From Casper to Bloody Mary, the ghosts of man seem to get all the Halloween glory. But what about man’s best friend? If you believe that the spirits of our canine companions can linger on this Earth, check out these five Halloween hounds said to haunt our world.
Now referred to as “Digger” because his real name is considered offensive, this black Labrador belonged to Wing Commander Guy Gibson of the British Royal Air Force and served as the mascot for the No. 617 Squadron. The squadron is famous for its nighttime raid on three dams in Germany, and its success was immortalized in the 1954 film “The Dambusters.”
However, on the night of the raid, Digger was hit by a car outside the base and killed. Worried it was a bad omen, Gibson ordered that the death be kept secret and that his dog be buried outside his office at midnight. The dog’s name was even used as a code word when Germany’s dams were breached during the famous mission.
Today, some people believe that Digger still haunts the area. In fact, a photograph taken during the 1980s launched an investigation into paranormal activity around the base.
The picture shows a black Labrador sitting beside a school group visiting the Dambusters memorial. The photographer claims the dog appeared just as the photo was about to be taken and refused to be shooed away. Once he snapped the picture, the dog disappeared and was never seen again.
Ghost hunters who have visited the base say they’re convinced that the spirit of Digger still lingers by his grave and his master’s memorial. They cite cold spots that measure roughly the size of a dog, as well as late-night growls witnesses have heard outside Gibson’s former office.
One of the oldest restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina, is haunted by a small pooch named Poogan. When the large Victorian house was converted into a restaurant in 1976, the owners left their dog behind, and Poogan, a neighborhood fixture, set up camp on the porch he’d always called home. The friendly pup greeted diners, and it was decided to name the restaurant Poogan’s Porch after its canine mascot.
When Poogan died in 1979, he was buried beside his porch, and today, employees often report seeing the dog napping in his favorite spot. Some diners even claim they've felt Poogan’s ghost brush against their legs as he searches for table scraps.
Black dog of the Hanging Hills
Local folklore says that this supernatural hound has been haunting the Hanging Hills of Connecticut near Hubbard Park for more than a century. The small black dog is described as friendly, but it’s said to make no sound and leave no footprints.
According to the legend, to see the black dog the first time results in joy while a second sighting results in misfortune. Seeing the dog a third time is said to be a death omen, and at least six deaths have been blamed on the dog.
One of the first accounts of the Hanging Hills dog was written by geologist W.H.C. Pynchon and appeared in Connecticut Quarterly in 1898. According to his story, he was conducting research on a cliff with fellow geologist Herbert Marshall in 1891 when they both saw the dog. Pynchon had seen the dog before, while Marshall had seen the dog twice before but didn’t believe in the legend. Shortly after encountering the pooch, Marshall slipped on ice and fell to his death. Sightings of the black dog continue today.
The Bellmont Hillsboro neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee, is said to be haunted by the friendly spirit of a boxer named Preston. According to local stories, the dog was accompanying a group of trick-or-treaters on Halloween more than 50 years ago when a 13-year-old girl spotted her 7-year-old brother picking up candy he’d dropped in the road. A car was speeding down the street toward him, so the girl darted into the road to save him — but Preston got there first.
The boxer knocked the boy from the car’s path and took the brunt of the hit, which threw the dog into a nearby yard. The girl’s brother was unharmed, so she went to look for Preston, but his body was never found.
Since then, each Halloween local children have reported being gently bumped onto the sidewalk when they step into the road. Today, that teenage girl is all grown up and still lives in the Bellmont Hillsboro neighborhood. It’s said that she places a dog biscuit on her front porch every Halloween as a gift to the dog who died to save her brother.
Hound of Goshen
For more than 150 years, people have reported seeing a large white dog in the Ebenezer Church cemetery in Newberry, South Carolina, as well as along the 5-mile stretch of Buncombe Road that runs from Newberry to Goshen Hill, South Carolina. Witnesses say the dog appears suddenly beside your vehicle, and if you stop, it will step in front of your car, throw its head back and howl.
According to one legend, the dog’s master was buried in the old cemetery and the dog lay on his grave until it died of starvation. However, other people believe in a much more grisly tale.
The second, more popular story is that the dog was the companion of a traveling salesman more than a century ago. While the salesman was in Goshen Hill, a townsperson was murdered and the salesman was the prime suspect. After an unfair trial, the man was found guilty and hanged from a tree, where the white dog stood guard over his master’s corpse.
Weeks later, both the dog and the body disappeared, and those involved in the salesman’s lynching were attacked by the white dog one by one. Those who survived the dog’s bites reported that the animal didn’t appear until they passed by the tree where the salesman had been hanged.
Photo (black dog): public domain/Wikimedia Commons