Last night, accompanied by my daughter, I took my dog out for her second field test. The weather was quite nice, with virtually no breeze and a temperature ranging between 4C and 6C. I brought my voice recorder and my digital camera to better document the session.
We arrived at the cemetery at 8:50pm and headed for the far north end of the grounds, where the cemetery ends and open field begins. Although vehicle traffic on the highway can still be heard, it is quieter and less intrusive. The chances of running into other humans is also much less likely. Our only concern about that end of the grounds is coyotes, and last night, they were not present. Audio recording began at 9:05pm. By 9:07pm, after making sure I had all my gear ready to go, we were out in the field. I carried my digital camera and managed the dog; my daughter carried the voice recorder and my small equipment bag, and the dog had her back-pack on. Keys, wallet, clean-up bags, and a few other necessary items were in it.
The dog spent several minutes scenting the ground, moving in a south-southeast direction. While she investigated the ground, I extended a vocal invitation to whomever may be wandering around the cemetery to come and meet my dog. I explained that I was testing her to see if she could detect the presence of spirits or ghosts, and that she would not harm anyone.
The first incident occurred only a few minutes after testing began. The dog appeared to be very interested in one particular headstone in the Chinese section of the cemetery, and began pulling at the leash to get to it. I thought she was interested in the flowers sitting in one of the large urns on the outside of the headstone, but she only gave them a cursory sniff and then moved away from them. She was directly in front of headstone, sniffing intently at the ground and pawing at it. I examined the area she was pawing at – she is still at the age where she thinks everything is edible, including things on the ground – but found nothing to explain her behavior. Relaxing her leash while keeping a firm grip on it, I observed and waited to see what she would do next. Suddenly, she jumped, and then whipped her head around to the south. The reaction was similar to that of someone being taken by surprise by someone coming up behind them and either touching them or speaking to them. I could not explain this reaction; the temperature had already begun to drop to the point where we could almost see our breath. It was too cold for insects to be out.
The dog continued to examine various areas of the grounds, including flowers and other items placed beside or in front of various headstones. The second incident occurred a few minutes later, when she suddenly stopped at a large headstone and just stared at it. I tried to keep her moving, but she wanted to be near the second headstone. I observed that there were flowers and other items placed on the ground, and I thought that was what she was interested in. She did examine them, but she was not interested in trying to eat or play with them. Instead, she tried to paw at the ground beneath one of the items. I called her away from the headstone so she wouldn’t damage anything, and she went into a sit position and just stared at the headstone.
We decided to close the session in that section of the grounds and head back to the car. While the dog was investigating the second headstone, we heard barking in the distance. It was continuous, and not the bark of coyotes; another dog was somewhere on the grounds. Not wanting to risk a confrontation, we decided to leave the area and go to the southwest area of the grounds, where my daughter’s friend is buried. At 9:40pm, we began the second portion of our field testing.
We were near the main office building. The traffic was much louder as a result of our proximity to the highway, and large spotlights lit up the area. The dog was very excited and pulled hard at her leash, moving south. Again, I extended a vocal invitation to any spirits or ghosts that may have been wandering around to come and meet the dog and interact with her. My daughter wanted to remain at her friend’s grave site. The dog became very interested in another headstone and pulled hard at her leash to get to it. Unlike she had done the first two times, she rubbed up against the headstone the way she rubs against my legs when she’s seeking reassurance. There were no flowers or other items beside or in front of the headstone.
At no time during this field test did the dog use sound as a response to anything. Even during the first part of the testing, when we heard a dog barking in the distance, she did not respond with sound. Instead, she went into a position of alertness: her stance was slightly forward, her ears were up and facing forward, and her tail position ranged from straight up to straight out. Throughout the entire duration of this field test, I observed that her stance (alert, relaxed, unsure, etc.) and position (standing or sitting) seemed to coincide with what she was smelling, seeing, and/or hearing. This is important to note, as one or more of these responses may occur if she should have an encounter with a ghost or spirit.
Further testing will be conducted in the coming week, weather permitting.