But ghosts aren't always humans. In fact, some people believe that our pets (or other peoples' pets) can come back to haunt us. But if ghosts are real, is it possible that animals could be ghosts? The evidence is definitely spooky!
Stories of ghost pets are everywhere
While Christopher Knight (of Brady Bunch fame) and his family were on a trip, he recalls seeing a girl and two hunting dogs in the middle of the night. As anyone would, he assumed that the dogs and girl lived at the house. But the next morning, he was told that there was no girl with dogs around. And his only conclusion? Ghost dogs!
At the Holly in Michigan, a ghost of the rat terrier named Leona haunts the grounds. She wanders up and down the halls and barks. And in Hanging Hills, Connecticut, the ghost known as the Black Dog is a death omen that people try to avoid.
And Reddit is FULL of stories of people who swear they've seen the spirits of pets past. One Anonymous Reddit user explained, "When I was little, we had a cat named Guedo. He was blind and deaf and we loved each other to pieces, in a way that only an old cat and little girl could. He used to sleep on the edge of the bed while I was napping to make sure I wouldn't roll off and was very protective of me. After he passed, I would still see him in his usual spots. My mom also reported more than once that she saw him sleeping next to me, and when she put her hand on the bed where she had seen him, it was warm."
However, even with all this evidence, some people argue that animals can't become ghosts because they don't have souls. Traditionally, people thought of ghosts as "souls" who have failed to pass on. And since in biblical terms, the soul refers only to humans, so animals are excluded. But too many of these sightings and instances of animals appearing to people have changed the narrative a bit.
Paranormal experts say our pets can (and often do) become ghosts
Theresa Argie, aka The Haunted Housewife, argues that because animals have emotions, especially love, then they can absolutely have souls. Plus, love and loss are some of the most popular reasons that she sees for different hauntings, so she argues that of course animals could cling to the mortal world after death.
Theresa's biggest question is why. She explained, "It seems some animals do live on in spirit form after death. Is it their choice or our need that keeps them in our earthly realm? That question will remain a mystery."
Dale Kaczmarek of the Ghost Research Society approaches the issue in a different way. He sees a trend that human ghosts tend to be the result of violent, tragic, or sudden deaths. However, dogs don't necessarily have that.
Instead, Dale thinks that "the great love of an animal or the constant grieving of the loss of your pet will sometimes have the same effect as a sudden, violent or tragic death; it [can] will your animal to return for a short time."
Could your pet one day become a ghost?
If your bonds are so strong that you can't be without each other, then maybe! But at least if they do come back to visit, ghost poop is MUCH easier to pick up.