Science Smacks its Head: Can Dogs See Ghosts?

Science Smacks its Head: Can Dogs See Ghosts?

can dogs see ghosts

In the book “Tails of the Afterlife,” Peggy Schmidt narrated multiple instances of bizzare behavior displayed by dogs who seemingly interact with something invisible, intangible. Peggy also shared her view on ‘can dogs see ghosts?’

For instance, she wrote about a woman named Del Johnsen who left six cats and seven dogs when she died. Numerous witnesses have reported seeing animals gathering at one spot, cats arching and purring, dogs rolling over for a pat, all of them having fun and staring into the air before resuming their routines.

Moreover, Peggy says her dog, Pixie, a Jack Russell Terrier, has frequently reacted to spirits and ghosts present in deserted local buildings that were believed to be haunted.

Scary. Isn’t it?

In this article, everything is described in complete detail to bust this myth once and for all.

Do You Believe In Ghosts?

45% of Americans do.

If you are one of those who believe in supernatural things, you’d believe that dogs can see ghosts.

Dr. Mary Burch, director of the AKC Family Dog Program and a certified animal behaviorist, said, “when someone is inclined to believe in the paranormal, some dogs may exhibit behaviors that make it look like they are perhaps sensing an apparition is nearby.”

This phenomenon works in highly active minds too. Just as an example, a renowned trauma therapist and spiritual expert, Audrey Hope, said that her dog was barking without any reason. She believed that it was some ghost or any other spiritual entity that triggered him. The fact that she believed her dog sees ghosts is based on her personal acceptance of supernatural entities.

Dogs and Their Remarkable Senses

Besides a sense of taste that they are not good at, dogs have remarkable senses of seeing, hearing, and smelling things.

1. Sensation of Smell

According to research, there are 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, as compared to us humans, who have only six million receptors.

This huge difference means that there is a myriad of smells that a dog can sense while we may not. With their strong sense of smell, dogs can detect substances at concentrations of one part per trillion—a single drop of liquid in 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Therefore, the military hires dogs for tracking scents that can sniff out bombs and drugs, pursue suspects, and find dead bodies. As per research, dogs have also been deployed to sniff COVID-19.

So, how does a dog’s sense of smell relate to ghosts? As per myths, ghosts have their earthy scents, which dogs may detect.

2. Sensation of Hearing

Dogs have four times more power of discerning sounds than humans.

Humans can hear sounds up to 20 kHz, whereas a dog has a whopping 60 to 65 kHz maximum audible frequency. In addition, they have 15 muscles in their ears that can detect sounds from all directions. That is why dogs are alert all the time.

Though we may not be able to attend to ghost presence or their movements, dogs supposedly can hear the sounds produced by ghosts. This means if Casper the Friendly Ghost is talking in high-pitch sounds, your dog might hear him or talk to him.

3. Dogs Can Detect Negative Energy

Science considers ghosts as negative energy, and dogs are considered to have a good sense of detecting negative energies.

Sensing Environmental Changes

Dogs have a mysterious nature, and their abilities can sometimes shock humans. According to the research, dogs started to exhibit abnormal behavior such as not going outdoors or running towards heights some days before the tsunami in Sri Lanka hit the coastal areas.

Another research showed that 24 hours prior to the Japanese KOBE earthquake, dogs were barking loudly, hiding, and being restless and panicked.

Dogs are sensitive to certain subtle energies around them as they scan their environment. Such behavior suggests that dogs will be the first to detect it if there is something negative in the air.

Sensing Magnetic Fields

Vlastimil Hart and his research fellows found out that dog sense changes in the earth’s magnetic field and arrange themselves north-south while eliminating.

If myths are anything to go by, ghosts have some relevance with magnetic fields. You might have seen horror scenes in which light bulbs start to flicker when there is some foreign entity. While that might be the progeny of someone’s creative thinking, but according to ghost hunter Jason Rich, he uses magnetic field detectors to “hunt” ghosts.

This is another clue. Since dogs can sense magnetic fields, they’d be able to discern ghosts too.

Dogs are also said to have a sixth sense, which means a “gut” feeling that something is not right or something is going to happen.

Other than this, dogs can sense our behaviors thanks to their unique set of senses; they can easily detect if their owners are angry, worried, or depressed.

Can Dogs See Ghosts?

It can be assumed that dogs can see ghosts, based on the fact that dogs can sense negative energies, environmental changes, a wide range of smells, and magnetic fields. Provided that ghosts are real, and can alter magnetic fields, make high-frequency sounds, or produce distinct smells.

Stories: Why Do People Think That Dogs Can See Ghosts?

Most owners say that they have seen their dogs howling at the moon; silently staring into empty spaces, darkness, trees, etc.; getting vocal without any triggering factors nearby; or, running out of the room, jumping, scratching, or biting some phantom enemy.

Here we are quoting some ghost stories by dog owners in their own words.

Cindy Ferguson

“Naturally, I can’t tell you exactly what my dog saw, only what I think he saw. This happened on more than one occasions. We would let our black Lab x, Zeus, in at night, via the front door. He would usually make a bee-line for the kitchen, where he would sit in front of the fridge, awaiting his nightly ‘bone-sickle’ (fist-sized frozen raw bone).

Some nights, he would come to a screeching halt as he came to the kitchen doorway. He would sit there shivering; nothing could persuade him to step through the doorway. Maybe Zeus could actually see something that we could not. Whatever it was, it scared him silly.”

Nina Lon

“Then the whole bed started shaking and the dogs were barking and running around the bed. I was convinced it was an earthquake (even though in the UK, we have very few). The dogs came right to the top of the bed, just barking, his eyes fixed at the bottom right corner. I fussed with them and tried to reassure them that everything was okay. They were frozen to the spot they wouldn’t move. I’ve never seen my dog terrified, but I think they were.

Then there were three knocks on my brass bed post. My dog’s then started barking and wouldn’t stop. They stood on me, I think they were protecting me, I didn’t see anything but I felt it and could smell it.”

There are ample such stories available on different websites, including YouTube. And many more unknown ones.

Possible Reasons That Can Trigger Dog Barking

There’s a difference between a dog catching an abnormal vibration in the air and him finding a threat to his life.

There can be other reasons your dog is barking, whining, or just statically staring at something. Some of those reasons areSeparation Anxiety

  • Bad Memories With a Place
  • Past Mental Traumas or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)
  • Diseases, Infections, or Injuries
  • Tired or Stressed Out
  • Temperament Issues
  • Bored
  • Feeling Lonely And Depressed
  • Needs Attention

So, unless you are not sure that there are any other underlying issues, you can’t possibly blame it on ghosts.

10 Good Dogs in the Horror Movies

Having talked about dogs and ghosts, here are some horror movies in which dogs have appeared.  

  • Lester from Halloween
  • Stanley from It Comes at Night
  • Harry from The Amityville Horror
  • Kennel Pups from The Thing
  • Barney from Gremlins
  • Sugar from Crawl
  • Beauty and Beast from The Hills Have Eyes
  • Chips from Dawn of the Dead
  • Buzz from Poltergeist
  • Sam from I Am Legend

So, can dogs see ghosts? Only dogs can tell us the exact answer. All we can do is connect the dots and make assumptions.

There’s a time when your dog barks at something untraceable or when it tries to seek something for him to hide. Whatever the case is, you should always be alarmed if a dog barks unusually. It may be another kind of danger that’d be lurking around!

But whatever it is, your dog will always protect you. That’s why we love dogs, right? They love and take care of us unconditionally.

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