How are animals warned?
After every major natural disaster some testimonies relate how animals escaped a certain death by taking shelter before the forces of nature are unleashed. How is such a thing possible? Are they warned or do they perceive something that escapes us? Some people speak of a sixth sense, but what is it exactly?
In Martinique, in 1902, several days before the eruption of Mount Pelée, all animals, from birds to reptiles, fled the surroundings of the volcano. The people stayed. There was only one survivor out of the 40,000 inhabitants: a prisoner protected by the thick walls of his jail.
In Fréjus, France, in 1959, all the cats deserted their homes before the dam built upstream burst and flooded the lower part of town, killing over 400 people. And in 1999, in the Vosges, before the violent hurricane Lothar hit, with violent winds that felled numerous trees, all the deer had left the thick of the forests to regroup in the open clearings.
On December 26, 2004 the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka was devastated by a tsunami that penetrated up to three kilometres inland and covered an area of 300 hectares. Surging waves destroyed buildings and transformed vehicles into deadly missiles. Although more than 200 elephants and numerous other animals lived in the park, not a single one succumbed to the tidal wave. “No elephant died, not the least hare or rabbit. I think animals can sense disasters coming. They have a sixth sense. They know that something is about to happen”, declared one of the park officials. From a helicopter a journalist sighted the herd of elephants on dry land. The authorities in Sri Lanka confirmed the fact that no dead wild animal was found among the tens of thousands of human remains recovered.
At all times and everywhere in the world such events are related and never fail to fill man with wonder, prompting him to ponder the mysterious faculty that animals possess to have a premonition of such dangers.
The scientific approach
To scientists there is nothing mysterious or inexplicable about animals knowing in advance that a natural disaster is going to take place. Contrary to humans who live in a secure environment, animals live in an environment fraught with a thousand hidden dangers. They are constantly on the alert for predators, to defend their territory and their young, to escape the inclement weather, to find food and so on.
In order to survive the multiple dangers confronting them, animals have developed heightened faculties of perception. In some the sense of hearing is especially refined. The sounds that they are able to pick up are greatly increased towards the high or low end of the frequency spectrum, thus allowing them to hear their enemy “from afar.”
Bats and insects, for example, discern ultra-sounds that are inaudible to humans. Rocks subjected to strong pressures, as it is the case with an impending earthquake, emit sounds of high frequency. That is certainly why shortly before the earthquake that triggered the tsunami of December 2004 thousands of bats were witnessed in Sri Lanka flying away from their deep cave habitats in broad daylight, whereas these animals normally come out only at night. Elephants, on the other hand, detect infra-sounds. Those of the Yala Park mentioned earlier as having escaped the tsunami probably discerned low frequency sounds emitted by the shifting continental plates, thus allowing them to get to the shelter.
Other animals, snakes for example, are very sensitive to variations in the earth’s magnetic fields, which alter strongly in the hours preceding earthquakes. It would explain why snakes leave their holes before the first tremors to avoid, as has often been observed, being crushed. Chickens, geese and pigeons are also observed to become extremely agitated before earthquakes. According to some researchers, such panic is due to the ability of these birds to perceive emission of radioactive gases, like radon, which occurs when deep subterranean rock layers, with trapped gases, crack and shift shortly before the earth quakes.
The acute perception of the animals is certainly a part of the explanation of why they foresee danger, but it does not explain all. Two reasons prompt us to think that there must be something else than the sixth sense we speak so much about. Firstly animals react before the event takes place, and secondly they react intelligently in relation to the danger. Let us examine these two elements.
Humans and animals usually perceive visual and auditory signals as they are emitted. The event and its perception always happen simultaneously. But in the cases we have been considering, the animals perceived something before the earthquake, storm, or volcanic eruption has occurred.
An earthquake is preceded by a lot of small tremors imperceptible to humans but which animals can detect. But according to specialists, these small tremors happen all the time. They testify to the continual activity of the earth’s crust and rarely signal an earthquake of any significance. Why then do dogs, which like elephants and bats are very sensitive to tremors, howl only before the big earthquakes?
It is also true that storms are preceded by modifications in atmospheric pressure and air humidity ... that could allow some animals to become aware of their arrival. But, here too, such changes take place at all times without necessarily heralding a devastating storm. Why do animals react only when a real storm is approaching?
If it is understandable that an animal endowed with a very developed sense can discern what is not perceptible to others, it does not explain why it can receive a signal before an event takes place. What is this sense that is capable of perceiving what has not yet taken place? This perception can in fact take place well in advance.
In 1738, in Messina, Italy, dogs howled minutes before an earthquake destroyed the town, killing over 50,000 people. In 1910 in Landsberg, Germany, bees abandoned their hives to fly off in the air only minutes before an earthquake. But it was a full half hour before the earthquake that destroyed 20,000 houses in Greece, in 1953, that the stork population in the region suddenly took flight and circled overhead in an unusual manner, squawking aloud. The people were thus alerted and only 27 died.
On March 5, 1977 in Rumania it was one hour before the earth quaked that chickens and cows, by their agitation and attempts to flee their coops and stalls, warned their owners of the approaching danger. In 1969, in Yientsin, China, officials warned the population about an imminent earthquake, two hours in advance, after noticing the agitated behaviour of tigers, pandas, and stags in the zoo.
A day before an earthquake destroyed Orléansville, Algeria, in 1954, a lot of domestic pets had left the town. In Alaska, in 1964, polar bears did likewise, shortening their hibernation by two weeks to escape the earthquake that measured 9.2 on the Richter scale. Animals are also able to perceive coming dangers that are not directly connected with the forces of nature.
In the United States in the 1960s, a dog-owner was playing cards with friends in a coffee house. Unusually, his dog continually pestered him, whining, agitated and restless. Irritated, he opened the door and let it out. Minutes later the dog got back inside through the window and restarted its merry-go-round. Now exasperated, the owner took the dog outside. He hardly stepped through the threshold when the roof of the building collapsed, burying the occupants. Likewise in Oviedo, Spain, in 1961, a cart-drawing horse blocked traffic by obstinately refusing to enter a tunnel its master wanted to use. Threats or whips could not make it budge. Meanwhile a huge traffic jam had started to build up behind. Suddenly a thunderous roar drowned the din of the horns and shouts: the tunnel roof had collapsed in a dreadful thud! Another peculiar fact: According to witnesses, an hour before the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, hundreds of dogs had gathered to bark at impending death.
Faced with a dangerous situation, to which they are oblivious in part, human beings sometimes exhibit a senseless behaviour. We expect animals to behave the same way, since in spite of a heightened sensitivity to the approach of danger they cannot know its exact nature until it happens.
This senseless behaviour appears, for example, in eels that beach voluntarily before a tsunami, fishes that jump on the river bank to escape an earthquake, or rats that hide inside buildings that will collapse and bury them during an earthquake.
Contrary to such panic-induced behaviour, some animals depart from usual behaviour and react in a way perfectly suited to the danger.
Normally, on sensing danger, a frog would instinctively jump into its pond and hide in the depths. A researcher reported frogs abandoning their habitat stream and moving as far away as possible in order to escape an imminent rise in the water level. When frightened, cats usually hide under a piece of furniture or in isolated corners of their owners’ homes. But in Fréjus, the cats meowed and scratched frantically on doors and windows, escaping through every available opening, just before the dam ruptured upstream, betraying once again an uncanny prior knowledge.
We rightly marvel at the story of the elephants in Yala Park, Sri Lanka, that sought refuge before the tsunami. According to scientists, it is their sensitivity to low frequencies that allowed them to detect the earthquake hundreds of kilometres away in North Indonesia, and which later caused the destructive wave. It is one thing for the elephants to detect the earthquake, but how did they know they needed to move to higher ground in order to escape the tsunami that would follow from the earthquake? Many will say: “It’s the sixth sense that animals possess”. What is the sixth sense of animals?
Because the heightened senses of animals cannot fully explain their ability to discern an impending natural disaster, some people invoke a sixth sense attribute. The sixth sense, if it exists at all, should have the property to detect a natural phenomena, its time of arrival, the consequences on the environment and appropriate reaction to deal with it, and all this well in advance. That would indeed be expecting a lot from a simple sense. There must therefore be something else. But what? In the Grail Message an altogether different explanation from what we usually hear is given. It is not a question of an anticipated perception but the reception of an early warning given by personified forces of nature or what are called elemental beings.
“The elemental beings know exactly when and where sudden changes in Nature are about to take place, such as landslides, rocks being dislodged from mountains, trees falling, the caving-in of land undermined by water, the bursting of a dam, sudden water eruptions, volcanic and fire eruptions, tidal waves and floods, earthquakes, and everything else coming within the same category, because they themselves are occupied with the preparation and bringing about of such changes, which men call disasters and catastrophes.
“If such a happening is imminent it may well be that an animal or a person approaching the spot is warned by these elementals. They block the way and try, through vehement motions, shouting or sudden impressions upon their feelings, to induce them to return. The animal is startled, its hair “bristles”, and it energetically refuses to continue, quite contrary to its usual behaviour, so that often as an exception even the best-trained animal disobeys its master. This is the reason for the striking behaviour of the animal in such cases. Man, however, does not see these elemental beings and very often runs into the danger, thereby perishing or suffering great harm.” (Volume III, Lecture 5).
The truthfulness of such possible interventions is confirmed in the Bible. An entity prevents Balaam’s donkey from taking his master to the neighbouring tribe. That entity, described as an angel in the account, is not visible to Balaam but the donkey clearly sees it and refuses to move forward. (Numbers 22, 28-34).
The detection of variations in magnetic fields, of ultra or infra sounds, and so on, suggested by scientists is only one of the ways through which animals can become aware of impending natural disasters. Warnings given by elemental beings are another.