Britain’s 5 Strangest Animal Ghosts

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Humans are not the only spirits that haunt the Spooky Isles. RICK HALE tells us about animal ghosts that will give you the shivers

A phantom bear at the Tower of London is one of many animal ghosts believed to haunt Great Britain.
A phantom bear at the Tower of London is one of many animal ghosts believed to haunt Great Britain.

British Animal Ghosts

A number of years ago I was forced to make one of the hardest decisions of life.

Our beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Zero, attacked our one-year-old son and I had to make the unenviable decision to put her down.

In case you were wondering, yes we tried to find a home for her and we tried giving her over to a shelter. But nothing panned out, as she was a senior dog and she bit a child.

I have to be honest, I had never cried so much in my life. It was so bad, I was dry heaving tears.

But then something odd happened. For about two weeks after putting her down, as I lay in bed, I felt Zero jump into bed with me as she often did when I slept during the day.

My wife, who is ever the skeptic, said it was nothing more than a mixture of grief and guilt. She may have been right, nevertheless, to this day, I still wonder if Zero was trying to tell me it was OK.

Now, the religions of the world would tell us that animals, our fine furry friends or otherwise, were created without a soul.

Well, I would firmly disagree, because when you look in an animal’s eyes you most definitely see that mystical spark of life.

And despite what religion tells us, people have been seeing the ghosts of animals for centuries. Especially in Britain. Here are five examples of animals returning from the dead to either give comfort. Or scare the hell out of you.

The Phantom Bear

For almost a thousand years, The Tower of London has been a place of untold misery and bloodshed.

For centuries, the tower served as a prison and a place where countless people were executed. Their heads lopped off on the executioner’s block.

So, of course, it should come as no surprise that this dreaded, but much loved tourist attraction is home to a number of ghostly inhabitants sure to chill the blood of even the most courageous ghost hunter.

But not all these ghosts are human. No, I’m not suggesting the Tower is crawling with inhuman, demonic entities. No, this ghost is something else entirely.

On a cool night in 1816, a young guard was on duty guarding the Tower when his eyes fell upon a horrific sight.

The image of a huge brown bear suddenly appeared from under the crown jewels door and lunged at the guard.

The soldier lifted his bayonet to defend himself against the ferocious beast but was shocked when his weapon passed straight through the bear and stuck in the door behind it. The young guard fainted dead away.

When he was discovered sprawled out on the floor he was immediately brought before his commanding officer for falling asleep on duty. A penalty for such an infraction was not a light one.

The guard of course maintained his innocence and adamantly declared that he was defending himself against an attack from a bear.

A doctor was brought in because of a suspicion the guard didn’t fall asleep but passed out drunk.

After a thorough examination, the doctor said the guard showed no signs of drunkenness. And he more than likely was telling the truth.

Although the guard was cleared of all charges, he was never quite the same.

He showed constant signs of stress and anxiety. Two conditions that eventually claimed his life.

As far as anyone knows, the ghostly beast never made another appearance. 

The Raven

Ravens have long been a part of folklore in ancient cultures.

Among many Native American tribes, the raven is considered either a trickster, causing all kinds of mystical pranks.

Or, it is also believed to carry the souls of the dead to the after life. In Britain, one ancient castle is home to a phantom raven.

Holt Castle near Wrexham was once considered to be one of the strongest fortifications in England.

Today it sits in silent, monolithic ruin. However this ancient fortress does have a curious ghost, a raven. 

According to visitors who dare to walk the fortification report being attacked by a ghostly raven that appears out of thin air.

This particular animal phantom appears to hate light and will fly down and attack the bearer of a torch.

It then swoops away and disappears into the shadows, never to be seen again.

Greyfriars Bobby

A statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a beloved dog whose spirit is said to haunt the Edinburgh cemetery.
A statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a beloved dog whose spirit is said to haunt the Edinburgh cemetery.

Greyfriars Kirkyard in fabulous Edinburgh, Scotland, has been the cause of much spirited sensation over the last couple decades.

According to many who dare to walk through its gothic gates take their own safety in their hands.

A dangerous ghost, believed to be the wraith of George MacKenzie is said to physically attack anyone brave enough to tour this former prison and place of execution. 

But Bluidy MacKenzie isn’t the only ghost said to haunt Greyfriars. A much more friendly, four-legged ghost has been experienced here and he is affectionately known as, Greyfriars Bobby.

In life, Bobby was a loyal pet and when his owner passed from this world, Bobby faithfully guarded his owner’s grave eventually dying one night as he slept.

But he remained faithful even after death. The ghostly form of a dog has been seen watching over the grave of his master who died before him.

A barking dog has been heard coming from the Graveyard as well as people seeing the wispy image of a dog running around Greyfriars.

The Ferocious Lion

Crisis apparitions are some of the most commonly reported phenomena in psychical research. And this doesn’t just happen with humans. Animals can appear during a crisis as well.

Regent’s Park in London is famed for its lovely gardens as well as its zoo. And it was at this zoo where our next animal ghost put quite a scare into a patron. 

In the 1930s, an elderly man was spending a lovely day with his granddaughter at the zoo when the pair ran headlong into a lion.

But it was complete unlike any Lion the man had ever seen. The big cat was transparent and giving off an unearthly glow.

The man who saw the Lion just so happened to be a zookeeper and learned the very next day a Lion had unexpectedly died. The same lion he and his granddaughter had seen the day before.

The Distraught Hare

Our fifth and final animal comes from the town of Looe, off the coast of Cornwall. A ghostly animal borne of tragedy and horrific decisions.

As the story goes, a young woman committed the desperate act of suicide after being spurned by the love her life, a sailor.

Following the discovery of her broken body, the ghost of a white hare was seen jumping around the countryside. 

She is also seen in the town warning sailors who had a little too much to drink to be wise and stay away from the water lest they stumble and drown in the briny depths of the ocean.

Some see the ghostly white hare as a warning against foolish behaviour.  While others regard her as a harbinger of doom.

Animals we love them, bring them into our homes and make them an integral part of our family.

Or, we admire their beauty from afar, especially those far too dangerous to approach.

Either way, there is far more to them. We just have to see it for ourselves.

Have you seen an animal ghost? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

You can buy Rick Hale ghost books from Amazon.

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Rick Hale
Rick Hale, is a native of Chicago, Illinois and first became interested in the paranormal after having a positive interaction with an apparition at a young age. Rick is the author of The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghosts and Demons. Behold! Shocking True Tales of Terror...and Some Other Spooky Stuff. And Bullets, Booze and Babes: The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois. Rick is the co-host of The Shadow Initiative Paranormal Talk. Rick was featured in the documentary Ghost Tapes 2. Rick is a featured writer for Spooky Isles and Rick has also been published by Haunted Times, Paranormal Underground, The Supernatural Magazine and Legends Magazine.


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