The best investigation partner I ever had was my dog, Cody. A twenty-four pound Boston Terrier that was invaluable when it came to verifying the presence of paranormal activity. Personally, I think Cody Dog had an advantage because evolution allowed him to perceive his environment in a much different way than me. Dogs, like all animals, are shaped by evolution, and the traits that dogs have now were decided by natural selection. The traits that give dogs the most significant advantages were passed on to future generations, and evolution definitely gives dogs an advantage when it comes to paranormal investigation.
Despite common belief, dogs are not entirely color blind. A dog’s vision is more like red/green color blindness in humans. They can see the colors blue, yellow, and gray, and this color blindness allows dogs to see in low light. This gives dogs an advantage over their human partners because most paranormal investigations happen in low light conditions. Also, a dog has a greater field vision, and their eyesight is more sensitive to motion. Last week I wrote a blog about why we often see paranormal activity out of the corner of our eyes. This is because our peripheral vision is more sensitive to motion. A greater sensitivity to movement and a wider field of vision definitely gives dogs an advantage over their human counterparts. If you think on how many in investigators use motion activated equipment and night vision during a paranormal investigation, you can easily see why a dog’s ability to detect movement in low light is valuable.
It’s widely known that dogs have a greater sense of smell, and I think this another evolutionary trait gives dogs a distinct advantage. According to Dr. Michael Henry, (add comma) of St. Charles Ghost Tours, smell is the most common manifestation of paranormal phenomena, because it takes the least amount of energy for a spirit to manipulate the molecules that causes odor - (add hyphen) compared to any other psychical phenomena. If Dr. Henry is right, a dog’s heightened sense of smell will give them an advantage in detecting paranormal activity.
Dog’s also have a wider range of hearing than humans. Dogs can hear sounds ranging from 70 Hz to 45,000 Hz. The sound range for humans is only 40 Hz to 23,000 Hz. Even though humans can hear lower frequency levels than dogs; the amplitude of the sound wave at lower frequencies has to be many times greater for us to detect. Also, dogs can pivot their ears to locate a sound, and they can detect sounds from greater distances. Again, given the amount of equipment paranormal investigators carry to capture EVP’s, a dog’s hearing is a distinct advantage.
Personally, I think the dog’s most significant advantage over their human counterparts is that they don’t have a preconception of the paranormal. We are almost programmed from birth to be scared of the ghosts. Our initial response to paranormal phenomena is to be scared. A dog’s natural reaction is to hunt for it. Often, when witnessing something paranormal, Cody Dog would sniff and listen. My initial response was to determine whether I was going to be scared and deciding what piece of equipment to use to document the event. I think a dog’s reaction to something paranormal is pure. If it’s evil, I think a dog would react protectively. If it’s benevolent, I think a dog would remain calm.
Many professions such as first responders, military, agriculture, and medicine, utilize a dog’s unique characteristics to aid in their jobs. I see no reason why the paranormal community also shouldn’t also take advantage of a dog’s unique abilities. Not only do we gain a new way to detect paranormal phenomenon, but we also gain a loyal friend and a loving companion.