Because horror stories aren’t necessarily fiction, especially when they involve animals.

Sometimes, people say that our pets are more attuned to nature; their natural instincts help them sense when a natural disaster is about to happen. Earthquakes, storms, volcanic activity, you name it. Can this instinct of theirs also help them be more attuned to the supernatural? Maybe. Who started this correlation?

There’s no clear-cut answer (the witch hunts in the 1400s may have something to do with this, actually), but that doesn’t stop people from thinking about it: Is this true? Can my pet actually sense the paranormal?

It’s time to play Ancient Aliens – but with ghosts.

After compiling some entries from online articles and websites like the r/nosleep subreddit, as well as some accounts from people in real life who’ve been privy to the paranormal, this list of stories was made. Are they real or not? Who knows?

I’m not saying it’s a ghost, but…

Has your pet ever randomly started barking? Usually you find out it’s because there’s a stray animal outside your home or just a shadow of someone passing by. But has it ever happened for no reason and there were neither stray animals nor humans around?

One account told by a friend, Angela, talks about just that kind of experience.

“Me and my dogs are just in a room together, they’re resting, when suddenly they get up and glare at a corner in the room and start barking like mad,” says a friend when asked about odd behavior in pets. “My whole body [freezes] and gets chills. [We’re] in the room for hours and suddenly they start barking. It’s the type of barking that means they’re trying to scare someone [away] or get someone to leave.”

Is there actually something inside the room or are the dogs just barking for no reason? She says she never gets to find out and doesn’t want to bother. “It isn’t ever in the same room. It’s either in the living room or my bedroom. And, well, I’m not having that, doggies. Bye.”

Witching hour

This is a story found on the subreddit /nosleep on the Reddit website. (It’s a forum that hosts an array of horror stories that are too believable to be unbelievable.) It’s about one person’s dog having a strange nocturnal habit.

“We have a dog[…]. We spoil him a lot, too. He used to sleep outside, but after a few days of rainy nights in August, we allowed him to sleep inside. Additionally, he barks at practically everything that passes in front of our house at night, so to shut him up, we kept him in.” starts Reddit user OldRockingChair in their post.

It isn’t too odd to want to keep a pet indoors during rough weather. OldRockingChair went on to explain that they would keep their dog tied so he wouldn’t knock over things or eat random objects in the room. But after a while, he would start whining and would wake the household. The poster thought he just didn’t like being alone so they eventually relented and kept him upstairs with them. It stopped the whining but it started something else.

“Quite literally every night at 3AM, our dog gets up and does an inspection of all the rooms. Not before 3AM, and not after.” This became a concern then. Why at 3AM? What was the dog doing?“But at 3AM, like clockwork, he wakes up. When we do let him down [from the bed], he goes from room to room, then sleeps in the doorway of my parents’ room. It’s happened every night that we could observe him. […] I don’t know what happens in our house at 3AM, but several times, when we do ‘catch him in the act’, he looks at the doorway of the room (whoever owns the room he happens to be in would wonder what the hell he’s doing), then stares at the person looking at him, then at the doorway again.”

It is said that 3AM is the so-called witching hour. He’s probably just being a good guard dog for his owners.

Dear David

In early August last year, American writer and illustrator Adam Ellis started posting on his Twitter profile (@moby_dickhead) about a ghost haunting his apartment. The ghost, a young boy by the name of David, had been communicating with Ellis through different means – at one point, even actually speaking. Ellis and his #DearDavid reports were all over Twitter and the every corner of social media.

Ellis has two pet cats; he sometimes took photos and videos of his cats reacting to whatever it was David had been doing.

It all started on the night of August 7 when Ellis took a photo of his two cats by his front door and posted it on Twitter with this caption: “For the past 4 nights, my cats gather at the front door at exactly midnight & just stare at it, almost like something is on the other side.”

What made it really interesting? Ellis hadn’t actually been able to acknowledge the presence of “Dear David” until after this moment with his pets. It was only a few days later, after a series of more spooky events, that Ellis found out about David.

On the 26th, Ellis’ cats developed a new habit. “They began a new routine: hover around the door at 10 pm, cry for about 15 minutes, then wander off as if nothing’s wrong.” And this was before Ellis got the freaky phone calls from David.

Maybe his cats were alerting him to David’s arrival. Nobody said ghosts had to be impolite and not use the front door.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s November 2018 issue.