor. So real did the experience seem that she physically opened the door before remembering that "Bandit" was no longer with them. For these witnesses the event was not only startling, but understandably emotional as well.
Another witness writes that her cat whom passed away of feline leukemia still visits her often. Not only has the orange and white tabby been seen in various locations of the house, but also can be felt leaping onto the bed as was her morning routine.
Parapsycholgist Raymond Bayless gives examples of similar animal apparitions in his book entitled "Apparitions and Survival Of Death." In chapter four he writes of "two sisters who were seated by a window during the day, when they both saw their cat Smokey cross their lawn in a most life-like fashion. As the cat continued it's walk, the sisters noticed that it limped, a very characteristic trait. One sister rushed out of the house and called to the cat,but it paid her no attention and passed through a shrub and out of sight. A few minutes later, the cat was once again seen by one of the sisters and a friend, who were by the same window from which the cat had originally been sighted. A search was hurriedly made, but no trace of the animal could be found. Still later in the day the cat was seen inside the house, and believing it to be alive, a servant offered it a drink of milk, which it ignored. Needless to say, the cat was actually dead and, to prove this point, the gardener exhumed her body from under a dahlia bush were she had been recently buried."
One gentleman whom called us during a telephone-in radio program claimed he was being haunted by his deceased German Shepherd whom he further stated was sighted jumping out of a large box that was located on his front porch! The sighting had occurred during the middle of the day and again was viewed by more then one witness.
Ghosts of pets (such as the examples given above) cannot be viewed as "crisis apparitions" as they have appeared long after their death. This should not imply that there are no reports of animal "crisis apparitions," but that cases such as these lend support to speculation that animal consciousness survives bodily death. Crisis apparition for those unfamiliar with the term, denotes an apparition seen during a crisis situation, just prior to or very near the actual time of death. It is thought by most researchers to be a telepathic message and not a ghost as generally defined.
If we consider the possibility of survival of human consciousness then why not that of animals as well? The witnesses I have interviewed in regards to deceased pet sightings have all confided that they are convinced that this is the case. Researchers such as Raymond Bayless, Dr Willis-Brandon and myself also accept that a strong case has been made for this by the multitude of multiple witness reports.
So what of the possibility that I am indeed experiencing an animal haunting? Time will tell and I will update this page if anything new or relevant should occur. We are currently considering adopting a living cat into our family - that may just prove interesting!
By Raymond Bayless (c) 1970 University Books Inc.
Apparitions And Survival Of Death
By Raymond Bayless (c) 1973 Carol Publishing
Ghostly Animals Of America
By Patricia Edwards Clyne (c) 1977 Dodd, Mead & Co
Personal correspondence and witness testimonies