Thursday, 27 August 2015

Why aren't there more animal ghosts?

Night foxI sometimes wonder why there aren't many more animal ghosts. While they certainly exist, I've only come across a tiny number of animal ghost cases. By contrast, I've looked at a huge number of cases involving the ghosts of humans.

Some people may not find the disparity surprising, but here's why I do. As an amateur naturalist, I observe wild animals whenever I can. One thing I've noticed about them is their distinctly ghost-like ability to appear and disappear, often right in front of me. And it's not just me, other naturalists report the same thing.

The following scenario is not unusual among birders. A bird may be in plain sight until it flies into an isolated bush. I then look at the bush with binoculars trying to find the bird. But after some time it becomes obvious that the bird is not in the bush at all. A closer examination confirms this. The bird has vanished! In reality, what has probably happened is that the bird did not stop in the bush for long at all but flew out from the other side, unnoticed by me. So while I was patiently examining the bush leaf by leaf with binoculars the bird was already in the next field!

Another typical experience is animals just appearing out of nowhere. I might be quite deliberately examining a well-lit night scene, a street for instance, looking for foxes. Then, suddenly, a fox will appear right n the middle of the scene. How could it have appeared, as if from nowhere, when I should have plainly seen its approach? The solution to this puzzle is the opposite of the bird one above. With the bird in the bush I was concentrating on where I 'knew' the bird to be, so not noticing its escape. With the fox, I did not know it was present and so was scanning the scene generally while missing its rapid approach.

There are countless other examples of animals, observed by highly experienced naturalists, just disappearing or appearing in the spookiest manner. I am not suggesting that the way these animals appear or disappear is paranormal, which is why I included explanations for the examples. But there must be times when this sort of thing happens to someone who is not as experienced with the ways of wild animals who may well think that it IS paranormal. So why aren't there more reports of vanishing animals?

And that is why I'm surprised there aren't more reports of ghost animals. It's possible that the seemingly spooky antics of animals are only noticed by those who watch them a lot, like naturalists. And they know there is nothing ghostly going on.

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing ideas. The lack of reports to a paranormal investigative group may reflect the experience of such encounters, which the experient may not feel appropriate to report. From what I've found, most experiences tend to be particularly personal, relating to the passing of one's own pet, for example. Raymond Bayless wrote a well known book back in the 1970s, Animal Ghosts. I've been interested in the question myself and wrote an article on it some years ago: