The Dog and The Bogey Man

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I do not know why the dog shrinks to my side as we head daily home from the forest.

It is only on a certain path, the path homeward past the site of an old cottage, and he has not always done it. He began, suddenly, to walk to heel like a Crufts champion, maybe a year ago.

It spooked me, I’ll admit. The dog does not do Heel. He runs harum-scarum through the ragged forest, using every inch of the acres of space available to him. Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened if we had adopted the policy of  a polite walk on the lead every morning and evening. This dog needs to stretch his running muscles. Wild and unruly in those ancient acres, he is placid in the house; but until a year ago one would not expect decorum from him on a walk.

And then, all of a sudden, he began acting strangely. At the top of the hill, next to the site of the old house, he would slink next to my heels. Not happily, either. If I had to choose a word to describe what he is doing, I might choose ‘cower’.

I knew it was unusual, but I wrote it off. It is entirely possible he is just very tired – he is eight years old now – or the architecture of the gully, which plunges, shored up by wooden boards, down through the earth embankments of an iron age fort, encourages him to my heels.

But yesterday I did hear more about the old house we walk past.

Not the house exactly, but its regular visitor.

The house was still there in the 1950s according to a local history writer, Roger Long, though it was derelict; in wartime it was occupied by a woman, her sister and her son. And it appears that one night the woman woke to find a man with a grotesque disfigured face and red hair standing over her bed. When she stirred and shouted for her sister for help he turned and completely vanished.

On another occasion the teenage son sped into the house and bolted the door, shouting to his mother to secure the doors and window because a man was coming, a man with his face ‘all screwed up’.

But when they ran upstairs to check outside there was no-one to be seen.

I have taken the dog for a walk in the forest at most hours of the day and night. Yesterday a perfect round Harvest moon was up in the sky as we pottered about the place. I rarely feel anything but at home there. It is so familiar, and so benign. But at the site of the cottage , the dog did his customary shrink.

Is this a doggie bogeyman, causing him to stay close so very much against his nature?

Whether or not Macaulay is seeing spectres, I have a little more to tell you about the wraith in question. Unlike so many ghosts he has a full service history.

But that will have to wait until another day.

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37 thoughts on “The Dog and The Bogey Man

  1. Oh, great. Again, it’s about 2:00 a.m., and I’m reading another of your ghost stories, and this one has the dog acting funny, which means it’s triply spooky. Perhaps someday I will learn…

      1. No! Keep the scary bits coming. It isn’t your fault I choose to read them in the middle of the night.

        The kittens are beautiful. So serene. They will help immensely.

  2. Oooh! Kate, you can’t leave me hanging like that! TELL TELL TELL! I definately believe that animals can see and sense things we can’t (or would rather not – I also think our senses sometimes ‘filter out’ a lot of things, particularly unusual things or things which don’t ‘add up’… well, experiments have proven that they do) But I’m seriously interested to know more about this apparition! 🙂
    Many blessings, Bia

    1. 😀 Walking at your heels, close by where you are walking, Sally. I don’t think Mac would have fared well in many other places. When he was a pup he could run for acres without encountering roads or fences. Gradually his radius around us as we walk has grown tighter. Now he’s eight, and as long as there are no deer around he stays within sight. Most of the time.

      1. Sorry – that was me being ironic…as although I set out with great intentions to train my dogs, they have absolutely no idea what ‘heel’ means. We’ve not had much opportunity to let them off the lead and they will come back as long as they don’t find food. If they do, there’s no stopping them. I do wonder what they’d make of the English countryside – would probably lose them to a rabbit hole or a dead sheep!

      2. Ha! I am so used to getting queries about weird English terms, I just launched into full explanation without thinking! Your describe Mac’s behaviour to the letter. That’s him, too: usually….

    1. You’ll know by now that it was first used in the mid eighteenth century: some think it came from the word ‘hare’ – which means to harass and scare. But these days it just means a bit reckless, which describes the dog perfectly.

  3. Well, if the ghost scared Mac, wouldn’t it have been happening all along? Clearly something unnerved him a year ago, and he hasn’t forgotten it. But what? Eagerly awaiting more on this story …

  4. This is intriguing, especially from a dog who has no recollection of the bug that bit him hard on the hind quarters. You did establish in that bug bite post that Mac is not a pooch with great powers of memory. The fact that there is something so eerie about that house it gives him evident willies, a years worth of willies at that, and it prompts him to act uncharacteristically well trained, well that is indeed very thought provoking. Why didn’t you photograph the house? Or did you not want to risk some spirit world creature wrecking havoc with your memory card? Is this old cottage abandoned, or is someone living there now?

  5. Oh, Kate! Along with the others, we must wait for your ghosty story. I’m betting the dog senses or sees something or someone – maybe the man with the scary face who can appear and disappear….? You venture there in the moonlight? Braver than me, Kate!

  6. Fascinating and scary. Something funny there, I would say. I have had experiences of feeling spooked, but successfully telling myself that it was imagination when my dog companion was unperturbed. Twice, though,, I have seen or felt things and my companion has been VERY perturbed. In one case a big brave German Shepherd became a nervous wreck for the rest of the evening. I was OUT of there on both occasions.

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