Esoteric Research



by Heathclyff St. James-Deville

In dreams we do not wonder at the seeming impossible, such as moving through space at will or transformation scenes where animals are changed into human beings or vice versa. In dreams we neither criticise nor deny.

Why then do we deny Animal Ghosts?

Having looked at the topic of Spirit or Power Animals last year, I feel it important that we differentiate these from Ghost Animals. The term, Power or Spirit Animal, is defined as: —"An internal helper, companion and guide, in the form of a natural or magical animal, which possesses qualities you need in this world...Your power animal helps you access higher wisdom, either your own or that of a higher power." By Ghost Animals or Animal Ghosts, I refer to the spiritual manifestations of an ethereal nature, of animals that once lived here upon the earth and of which seek to accomplish some form of communication with the one to which they appear or haunt. I have decided to favour the term "ghost" in this talk, and have tried to avoid the term, Spirit, so as to avoid any confusion.

We shall investigate a few of the many theories abounding as to what these manifestations are, why they may exist and shall hear tales of animal ghosts, some good; some not-so-good.

I trust that you shall enjoy this talk as it is truly fascinating in both the stories told and the implications as to the truth of their reality. If animals do, indeed, have a ghostly element to their nature, what of our treatment of them?


HAVE animals a soul, a ghostly counterpart? I unhesitatingly answer "Yes." If my dog lacks a soul then neither have I one—my dreams of immortality; merging back into The One, of meeting with the Lord and Lady, are merely a delusion. Animals really do display the highest attributes that we could all learn from and should attempt to emulate.


I undertook some minor research into how the term Ghost came about.. For example, in Irish, which belongs to the same family of speech as Latin, we have anal, "breath," and anam, "life" or "soul." In Sanskrit, an elder branch of the same Aryan root, we find an, "to blow " or "breathe," whence anila, "wind"; and in Greek anetnos has the same meaning. Psyche, pneuma, and ihymos, each meaning "soul" or "spirit," are also from roots expressing that of "wind" or "breath." In Slavonic the root du has developed the meaning of "breath" into that of "spirit," and the Gypsy dialect has duk, which is "breath" or "ghost." Ghost, in the German is geist, and the Dutch geest, are each derived from a root seen in Icelandic geisa, meaning " to rage," as in fire or wind, whence also come gust, gas, and geyser. In the non-Aryan Finnish, far means "soul" and "breath "; the Hebrew nephesh, ruach and neshamah (in Arabic ruh and nefs) pass from meaning "breath" to "spirit." The like applies to the Egyptian kneph.

The terms may supply a further insight into why Ghosts are often "felt," as they either pass us or indicate such as like a "breath of wind."


It is not in our nature to rest satisfied with its first thought or observation—questions are posed and theories developed. The question relating to our topic of Ghosts can be phrased— If it is possible for a ghostly counterpart to exist in humans, then why not a ghostly counterpart in animals, and ghostly counterparts in every important object in nature?

Who can limit the capacity of the ghost? That which might exist in people might likewise exist in animals, dwell in trees and plants, and make a home in a river or rock, exist in cloud and star, in short in everything. Such were the likely thoughts of early folk as they attempted to make sense of the world. And even now, there are many who still subscribe to such a belief.

Early humans, to explain the world around them, saw that every element of Nature had an inner being; a Ghost as it were. Later, as this belief developed, it made more sense of doctrines such as Immortality, Reincarnation and, to a large extent, Karma. Treat the Natural World and animals and people with respect and good would return in kind.

Here we see the basis for the doctrine of Animism— A belief that all tangible objects, animate and inanimate alike, consist each of two separable parts—a body and a spirit. It is defined as a stage of culture in which people regarded any object, real or imaginary, as possessing emotions, thoughts, and actions like that they themselves possessed.

I really like what James G. Frazer, the anthropologist, has to say in relation to this in his book, Fear of the Dead (1936). He writes that "The strictly logical character of primitive thought has sometimes been doubted or denied, but in one respect at least, primitive man is more consistently logical than his civilized brother, for he commonly extends to the lower animals that theory of the survival of the soul after death which civilized peoples usually restrict to human beings." (p. 283)

In researching this topic, it seems the rule of belief that it is human souls to take on the form of animal ghosts, implying that only humans have a ghostly nature and not so animals.

For example, during the Middle Ages (5th-15th Century), "a dead person sometimes took on the shape of a material object (a haystack) or, more often, of animal—a bird, a dog, a reptile, or a horse. In the metamorphosis that such tales attributed to them, the dead had a rich bestiary at their disposal, the symbolism of which was highly significant."—Ghosts in the Middle Ages by Jean-Claude Schmitt, Trans. Teresa Lavender Fagan, 2000 p. 196

As we can deduce, this belief apparently has its origins in the old theory of metempsychosis which has existed in various stages throughout the various cultures of the world.

My own theory here goes something like this:—

Maybe another reason that people believed that humans took on an animal form after death, is due to the fact the Christianity would have viewed only humans as having an "Immortal Soul," or at least some "Inner Quality" that could be defined as Spirit or Ghost, hence the saying "giving up the ghost." Therefore, if animals lack a similar, it not the same, quality, then there was nothing that could manifest in the form of a spiritual apparition or ‘ghost.’ Let us remember that, according to most Christians, the Resurrection only applies to people.

To explain away the conundrum of an animal ghost would be simply to view such a manifestation as that of a dead human come back to walk the earth. It could likewise have been that to see a dead person was more fearful to behold, (the dead do not walk) whereas to see a dead animal, not so. This is just an idea that came to me that might contribute something to the debate in terms of theory.

In a book, Shropshire Folk-Lore by Georgina F. Jackson (1883) it has been suggested that 'Possibly the animal form of ghosts is a mark of the once-supposed divinity of the dead. Ancestor worship is one of the oldest of the creeds, and in all mythologies we find that the gods could transform themselves into any shape at will, and frequently took those of beasts and birds.' (p.131)

If a ghost resides in each individual as manifested in the natural world, surely such would continue to exist in other realms as it travels through its spiritual and evolutionary journey to attain liberation and become once more a part of The One.

One spiritualist, William Danmer, explains to us that: —

"The inherited concept of immortality does not directly apply to the living organic beings of our visible world. All of them are "mortals" who have to die sooner or later. But by immortality is meant the lasting, persistent, self-sufficient existence of beings in the second department of organic life, the big realm of that individualized existence which has been called the realm of nirvana, the heaven of ghosts, the elysium, or the spirit-world. Immortality presupposes such a realm of invisible, persistent, undying organic beings which we simply call ghosts." —Ghostology, 1924

In Ghosts I Have Seen (1919) Violet Tweedale, (Chapter 9) explains that when a wild animal dies its life flows back into a group soul. As the animal becomes domesticated, such as a dog or cat, and learns to live with people, sharing in the joys and sorrows of its human companion, then it advances rapidly in evolution. Its closeness with a human helps it to develop human qualities, and in due time its ghost will no more return to merge in the group soul, but be born into the human family. Of course, this is dependent on the treatment it experiences whilst on its life-journey.

The life-spirit is first born into a primitive state to begin this human evolution, but the animal has passed one of the most important milestones on the long, lone trail. It will never more return to the world in the form of the beast, henceforth it will commence its slow ascent from the most elementary human body to the exalted heights of a god. They tell us in the East— "First a stone, then a plant, then an animal, then a man, and finally a God." This is how the wisdom of the East understands Divine evolution. (See The Secret Doctrine, Stanza 8, Vol.2 p.698)

Violet was a close friend of H.P. Blavatske and her book, Ghosts I Have Seen, contains an account of her first meeting with H.P.Blavatsky.

A similar view is advanced by the author of a book, A WANDERER IN THE SPIRIT LANDS, as written by a Spirit Author called Franchezzo in 1896. He inform us that "...animals as well as men hav[e] an immortal future for development before them. What are the limits of the action of this law we cannot pretend to say, but we draw our conclusions from the existence in the spirit world of animals [my emphasis] as well as men who have alike lived on earth, and both of whom are found in a more advanced state of development than they were in their earth existences."

Harking back to Violet Tweedale’s reference to the Group Soul of animals, Andrew Rooke, in a talk on GROUP SOULS, SOUL GROUPS and SOUL MATES – Do they exist? explains that:—

‘Group Soul’ is the popular idea that there are entities which express themselves through a collective of living units and collectively are that unit with a single Group Soul covering them all. For example, many people think that when animals die they become merged back into a ‘Group Soul’.

But is this so from a theosophic viewpoint? Every animal, plant, mineral, and even atom, has its own spiritual monad or permanent individuality which is on the path of evolution just as we human monads are on our Path. This individuality cannot be lost. The farther we go ‘back’ on the evolutionary ladder of life evolution towards the chemical elements, the less developed is their individuality – so the more alike they seem to us – like peas in a pod.

Another suggestion has been put forward that there are not ghosts per se, let alone Animal Ghosts. These apparitions are merely thought-forms that we create. I tend to disagree, given that some of the tales of ghosts are more able to induce fear than, for want of better words, peace and serenity — and I naturally include the ghosts of animals here, as we shall discover shortly. If these animal ghosts were thought-forms, is it not reasonable to venture that these ghosts would be welcomed and not, as sometimes is the case, shunned?

Another interesting point is that the ghost tales of old seem to be more malignant. I think this may be due to the fact that the world back then was so different – gas light, no electricity, lonely roads, no noise pollution, more forest growth or isolated moors, fewer people meant houses were more isolated, bandits roamed the countryside, and a Christianity that taught hell-fire and brimstone and the Devil to-boot and who, according to the Apostle Peter, roamed the country-side as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (I Pet.5:8)—no doubt, all this would have added to one’s imagination, thus generating far more ghastly visitations than of today.

The foregoing are just some of the theories that have been put forward to explain the reason for a belief in the existence of ghosts and an explanation as to why such a belief is valid, if not necessarily believed

Now for some tales of —


GHOSTLY VISITATIONS — Some dark; others light.

The accounts of the Ballechin House hauntings (Scotland) are well-documented. Upon the death of a former owner, a Major Stewart, in 1876, a series of ghostly animals were observed. It is interesting to note that Major Stewart said he would come back to haunt the home in the form of a favourite dog, a black spaniel. The remaining family had all of Major Stewart’s dogs destroyed; shot dead – fourteen in total – to thus avoid any future hauntings by such canines.

The account goes that — "The wife of the old Major's nephew and heir was seated one day adding up accounts in the dead man's study, when the room was suddenly invaded by the old doggy smell, and an unseen dog pushed distinctly up against her. Many other unpleasant incidents followed after, but the really great happenings did not begin till 1896, when a shooting tenant, after a week or two, was compelled to quit the house, and forfeit the considerable rent he had paid in advance." (Ghosts I Have Seen, p,121)

The Times of June, 1897 contains elaborate details of the various experiences and the names of the researchers of the Society of Psychical Research who, under the leadership of ghost-hunter, the late John, Marquis of Bute, conducted investigation at the house in 1892.

We learn more about this haunting from a 1907 book on Haunted Houses by Charles G. Harper:

The bowed and bent figure of a spectral hunchback, gliding up-stairs, seen by two witnesses, was unnerving, but the most startling phenomenon was undoubtedly the frequent appearance of a spectral black spaniel, seen alike by those who had heard the story of the old Major and by many who had not. One of these last was a guest who, suffering one day from a severe headache, was trying to pass the time with setting up a camera in one of the rooms. He, strange to say, had a black spaniel of his own in the house, and thought he saw it run across the room. It looked larger, he thought, than his own dog; and then he saw his dog run into the room after it and wag his tail and seem pleased at the meeting. Casual mention of the incident elicited the fact that there was no other corporeal spaniel in or about the place.

For guests to be pushed and snuffled at by invisible dogs was a common occurrence, and sounds as of dogs' tails striking, in being waggled, on doors and wainscots, were continually heard; while real undoubted dogs, with no suspicion of anything ghostly about them, would frequently be observed watching the movements of persons or things invisible to merely human eyes. But one of the most unnerving experiences was that of one of two ladies who were sharing the same bedroom.

She was wakened in the middle of the night by the frightened whimpering of a pet dog that slept on the bed, and, looking round in the direction of the animal's gaze, she saw — what think you? —nothing but two black paws on a table beside the bed

To conclude this particular haunting were to be seen two nuns in black, in the grounds of the house. The first recorded of these was a solitary nun seen weeping in a snow-covered glen. On another occasion there were two nuns observed simultaneously (but independently of each other) by two different ladies, and at the same time by a usually quiet dog that accompanied one of them, which ran up to the nuns, barking violently. It is to be remarked here that a sister of Major Stewart's had died as a nun in 1880. The fact that the dog also observed these nuns shows us that animals can see things often beyond our own limited perceptions.



The house was somewhere in Surrey not many miles from London. It was not very old and there was nothing remarkable in its appearance, nothing to suggest even to an impressionable, highly sensitive person that it was haunted. The house had in the rear of it quite a large garden, which from long lack of attention was overgrown with weeds.

One very still and quiet night, one of the house’s occupants, Ronald, was sitting by the warmth of the fire and, being enjoyable, he did not like leaving it. A sudden awareness of some presence behind him made him glance apprehensively round. There was no one.

Whilst looking intently at the wall-paper, a mixture of bilious yellow and dyspeptic green, with a jumble of flowers of an unknown species, he noticed that it was soiled and had probably been on the walls for many years. The longer he stared at it, the more it jarred his nerves and he decided to get rid of it as soon as possible. There seemed to be something unusual about it tonight; something that made him keep on gazing at it, at one spot in particular. Of course, it was just his silly imagination, but in the flowers and leaves he could see a grotesque resemblance to a face, such as one sometimes sees in a fire or in the pattern of a carpet. It became more and more pronounced as a queer, distorted face with prick ears, a grinning mouth and leering eyes.

About a week later, Ronald’s sister, Mabel, had a similar experience though this time the grinning face appeared in the designs of two separate cushions. Believing that her imagination was playing tricks as she sat alone in the house, she rearranged the cushions.

Later she became again conscious of being watched, and on looking round she saw, with a start, that the cushions were not as she had left them. There were again faces, queer animal faces with the same expression of malicious amusement in their eyes. Becoming scared, she wondered if she was in a nightmare. To make sure that she was awake, she rose and looked at herself in the mirror over the mantelshelf. When she got back to her chair the faces were no longer to be seen.

An English scientists, Robert Hunt inform us in his Popular Romances of the West of England, (1865) about A vicar named Jago, of Wendron in Cornwall, who was believed by his parishioners to have intercourse with the Devil. These were afraid of him, and declared that he had second sight, and could cast spells on those who offended him. Many people used to see him at crossroads and lonely spots at night, conversing with the evil spirits that haunted those places. The very ghostly horse on which he rode, a huge black animal, was said to possess supernatural powers and to be able to appear and disappear in the most unaccountable and alarming manner. (First Series pp.245-246)

In the same book can be found the story of Sir Francis Drake and His demon. Sir Francis appears to have been especially befriended by his demon and was said to drive at night a black hearse drawn by headless horses, and urged on by running devils and yelping, headless dogs, through Jump, on the road from Tavistock to Plymouth. (First Series pp.260-262)



A naval officer was visiting a friend in the country. Several men were sitting round the smoking-room fire when he arrived, and a fox-terrier was with them. Presently the heavy, shambling footsteps of an old dog, and the metallic shaking sound of his collar, were heard coming up stairs. "Here's old Peter!" explained the visitor. "Peter's dead!" whispered his owner.The sounds passed through the closed door, heard by all; they pattered into the room; the fox terrier bristled up, growled, and went in pursuit of some viewless object across the carpet; from the hearth-rug came the sound of a animal shaking, followed by a jingle of a collar and the settling weight of a body collapsing into repose.

— Story a story told in a letter to Andrew Lang from an anonymous Lieutenant of H.M.S Gunboat.



The following apparition of the spirit of a dog, occurring 106 miles from the location of his life experience and death, and at the very time of his "passing out," is another interesting case.

Jim was a beautiful Colly, and was the pet of one General John Charles Thompson., who was residing at Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1905. Jim had wide celebrity in the city as "the laughing dog," as he seemed to manifest his recognition of and love for his acquaintances and friends by a joyful laugh, as akin to that of any human being.

His affectionate nature surpassed even that of his own kind, and was often cited by those who knew him intimately, as confirmation of the current metaphysical conceit, that dogs alone of the dumb animals possess the religious instinct and worship man as God.

One evening in the fall of 1905, about 7:30 p. m., the General was walking with a friend on 7th. Street in Denver. As the two approached the entrance to the First National Bank, they observed a dog lying in the middle of the pavement, and coming up to him were was amazed at his perfect likeness to Jim in Cheyenne. The identity was greatly fortified by the dog’s loving recognition of the General, and the peculiar laugh that accompanied it. The General commented to his friend, then and there, that nothing but the 106 miles between Denver and Cheyenne would keep him from believing the dog to being Jim, whose peculiarities were explained to his friend before.

The dog astral, or ghost, was apparently badly hurt. He could not arise.

After petting him and giving him a kind farewell, the General and his friend crossed over Stout Street, and stopped to look at him again—but found that the dog had vanished. Upon the arrival of next morning’s mail, a letter from my wife said that Jim had been accidentally killed the evening before at 7:30 p. m.

The General has stated that he would always believe it was Jim’s ghost that he saw. (The Swastika, July 1907)

Other stories concerning dogs are supplied by Elliot O’Donnell who writes in his Byways of Ghostland (1911) how:—

"Occult dogs are very often of a luminous, semi-transparent bluish grey—a bluish-grey that is common to many other kinds of superphysical phenomena, but which I have never seen in the physical world. I have heard of several houses in Westmoreland and Devon, always in the vicinity of ancient burial places, being haunted by blue dogs, and sometimes by blue dogs without heads. Indeed, headless apparitions of all sorts are by no means uncommon. A lady, who is well known to me, had a very unpleasant experience in a house in Norfolk, where she was awakened one night by a scratching on her window-pane, which was some distance from the ground, and, on getting out of bed to see what was there, perceived the huge form of a shaggy dog, without a head, pressed against the glass... Of course, it does not follow that because one does not actually see a head, a head is not objectively there—it may be very much there, only not materialised."


And what of our feline friends?

One Canadian lady described a ghost cat which would appear in her home from time to time —an old brick house that was over 100 years old. The cat would be "felt" nibbling her hair or snuggling against her as she took a nap on the couch. Violet had her own cat, Soldier, at the time which would often be observed sparring with an invisible partner. At other times, Soldier’s food bowl would be mysteriously empty —and Soldier meowing the food that he evidently missed out on.

When Violet remarked about this to her Japanese-Canadian mother, it was explained to her that the Spirit Cat was eating the food, same as the spirits of shrines would eat the food offered to them. (Ghost Stories of Pets and Animals by Darren Zenko, Ghost House Books, 2004, pp.172-175)

Another lady, Janice Essex, relates a ghostly experience which back in 1953, when her mother was pregnant with her. Her folks went to live in an old boarding house built in the 1890s. In this old house, a cat was frequently seen by Janice’s sisters and other family members—both those residing there as too visitors. It seems that the cat was not really a problem in any way. (Phantom Felines...and other Ghostly Animals by Gerina Dunwich, Citadel Press, 2006, pp.30-31)



There is a legend mentioned in a poem composed by Wordsworth in 1807, 'The White Doe of Rylstone,' in which is embodied a Yorkshire tradition to the effect that a local lady of Bolton Abbey, an Emily Norton, revisited the ruins of the venerable structure in the form of a spotless white doe :

Which, though seemingly doomed in its breast to sustain
A softened remembrance of sorrow and pain,
Is spotless, and holy, and gentle, and bright,
And glides o'er the earth like an angel of light

The story is based upon an incident where her brother, Francis Norton, joined a Catholic rebellion against Queen Elizabeth the First and was condemned to death. Francis was later released but was murdered whilst returning home. Emily Norton, being in despair, sank to her knees but was befriended by a white doe and remained with her for life.

After Emily died, the doe faithfully continued to make the journey to Bolton Abbey and would lie upon the grass under which Emily’s brother was buried.



Mrs. Crowe, in her Night Side of Nature, (1868) relates one case of a house near Philadelphia, U.S.A., that was haunted by a variety of phenomena, among others that of a spectre resembling a goat. "Other extraordinary things happened in the house," she writes, "which had the reputation of being haunted, although the son had not believed it, and had thereupon not mentioned the report to the father. One day the children said they had been running after such a queer thing in the cellar; it was like a goat, and not like a goat, but it seemed to be like a shadow."

This explanation does not appear to be very satisfactory, but as Elliot O’Donnell mentions hearing of one or two other cases of premises being haunted by what, undoubtedly, were the phantasms of goats, he feels it is highly probable it was the ghost of a goat in this instance, too.


Of the belief that animals are able to see phantoms and exhibit the same common mental illusions as human beings, and like exhibitions of mania and melancholia, there are many indications recorded.

We have already noted the dog which had observed and ran up to the nuns in the case of Ballechin House.

A report, under the heading, Animal Clairvoyance, is found in an old UK magazine, The Occult Review, of February 1931. The author relates that:—"One afternoon my sister and I, with our dog, were walking through what was supposed to be a "haunted" wood. (A man had hung himself on a lightning-struck tree, just off the path.) Our dog, which had been running joyously about, stopped suddenly as we approached this spot ; and with every hair on her back bristling, her eyes glowing green, she backed away from something upon which her eyes were fixed, but which was quite invisible to my sister and me."

It comes as no surprise that not everyone is going to accept the validity of ghosts or that animals can possibly see them. For example:

Canadian naturalist and a Fellow of the Royal Society, George John Romanes cites an interesting case in his book, Mental Evolution in Animals (1884 p.150) as shared by a friend of his, Walter Pollock, who related to Romanes that he had:—

"A Scotch terrier that had a curious hatred or horror of anything abnormal. For instance, it was long before she could tolerate the striking of a spring bell which was a new experience to her. She expressed her dislike and seeming fear by a series of grow and barks accompanied by setting her hair on end. She used from time to time to go through the same performance after gazing fixedly on what seemed vacancy, seeming to see some enemy or portent unseen by me, as if the victim of optical illusion. I could produce the same effect by doing some unexpected and irrational thing until she had become accustomed to it, yet the seeing of some form of phantom remained unabated."

The author again refers to a Mr. Pierquin, "who owned a female ape which had had sunstroke and afterwards used to become terror-struck by delusions of some kind; she used to snap at imaginary objects, and acted as if she had been watching and catching at insects on the wing." (p.150)

The Scottish physician and botanist, William Lauder Lindsay, informs readers of his 1880 work, Mind in the Lower Animals, that— "Delusions may be studied in the horse. The of sight in animals occasionally take the form, as in man, of phantoms, images of ghosts, or apparitions of imaginary persons, animals, or things" (II. p. 103) and that "Spectral delusions occur in several forms of insanity among the lower animals, as in the rabies in the dog, the sturdy in the sheep, and the sunstroke in the ape."

Yet how do these authors know that these animals are displaying a form of delusion as opposed to seeing "something" that is "real" to their vision yet not visible to the people around them? That is the question.

Castel a Mare

At Torquay, South Devon, at one time, a villa, the Castel a Mare, on the Warberry Road, was reputed to be badly haunted. A former tenant of the Castel a Mare" related to Violet Tweedale many details of her residence there. About thirty years ago she occupied it with her father and mother, and they were the last family to live in it for any length of time, and for many years it has remained empty. Soon after their arrival this family discovered that there was something very much amiss with their new residence. The house, the garden, and the stable were decidedly uncanny, but it was some time before they would admit, even to themselves, that the strange happenings were of a supernatural order.

Is seems that around 1870 a terrible murder occurred. it is believed that the property was once owned by a local doctor who had moments of madness, and murdered his wife, and then their maid because of what she'd seen. Others say that a guest or patient was visiting the doctor and he murdered him. It was also noted Animals fared badly at "Castel a Mare." A large dog belonging to the family was often found cowering and growling in abject fear of something visible to it, but not to the human inhabitants, and the harness horse showed such an invincible objection to its stable, that it could only be got in by backing.

In a book by Elliot O’Donnell, Dangerous Ghosts, (1954) I came across another interesting tale.

In the little town of Nenagh was a bridge over a shallow stream that sometimes becomes dry in the summer. The bridge and the stream are reputed to be haunted. One day, about the middle of the last century, a farmer was returning home from the fair at Nenagh in an unusually happy mood, having met several of his friends at the fair. As he approached the bridge he saw a white object, no bigger than his hat, gliding along the road by his side. When he reached the bridge his horse stopped short. He dismounted and tried to lead the horse over the bridge, but it recoiled, snorted and trembled violently. It was a bright moonlight night, and the farmer, chafed by the horse’s obstinacy, and seeing nothing to account for it, lost his patience with the poor animal, and plied his whip and spur in earnest, using very bad language. All of a sudden the horse shot forward, and the farmer saw very clearly, standing on the bridge, the tall, shadowy form of a woman in black, who struck him on the shoulder as he passed. The blow threw him forward upon the neck of his horse, which in wild terror reached the door of his house at a mad gallop, and stood there quivering and steaming all over.

There is a Scottish island called St. Kilda and which is now declared a World Heritage Site and no longer populated, yet at one time was populated by a small band of villages. They held onto many strange notions. Popular opinion at one time was strongly in favour of the belief that beasts could see ghosts. The people of St. Kilda, according to one Martin Martin, writing in the year 1703, held that cows shared the visions of second-sighted milk-maids.

Firstly, Martin defines the phenomena: "THE Second Sight is a singular Faculty of Seeing an otherwise invisible Object, without any previous Means used by the Person that sees it for that end ; the Vision makes such a lively impression upon the Seers, that they neither see nor think of any thing else, except the Vision, as long as it continues: and then they appear pensive or jovial, according to the Object which was represented to them." He goes on to write "THAT Cows see the Second Sight appears from this—that when a Woman is milking a Cow, and then happens to see the Second Sight, the Cow runs away in a great fright at the same time, and will not be pacified for some time after."— A description of the Western Islands of Scotland by Martin Martin, 1703 p.307.

Martin also cites a similar experience concerning a horse which broke free from his rope, having seen a vision of the group of men carrying a coffin —did this horse have Second Sight of the death of a woman who was buried two days after this event?

As we have noted in the works by Romanes and Lindsay, dogs, cats and other animals can be easily affected by whatever it is that makes people think a ghost may be hovering nearby, or by the conduct of the human being on these occasions. Of course, this is not to discount that some animals can see or "feel" when an actual ghost is present.


The folk-lore and ghost-lore of many countries contain accounts of phenomena that are an odd mixture of ghost and fairy. In France there existed until comparatively recently a belief in brous. A brou is a phenomenon that is a human being during the daytime and a sheep during the night. It derives its name from the American term for a thicket, because brous are supposed to gallop all night through woods and thickets.

There is a story of a man walking along a road who one night found a small sheep that had apparently strayed from the flock and seemed to be lost. He picked the animal up, and was on his way home with it when it asked him in a human voice where he was taking it. He was so terrified that he dropped the brou, which at once turned into a woman, who bounded away, uttering peals of diabolical laughter. She proved to be a married woman whose home was in Liege. As soon as it was known that she was a brou she had to leave Liege. What subsequently became of her was never ascertained. Brous were sometimes very distinctive. They ran over the country at night killing and devouring dogs, poultry and occasionally little children.— SUPERSTITIONS AND CUSTOMS OF TOURAINE, as published in Chambers Edinburgh Journal, JANUARY —JUNE, 1845.


If animal ghosts are a reality —not all tales and experiences can simply be brushed aside; some must have a basis of truth to them, what are the implications?

It surely follows that they too continue to live in some other realm – the Spirit World, the Summerlands, Heaven — call it what you will. And if so, then we have a duty of care as to how we treat them as they roam the Earth in physical form; a duty to protect them from harm and to nurture them that they may grow in the evolution of their Spirituality to likewise return to The One.

If Animal Ghosts exist – what of their fate once they die and leave us?

Though this talk has centred on the ghost, ergo, of the already-departed animal, I conclude here with two poems, the first by the English poet, Robert Southey (1774-1843), the second by the French poet Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869) Both poems envision what shall become of our animal friends future-wise, (that is, in their ghostly life) and may give us all a deep hope that our animal companions do still live on even after we bid them Goodbye.


"Ah, poor companion! when thou followedst last
Thy master's parting footsteps to the gate
Which closed forever on him, thou didst lose
Thy truest friend, and none was left to plead
For the old age of brute fidelity.
But fare thee well. Mine is no narrowed creed;
And He who gave thee being did not frame
The mystery of Life to be the sport
Of merciless man. There is another world
For all that live and move—a better one!
Where the proud bipeds, who would fain confine
Infinite goodness to the little bounds
Of their own charity, may envy thee."

—Southey (On the death of a favourite old spaniel, 1792).


Whilst the poet Lamartine beautifully expresses a future hope for his own faithful dog, Fido.

"I cannot, will not, deem thee a deceiving,
Illusive mockery of human feeling,
A body organized, by fond caress
Warmed into seeming tenderness;
A mere automaton, on which our love
Plays, as on puppets, when their wires we move.
No! when that feeling quits thy glazing eye,
'Twill live in some blest world beyond the sky."
—Lamartine (Jocelyn's Episode, 1836)

Delivered Saturday 3rd March 2018
Theosophical Society (Pasadena)
Australasian Section
664 Glenhuntly Rd
South Caulfield
Victoria 3162



If You Don't Feel It, You Can't Heal It: Empathy and Compassion

compiled by Andrew Rooke

Why me? We are tempted to ask ourselves this question whenever suffering comes knocking at our door.  Our first reaction naturally is  Pain – and the desire to avoid it. But let’s take a moment to consider the value of suffering and trial in our lives. 

Buddhists tell us that we shouldn’t expect a life without challenge as the ‘Three Awakening Sights’ – Disease, Old Age and Death – are our greatest friends in awakening our spiritual awareness. How? Because these outwardly unpleasant realities enable us to understand and empathize with the sufferings of others. In this way we have the opportunity to develop Compassion because we know what it is like to suffer ourselves and therefore we want to save others from this fate. As the old saying goes: “If you don’t feel it, you can’t heal it.” – both for ourselves and for the world.

Empathy & Compassion- Definitions: The very words ‘Empathy’ and ‘Compassion’ provide the key to understanding this process. The English word Empathy is derived from the ancient Greek word εμπάθεια (empatheia, meaning "physical affection or passion").  This, in turn, comes from εν (en, "in, at") and πάθος (pathos, "passion" or "suffering").  Compassion, is derived from the Latin com with + pati to bear, suffer] Literally then, the capacity of ‘feeling with’, sympathetic understanding; the feeling of one’s unity with all that is, resulting in an “intimate magnetic sympathy with all that is.” 

Empathy and Compassion are the key qualities enabling us to be sincerely motivated to help others without thought of reward in a suffering world and to maintain the desire to continue that help on into the future ages which are required for enough people to change inwardly to outwardly make a better world.

The Good Life? Consider the life of a person who lives comfortably all the time without many challenges and setbacks, ie. the ideal life painted in magazines and TV programs of material wealth and well-being. 

What if we were to have such an easy life and didn’t have any difficult experiences? Surely we would then become ‘Colourless’ people who couldn’t easily identify with the majority of people and therefore would not make the effort to heal ourselves and the world. 

This, in fact, is often the case for many people living in comfortable ‘first-world’ situations such as prevails for most people in Australia.  We may be tempted to remain isolated from the suffering of the majority of humanity – ‘Us and Them Syndrome’.

Or we may become exhausted by continually being asked to contribute to the efforts of those organisations, like the Salvation Army, trying to help out  – ‘Compassion Fatigue’.

Psychological studies of how ordinary people can inflict horror on others: Psychologists have studied the effects on human behaviour of becoming remote from the suffering of others.  Three famous psychological studies spring to mind which have had an enormous impact on our understanding of how ordinary people can be capable of inflicting horrors on other people during wars and in other stressful situations. 

Zimbardo Prison Study: Psychological scientist Philip Zimbardo, a professor emeritus at Stanford University and president of the Heroic Imagination Project, uncovered the demon inside with devastating, and unexpected consequences. 

In the 1960s he set up some pioneering studies where psychology students role-played prison guards and prisoners in a make-believe prison over a three day period. 

Physically and psychologically normal and healthy people role-playing uniformed ‘prison-guards’ and under the orders of a brutal administration (Zimbardo himself) rapidly became sadistic and brutalised the ‘prisoners’.

Professor Zimbardo is famous for this Prison Study and his authorship of various introductory psychology books and textbooks for college students, including notably The Lucifer Effect (how good people turn evil) and The Time Paradox.

The Milgram Obedience Experiment: In the 1960s and 70s, Stanley Milgram, a Yale psychology professor, designed a series of studies on obedience to authority, using a “teacher” and a “learner.”

The “teacher” was supposed to inflict an imaginary electric shock on the “learner” if an answer was incorrect, starting at 15 volts and going up to 450 volts, increasing the shock each time the “learner” missed a word in the list. The ‘teachers’ were told that the electric shocks were real.

Ultimately 65% of all of the “teachers” punished the “learners” to the maximum 450 volts which would cause death if a real charge was administered!

The Asch Conformity Study: These studies reflect the findings of Solomon Asch an American psychologist. Seeking to discover why ordinary people could inflict dreadful suffering during World War II, Asch found in his famous experiment of 1951, that people when pressured by a peer group and knowing answers they gave were wrong, still went along with the group.

Asch measured the number of times each participant conformed to the majority view.  On average, about one third (32%) of the participants who were placed in this situation went along and conformed with the clearly incorrect majority on the critical trials. Over the 12 critical trials, about 75% of participants conformed at least once, and 25% of participants never conformed. In the control group, with no pressure to conform to confederates, less than 1% of participants gave the wrong answer.

Why did the participants conform so readily?  When they were interviewed after the experiment, most of them said that they did not really believe their conforming answers, but had gone along with the group for fear of being ridiculed or thought "peculiar."  A few of them said that they really did believe the group's answers were correct.

Apparently, people conform for two main reasons: because they want to fit in with the group (normative influence) and because they believe the group is better informed than they are (informational influence).

Asch found that the majority of people can be manipulated by peer group pressure to do things they know are wrong!

Good and Evil Within: These studies show that when we are remote from the suffering of others, or pressured by those in authority, most people are capable of identifying with their ‘Lower Self’ and are therefore quite capable of inflicting suffering and even death upon other people.

However, we should not lose sight of the fact that most people can also make the choice of identifying with their ‘Higher Self’ and providing Empathy, Love, and Compassion for others given the right external leadership and inner motivation. 

The Patience of Job: The Biblical Book of Job certainly reflects this theme:

The “richest man in the East”, Job had had everything stripped from him by God as a test of his Faith - his wealth, his children, and even his health. 

With unswerving faith in God, Job tried to make sense of what was happening to him. Perhaps this is what is meant by 'the Patience of Job' which is certainly required of all of us sometimes in dealing with life’s challenges, or most certainly when actively treading the spiritual Path.

‘Be not afraid of Sorrow and Trial’: Theosophical writer G de Purucker reflects this universal dilemma with the following advice:

 “…Be not afraid of sorrow; be not afraid of trial. They are our best friends; and see what a manly doctrine this is. It is a doctrine of compassion; it is broad-minded, it is human, it is humane, it is sympathetic, it is full of wisdom and quiet peace. 

The heart which has never been wrung with sorrow has no fellow-feeling for others. The mind which has never been tormented with sorrow and doubt has a veil before it. Sorrow and doubt awaken us, quicken our intellects, open our hearts, and expand our consciousness; and it is sorrow, suffering, sickness, and pain, which are amongst the gentle agents, the merciful ministers, of the evolutionary process. 

The man whose heart has never been wrung with sorrow cannot understand the sorrows of others. The man who has never sorrowed, knows no greatness. He is neither great in heart or mind. Greatness, ethical majesty, spiritual and intellectual power, spring forth from trial.” from Studies in Occult Philosophy page 709.

A Christian Prayer for Empathy & Compassion: A Christian friend offered the following prayer which is in another way of saying:  “If you don’t feel it, you can’t heal it”:

May God bless you with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger

At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people.

So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,

So that you may reach out the hand of comfort to them

And turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.



Where does the Path of Empathy and Compassion ultimately lead? According to Mahayana Buddhist tradition there are two paths in spiritual endeavor. The one is called the Path for Oneself, (Pratyeka Yana) and the other, the Deathless Path or the Path of Compassion (Amrita Yana). The Path for Oneself is that followed by all who seek salvation for themselves — whose most ardent devotees usually yearn to enter some type of life whereby they may leave the turmoil and distraction of earthly existence and attain nirvana quickly. The other is the ancient Path of Compassion, steep and thorny, which is trod by those who would follow in the footsteps of the Christ and the Buddha: the path of altruistic endeavour which seeks wisdom solely that truth and light might be shared with all. 

Choices on the Spiritual Path: The path of matter tends downward; though we are involved in its atmosphere, there are very few indeed who follow the pull downward to the exclusion of all else. The path of spirit is up and forward always, toward the divinity within. The choice between matter and spirit therefore is clear, regardless of how often we fail to realize our aspirations for the permanent values. 

However, in spiritual things there will likewise come a forking of the way: either to follow the path for ourselves, or for others. 

Boddhisattva: One Whose Essence is Compassion: This concept is well known in the Orient, particularly in those countries where Buddhism has been firmly established for centuries; and that is the reason the populace, by tradition, hold the Bodhisattvas in far greater reverence than they do the Buddhas. To them, the Bodhisattva is one who has reached the point where she/he could step across the chasm of darkness into Nirvana, omniscience, peace or wisdom, however you care to describe it, but she/he refuses so that she/he might stay behind until the last of his/her brothers can cross over with him. A Buddha, however, is one who, having reached the portal, sees the light ahead and enters nirvana, achieving his well-earned bliss. In Japan, China and those parts of India where Buddhism has taken root, you will find numerous carvings of Bodhisattvas. The ideal of compassion is perpetuated in a few of these statues by the right hand of Bodhisattva reaching toward the wisdom and light and beauty of nirvana; while the left hand leans downward toward mankind, in a compassionate gesture of benevolence. 

Kwan-Yin: Goddess of Mercy and Friend of Mankind: In Japan, Korea, Tibet, and China, the Boddhisattva, Kwan Yin, is the beloved personification of compassion. Images of her can be found in homes, temples, and within thousands of shrines and grottoes beside roads and shaded pools. People of all ages bring gifts of flowers and fruit, but not in supplication. There is no need for that. Kwan Yin, like a wise and loving parent knows and does what is best; does it with gentle guidance and never needs to punish or coerce. Of all the world's great gods, she is undoubtedly the kindest and most giving. Innumerable folktales describe her beneficence and each in its way inspires to noble action. Like her, devotees seek to help others by giving of themselves, and of whatever they have. Like her, they avoid causing pain to any other being for, as they say: 

‘When a worm is crushed, all beings are crushed; When a single bee sucks honey, all beings in the myriad universes suck honey.’

To the humble she is goddess, mother figure, friend, guide, and protector; to the philosophical she represents the divine force of compassion that not only pervades the cosmos, holding all together in harmonious accord, but also manifests in this world in various forms sometimes through the spiritual nature of one or a series of great men and women. Devotees claim they often feel her nearness, or see her in person. Whether this presence is physical or a subtle thought form perceived by mystic vision, who can say? According to tradition Kwan Yin had been an ordinary person who had followed the Path of Wisdom and Service until after many incarnations she reached the supreme goal, Nirvana. Pausing a moment at the threshold, she heard, rising from the world, a great wail of woe, as if all the rocks and trees, insects, animals, humans, gods and demons, cried out in protest that so virtuous a one should depart from their midst. Without a second thought this noble-hearted soul turned back, determined to remain until every being without exception should precede her into Nirvana.

When the time of choice comes - Will we have the strength of Empathy and Compassion to follow her example?

The Pledge of Kwan-Yin: “Never will I seek nor receive private, individual salvation; never will I enter into final peace alone; but forever and everywhere will I live and strive for the redemption of every creature throughout the world.”

- compiled from the works of G de Purucker, James A.Long and Eloise Hart, with additional comments by Andrew Rooke.




By Dean Carter

Our interest in these entities/energies also known as ‘orbs’ began about four years ago. We work using sacred sound and reasoned that as using overtoning and other forms of Pure Sound are a bridge between dimensions, these obviously mutli-dimensional or 5th dimensional/elemental energies might be attracted to our work. Eventually we got the photographic evidence to follow our intention, our first really ‘wow’ example is shown below:


This seems to mark the pattern of a classic example, with an outer bright ring or ‘atmosphere’ discernable, then successive concentric internal dark and bright bands, plus patterns and details within which can sometime be very symmetrical and beautiful. But there were many other types and ‘styles’ if you like to follow. And sometimes they were present in large numbers. For example in the photograph below taken after one of our soundbaths using crystal and Tibetan bowls and vocal overtoning as you can see many types and styles are present including examples with a slightly cut-off side, brighter ones with no detail and, here, a large pink globular example:


My co-worker in this experiment, Lorna Heath is the one with the soul/intuitive connection to these entities, and she asked them if they would make themselves seen just in her front room (whereas we’d previously associated them with not just sacred sound but also sacred sites). She was immediately successful as in the next photograph:

We had both disliked the word ‘orbs’ to describe these objects as being a very arbitrary and non-sacred choice. The whole phenomenon indeed seemed to be suffering from the unfortunate human capacity to compartmentalise the mysteries of life into pre-existing and convenient mental pigeon holes. Lorna therefore asked them directly through meditation what their true name was, what they call themselves, what they would like to be called. A few days later she had a migraine headache, and on ‘coming out’ of it asked me what the word ‘EL-AEON’ meant. I told her it meant she had been answered!

‘EL’ is the familiar suffix given in Archangel names, such as ‘Gabriel’. It is the ancient Hebrew for a light-being, in its masculine singular form, derived originally from the Caananite name of God. Its feminine equivalent is ‘ELOH’. The ELOHIM, plural, are the Creator beings, (note: plural!!!) who create all things in Genesis chapter 1. AEON is usually used nowadays to mean an era of epoch of time, but originally meant the ruling High Spiritual Being of that time. It is a word in Greek which is essentially equivalent to the word ELoHIM. The phrase we have translated in English from the Bible as ‘The Holy Spirit’ is, in Hebrew ELoHIM RUaCh, ‘the breath of the ELoHIM’. In Greek it is ‘to aeon pneuma’, ‘the breath of the AEONs’. Lorna had no idea of any of this and was given these two words linked uniquely in this way entirely through ‘channelled’ or intuitive means.

The sanctity of this terminology given as an answer to the real name of the phenomena makes it clear that ‘orbs’ isn’t an adequate or sufficiently sacred term to cover these light-beings, and we seek to replace the popular use of ‘orbs’ with this new given term for them.

Assumptions about the nature and purpose of the EL-AEONS became quickly overturned in our investigations as Lorna continued to capture more and more of them on camera. For instance she found the whole sky full of them at night on occasions. There are no stars visible in the next picture taken on a cloudy night:

The next example shows an extremely bright EL-AEON taken outside: this is NOT the fiull moon, there were no visible lights in the sky at the time!

A few other single favourites remarkable for their detail and patterning follow:

A face exhibiting three-dimensionality is clearly visible in the above example taken at dawn outside : again Lorna had made specifically a request for the EL-AEONS to be with her and be visible. She does not see them with her physical eyes.

Many people are now photographing EL-AEONS, while others are not. This seems to be down to the energy-field of the camera user and how it interacts with the environment and the camera itself. Hopefully the quote below sheds some light on the existence of human auric interactions with ‘hard’ technology equipment, equipment:

experimental outcomes…have revealed in nature the presence of a second

unique level of physical reality that is moduleatable by human intention.

We have been able to show that the human acupuncture meridian/chakra

system is functioning at this same higher EM gauge symmetry level…..

Thus sustained, directed human intention can create, in the human biofield,

the necessary ingredients to alter the physical properties of our material environment.

human consciousness is capable of coupling humans and instruments to

another unique level of physical reality, not normally detectable

by conventional instrumentation, and that this level of reality may have its

own set of life-forms, some of which may be able to image under the appropriate conditions.

William A. Tiller, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

The above quotation is in fact highly relevant and important to anyone working with ‘non-local’ phenomena, ‘light-work’, and so on.

Some people who dismiss the phenomena quite definitely do not ‘get’ EL-AEONS, yet others who are dismissive of it and/or completely unaware can!

All explanations of them as being merely ‘dust’ are laughable and disproved easily by digital technology itself. The three photographs following were all taken within ONE MINUTE on a windless night of a full moon as anyone looking at the time coding on the shots could confirm:

In the first picture various types of EL-AEONS are visible as are strands of what we have come to call ‘plasma’ which seem to be related to EL-AEONS and their activities. Then the whole sky is full of EL-AEONS. Then they disappear completely. I’m afraid that, on a windless night, ‘dust’ does not and would not do as an explanation of these images!

Another pseudo-scientific explanation is that they are due to malfunctions of the complexities of digital photographic equipment. Unfortunately this does not hold water either as, as many people are now realising on taking a closer look at their old photographs on 35-mil ‘normal’ film, they have been around for a long time and are not a purely digital phenomenon. The examples below were given to us by a gentleman who had taken them in the 1980s after a bomb detonation in Northern Ireland, he being an army bomb-disposal expert at the time. EL-AEONS often can be detected in photographs of family gatherings etc. Where people are just joyful, but this photograph also reveals they are not only here to share n human joys, but perhaps to disperse of heal negative energies..?

As a final answer to what these phenomena are or represent we include this message given to Lorna in meditation on the subject earlier this year:

The EL-AEONS are Beings from the Sun and are teachers for us Earth teachers to people entering the Age of Aquarius.

Text (c) Dean Carter and Lorna Heath

Images (c) Lorna Heath except photograph of bomb-site EL-AEONS (c) Mark Edwards.