Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ghost Dog in Hollywood Cemetery of Richmond?

I have been running with the Halloween theme lately...and I am not going to stop now!

Yesterday I wrote about the Vampire of Richmond and its ties to Hollywood Cemetery. While I was in the cemetery this past Saturday, I witnessed something that could be considered strange. It was odd enough where I lost interest in getting out of the car, at least for rest of that trip.

To tell the story fully, I need to back up to Saturday morning. A friend called and asked if I knew about the W. W. Pool/Poole crypt and where it was located. I had never actually looked for it so I went online to see if anyone else had. I found some photos of the crypt but no directions on how to find it. I did however find a lot about the Hollywood dog, a metal statue guarding the grave of a child. I knew all about that one so I was not terribly interested. I did however find a few interesting items about in the cemetery.

A few "sources" indicated that at least one woman was buried in the cemetery with her dogs. You can reportedly hear them barking in the cemetery. As for the metal dog that I mentioned, he supposedly rotates around, changing the direction in which he faces. In general, you get the idea that there are some strange dog happenings at Hollywood.

Well, fast-forward to lunchtime and I am driving around inside of the cemetery. I pass a funeral and end up where Hollywood borders Riverview Cemetery. There is a chain-link fence that divides the two cemeteries, of an average height. Anyway, I was looking toward that fence when I noticed a black dog stand up behind one of the stones in Hollywood. In all of my years in downtown cemeteries, I have never seen a dog. That in itself seemed strange to me.

My initial thought was that it was a stray and the dog did look rather thin and had a gray patch under its chin, showing his age. It was probably a black German shepherd but I am no dog expert. It looked kinda like the one in this photo that I found on Wikipedia.

The dog started jogging toward my car as soon as he saw me...odd behaviour for a stray. My window was down so I did not know if I should roll it up or what. The dog came right up beside my door but never paid me any attention. He never looked at me or acknowledged that I was even there, aside from running up beside me. I wondered for a second if I were dead and he could not see me?

As the dog passed I remembered the funeral down the hill, in the direction the dog was headed. I thought about the way a wild dog might disrupt the services or scare the attendees so I turned around in one of the circles there, expecting to follow the dog and steer him away from the funeral. However, in a matter of only the few seconds it took me to turn around, the dog was gone! I drove around for the next fifteen minutes looking for the dog and never found him again! Now my mind really got to thinking...

I sat there and thought everything through logically. Where the dog was sitting meant that he either walked all the way through the cemetery, from the gate to that point, he swam through the river and climbed a huge embankment or he jumped the fence from Riverview. If he had jumped the fence, he would have still had to walk from their gate or climb up from the James River. It did not make sense as to why he would be there.

In driving around for about an hour, I covered all of the cemetery and did not see anyone who was walking a dog or may have lost one. It was cold and rainy so no one wanted to be out that day, at least not strolling in the cemetery. There are no real food sources to attract dogs and in all of my years and visits, I have never seen another dog in any of the local cemeteries. I have seen drug dealers but no dogs!

Logically I know this was just a dog, albeit a strange place for such a dog. However I am not beyond believing that this could have been a ghost dog, perhaps one buried along with its owner. I wonder if anyone else out there has seen the same thing in Hollywood?

On Halloween night I will post my final ghost story of sorts, I even caught it on film and will show you the evidence. This incident also took place in Hollywood and has thrilled me for years. I show the photo to people all of the time and they have to admit that it is pretty neat. It has a great genealogy story behind it so you will probably find that one quite interesting.


Anonymous said...

If you go back into local legend, there is a grave of a little girl, about 3 years old. She died of, i believe polio, during the civil war. Before she died, Her and her father would go to the local pharmacy in Richmond. Everytime she would pass the pharmacy or go into the pharmacy, she would pet this cast iron dog. The pharamcist noticed this and realized that the girl fell in love with the dog. When the girl died of polio during the civil war, the government issued that everyone forfeit their cast iron, so that they could make cannon balls and guns with the cast iron. The pharamacist did not want the dog melted down, so he placed it with her next to her grave. To this day the dog still sits guarding the grave of the little girl. There have been numerous reports of the dog facing opposite ways and looking at people coming up from either direction. For instance the dog always looks to the northwest. there is a road opposite the grave, people have reported walking up the road and the dog has been turned around and "watching" them. There have also been reports of the dog chasing people away from the grave of the little girl.

I was actually in the cemetary on the 28th of October, with my girlfriend. I have been there numerous times, but she has never been there before. I was out showing her around and taking pictures of the sights of Hollywood. I was parked on the South Eastern part of the cemetary, along the river, taking pictures of the skyline. I got back into my vehicle when I noticed my girlfriend "freaked out" none the less. She asked me if there was a cemetary dog. To which I replied not that I know of. I then asked her why and she said that she swore she saw the dog up the road. She said it walked down the road towards our vehicle then went through the graves. I did not see anything at the time or thereafter.

Not sure if this helps you, but figured I'd share it with ya. Anything else feel free to email me back with questions, concerns, comments.


Kevin Lett said...

Yeah, I know about the iron dog but it did not look like the same type. I think the dual sighting lends credence to it being a real dog in the cemetery that day. Thanks for the heads up!

Anonymous said...

I went for a night walk on the date of 11/11 with my girlfriend. We brought some offerings for the frog shrine and payed respects to some other significant memorials. The moon was nearly full and the stratus clouds sped past it revealing its light every so often. We hoped to see feel or hear something important on this night for the veil to the spirit world is thinnest from October through November, but after finding nothing spoke or revealed itself we just sat on a bench in a round circle at the top of the hill on the south west end of hollywood not far from the river. we were just amazed at what a beautiful night it was and were feeling very comfortable. Then she whispered in a frightened voice that she saw a dog straight ahead in the grass. I said its probably the statue to calm her. Then we both realized the statue dog is up by the Confederate pyramid memorial. I was scared too but had to get a closer look. I walked up and it was eating grass or something on the ground, it payed no attention to us. we were so scared yet curious. It was a shaggy black dog with a long tail like a Husky or German Shepherd. then it looked up and stared me in the eyes. It behaved so oddly and confidently that it occurred to me it could be rabid. But i noticed its eyes glowed a pale white like the light of the moon but the moon was behind him not facing him and the clouds covered its light. It walked toward me and i slowly backed up facing it as you do with bears and mountain lions. By now I was more scared than ever. Then i stood still and it walked back to its spot and continued grazing or crunching on whatever. It was making a lot of noise while it chewed. This was too strange i had to get a picture; I got out my cell phone to get a photo of this thing. I set the cam to night conditions in hopes to catch a shot. the light of the phones screen caught his attention and he walked toward me again. I took the photo then put the phone away and quickly grabbed the brass tibetan prayer bell from my jacket in hopes it would calm it as some believe. It did not so i stopped. My girlfriend said lets just leave it alone this is not cool. so i slowly walked backward some more till i was a safe distance. We watched it walk across the road to the circle we had been sitting in its claws clacked on the pavement like a wild animals not a domestic one. It sounded like he had some really long claws. he went behind a head stone. I took one last peak and it seemed he had vanished. My picture did not come out it was to dark, its just black. But I know what i saw and it was extremely creepy. It could be a wild dog that wanders from the woods by the river but we are pretty convinced we saw a ghost dog. I have read they have been seen all over America and Europe but the sign of death in the future superstition I'm not to fond of i prefer to believe they are guardians of the dead from the spirit world.

Anonymous said...

We saw this dog (the black one) January 13th in broad daylight when visiting my father's grave. My father had just died and it was very symbolic to us. The dog looks almost Roman, and is very much like the picture Kevin posted. A couple of weeks later we also saw a dog that looked like a Foxhound curled up asleep next to a tombstone near our father.

I hope Hollywood lets them stay as our parents loved dogs and would find them to be good company.

The lady buried with all her dogs is Ellen Glasgow. She is next to JEB Stuart.

Drury Wellford said...

Hi Kevin - My father was buried on Randolph Avenue in the Wellford plot on Jan. 5th. On January 13th four of us went to drink a champagne toast to him for his birthday. As we raised our glasses the black dog came trotting towards us to our right, from the direction of Riverview Cem. We stopped and watched him, my cousin said "is that some sort of sign?" The dog turned to the left and trotted up Randolph Ave. Last week we were out there and we saw a foxhound-looking dog curled up asleep in one of the lots about 100 yards from ours. He woke up and seemed quite interested in the dog that was with us. I do believe they are strays, but hope Hollywood allows them to stay.

The lady buried with her dogs is Ellen Glasgow, who is buried over near JEB Stuart.

Thanks for the interesting post.

Anonymous said...

Yes same thing happened to my daughter & I. It was Friday July 3rd. 12:30pm
when we encountered the dog. I cant explain but it didnt feel like a dog to
me. I recall, as it walked on passed with out reacting to me, that it felt
more than a dog. We looked a long time for it, after it disappeared. I
didnt know how really odd it was until I got home and googled your story. I
only did that because my wife had heard about a Hollywood dog somewhere.

Eric said...


I have just come home from Hollywood cemetary. I took my daughter out there for photographs. We saw a black dog at about 12:30pm , like a med shepard type, walking up one of the roads towards our truck. I watched it stroll by and decided it would make an interesting picture. I got out to take the picture. The first thing I thought was this dog isnt even noticing us, and it feels more like a person than a dog. I was a bit slow,and it got passed. I followed to get at least a back shot of it walking up the road. When I tried to take the picture the camera may have locked, I dont even know. I looked down to adjust the camera, the dog was headed to a growth of trees. When I looked up it was gone. We looked all around the trees. There was a sheer drop most dogs would not jump go down on the opposite side. I was confused, greatly confused. I joked with my daughter about it being a ghost or vampire as we searched the entire cemetary. We knew it was beyond odd, but we thought it had to be something we missed. That is, until we came home and my wife told us about a black dog. Then a google search turned you and your story up. Now, I am beside myself.

I will be going back soon. I honestly got a serious feeling that the dog had a human spirit. I just didnt know the story. If that was not just a strey roaming through, then I have to admit to myself that it just maybe that little girl in it's form.

I dont know- but I really want to try for a picture of it now.

Thanks for your writing & sharing. it helped kept me from lieing to myself today.

Anonymous said...

A few months ago I was in Hollywood Cemetery. I was just wondering around, looking for the grave of Jefferson Davis, but I couldnt find it. I went donw a narrow path when I saw the black dog. I got nervoused as it stared me down from a distance because I was worried it was rabid, so I took a different path, but saw the dog again, trotting down that path. I decided to follow it and it turned a corner, so I turned with it, and there was the grave of Jefferson Davis, but no dog. The dog had completely disappeared. I looked around for it but it was nowhere to be found.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I were wakling around the cemetery for the first time...we were just going for a minute because we have lived here a while and never took a look. We were so dumbfounded by it's beauty and majesty and ended up there until they made us leave at dusk. We were making out way out and there was a dog...it was a black stray, a shepard of some kind with a gray patch and was walking almost like it was on air...we never thought it was a ghost but it struck us for some reason. There was a family on foot so we stopped them and warned them about the stray ahead. We couldn't forget it and looked up the cemetery for history and found out that the dog has been sighted for a long time...too long to be a stray. I am going to go back soon and try to get a picture...

Anonymous said...


My brother and I went to Hollywood Cemetery a while back and in our car we spotted this black dog roaming around the park aimlessly.. it fits the same physical description as you mentioned.

And so we drove around in our car and the dog (who we both agree is not an actual dog) disappeared. We passed a curved road and it was not there.


Anonymous said...

I was with several friends at Hollywood Cemetery on a beautiful spring day in 2009 or 2010 and there was a black german shepherd standing stoically on a hill looking directly at us. As we got closer I jokingly asked my friends if they saw the dog too and yes, we all saw it. I didn't know about the black dog legend at the time and only thought it peculiar. Especially its mannerism. I work in the veterinary field and see dogs and strays all the time. This dog seemed very, for lack of a better word, confident. Regal, even. As we got closer, he just stood up and walked away like he had somewhere to be, not because we got closer either, he seemed to be leaving of his own accord. On a side note, black german shepherds are not a common dog.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Oregon Hill, right next to the cemetery, and I have encountered the black dog twice. Both times, the dog was outside of the cemetery and appeared a little different each time. The first time I was walking home alone through a well lit alley way and I saw the dog walking towards me, like a shaggy chow dog. At first I was thinking that I needed to check to see if this dog has a collar with tags so I can take it home or call its owner. So I stop and let it walk towards me but it never looks at me. Then it stops right next to me but keeps staring forward like it doesn't even notice that I am there. I thought it was strange behavior and I wondered if it was aggressive or rabid. I stepped closer just to see if I could notice a collar and there wasn't one but I just got this overwhelming eerie feeling that this dog was not your average dog. I stood there for a minute and the moment I decided to let the dog do its thing it just walked off following its path very confidently like he knew what he was doing. Other than stopping for a minute the dog didn't change emotion or act like I existed at all.

The second time I saw the black ghost dog, I was letting my dog out to go to the bathroom and I noticed she was acting strangely, hunched down, sniffing the air and not moving. I noticed that she was staring down the side of my house which was very dark. I went to check but didn't see anything until I got this wave of energy and my heart started beating fast. Then, I saw the black dog, just looking like a shaggy big black dog standing there staring straight and not reacting to me or my dog being there. Then it just walks right in between us all confidently, never turning its head, and just goes straight until its out of sight. By the way, my dog not running up to another dog to check it out is not normal behavior. My dog did not seem afraid, she seems just as confused as me but she knew that she did not want to get closer to that thing just as much as I didn't.

I know that other people in O-Hill have had black dog experiences, that's how I found out about the legend. When I first moved there people were asking me if I've had a black ghost dog experience yet.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you all about many experiences in Hollywood, I worked there at night for many years. As for Mr. Poole locations it is as follows. When you enter the cemetery stay to your right then you will come to a yield sign the go left about 300 feet, in the side of the hill , there you will find him (Name on the top)

Spirit1 said...

I experienced the ghost dog personally back in 1984 with a professor friend of mine from VCU. We had not heard the story about this dog before the incident. I don't make it a habit to go to cemeteries on Halloween because I don't believe in disturbing the sanctity of a cemetery, plus I was past the age of doing such things but my professor, who believed in the paranormal, convinced me to go. We heard what sounded like a large animal running through the leaves. I believe we had a full moon and it was extremely light that night and visibility was excellent. It was obviously some sort of animal with 4 legs and we could hear the weight of it crunching on the leaves as it ran. We were standing on the one lane road that runs through that section over by the old confederate soldiers section. We both stood there hearing this thing come onto the pavement in front of us. We could hear the toenails so we knew it was a dog. We still couldn't see anything but it kept coming right at us! It was no more than a couple of yards from us. The professor got scared and hid behind me and was holding on to my back and I was thinking that something was going to jump at my throat, heart pounding and all of that. The "dog" sounded like it ran just slightly to the right of me, maybe 3 feet, the leapt off the pavement into the leaves. We looked as it passed but there was NOTHING there. It was invisible! Nothing there! We turned in that direction and you won't beieve it, we saw a statue of a black dog sitting there and we thought it was real, like maybe that was the dog and somehow we couldn't see it but it was a statue. We left in a hurry! Next day we found out all about the Ghost Dog and we realized that we had been standing very close to the grave site of a child associated with the story of the dog. We know what we heard. A big dog running full blast through the leaves towards
us, passing by us, and then continuing on. I am a believer. We experienced the ghost dog. There were other people in the cemetery that night that we knew. The minute we started telling them about what happened they jumped in and said the SAME thing happened to them: big animal running towards them but invisible! Believe it, the dog exists and he's a ghost in that cemetery. Nancy, VCU Class of '86