I have had four phantasmal experiences in my life. Of those four, I can easily explain two as being the lucid dreams of hypnagogia. The following strange tale falls into the later category of my personal ghost stories.
The Squirrel Man’s Belligerent Brood of Bow-wows
When I was a little boy, we had a neighbor who lived behind our house on a parallel street. My dad called him the squirrel man. The name was not a description of his appearance, or his like of trees, but more a description of his ability to gather the neighborhood nuts around him. That which I remember about the squirrel man, and which is relevant to the narrative, is that he was a dog breeder. He raised chihuahuas.
Some of my first experiences with dogs were with the squirrel man’s chihuahuas. They were mean yipping, growling, biting, domineering (I dare not explain what I mean by the term) little kobolds. When walking past his back alley garage, the entire brood of them would bare their little fangs, seething with red in their little eyes, yipping with all the yip in their little lungs. After a few years, the dogs died off one by one. Whether it was the Ohio winters, mistreatment by the squirrel man, or old age that killed them off, I do not know.
The Benefit of Bedding that Barricades Against Bedlam Bowsers and Banshees
I shared a bunk-bed with my older brother Richard. I had the top bunk, farthest away from any floor-crawling monsters that might hide under the bed. I knew if such things existed, I’d be warned of their presence by the crunching of Richard’s bones underneath me. I was pretty sure I could run out of our bedroom into the safety of mom and dad’s room before my brother was entirely devoured (I should thank him some day for giving me such a fighting chance of survival).
The top of my chest-of-drawers was around two feet to the left of my top bunk. Its top was almost parallel to the top of my bunk, allowing me to jump imaginary chasms, volcanoes, and other perilous drops. In case I was awakened by monsters munching on Richard, the chest-of-drawers also served as an alternate way of escape. I never suspected that my escape route could be a way for floor-dwelling creatures to climb up to me.
One night I awoke to a strange feeling. I had been sleeping on my left side, facing the chest-of-drawers. My eyes were still closed, but I felt very awake. As I opened my eyes, I saw and heard three barking see-through chihuahuas jumping from the top of my chest-of-drawers to my bunk-bed. I quickly pulled my covers over my head holding them tight. Some time after my heart stopped beating out of my chest, I drifted back to sleep.
Later that same night, I awoke again to the same strange feeling. I lifted the covers from my head, slowly opening my eyes to see a transparent woman wearing a white gown standing by the window. Again, I pulled the covers over my head, closing my eyes to the frightening otherworldly vision before me. When morning came, I moved the chest-of-drawers away from the bed… far away.
Experience, Reason, and Authority
I told my experience to my parents and my brother. Although my experience seemed very real to me, my family did not take it seriously. Richard in particular thought it was hilarious. In hindsight, my brother was right to laugh at my ridiculous story. My experience did not stand the tests of reason and authority.
Although reason does not dictate that spectral yippy rat-dogs do not exist, it does call their existence into question. Reason asks what is the most likely explanation of an experience? Although I did not know what hypnagogia was, I knew that various foods could bring on bad dreams. I also was an addict of the horror movies shown late at night on Double Chiller courtesy of Fritz the Nite Owl. Such movies could have brought on the experience. My memory of the squirrel man’s mean little beasts could also have been a contributing factor. The mere fact that they were spectral chihuahua’s should have tipped me off that what I was experiencing was not real. If they were real, wouldn’t they have torn through the bed sheets? Wouldn’t they have eaten Richard first? I mean, after all, he was the perfect monster bait.
To my knowledge, there is no trustworthy authority on killer chihuahuas from the nether realm. Holy Scripture says nothing explicit on life after death for animals, or whether they can haunt the living. I know that the creation is not limited to what we see, hear, taste, and feel. What our senses perceive can not always be trusted. I do not trust the above experience of hypnogogia. All I can trust is that which my God has revealed in His Word. My own hope in death is not in some spectral existence, surrounded by see-through ankle-biters, but in a resurrected bodily existence in a new heavens and earth.
Addendum: Two Corroborating Witnesses
Not long after posting this story, my wife informed me that she had seen the woman by the window while we were visiting my parents’ home. After seeing the apparition, she told my mom, who told her that she also had seen the woman in white by the window. Although I do not trust my experience with the spectral chihuahua’s, I now have reason to believe that I had seen something real and otherworldly that night.