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The Black Dog of Death: My first Ghost Hunt
By Richard Senate

 

When I was growing up in the Conejo Valley in the late 1950s, there was a sort of rumor, or legend, that circulated in the schoolyard of Conejo Elementary School. Maybe it was just a story, but I must credit the yarn for my early interests in ghosts and the supernatural. It was the story of the Black Dog of Death.

A witch riding a black dog from the 1926 book La Vie Execrable de Guillemette Babinby M.Carron.


According to the tale there was a huge black ghost dog that wandered about the Conejo Valley and anyone unlucky enough to see the creature would die within the month. One unfortunate student had tragically died suddenly of cancer and the rumor was he had encountered the dog one afternoon. I do not believe the story was true, but it was believed by a good many of the students.

It was rather fun, in a cruel sort of way. You could approach a group of younger students, point and say , “Look ,there is the black Dog of Death! Can’t you see it? It’s coming this way.” The kids would shield their eyes and run away in terror. As the weeks passed, the story evolved somewhat. The supernatural hound was said to live in the old pioneer cemetery on the eastern end of the town. The place looked like some western “Boot Hill” with wooden fences, headstones at strange angles and lots of weeds. It looked like a set for a horror movie and, for all I know, it may have been used for one a time or two. The dog haunted the grave of a man who was believed to be the meanest man in the valley, who had one of the largest stones in the graveyard. The ghost dog would appear at exactly 11:42 each night before it prowled the valley. Now, why that time and not midnight? I haven’t a guess, except it may have sounded cooler than midnight.

In truth, I didn’t believe in the legendary Black Dog. But my friend and I decided to investigate by spending the night next to the grave and watching for the infamous death dog. I don’t know why we did this, maybe it was something that would only excite a twelve year old boy. So we did it. I told my folks I was spending the night with my friend (only partly a lie) and he told his that he was spending the night with me. We got our sleeping bags --a few supplies and we were off to the old cemetery. We brought flashlights, a portable radio, some soft drinks and some snacks. We also had a camera with a flash unit to take a picture of the infamous dog if it did appear. Looking back, we had more courage than brains.

The place had high weeds and no one could see us from the roads or far-away houses. The fence had several holes large enough to drive a car through, so access wasn’t a problem. Remember, this was another time, another age, when most people were ready to let boys be boys. We set up our camp next to the large stone monument and talked, listened to the radio, and joked around like kids do. We saw the sun go down turning the sky gold and lifting the oppressive heat of the valley. We drank our drinks and feasted on our snacks as we joked about how we would spend our last month alive--if the death dog really did come.

It got cold quick and we snuggled into our sleeping bags as the stars came out over us. Now the talk of ghosts began to take on a new life. Back in the days when 1000 Oaks really had 1000 oaks there were few street lights and the darkness was inky black. The hours passed slowly as we exhausted any and all topics of conversation and began to think we should have included a deck of cards with our supplies. We kept watch on the time and as the magic moment of 11:42 approached my heart began to race. Just as the watch hit 11:40 we heard a sound in the weeds. It was something like an animal approaching!

My heart leaped into my throat as I scanned the underbrush. In my mind’s eye I imagined the huge black dog ready to rip us apart for our disbelief. My hand was on the flashlight and I snapped it on, pointing the beam into the grass. Two red eyes flashed back at me--moved and ran away with great bounds. It was a large jack rabbit! Then they were then found all over the valley (conejo is Spanish for ‘rabbit’ after all). My friend and I laughed and laughed for twenty minutes. By one a.m. we were asleep and our night was uninterrupted by ghosts or demon dogs. It was my first ghost hunt and it was a bust . Still it did confirm that the story of the black dog haunting the cemetery was just so much folklore. The cemetery is gone now, the graves relocated, but, I still wonder if the story of the Black Dog of Death is told in Conejo Valley.

20 QUESTIONS WITH Richard Senate

One of the top ghost investigators of our generation. He is an "Historian And Ghost Stalker" author of several prominent books on ghosts and paranormal phenomenon, and has appeared on just about every paranormal television and radio show there is. PLEASE VISIT TO READ MORE HERE!

Also visit Richard Senates Web Site here now!

www.ghost-stalker.com


General Black Ghost Dog Hunting Tips


Always go and inspect the area you wish to ghost hunt in daylight so you are familiar with the area. Look for dangerous places and obstacles that you will not be able to see in the dark.

Look for no trespassing signs. Make sure you are not trespassing. If you are on private property you are risking getting a ticket or arrested in some areas. You can get permission from many owners and or Cemetery or haunted building caretakers.You should by all means notify the local Police that you will be in a grave yard "taking pictures" so they are aware of our presence.

Make sure you bring you ID. (drivers license, etc.)

Never go alone. This is just common sense.

Find out all you can about the history of the locale. Newspapers, town historians, WWW and books. We have a haunted places in America listings here.

These are many "Haunted" places you can start your Black Dog ghost hunting


Haunted Cemeteries - Come explore some of the world's most haunted cemeteries. The World's Most Haunted Cemetery may make you a real believer in ghosts. Some say the black ghost dogs guard these lonely places. Here is a collection of true ghost stories from the world's most haunted Cemeteries. This list will have some familiar names, and some places you never expected to be haunted. Paranormal activity is an really a very international affair, and ghosts and apparitions intermingle with the living everywhere day and night. When it comes to the number and regularity of ghost sightings and unexplained events, these real haunted Graveyards, Cemeteries and burial spots can't be beat.

HAUNTED HOUSES - Americas' Most Haunted Houses - Haunted Houses | Haunted Mansions | Haunted Plantations. A haunted house is defined as building that people live in that is a center for supernatural occurrences or paranormal phenomena. Some haunted houses are known to be haunted by the ghosts of dogs. A haunted house may contain ghosts, poltergeists, or even demons.

Haunted Schools and Libraries - Haunted Buildings, Their Ghost Stories and Ghost Photos Haunted Theaters - Probably the most popular place for a ghost to appear (if you don't count cemeteries) is a theater. Certain aspects of theater folklore involve hauntings, such as the "ghost light" and the attribution of mishaps to the work of a ghost, so it's unlikely that all these theaters were really the sites of murders, or are really haunted.

Haunted Battlefields - American Battlefield Ghost Hunters always suggest that planning ahead can often make the difference between a good ghost hunting trip and a great trip to National Battlefield Park.Some tales tek if ghostly dogs haunting the many battlefields in America. Explore these pages to discover the essential things you need to know before you leave home—how to get around the park, where pets are allowed, how to stay safe, and more important a ghost photo or ghost story to read and plan to investigate.

Haunted Travel - There’s more to experience on a real haunted Vacation than most people can fit into one normal vacation – sun, sand, ancient historic sites, secrets of the dead and past, unique nature-based experiences in exotic locals, and non-stop ghostly haunted and paranormal thrills. All this sounds something like the latest Indiana Jones Movie doesn't it? Also See: Haunted Vacations

Haunted Hotels, Motels, B&B's Guest Houses - Investigating a Haunted Hotel
THE Best Haunted Hotels in America Listed By State. Do you know what experts suggest before you book your stay in a haunted hotel? Planning your own Stay Overnight in a Haunted Hotel or Haunted Motel or B&B?Visit Here to learn what the experts think you should know! An overnight stay in one of the Haunted America Tours Top 10 Hotels can sometimes change the heart of a "True Skeptic"!

Haunted Historic Locations - Many historic buildings, because of their age, have had more time to have spirits attach to it. These buildings are often open the public and can give you a easy place to start. From the lost and lonely haunted hot spots in America Black Dog ghosts have been said to roam. Many locations even have known histories of hauntings and you may be able to gain access to the building after hours after speaking with the caretakers. MOST HAUNTED PLACES IN THE WORLD


Books on Local Haunted Places -At HauntedAmericaTours.com we invite you into our Ghost Haunted Paranormal world Online Store where art, News stories, photography and the unexplained merge into a new landscape that will leave you truly spellbound. HauntedAmericaTours.com is a continuous work in progress; we will keep it updated for you on a regular basis, so that you can come back and see a ghost or two, and meet some new ones. Please browse here and find what your looking for. Check out the other Catgories also and enjoy your very haunted adventures safely. HAUNTED AMERICA TOURS: Essentials For Ghost Hunters And Paranormal Enthusiest.

Haunted Museums - Visit Haunted America Tours own Online Haunted Chambers of the Bizarre. Can inanimate objects such as paintings, a doll or a pile of bones be really haunted? Strange images appear in haunted paintings, Skulls are said to scream and strange looking items disturb us. Some spend the day browsing through but would you spend the Night at the Museum? "Real ghost photos - real ghost stories." you decide! Come with us now and take a haunted tour of this virtual online haunted collection of the worlds most haunted collection of the strange and unexplained. Free Admission too! Please any visitors to this web site Haunted Musem Gallery, This is not reccommeded for the highly sensitive!

 


 

 


 

 

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EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE SAFE THIS HALLOWEEN 2007, PLEASE PASS THIS ON YOU MIGHT JUST SAVE SOMEONES LIFE!

Over the years since the battle, stories of scores of sightings, stranger than reality, have emerged from the quaint houses and gentle fields in and around the town of Gettysburg: Stories of sightings of these soldiers, moving again in battlelines, across
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