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Darren Zenko

- About the Book

by Darren Zenko
Published by Ghost House Books,
an imprint of Lone Pine Publishing

Can animals return as ghosts? "Definitely," says paranormal storyteller Darren Zenko. Some ghost animals, especially pets, prove their loyalty in the afterlife, while others, such as Great Britain's Black Dogs, return to terrify the living. The stories in this remarkable new collection, based largely on eyewitness accounts, will inspire and astound, confirming the special bond between the human and animal worlds.

  • In a mountainous area of Ohio, the spirit of a legendary ghost wolf makes its final stand against some malicious hunters.
  • In the Hanging Hills of Connecticut, the spirit of an adorable puppy lures hikers to their deaths.
  • A phantom bear stalks the halls of the Tower of London.
  • Majestic as ever, the ghost horses of President Lincoln's funeral procession continue their proud march.
  • In rural Alberta, a loyal hound's spirit returns to save her mistress from the clutches of drug addiction.
  • A dead mynah bird uses his talent for mimicry to say goodbye to his family.
  • Gef, an elusive talking mongoose, turns a cottage on the Isle of Man into an international paranormal sensation.
  • Near Virginia City, Nevada, the spirit of a camel materializes, led by a dead man.
  • A ghostly herd of horses, killed long ago, rumbles through Texas' breathtaking Palo Duro Canyon.
Copyright ©2004 by Ghost House Books. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate and distribute this file, as long as the excerpt is not altered and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.


- Excerpt


Ghost Stories of Pets and Animals

Darren Zenko


The excerpt below is from the chilling new book, "Ghost Stories of Pets and Animals." The eerie tale (or is that "tail"?) concerns a geriatric tomcat who sends a farewell message to his vacationing human companion. Like most of the stories in the book, it will leave you with that tingling feeling of the familiar.

"Ghost Stories of Pets and Animals" began as a project to document the immortal bond between people and their beloved pets. However, author Darren Zenko and his team of researchers found that many of the best stories involved, not the afterlife comforts of a favorite animal companion, but arresting apparitions sent as harbingers of doom. The book includes 35 historical gems and present-day encounters, both menacing and benign, covering a menagerie of creatures including dogs, cats, horses, camels, sheep, pigs, rats, birds, and a mongoose.

More information about the book, "Ghost Stories of Pets and Animals" and author Darren Zenko follows the excerpt. Enjoy!

The Telepathic Cat

by Darren Zenko

Brent Jansen had been having the trip of a lifetime, backpacking with college friends for five weeks through the length and breadth of Ireland. He and his buddies wandered from the weird volcanic formations of the Giant's Causeway in the north to Blarney Castle with its famous stone in the south, from the majestic cliffs of Slieve League in County Donegal to the mysterious ancient tomb of Newgrange in Glendalough. All the along the way, they enjoyed Ireland's food, music, people and, of course, pubs. They sat in dozens of pubs and quaffed hundreds of pints, Beamish stout and Harp lager, joining forces with Irish whiskey and "Scrumpy Jack" cider in a happy blur of Celtic joy.

And now, fresh from a pilgrimage to the famous Guinness brewery, Brent lay in his bed at Dublin's cozy Tathony House hostel. Tomorrow, it was back to London and from there the long transatlantic flight home to Calgary. As much as he'd loved Ireland, the young man looked forward to getting back, with his bag full of photos and his head full of stories.

It didn't take long for Brent to fall asleep that night (he had thoroughly sampled the Guinness family's fine products). But he didn't snore peacefully for long. At about two o'clock in the morning he began to dream, a dream more immediate and vivid than any he'd had before: a vision of the death of one of his oldest and dearest friends.

In his dream, he found himself in the familiar surroundings of Calgary's Nose Hill Park, a little piece of unspoiled wilderness in the midst of modern housing developments, not far from his parents' home. Brent often spent hours hiking through the park, enjoying the quiet and solitude. The dream sight of its foothills terrain -- wild grasses and scrub rustling in the dry summer wind, the evening sun throwing its long shadows -- filled him with a mix of happiness and homesickness. But something wasn't quite right. Everything looked familiar but somehow different. When the dream revealed his pet cat, Moby, loping through the familiar grassland, he realized what he was seeing.

"I was down almost at cat level," Brent remembers, "not seeing through Moby's eyes, but still somehow experiencing what he was experiencing." The big old platinum Siamese was moving unusually fast for his advanced age -- over 16 years and counting, with more than a touch of arthritis in his back legs. Brent's parents were cat-sitting; he had left strict instructions for them not to let the aged but feisty tomcat out. Moby was far too rickety to deal with any trouble his temper might get him into.

Brent knew his dream was actually happening. As the vision continued, the reason for the old cat's painful sprint became clear.

"He was being hunted," says Brent. "There are lots of coyotes in that area, and they take what they can get. They can't usually catch cats, but Moby was a pretty easy target: old, fat and slow." The cat tried to make a run for it, but adrenaline can only make up for so much. Brent could feel Moby's exhaustion, feel the pain in his legs, feel the electric panic of a frightened feline. Worst of all he could feel his childhood pal losing steam, and with the cat's senses he could hear, smell and even feel the canine predator closing in. Yards behind, feet, inches...

It was all over in an instant. The golden sunshine of a clear mid-July evening in southern Alberta vanished, replaced by the close darkness of the Dublin night. Brent awoke suddenly, disoriented, his heart pounding.

"I knew Moby was dead, and I knew that I had watched it happen," Brent says. "It was an absolute conviction."

The strange dream left him mystified and disturbed but, oddly, Brent didn't feel upset by Moby's death itself. "Maybe it was the certainty of knowing," he speculates, "that sort of calm that comes when there are no questions or loose ends. I knew he'd been killed, but I also knew that he was beyond the reach of pain and suffering. I think it would have been worse if I had arrived home and he was just gone."

After the flight home, Brent's parents met him at the airport. He says, "They didn't waste any time in letting me know about Moby. After the hugs and kisses, picking up my luggage and getting on the road home, my mom turned around in the front seat and looked at me with a really strange expression. She said, 'Honey, before we get home, there's something you should know...'

"I just put my hand on her arm and said, 'I know, Mom, Moby's gone. It's okay.' Her eyes went wide. She just stared at me, half-stammering, not knowing what to say. She asked, 'How do you know?'"

Brent told them about the dream he'd had in Dublin, and his amazed parents confirmed that the times matched up perfectly. Moby had gotten loose at more or less exactly the time that Brent had his vision. Brent's mom had been grilling steaks on the barbecue. She wasn't used to having a cat around the house and had absentmindedly left the patio door open when she went in to answer the phone. The veteran tomcat had seized the opportunity and literally headed for the hills.

"Mom started to cry a little," Brent continues. "She felt really guilty and embarrassed for letting the cat out. They hadn't stopped searching the neighborhood until they had to leave for the airport to pick me up. I just said, 'Don't worry, it's okay. He's gone and it's over. It was his time. There's nothing you could have done.'"

When Brent got back to his parents' place, he went straight out to Nose Hill Park. With no difficulty, he found the exact spot he'd seen in his dream, the spot where Moby died. He couldn't see any blood or bones -- "Coyotes are pretty thorough," he says -- but he sat there for a long time, meditating and reflecting on his seemingly supernatural experience.

Brent still visits that spot often. He sits amid the wild beauty of the Rocky Mountain foothills and thinks about the day his old friend somehow reached across half a planet for one last moment of connection.


Copyright ©2004 by Ghost House Books. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate and distribute this file, as long as the excerpt is not altered and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.

About the Author

Darren Zenko is a freelance journalist, editor, alternative-radio broadcaster, pop-culture commentator and karaoke host. A lifelong fascination with the paranormal began as soon as he read Readers Digest's Strange Stories & Amazing Facts and continued through a poorly thought-out attempt to summon the ghost of Elvis in his junior high industrial-arts darkroom. This interest led Darren to join the Ghost House team, where Ghosts Stories of Pets and Animals is his first book-length exploration of the unknown.


Copyright ©2004 by Ghost House Books. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to duplicate and distribute this file, as long as the excerpt is not altered and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.




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