In A Pickle  

Mischievous mutt's ghostly encounter

Dog senses the paranormal

Nala braced herself, refusing to enter the shower house at a campground near Tumbler Ridge.

She had the same response to the downtown core. “I’m not going there,” Nala seemingly said. Her reaction puzzled her human parents.

No amount of coaxing or treats could lure the dog into those invisible danger zones.

Some people believe animals see the spirit world. Pets react with barking or hissing, with their eyes fixated on the unseen menace. They’ll raise their hackles, ready to fight the apparition.

Nala, a border collie mix, locked her front legs and planted her butt on the ground.

“She’s stubborn as a mule”, her owner, Crystal, complained. Nala was a pacifist and knew she was no match for it.

With her fierce bark, she scared off coyotes and bears, but this was too much. Nala writhed around on her leash and growled at the phantom before her. Chills went down Crystal’s spine as she watched her dog’s disturbing behaviour.

Tumbler Ridge has 3,000 years of human history, plus evidence that dinosaurs that once roamed the district. There was also a report of a Sasquatch sighting on July 11, 2013. Those wild, hairy men are caretakers of the land. They’re believed to shape shift, making themselves visible to a select few. Was that what the dog saw? Or was it ancient humans?

At the outset, the area was populated by the indigenous nomadic Sekani tribe, followed by the Dunneza and then the Cree. The Dunneza or Dane-zaa (Beaver Tribe) foresaw the coming of the Europeans.

Nevertheless, it was not until 1981 that Tumbler Ridge attained official township status through metallurgic coal mining. Her dad worked at the mine and Nala came for a visit. Everything was intimidating to the young dog, with sights and smells only a canine would notice.

Nala was overwhelmed and went into a trance, transcending time and space. She observed the traditional people of history, living, battling, and perishing in this sacred place.

One tribe known as the Sekani, whose name stands for laughter, lived in the hills and mountains and they wandered the area. These hearty folk dwelt in brush huts exposed to the elements and wore mountain goat skins for clothing. At night, they covered themselves with those hides sewn together.

The nomads solemnly laid out their deceased on scaffolds composed of branches, situated high in the treetops, or propped them upright in trees hollowed out for that purpose. Sometimes they left their dearly departed with clothes and weapons. The corpses were on guard within the confines of their vertical, open tree coffins.

Nala, the sensitive mutt, saw more than the surrounding forest. Was something sinister stalking them? Maybe she smelled death. Whatever she sensed, it scared her. The pup wondered how to protect her family in the event the threat was supernatural. Eventually Nala returned to the present and left behind the hardy Sekani people who could’ve lived in this very campsite, a meadow deep in the wilderness.

It’s hard to imagine how they survived sleeping in open-ended twig structures in -30 conditions. The pampered pet and her humans had it much easier in the frigid temperatures in their winterized holiday trailer two centuries later. However, it was no picnic. The dog was restless and constantly wanted outside. Every time they opened the door, cold air blasted in and cooled down the place. It cost a fortune for propane to stay warm that Christmas of 2021.

When Nala wasn't hiding under the bed from ghosts, and things that went bump in the night, she got into mischief in those close quarters they shared. She assumed she was human and expected her family to thank her with a morsel of steak for warding off invisible entities. As far as Nala was concerned, she earned it by protecting them during the yuletide season.

Conversely, I believe Nala may have seen fallen angels, not disembodied spirits, with unfinished business.

According to Ecclesiastes 9:5 and 9:10 NKJV, “For the living, know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward” and “There is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in death.”

I’m sorry for being a buzz-kill.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel writes about the humour in every-day life, and gets much of her inspiration from the late Erma Bombeck’s writing style. 

Doreen also has a serious side, shares her views on current events, human-interest stories and sometimes the downright bizarre. 

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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