What do you think animals/kids react to in situations like this?

It’s Halloween, and I came across a reposting of a Simon Pegg tweet on Tumblr. We’ve all heard stories like this, of kids and dogs reacting to thin air. In the spirit (heh) of the season, what do you think they’re really reacting to? With dogs, it’s a little easier to explain, since they, unlike the kind of kids mentioned by Pegg, can’t vocalize, and have such a wide range of hearing/sight abilities that it could really be almost anything.

I think with kids, it’s just their fertile imagination going into overload and they’re usually having fun, like with an imaginary friend.

With animals, yeah, they could be just hearing bugs in the wall or something beyond human senses. It used to freak me right the hell out when my dog would stand at the entrance to the basement stairs and “woof” softly into the darkness.

Are these the same things cats stare at . . . when all we see is a blank wall?

There is a child psychologist [long retired and perhaps dead] who can document that my imaginary playmate was apparently the ghost of my long dead Great Grandfather …

When my grandmother died, it was at home in her bed. We had brought our dog for some reason and he was there when it happened. Everyone claims he had been tense up until that moment and then became more excited after she passed, as if he’d seen or sensed something. He even barked a few times.

I think he was just reacting to everyone’s body language at the time - we were all tense and when she finally went it was a relief to everyone because it had drug out so long, and she herself never wanted to die like that.

By the way, the hospice nurse flushed all her drugs down the sink. Yum, tapwater.

Dogs (and cats) have much better hearing and senses of smell than we do. Our ‘nothing’ could be many things to them. Dogs can smell lung cancer and impending seizures after all. Cats have an ability to detect sounds 1.6 octaves higher than humans, and are primed by evolution to have a keen interest in shrill (prey) sounds and pinpointing their location. These things explain pretty much every ‘spooky’ thing I’ve ever seen or heard of a dog or cat doing.

Young kids just have a blurred line between the actual world and their imaginations and emotional reactions.

I’ve also found that particularly intelligent or intuitive youngsters know what to say to get a reaction from the adults around them, too.

maybe so, but i ***really ***wish maggie would quit doing that. when you live alone as i do, having a heretofore soundly-asleep cat suddenly roll over in your lap and stare fixedly out the upstairs tv room doorway out into nothing except the stairwell… it gets pretty freaky sometimes. :eek:

My lab used to go off on the darnedest things, but I was usually able to work out what it was.

Each fall when heating season started, for a few days he would react to the “woof” noise the furnace made when the main burner touched off. By the end of the week, he was ignoring it.

One time the power went off during the night, and he totally freaked out over the blinking red 12:00 on the alarm clock. Another time we were at my sisters and he saw the sleeve of a fur coat hanging in the closet and went off. Not that they ever would have a pet, but PETA could have used this dog. I have no idea how, but he could tell fake fur from the real thing at maybe 50 feet, and he was not happy when he saw the real stuff.