Sunday, June 23, 2024

Happy Woodlawn Pet Cemetery, Dog Ghost Stories, Part II

It was the Forgotten Mysteries 1947 book by R. Dewitt Miller that I stumbled upon and the local article to connect the two to find out that Mr. and Mrs. Blochin were the owners of the Bencruachan Kennnels and a couple who started the first pet cemetery in Canada here in Aurora.

According to the author the pet cemetery was called Happy Woodland. However to my further search the name seemed to be Happy Woodlawn, that is according to the local newspaper articles.

Richard DeWitt Miller (1910-1958) was an American writer of science fiction and Fortean phenomena. He published first science-fiction book called The Shapes which was published in Astounding Science Fiction during 1936. His collection of non-fiction books include You Do Take It With You (1936) (a book about Fortean phenomena) as well as The Mastery of the Master (1944), Impossible – Yet It Happened also known as Forgotten Mysteries: True Stories of the Supernatural (1947), Stranger Than Life (1955), You Do Take It with You: An Adventure into the Vaster Reality (1955), and Reincarnation: The Whole Startling Story (1956). Fortean phenomena is defined as the strange naturally occurring phenomena that science cannot yet define or explain.

The following are two stories extracted from the Miller’s book the Forgotten Mysteries 1947 that are related to Mrs. Blochin, the pet cemetery and the dog called Solo. Mrs. Blochin was a writer herself, as you will read further, wrote a book called That Dog of Yours published in 1941. Miller’s story is based on her book.

I have a spritely little case about the photographing of a ghost dog. It appeared, of all places, in a handbook of the care of dogs, That Dog of Yours, by Anne Elizabeth Blochin, published in 1941 by Macmillan Company of Canada, Ltd.

It seems that several hundred animal lovers had gathered for the ceremony of unveiling a central monument in a pet cemetery called Happy Woodland. This cemetery was apparently located on property owned by the Blochins. During the ceremony, a visitor photographed a flower-banked grave marker. The visitor was interested only in the grave stone and saw no ghost, either human or canine.

As ghost photographs are always under suspicion, I simply quote Mrs. Blochin as to the denouement of the matter:

… On developing the negative, the photographer was amazed to see, clearly defined in the picture, the figure of a dog lying at the foot of the grave. She sent it to us with the query: ‘Is this the spirit of your Happy Woodland? It was the undeniable likeness of a dog, though there were no living dogs in the cemetery at the time. When the photograph was shown to the owners of the grave, they immediately recognized it as that of their pet, a beloved small mongrel. .. He had been buried there some months before. That this might not be thought the mere power of suggestion, they submitted several photographs of the dog in life, which show a resemblance so striking as to be remarkable.

REFERENCE: Forgotten Mysteries 1947, R. Dewitt Miller, pg 57-58.

In the same book Mrs. Blochin tells a most intriguing story concerning a ghost dog. The case is first hand.

A dog of hers, Solo, escaped from the kennel late one afternoon. Thinking Solo would soon return, the Blochin family sat down to their evening meal. A few minutes later the early evening train, which passed near the house, roared by. An instant later Mrs. Blochin saw Solo run past the dining room window. As he was close to the house, he was easily identified; she noted that he was running away from the railroad tracks.

The next morning Mrs. Blochin set out with another dog in search of the recalcitrant Solo. As she was passing through a wooded spot, Solo suddenly appeared. He trotted up to the other dog, and both wagged their tails, nuzzling each other. Solo was within a few feet of Mrs. Blochin, and there could be no possibility of a mistake in identification.

Turning towards home, Mrs. Blochin was surprised to discover that Solo had disappeared.

When she arrived at the house, her husband hesitantly informed her that Solo’s body had just been discovered on the railroad tracks. The dog had apparently been killed by a train.

REFERENCE: Forgotten Mysteries 1947, R. Dewitt Miller, pg 58-59.

I was satisfied with my findings, but there is more.

Read About Canada’s Only Pet Cemetery In Aurora, Finally, Part III.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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