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Animal Spirits

New Bridge by obiwan [Reviews - 3]

Subject: Re: Psychic pets
From: jcrens@magicnet.net (Jack Crenshaw)
Date: 1996/04/23
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.ghost-stories

I wanted to share with the group another story, this one a family story. It was right after WWI, and my mother's family were living in Shenandoah Valley, VA, right near the river. My mother's uncle Joe was returning from the service, and arrived by train late one night. He thought briefly about staying overnight in a hotel, but he was anxious to get home, and figured that if he'd walked halfway across Europe, he could walk the few miles left to home. He set out along the road along the river. He had to cross the river to get home, and had two choices as to the bridge to take: One low but nice, wide, new bridge, and an older girder bridge. He started for the nearest bridge, the new one, which was also the shorter route. But just as he got to the bridge, he was met by Shep, the old family dog, who greeted him with great joy. They had a good visit, then Uncle Joe set out onto the bridge again. At this point Shep stopped, and began barking. He even tugged Joe's pants leg. It was apparent that Shep wanted him to take the other bridge. Since this was the longer route, Joe tried to call Shep to come his way, but the dog only got more insistent. Finally, Joe decided, well, what the heck, let the dog have his way, so he went along to the other bridge, with Shep pacing him all the way.

Eventually, Uncle Joe reached the home farm, and called out to the family. Of course, everyone came running, and they had a tearful reunion. Joe said, "I would have been here earlier, but Shep made me come the long way." Everybody got a funny look on their face, and asked him what he meant, so he explained the whole story. After a long silence and many meaningful glances, Joe's father said, "Joe, Shep died last winter."

Next morning, they learned that the river, which had been swollen by spring rains, had flooded the new bridge and taken out the middle section. If Joe had walked it in the dark that night, he would surely have been killed.

True story. At least, that's the way the family has told it, all these years.

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