Saturday, November 9, 2013


Hello folks. Typing {awkwardly} on a newly-purchased laptop --- I was going to buy one anyway for use in the new Sustainable-Living House, and my old iMAC getting sick just accelerated that a little. Still, the old thing is more comfortable for me, so this post will be short.

While putting my Pookha file back into order after the last post, I noticed two incidents buried within that I don't remember presenting; so here they are.

Case 1: 1926 on a small unnamed island off the British coast. {This case is from the American Society for Psychical Research journal of 1941.}

A family had rented the island house from the owner who was godmother to the wife. They had several kids, one of which was a little girl, not yet three. They had returned from China bringing with them a nanny who had worked for the family many years. 

One night the little girl woke up and began screaming. This was very unlike her. She said that there had been a very big black dog in the room, which had nuzzled its head onto the edge of her crib. There was, of course, no such dog in the house. The nursemaid was very familiar with the child and was of the opinion that she was telling something "truly" as she thought she saw it. 

The next night it happened again. All the same reactions and opinions. The family decided to leave a nightlight burning, and the incident never repeated after that. If this was the end of the story, then this might be of less than marginal interest, but it is not.

The following week, the house owner, the godmother, visited. Upon hearing their story, she quizzed the little girl closely about the shape of the ears and the color of the fur, and then told the parents that the dog fit the description of the dog owned by the former owner of the island, which guarded the place. This dog was a friendly dog, but also had been killed by brigands. 

Still later, the family learned that many former gardeners and servants had seen the dog, and that the apparition was still occurring at the writing of the article, at least until 1939. 

Pookha? An Indoor Pookha? Or "just" a ghost dog?

Case 2: somewhat weirdly, also 1926. This also published in JASPR, but in 1938. The case happened in a suburb of a large California city.

In this case there was another rental [obtained "oddly" cheaply]. Here there was a constant poltergeist which would [late at night] click a light switch [no light would come on], then "CLOP, CLOP... sound of hard soles on wood", then another light switch click, then "CLOP, CLOP" back up the stairs. A few minutes later, the sequence would begin again. On rare occasions, persons were downstairs very late and would hear the "CLOP CLOP" coming, but would see nothing. 

So we have a haunted house, but no Pookha. This lacking was solved one evening when the wife had a unique event. She heard an odd sound [not one associated with the regular poltergeist] and ran out of the bedroom to assess what it was. Nothing. She turned and walked the corridor back to the room. There inside was a huge dog. It had TAN hair and a particularly big round head [upon hearing this detail, the reporter decided that this dog was a Mastiff or something very like it.] 

The dog was wagging its tail, but seemed to have a mild "transparency" about it. Though amazed, the lady wanted this dog gone from her bedroom, and walked towards it waving her hands. The dog obliged. It vanished into thin air. 

One other possibly related thing occurred at this house: another visitor [alone in the place for a time --- sort of like house-sitting] complained that she heard "scratching" at the outside doors as if some large dog were trying to get in. 

Maybe a Tan-colored Indoor Pookha??

One of the more intelligent persons interested seriously in the world of Faerie was William Butler Yeats. He collected masses of stories, and published much of the collection. In Yeats' tales are several things that he calls Pucas. This word is used interchangeably, usually, for Pooka, so one would think these tales germane. 

BUT THEY DON'T SEEM TO BE.... and that is another mystery to me. 

Yeats' tales, like many [most??] of those of the fairytale collectors, speak of the Pucas as mad stallions, horned beasts, eagles --- almost anything but friendly dogs. Yet Diarmuid MacManus and Ethel Rudkin speak of them as nothing but. It is as if when the tale is told as a fairy tale, and over many generations, it is extremely detailed and embedded with folk wisdom, but when it is an encounter story, it is nothing but that. 

The mystery to me which remains is: why the difference in the form of the animal? And why, if indeed original encounters "inspired" the mostly-fictional fairytales, was the friendly Pookha chosen to be morphed into the nasty Puca?? 

And, of course, maybe that's not how it happened at all. 

My bottom-line is, as always, that I have no bottom-line. BUT: I'm betting that Pookhas, good old-fashioned friendly Spirit Dogs, DID and with any good grace STILL DO exist, walking nobly along ancient paths and old crossings, and if you and I could just get the noise of the world stopped for a while, we might be able to walk along with them too. 

OK. So I don't know what I'm talking about. No need to call names.

Until later friends, and may all your pooches be big black friendly ones.


  1. I suppose any animal could appear as a 'spirit animal' or ghost, in the same way a human might; the prevalence of dogs may be nothing more than a reflection of a dog's connection to man in terms of domestication and loyalty. Presumably spirit-cats go about their own business--?

    1. My thoughts actually roam elsewhere on this. Why the Dog form? It comes from some source. Because the encounters are "true" ones [i.e., some at least not the product of the hoary skeptical standbys of lying, poor observation, mental aberration etc], the entities manifesting seem of only two "reasonable" sources: our own mind's "psychic" side [even if unconsciously so], or the parallel reality of the paranormal "middle world" which expresses itself in the folkloric entities. Carl Jung would like the first of these two hypotheses, but with respect to that grand old rebel thinker, I do not. It is only rare incidents like the conjuring of a seance circle entity, like did the "Phillip Group" apparently, that I see any evidence for that view.

      For me, this anomaly comes from the paranormal reality of "the middle angels" of the old Irish concept of Faerie, Tir na Gog, Middle Kingdom... as you will. If that was true, each encounter is with a conscious being, and that paranormal being is choosing its appearance. Whether that being takes its form due to its present spiritual standing or nature, or whether it presents a symbol aimed at the human percipient, is a mystery beyond me. {as is all of this}. But either way, the large friendly protective Black Dog sends the same message: a basically "good" entity, meaning wellness, not harm.

      The concept of a small Spirit Black Cat eludes me as far as meaning or intent, but a LARGE black mystery cat seems immediately sinister. Perhaps, going with the old images of Witches' Familiars, the Black Cat of any size is supposed to connote Power potentially dangerously wielded. The Cat tends not to be part of a larger family unit unless you are speaking of very large cats indeed, and then only with their own kind. The Dog almost immediately becomes family. We humans don't even have to work at the welcome.

    2. Your last paragraph is more what I was trying to get across, the dog being symbolic and drawn to people more than a cat of whatever size might be. In real life, even large, angry dogs are attracted to humans (as I have bites to attest to); less so with other animals it seems (rabid cats don't generally seek out human company in my experience).

      I still think it could be a real-life animal that has passed to a spirit side, or, as you propose, a purely spiritual/paranormal creature that always inhabits some other realm (or both, or some mixture). Of course, no way we can know, but the repeated dog-form gives some pause for thought. I might say common forms of this type of thing are dog, big cat, big bird, hairy hominid, sea monster...? It may just be, though, for the dog, that these creatures are more familiar as companions to us in real life, hence their prevalence and sightings.

    3. your comments are quite congenial to my open-minded vision of this world.

  2. 'inside was a huge dog. It had TAN hair and...seemed to have a mild "transparency" about it.'

    Prof could TAN in fact be the dog's orangey brown heruka like energy signature?

    'fairytale collectors, speak of the Pucas as mad stallions, horned beasts, eagles --- almost anything but friendly dogs.'

    You've prob'ly noticed this already Prof but they seem to've now established dogs may well've emerged not only much earlier than previously thought but from a long extinct species of European wolf my point being dogs an' humans if not prehumans seem to belong to an extremely ancient mutually evolutionary dyad whereas 'mad stallions, horned beasts, eagles' [possibly trained to hunt like hawks] all seemingly belong t'much later cultural developments like domestication of horses cattle.

    They also figure in Astrological symbolism as Centaur Sagittarius horned Ram/Bull/Seagoats Aries/Taurus/Capricorn an' higher level upperhalf of Quetzalcoatlian Winged Serpent Scorpio so's it possible the fairytale collectors were unconsciously biased t'cherry pick out dogs as cherry pits?

    I personally'd stake money on Pookah an' Puca bein' etymologic'ly identical but back in the day they liked to posh things up so people wouldn't get strange ideas like imaginin' Osiris' in his capacity as Asar might've had somethin' t'do with the Nordic Aesir.

    But I was thinkin' 'bout them noises the invisible dog made.

    Does the fact they were paranormal make 'em psi clops?




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