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Ghostly Encounters: Animal Messengers From Beyond

I am an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.


Best Friends

This amazing story was sent to me by a woman who grew up on a farm in East Texas. She explained that her family had owned many animals over the years, but one in particular had possessed a loyalty like no other, both in life and after death.

Evelyn Snider* conveyed that her father, Buck, had always kept an assortment of outside dogs on the property, although he never seemed to care much for any of them one way or the other. That is, until he adopted a black and white collie mix the family named "Tippy."

According to Evelyn, her father and Tippy had bonded right off the bat and were nearly inseparable. They were so close that she was the only dog that was ever allowed inside the house. She spent her days shadowing Buck and her nights curled up on the floor beside his bed.

Evelyn says that, one morning when Tippy was around ten years old, they awoke to find her lifeless form lying near the kitchen door. She remembers that her father had shown little emotion as he gently lifted the body and carried it outside. She watched through the window as he proceeded to dig a hole that would be the final resting place of the dog he had adored.

Even though they had been as thick as thieves for nearly a decade, Buck never once spoke of the events of that day and would leave the room if anyone mentioned Tippy. Evelyn thought, at the time, that he was indifferent to the loss, but she knows now that the opposite was true. The dog who had been his constant companion was never far from his mind.


Where You Go, I Will Follow

Some twenty years later, Buck was diagnosed with emphysema. As his condition worsened, he became petrified of what was to come. Evelyn recalls how shocking it was to witness her father, who had never been one to show weakness or fear, crying and thrashing about as if he was trying to fend off death. Sometimes, in his frantic state, he would rip the oxygen tubes out of his nose. In order to keep him safe, someone had to stay in the room with him at all times which proved exhausting for the family.

Everything seemed to change one evening when Evelyn says that her father suddenly perked up and began talking to a presence that only he could see. Judging by the loving tone of his voice, his family assumed that he was being visited by his parents who had died when he was very young.

Buck's anxiety melted away in an instant. His constant state of agitation had been replaced by a sense of calm that seemed to settle over his entire being. Over time, as he became progressively weaker, he seldom acknowledged the family members who were always by his side. He seemed to prefer to use what strength he had left to communicate with his ever-present, if invisible, companion.

One evening while Evelyn was sitting in a chair next to her father's bed, she saw him lift his hand and pat the covers. It was a gesture she had witnessed on numerous occasions in the past when he wanted Tippy to jump up on the bed or couch.

She knew then that the spirit who had returned to comfort her ailing father in his final days was not his mother or father, but the dog he had loved above all others. Later that same night, he passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Evelyn believes that Tippy was sent, not only to banish her father's fears, but also to guide him into the hereafter. The family he left behind took solace in knowing that he did not face the journey alone. The best friend he had ever had was there to keep him company every step of the way.

A ginger tom, similar in appearance to Omar.

A ginger tom, similar in appearance to Omar.

A Cat Named Omar

This story was sent to me by Delaware native Stella Williams.* It involves the magical relationship she and her husband shared with a very special ginger cat named Omar.

Stella recalled that her family adopted the cat after finding it abandoned in a shed on a property owned by her father-in-law. Although not in the market for a pet at the time, one look at the pathetic form was all it had taken to convince her that she was now a cat parent, like it or not.

Right from the start, Stella and her husband Brian knew that the cat, whom they named Omar after her favorite actor, Omar Sharif, was a force to be reckoned with. Playful and loving, yet headstrong, he kept them on their toes night and day.

Wherever the couple happened to be, Omar wasn't far behind. After becoming accustomed to seeing them seated at the kitchen table for meals, he refused to eat from his dish unless it was placed alongside theirs. Although it might not be everyone's cup of tea, she and Brian soon got used to dining with their cat perched on the table.

For reasons they could never quite figure out, Omar shunned his water bowl, preferring to sip from a flowing tap. Rather than drinking from the dish, he would tip it over at every opportunity. Once the floor was soaked, he would proceed to splat around in the mess he had created. It was not missed on Stella that this was an action he carried out with gusto.

In an attempt to outsmart him, she purchased a heavy ceramic bowl that even she had trouble moving. She had no more than filled it and placed it on a mat when Omar came along and began dragging it across the tiles, splashing water everywhere. Giving in to his quirks, she jettisoned the water dish and indulged him by leaving a tap running in the bathroom from which he would drink.

As ornery as he was at times, Omar was equally loving and attentive. When Brian suffered an injury at work and was laid up for several days, the tabby stayed curled up next to him, leaving his side only to eat or use the litterbox.

When the couple would settle in for an evening in front of the television, their four-legged companion insisted on being included. Never one for the norm, instead of nestling on a warm lap, he would climb up and wrap himself around someone's neck, usually Brian's. While it wasn't exactly comfortable for the human involved, Omar was perfectly content in the awkward position.

One of Stella's most endearing memories of Omar occurred when her mother passed away. Overcome with grief, she had cried uncontrollably after receiving the devastating news. As if tuned into her emotional state, the cat had sat at her feet and wailed in a manner she had never heard before, from him or any other animal. It was apparent to her at that moment that her suffering had also been his.

When he was around nine or ten years old, Omar developed a tumor in his abdomen that grew so rapidly that by the time it became noticeable, it was too late to turn back the clock. When they learned that he was suffering, Stella and Brian made the painful decision to have their beloved pet humanely euthanized. It is evident to this day that the sad outcome rests heavily in their hearts, some twenty years after the fact.

Upon returning home after leaving the animal clinic, the couple were struck by the emptiness that filled the rooms in Omar's absence. Though small in stature, his energy had been palpable. The stillness was so off-putting that they went for a drive rather than suffer the silence. Fortunately, help was on the way.


Sweet Like Candy

About six weeks after Omar's passing, Stella was cleaning out one of her father-in-law's rentals when she heard something moving around near one of the dumpsters. Figuring that it was a rodent, she decided to hightail it out of the area before encountering the creature face-to-face. As she was heading towards the complex, a series of faint cries caused her to turn back around.

Following the sound, which was nonstop, Stella came upon a tiny kitten lying amongst the piles of trash that had accumulated behind the bins. Filthy and unable to stand, the animal appeared to be close to death. Fearing that it was beyond saving, but determined to try, she gently lifted the fragile form and held it in her arms.

She was immediately struck by how cold and stiff the kitten was. How something could still be alive in that condition she would never understand. Placing the foundling underneath her shirt, she rushed it to the veterinarian, fulling expecting it to die en route.

After examining the animal, the vet recommended putting it down. The kitten, a male no more than a few weeks old, was covered in fleas and so anemic that the staff had been unable to draw a blood sample. His temperature had also been extremely low. In the doctor's experience, a patient in that state was too far gone to save.

Stella wanted to do the right thing and was about to give the go-ahead when something unexpected happened. As she stroked the kitten's straggly fur, he opened his eyes and gazed directly into hers. It was the first time since she found him that he had shown any signs of life.

In that moment, Stella knew that she had to give him a fighting chance. Directing the vet to do whatever was necessary to save him, she left the fate of the kitten, who was barely clinging to life, in his hands. She knew then that even if the kitten didn't make it, she had done the best she could for him.

Miraculously, after a two-week stay at the facility, where he received round-the-clock attention, the kitten rallied. Stella had visited him everyday during his recovery. As his condition improved and his personality began to shine through, she named him Candy. He was, she remembers, the sweetest thing she had ever encountered, next to Omar, that is.

When she received the all-clear to take him home, Candy was finally introduced to Brian who had chosen to make himself scarce throughout the ordeal in case the kitten didn't survive. He was still reeling from the loss of Omar and didn't want to get close to another animal only to end up saying goodbye.

Candy, much like his predecessor, made himself at home right off the bat. His bad days behind him, the kitten established early on that he was now running the place. Stella says that what they had at first believed to be his lust for life, soon turned into something else. Before long, she and Brian were both commenting on the remarkable similarities between the seemingly incomparable Omar and their new pet.

The first thing that captured their attention was Candy's tendency to use his water bowl for anything other than drinking. He would splash around in it, showering the kitchen floor at every opportunity. On several occasions, Stella would find him sitting in the dish without a care in the world.

As he grew and his bowls got bigger, he began toppling them over just like Omar had done in his heyday. Wanting to test a theory, a tap was left running in the bathroom to see how Candy would react. Within minutes, he was drinking from the steady stream; something he would insist upon for the remainder of his life.

One day, while Brian was repairing an overhead light fixture, he suddenly felt something grab hold of his pant leg. Before he knew it, Candy had climbed up his back and was peering over his shoulder. When Stella came to see what the fuss was all about, she couldn't believe her eyes. Witnessing the cat draped across her husband's neck immediately made her think of Omar and his favorite method of cuddling.

From then on, when they least expected it, Candy would make a point of scaling their backs and lighting on their shoulders. It was a feat he accomplished with ease, even when he tipped the scales at a hearty fourteen pounds.

When Stella asked other cat owners if their pets ever climbed their backs and settled in around their necks, they all said no. Apparently, the phenomena was not as common in other households as it was in hers. Although she wanted to believe that Omar had somehow returned to them, she knew that such things weren't possible. In time, she would come to believe differently.

The event that convinced the pair that Candy was somehow in sync with Omar's spirit occurred when Stella suffered an ectopic pregnancy. She and Brian had been over the moon when they learned they were expecting, only to have their hopes dashed when it turned out that the embryo wasn't viable. It was a devastating blow.

Sinking into a depression the likes of which she had never known, Stella says that several weeks went by during which she would burst into tears for no apparent reason.

One afternoon, as she was tinkering around in the kitchen, Stella suddenly sank to the floor, her tears flowing like rain. As she wailed, she heard another voice join in. Wiping her eyes, she saw Candy sitting in front of her, letting out pitiful cries that closely mimicked her own.

When she shared the experience with Brian, they agreed that this was not normal cat behavior. They had only seen it once before and that was with Omar. They couldn't help but wonder what the odds were that they would have not one, but two cats who not only felt their owners emotions, but acted on them.

While some might think that the incredibly similar personality traits of the two cats were nothing more than coincidence, Stella is certain that something else was at play. Besides the incidents mentioned here, she claims that there were little things that happened over the years that led the couple to conclude that they had been blessed with the same cat twice.

Candy passed away peacefully in his sleep at the ripe old age of eighteen, Stella, Brian and their daughter Kristie by his side. They believed then, just as they do now, that he had been the essence of Omar returned to them. As far as they are concerned, nothing else makes sense.

When asked if perhaps Candy had been sent by Omar to ease their sorrow, they acknowledge that, while it is possible, they feel that the connection ran too deep for that to be the case. Wherever the truth lies, Candy entered their lives when they needed him most and healed their hearts.

Today, they are the loving owners of another ginger cat named Harold who, like the ones that came before, is a rescue. His personality, according to them, is nothing at all like that of Omar and Candy. Even so, his antics bring the family joy on a daily basis.

While the cycle may have been broken, Stella is thankful for the years they spent in the company of Omar and Candy, two cats who, believe it or don't, are thought to have shared the same soul.

*Names have been altered to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

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