On Friday, June 6, Scott McLean, a reporter for CTV News Calgary, interviewed me about my research with my dog Glimmer in the field of ghost detection. A demonstration of Glimmer’s ongoing work was provided at Calgary’s own Cat & Fiddle Pub, in the city’s northwest. Originally, the building was a funeral home; in 1992, it was converted into a pub – the Cat & Fiddle. Over the years, many have reported a variety of strange phenomena; since part of the research being done with Glimmer included whether or not she can detect energies we humans might not see or hear, she was invited into the pub to see if she could “sniff out” the ghosts that are said to reside there. To view the news segment, just click this link. A new window or tab should open for you.
The drive to the location was uneventful. Glimmer was calm and relaxed. Occasionally, she sat up to look outside, but mostly, she just laid down and dozed. We arrived at the pub about half an hour earlier than the news crew so that Glimmer could be walked before going to work. The walk helps drain out excess energy, which makes it easier for the dog to focus on what’s being asked of her.
The moment Glimmer laid eyes on the building, she became agitated and extremely nervous, dropping her tail until it was almost right between her legs, shaking like a leaf in a wind storm, and pulling hard at her leash to get away. This was not at all characteristic of her. There was construction taking place directly across the street, but as I moved forward with her, guiding her away from the building and up the street, Glimmer began to calm, showing that the construction noise was not the cause of her sudden nervousness. The further up the street we went, the more her behavior returned to normal. The sound of construction was still present, but she did not react to it.
As the pub came into sight on the walk back, Glimmer began to show anxiety and extreme nervousness again. She began straining at her leash, trying to get away. She began to shake again, and her tail dropped down to almost between her legs again. Scott and his crew had not yet arrived, so I took the opportunity to help Glimmer deal with her reactions by attempting to bring her closer to the doors so she could smell everything and become more comfortable. However, she planted her feet and refused to approach the doors. It took several minutes – and the arrival of Scott and his crew – to calm her to a point where her natural curiosity could override her fear and she could greet the news team.
Glimmer was unnaturally resistant to entering the building. She just did not want to be there. Once inside, her agitation and high anxiety became even worse, and she began panting heavily and shaking so hard she could hardly sit still. Scott noticed her behavior and asked me if it was normal for her to be shaking like that. I told him that some of her anxiety was caused by being in a completely new environment and having so much equipment around her, but the severity of her reaction was not normal.
While the news team got set up and prepared to interview Todd, the pub’s long-time manager, in an effort to help her calm down, I took the opportunity to walk Glimmer around the entire main floor, including in the washrooms. She remained on-lead the entire time, and she was given ample opportunity to explore each area thoroughly. She was still extremely nervous and anxious, but as we slowly covered each area, she did seem to start calming down enough to give more focus to what she was being asked to do. By the time the team was ready for us, although she was still very nervous and agitated, the level of intensity had decreased enough that her natural curiosity was finally starting to show. She even approached the camera at one point, and gave Kevin, the camera operator, a kiss.
When our part of the interview began, Glimmer was still very nervous, but she did a phenomenal job of doing as she was asked to do. She did, however, stop at one point and look upwards at something none of us could see. Almost immediately afterwards, I felt a cold touch – like an ice pack – cover my entire back. Glimmer responded to that, as well: She began to shake and pant heavily again, and pull at the leash to get away. Unfortunately, this was not shown on the segment.
Due to the many reports of activity in the basement area – which contains the embalming room as well as the cold-storage fridges once used for bodies – after finishing the work on the main floor, we headed for the basement. Glimmer halted and pulled back at the top of the stairs, refusing to budge. The staircase is quite narrow; Kevin was near the bottom, aiming the camera up at us… but Glimmer had adjusted to the presence of the camera. There was no visible cause that I could see to explain her sudden resistance.
When we finally did get down to the basement, Glimmer became extremely agitated, pulling hard on her leash and trying to get back up the stairs. She did not like the area at all. She jumped more than once, as if responding to something touching her, and she had difficulty focusing on doing her job. All she wanted was to get away. This became especially apparent when we entered what used to be the embalming room.
Due to her highly unusual reactions and behavior, we spent a significant amount of time in the basement so she could realize that she was safe, and she could do her job. In all, there were two rooms she either refused to enter, or she fought to get out of – both of them rife with stories of apparitions and unexplained voices.
After completing the work and returning to the main floor, Scott spoke with me for a few minutes. Glimmer stayed close beside me, shaking and panting heavily. She was extremely stressed. When he asked me about it, I told Scott that there was “something” going on in the building, and that she was reacting to it. I said I didn’t know what, exactly, was happening, but Glimmer was most definitely reacting to it. I told him she did not like being there at all – which she clearly didn’t – and that all she wanted was to get out of there.
When it was time for us to leave, Glimmer pulled hard at her leash trying to bolt for the open door. Within about a minute of being outside, she showed visible signs of beginning to calm down. When I moved her to the larger parking area a mere 20 or so feet away from the building, her shaking eased considerably, her tail came back up, and the heavy panting began to calm. Within about five minutes, she was almost her normal self again, showing curiosity about her immediate environment, and even greeting Scott and his intern, Diana. She did not try to approach Kevin, the camera operator; he was moving large equipment around in the back of the news van and it made her nervous. But, on the whole, Glimmer was rapidly returning to her normal state.
The news team did not see Glimmer’s reactions as indicators that there were unseen energies moving around the pub, but that is understandable, as they don’t know her normal behavior. From my perspective, Glimmer’s unusual behavior and reactions were very clear evidence that she is sensitive and that she can detect those types of energies. Whether or not she can be trained to provide a specific response to them remains to be seen, but the results of this first major test in a location known to be haunted are very encouraging, and I look forward to continuing this research with her.
At this time, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Scott McLean, his intern Diana, and Kevin, the camera operator, for their interest in our work, and for their patience with Glimmer. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to Todd, the manager, for his kindness and patience with the entire process, and for his invitation to the Wolf Paranormal team to conduct a full and proper investigation of the pub. We do look forward to that so much!