It’s another Halloween special of barks from beyond and howls from the other side. I’ve got some real scary doggie hauntings here, as well as gentle and courageous spirits.  Just like last year, get ready to be scared by things that go woof in the night. 

Sheba, Ghost Dog of the Bahamas

Ask any German Shepherd owner and they will swear on their mother’s grave about the undying sense of loyalty and emotional bond these dogs have with their owners.  In this story, this bond extends from another world into ours, even to this day.

During an intense hurricane in the Bahamas, late 1800s, a sailing ship was traveling from Cuba to Bermuda. Among the passengers was a family with two daughters and a German Shepherd named Sheba. During the trip, a strong hurricane struck the ship so powerful that the hull split sending the two sisters and Sheba into the sea.  The two sisters did all they could to hang onto Sheba, but powerful waves tore them apart.  Sheba found one of the girls and pulled her to a nearby shore.  Then the dog heard a faint cry.  It was the other sister calling out for help.  Although Sheba was exhausted, she swam out sea to rescue the other girl. They never made it to shore.

There are two other sightings of Sheba in the Bahamas worth mentioning.  

A nine year old girl accidentally fell from her parent’s sailboat when she was not wearing a life jacket.  She was a poor swimmer and struggled to keep above water, but she started loosing that struggle.  Suddenly something grabbed her t-shirt and pulled her upward.  It was a German Shepherd dog.  Once safe on shore, the dog barked several times, turned, and vanished. 

In a separate incident, a twelve year old girl was snorkeling around a coral reef and saw a shadow move across the sand below her.  When she looked up she saw a German Shepherd swimming in the open water towards her.  Curious, she climbed a nearby rock to get a better look.  When the girl called to the dog, the dog stopped, barked several times, and vanished under water. 

Even today, before hurricanes hit the Bahamas, people have reported seeing a German Shepherd swim out to sea, then vanish.

The Hell Hounds of Eldorado Canyon

During the mining days of the early 1900’s, many prospectors kept chained dogs at their claim sites to protect their property.  The dogs were trained to attack viciously at trespassers.  When there was no gold left, the miners left the dogs chained to the sites to die.  Through the years there have been numerous sightings of these spectral hounds by visitors and campers.

One report was from two men that decided to camp near one of these abandoned mines.  At the mine shaft they noticed and ancient, weathered chain embedded in a rock wall.  The rock was covered with scratch marks and suspicious dark stains.  Nearby were old bones thought to belong to a large dog.  When the sun set, the atmosphere around the mine became thick and uncomfortable.   Before long, they heard the sounds of dogs panting in close proximity, followed by low, hateful growls; the sound of paws circling the campsite, and scratching noises coming from the shaft where the chain was lying. Suddenly the chain began to move towards the men and as soon as it was extended, it hovered above the ground and then dropped.  At that very moment, an unseen force knocked down one of the men.  Frightened, the two men ran for their car and hightailed it out at breakneck speed.   As they drove as fast as they could out of the canyon, they could hear wild panting and canine foot steps that kept pace with them for several miles.

Residents and visitors still report incidents of vicious spectral dogs wandering the canyon mines looking for revenge on the men that cruelly abandoned them.

 Rex, the Ghost Dog of Sunnybank

Albert Payson Terhune is the famous author of Lad: a Dog, adventures of his collie dog, Lad, and over 30 other dog stories.  He was also a breeder of collies at his Sunnybank Kennels in New Jersey.  A line of collies which still exist in today.

He loved animals and had many who shared his home in Sunnybank, Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. While he favored collies, he had a large collie-bull terrier mix named Rex, who adored him and was very loyal. Rex would lay by Terhune’s feet when he had guests and when he wrote.

In 1916, Rex and Lad got into a fierce fight. Terhune was unable to stop Rex from attacking Lad, and when Rex turned on Terhune and attacked him, he was forced to defend himself with a knife and Rex was mortally wounded.   Rex died from his wounds but Lad recovered. 

A year after Rex died, during a visit from one of Terhune’s friends, the visitor commented how much Rex loved Terhune as he was watching Rex rest at the author’s feet, looking up at him with canine devotion.  The author was shocked and explained that Rex had died the year before.  But his friend did not know about Rex’s passing and it was his turn to be shocked.   When he commented on Rex’s devotion, he was looking straight at Rex.

Some weeks after that, during a dinner party at the author’s house, one of the guests commented on a collie mix that was staring at them from the outside through a French window.  Terhune knew the guest had seen Rex, but he denied knowing about any such dog.  

Terhune really did believe that Rex haunted his home and that the rest of his collies sensed his presence.  None of the dogs ever went near Rex’s special place, a rug in Terhune’s study, and they all continued to avoid it year after year. 

The Dogs of Ballechin House

Ballechin House is one of Scotland’s most famous haunted house.  It was built in 1806 and had been owned by the Stuart Family for over three centuries. In 1806 Robert Stuart was born in the new house.

In 1825, at the age of 19, he went to India to seek his fortune with the East India Company and returned to Ballechin house in 1850.   He was deeply religious but after 25 years of service in India he added various beliefs to his convictions including the idea of transmigration of the soul. He vowed that when he died he would return to Ballechin in the body of his favorite black spaniel. He scorned the company of humans, preferring dogs, and he had 14 of them in the house.  Stuart died in 1874 and quickly after that, his nephew, John Stuart, took over Ballechin House and promptly shot all the dogs starting with John Stuart’s favorite black spaniel in an attempt to forestall Robert Stuart’s intention of being reincarnated.

Shortly after killing all the dogs, the house was plagued with intense paranormal activity.

The first sign of a haunting occurred shortly after Robert Stuart’s death. John Stuart’s wife, having just moved into Ballechin, was busy in the study one day when she noticed a strong smell of dogs in the room.  When opening the window to get rids of the smell, she felt a nudge on her leg. Looking down she could see no animal but she described it as an invisible dog had rubbed itself against her.

There were reports of unseen dogs brushing up against people and the sounds of their tails slapping objects.  A woman staying at the house was awakened and saw two detached dog paws on a bedside table. On another occasion someone heard the sound of what seemed to be a dog banging on their bedroom door.  Robert Stuart’s black cocker spaniel was witnessed several times walking around the house and interacting with people and objects.

Other paranormal incidents were reported, such as angry voices, visions of monks and nuns, screaming, limping footsteps, knocking, thumping, apparitions of a weeping woman, and dogs running and barking through the house.  The hauntings escalated until finally in 1932, the house was totally uninhabitable.  It remained empty until 1963 when it was finally demolished.

John Stuart’s act of violence against his uncle’s dogs and favorite cocker spaniel apparently opened some sort of gateway to another world in which the Stuart family and their descendants would become victims of Robert Stuart’s vengeance.

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