Canine Ghost Detection: The Variables

Looking at the photos from recent field tests, it occurred to me that it may appear to some that all I’m doing is taking the dog on a walk through a cemetery.  With that in mind, it seems timely to explain a little more thoroughly what, exactly, happens when I take her out. I hope you’ll bear with me; this might be a bit long.

The Variables

Along with the date and time, when we arrive at a location, I also note ambient air temperature, wind direction and speed, general weather conditions, and variables such as the presence or absence of atmospheric phenomena (e.g. “sun dogs”, rainbows, etc.).  The dog’s familiarity with the area is also a variable, as she responds differently to known and unknown locations.  For example, familiar areas are less likely to trigger a high state of excitement, which in turn makes it easier for any unseen entities to get her attention.

Another variable that is taken into consideration is the potential for the appearance of wildlife.  While Glimmer has not yet shown any tendency to try and chase other animals she sees, their presence does affect her.  Also, she is only 7 months old; there is much about the world and the life in it that she has not yet experienced, and that lack of experience is, in and of itself, also a variable.  Determining what she is responding to when she displays an uncharacteristic behavior is a huge challenge.  Just because I may not see a rabbit or a coyote, that doesn’t mean she isn’t smelling them or seeing them herself.

So, while it may seem like I’m just taking my dog for a walk in a cemetery, or at some other, reportedly haunted location, I’m actually observing, noting, and trying to sort through a lot of different variables.

Headstone Attractions

When the dog appears to be drawn to a specific headstone, the first variable I look for is man-made debris on the ground.  Because she is still at an age where she thinks everything on the ground is edible,  the second she puts her nose down and starts sniffing, I have to check to make sure she isn’t trying to eat or get at something she shouldn’t.  If I find nothing on the ground, I start going through a checklist of other potential variables:  Maybe she’s smelling another animal.  Maybe she’s looking for a place to do her business.  Maybe she’s caught the scent of food that was there before but has been removed.  Maybe she’s smelling water running through a line underground.  Or maybe she’s actually sensing the spirit of the person buried there.  If it seems she’s actually sensing a spirit, I watch her response very closely – and then, I run through yet another checklist of possible variables.  For example, when she sits and stares at a particular headstone, I have to examine whether or not that headstone is reflective.  If it is, it automatically becomes a variable.

Only after all possible variables have been taken into account and discarded can I say with some certainty that the dog does have the ability to sense the presence of ghosts/spirits, and that she does have a specific behavioral response.

Finding Control

In order to explore this area of study more fully, an indoor environment reported to be haunted would be ideal.  With the exception of familiarity, almost all of the other current variables would be removed, thus allowing for better, more accurate testing.  However, since this type of environment is not currently available, outdoor field testing will continue.

In Conclusion…

I hope this post facilitates a better understanding of what I’m trying to achieve with my dog.  I also hope it helps readers view the photos – and, when the time comes, the videos – that accompany field-test results with a different perspective.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I wish everyone a great day and a great weekend ahead.

One thought on “Canine Ghost Detection: The Variables

  1. Hmmm, good point about maybe Glimmer senses other animals. I suppose it is how extreme her reaction is. If she just stops short and then starts to some trepidation then maybe that is worth investigating. But at this age her mind is completely open so she would very sensitive to everything in the cemetery. You’ll have to be the one to figure out what is a genuine presence and what is merely coyote piss… Great article.

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