Ghosts in the night…

ani 002

From the archive:

The dog, who had managed to do a very good impression of being really ill while there was chicken and crackling sent by my son to boost her failing health, was charging round the room in true setter fashion with a stuffed hedgehog dangling from her mouth. Looking at her, you wouldn’t think for a moment there was a thing wrong with her. Odd that.

If Ani is feeling unwell, which is thankfully rare, she retreats under the sofa cushions and doesn’t come out. You get to know her moods and emotions just as clearly as if she could speak. You may not know what exactly is wrong, but that something is not right somewhere is very obvious.

In the same way if I am feeling under the weather, sad or upset for any reason, Ani knows and is always there, cheering me up or just quietly being with me. She doesn’t know the causes or details, any more than I do when the boot is on the other foot, but she sees, smells, feels enough to just know things aren’t right.

We humans look to our animal companions and see their empathy, accepting that whether it is down to an arsenal of physical senses developed far beyond the capacity of our own, or perhaps due to some kind of sixth sense that simply knows, our four footed friends are aware in ways that we are not.

I’m not so sure that is true.

We all know those elderly couples who seem telepathic in their knowledge of one another, who no longer need to speak in order to share the dance of their days. Perhaps that is down to a lifetime together, learning the minute, wordless signals that allow them to read the silent stillness of each other. Siblings can be the same. My own sons seem to read each other’s mind so often and with such clarity… even in their randomness… that it is a family joke and they look at me with accusatory eyes when I do the same.

An odd choice of word, a look or the set of a shoulder may say much when we really take note. And sometimes silence holds more meaning than simple quietness and we question, in words or within ourselves, where the problem may lie and while we may not be able to help in any practical manner we can be aware, and that may be all that is needed.

Such things we can dismiss as familiarity, of course. Similarity, parity in experience perhaps, but is that all there is to it? I wonder sometimes.

I remember a night long ago when my mother, who had been to visit me in Paris, was taken ill on the way home. This was a time long before mobile phones; we communicated by letters that took a week to arrive. I had waved her off on the journey home after a wonderful day. She wasn’t even forty at the time but by two in the morning she was being rushed from the ferry to hospital after suffering a stroke. I woke in the middle of the night to hear her calling me by the name she always used. Clear as day, as if she was in the room with me. I put it down to missing her after the brief visit, but was uneasy for days and mentioned it over breakfast to my boss. Then I wrote home.

A few days later I had a phone call. She had waited until she could speak clearly again. She described what had happened; between consciousness and oblivion she had called for me and followed a path by a big house in the trees on one side and a field full of flowers on the other. It had led down a narrow alley to a cottage in the middle of the woods with a big tree outside the front door. This, oddly enough, was an accurate description of the route I took into the tiny town where I lived, every day. Outside the house was an olive tree.

There are other tales I could tell, stories that have their parallels in many of our lives. These things are not rare, but, I think, indicate a ‘forgotten’ sense that we no longer use to its true capacity; something that may have atrophied yet which can reassert itself sometimes.

Attention seems a prerequisite. We notice nothing unless we choose to see. But I wonder if there is not some kind of attunement that goes beyond the physical signals of body language or the shared experience of living that allows to pick up deeper echoes. It seems to me that it is those about whom we care the most that we can ‘tune in’ to more readily and to me that suggests a desire to do so; a desire to be in a close enough harmony to be ‘on their wavelength’.

How deep this attunement through affection may go is another matter, when we simply ‘know’, perhaps in the middle of the night, that something is wrong; or we make a call or visit because we feel we ‘have to’. There are no physical signals, no words, heard or read upon which to base our intuition. How then do we know?

I have no answers, only my own beliefs. But it is worth pondering perhaps whether the sixth sense so often posited is a reality we all share, but one that has fallen into disuse over the millennia of our evolution, except when triggered by that awareness  we call love.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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40 Responses to Ghosts in the night…

  1. Pingback: Ghosts in the night… – The Militant Negro™

  2. I have always been able to hear that voice. I know a lot of people who can hear it. Whatever other barriers against “the unknown” we erect, we can hear serious illness and the coming of death. We just know.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A distinction worth pondering: silence vs. simple quietness — and I agree with your observation about attention, Sue. It IS a prerequisite. And there is more to observe following the oft-subtle call of attention than that which is a observable by our five senses. Science can’t “prove” it, and few researchers deem it worthy of study, but many of us *know* it nonetheless.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, somebody has spoken in this regard about the “cosmic coincidence-generator”, a nice picture explaining also nothing at all. Strange things do simply happen, I personally stopped searching for a reason of such. Modern physics also still searching for the final world formula, without success so far. This leaves a lot of space for Imagination. Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. davidprosser says:

    It must be a great comfort to have Ani so attuned to you and can give the canine equivalent of a hug when needed.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lyn Horner says:

    Sue, I believe as you do, that there is a part of that has withered over time, an intuitive knowing that only rises to the surface when we really need it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks for reblogging, Lyn.
      I doubt that we really ‘need’ many of our instincts today in the same way as we once did… and I fancy that many of our problems arise because those basic instincts are now turned in other and non-natural directions.


  7. jenanita01 says:

    Animals seem to have a better sixth sense than we do, and always know when we need a cuddle. Comfort is better without words, I find…


  8. I totally agree with your last statement Sue and I do remember reading somewhere that before man could speak we didn’t actually need to in terms of communication.


  9. quiall says:

    This was beautiful! I have experienced it with my mother many times.


  10. This sense has visited me often.I always feel blessed that it happens. And the dogs…well, they can read the simplest details of a bad day, and react in such sweet ways.


  11. I think I used to have this sense but I have become so muddled with Michael’s frequent illnesses that I think I just panic from time to time for no reason at all. I also panic when there is good cause SIGH!


  12. Although me and my younger sister are were born on the same day, I am two years older than she is. However, we often used to be very ‘in tune’ with each other when younger. Many times we would choose exactly the same outfits despite not going shopping together (my Mum used to dress us alike when we were very young so maybe that had something to do with it), We often think along the same lines and say the same thing at the same time. I haven’t spent that much time with her lately, but met her for lunch last week after I had just had my nails manicured and painted. She asked to see them then laughed as she showed me hers that she had painted herself that morning, in the exact same shade of taupe!
    I can totally relate to how you heard your Mum calling you, Sue, as I do believe this kind of thing happens. 🙂


  13. A lovely post, Sue. The last line is beautiful. Love seems to be more than a simple cocktail of chemicals in our brains. It’s a vast universal force to be reckoned with and one we still don’t fully understand. ❤


  14. macjam47 says:

    I agree with you, Sue. The same thing has happened to me so often. My children used to marvel that I knew what they hadn’t vocalized. I do think we get so wound up in what’s going on around us that it is much like a loud noise blocking out the softest sounds. Our pace of life prevents us from using that other sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. willowdot21 says:

    I know what you saying Sue I believe there is more in the universe than we know of. I often sense thing before I am told and it can often surprise me. The most vivid thing is my mother had suffered three strokes and a heart attack she had been in a state where she did not seem to know us or communicate. I had a dream just before she died in which we sat and talked really talked it was wonderful because she had been in the locked in state for a few years. I awoke crying a couple of days later she died. I know I may of had that dream because I wanted to talk to her… Who knows. 💜


  16. dgkaye says:

    Wow what a story Sue. I absolutely believe in the inner knowing – 6th sense. You know when the phone rings with a pit in your stomach at the same time it’s not going to be good, or that wake in the middle of the night with an inner alert. I know exactly what you’re talking about. Inexplicable, yet there. 🙂 x


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