Saturday, August 1, 2015

Can dogs see poltergeists?

Do you remember the poem / song Antigonish? It goes like this:
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today,
I wish, I wish he'd go away...

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn't see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don't you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door...

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away...

SiSi, of the intent stare
SiSi, of the intent stare
Photo by J. Harrington

Early this morning, before first light, SiSi came down with a case of it. Lying on the living room couch, looking south through a picture window toward the full moon over the garage roof, she started growling and then barked a couple of times. I checked and could see nothing or no one that might have triggered her warnings.

Later, after sunrise, I was walking Franco because my Better Half's leg is still recovering from a tumble she took a couple of weeks ago. (I know, I'm one heck of a nice guy.) By this time, the deer flies were out and tormenting a little black dog. After a while, he starts snapping at them, unsuccessfully. We finished our walk and returned to the house. No deer flies followed us in, at least none that my Better Half or I (or SiSi) could see.

Franco, of the invisible deer flies
Franco, of the invisible deer flies
Photo by J. Harrington

Franco, on the other hand, continued to look wild-eyed (not too unusual) and snap at flies experienced only by him. It was disturbing in more ways than one. We parked him in his kennel for a time out and later, when he returned to civilization, such as it is around here, he was back to what passes for normal for him. The humans in the crowd are all hoping that this is only a result of Summer stress or something, and not an addition to the permanent aberrational behavior our four-legged friends bestow upon us, especially if they've discovered buggy poltergeists.

To David, About His Education

By Howard Nemerov 

The world is full of mostly invisible things,
And there is no way but putting the mind’s eye,
Or its nose, in a book, to find them out,
Things like the square root of Everest
Or how many times Byron goes into Texas,
Or whether the law of the excluded middle
Applies west of the Rockies. For these
And the like reasons, you have to go to school
And study books and listen to what you are told,
And sometimes try to remember. Though I don’t know
What you will do with the mean annual rainfall
On Plato’s Republic, or the calorie content
Of the Diet of Worms, such things are said to be
Good for you, and you will have to learn them
In order to become one of the grown-ups
Who sees invisible things neither steadily nor whole,
But keeps gravely the grand confusion of the world
Under his hat, which is where it belongs,
And teaches small children to do this in their turn. 

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