Any dog owner will recall times when their pet has acted anxious or strange because of some perceived threat that the owner cannot identify. They can sense things far beyond the range of what human senses allow. But can they sense the supernatural? Some owners certainly think so, and several courageous canines have made names for themselves as effective paranormal investigators. Here are ten real-life Scooby-Doos who investigate the supernatural.
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Bailey is a golden retriever from Savannah, Georgia, who joins his owner on spooky walking tours of the city, which some say is the most haunted in the USA. Bailey got his start sniffing out spirits when his owner brought him along on the tours to help him socialize after he had been abused by a previous owner. The walks were successful, and they also revealed Bailey’s sixth sense.
According to his owner, he would often stop and stare into what looked like blank space, but when tourists took pictures, they could see mysterious orbs of light. After seeing how successful Bailey had been at spotting the spooky orbs, his owners started training another puppy to accompany them.
9 Bond, aka “Spooky-Doo”
Bond is a rescued racing greyhound who investigates the mysterious and macabre around Manchester, UK. His owners, who run an investigative agency called Paranormal Rescue, have described how Bond is even better than electronic equipment, and he always lets them know when he senses something. On a visit to a supposedly haunted college, which used to be a prison, Bond was chasing something around which was invisible to his owners. He eventually entered one of the cells, where he began choking.
After investigating the history of the prison, his owners would learn that it was the cell where two prisoners had killed themselves over 100 years before. Returning to the location later as part of a news report, Bond did not want to enter the cell again, which his owner believes is because of Bond’s eerie experience the last time.
Maddie might be the most famous of the fearless dogs on this list. She starred in the U.S. cable TV series Ghost Hunters, and as part of The Atlantic Paranormal Society featured in the show, she has a slightly different role than some other dogs in similar lines of work. Her handler explained that she is trained to sniff out signs of animal activity, something which could be helpful when it comes to ruling out causes of suspected supernatural phenomena. However, he also says Maddie is highly sensitive to magnetic fields, which the team believes can be evidence of paranormal activity.
They also value Maddie’s honest, unbiased approach to investigations. Being a dog, she does not form any judgments or expectations before visiting an alleged haunted location. It is possible that a dog’s instincts and responses are more reliable than even the experienced human members of the team.
Basil works alongside his owner, spirit medium Ian Wood, as part of the Wigan-based Sixth Sense Ghost Hunters in the UK. The name of the team is apt because, alongside his heightened senses of smell and hearing, 14-year-old Basil can apparently communicate with the dead. The duo’s favorite haunt is the Wigan Old Courts, which has a long history of ghostly goings-on, including coffins crashing through walls. Basil barks whenever she notices something strange, and her owner always picks up on something there, where people have been hung in the past.
When a film crew came to join them on one of their investigations, they took them to the cells at the Old Courts, where many dangerous people used to be held. The cameramen ended up crying and becoming sick, and then they refused to return to the cells. Basil showed more bravery and continued to accompany guests on tours of the location.
Watson is another canine who has made a career as a TV star. The British bulldog is the fearless partner of Yvette Fielding, who hosts the show Most Haunted in the UK. Fielding did not originally intend for Watson to join her on the show, but one instance of his bravery showed that he was the right dog for the job.
On his first visit to a location with Fielding, he walked straight into a room that the on-site security guard’s German shepherd refused to enter. The room was a suspected center of poltergeist activity. Restoration workers reported objects moving around mysteriously, being pulled off of ladders, and hearing banging noises not caused by their work. Although calm and unfazed by his supernatural encounters, Watson still lets others know when he has noticed something by striking an intense pose with his ears sticking up, like he is going to run at something. He also growls when he suspects a ghost is present and refuses any attempts to pull him away.
Some paranormal investigators believe a dog’s sensitivity to spiritual energy is a combination of nature and nurture, like Zak Bagans of the TV series Ghost Adventures. While he believes animals have a heightened awareness of spirits, he explained in an interview that he had to teach Ridley how to hunt ghosts.
The size of the dog does not matter, though; Ridley is a tiny Yorkshire terrier who Zak says can kick some demon butt. Ridley rarely had the chance to show off his skills, however. Not long after adopting him, Zak had to leave Ridley in the care of his mother because of the amount of traveling he had to do. Still, it is probably good to know his family is safe from supernatural harm.
A more frequent guest on Ghost Adventures was Zak’s older dog, Gracie, who he describes as a “highly specialized piece of equipment.” In one on-screen investigation, Gracie conducted a sweep of a saloon reported to be haunted by an evil old hag.
After finishing her search, she unusually jumped up and rested her front paws on Zak to physically stop him from moving further into one of the rooms. That room was said to be the site where the old hag had attacked someone. Gracie also focused intensely on one of the corners of the room, with her ears sticking up to show full alertness. After leaving the room, Zak said he had never seen such fear in her eyes. This was worrying as he had immense trust in her instincts after their previous experiences together, which included living in a very haunted house.
Glimmer is the canine ghost detector of Wolf Paranormal Investigations, a team operating in Canada. Glimmer’s success was such that she also made it onto TV in a local news report. Her owner also believes animals are highly sensitive to evidence of the paranormal, specifically fluctuations in magnetic fields and energies that cannot be detected by humans. She does not see anything surprising about this, comparing it to the way dogs can detect earthquakes before people are aware they will happen.
She trained Glimmer to provide responses to the energies she senses, which are documented on their website. She will sit and relax in the presence of positive energies but still stare in the direction of what is causing it. When there are negative energies, she will not sit and will become tense, hiding her tail between her legs and panting.
2 Bossy the “Psychic Dog”
Bossy has become something of a YouTube sensation because of her supernatural senses. She can be seen on the YouTube channel of the Ghost Hunters Queensland South Team, based in Brisbane, Australia, where she has racked up over 10 million views. Her owner describes how Bossy has been sensing paranormal activity in the house they share, which they know because Bossy only ever barks or growls when something has disturbed her.
Filming at night on a security camera in their bedroom, Bossy can be seen in clips waking up after mysterious orbs of light have passed through the room and staring in their direction. Another clip shows her growling at something under a bed in a room where things had been knocked over in a way her owners could not explain. Despite Bossy being active in hunting spirits in her haunted home, it is unclear whether she joins the team on their investigations.
Pixie is another dog who proves that when it comes to confronting spooky entities, size does not matter. Pixie was a Jack Russell terrier who accompanied tourists on her owner’s guided walks, the Ghost Tours of America, in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Initially, Pixie only came along so she could have a walk, but soon she would begin to stop in certain spots and refuse to move. When tourists took pictures at these spots, they often noticed orbs in the photos. Pixie became the location scout for new tours as she was the only one who seemed to be able to verify locations as actually haunted.
In one old telephone building, where she appeared fascinated by a specific corner, a tourist took a photo that clearly showed an apparition right in the spot Pixie was interested in. Pixie was said to be highly professional, not being disturbed by other sounds or smells while on the job. She died aged 13 in 2012, and while she did not return as a ghost, she reportedly communicated with her owners from the beyond.