This is the second of 3 posts on unexplained phenomena--ghosts, if you will--I've personally experienced on my runs.
This incident occurred only a couple hundred yards from the first story I blogged about. It involves a Revolutionary War era cemetery, called the Brown's Mill Cemetery, close by my home.
The cemetery is surrounded by a wrought iron fence, pictured here, whose pickets are quite close together--perhaps 3-4". The fence sits close to the ground as well, and is almost chest-high. The combination of picket spacing, no room to wiggle under, and the height of the fence meant that nothing larger than a squirrel could pass from one side of the fence to the other without a major (and time-consuming) effort.
I was out for a run early one summer morning before work, pre-dawn. My route was a 4-miler, an out-n-back, and I was only about half a mile from ending up back at the house. I was running up a slight incline, on the left side of the road facing traffic, of course (although there was no traffic on this rural road at that time).
Across the road from me on the right side sat the cemetery. I was about even with the lower corner of the cemetery (in the top photo, the stone post in the lower right is at that corner), which runs some 200' uphill directly beside the road. There were some street lights in the campground across the road to the left that provided diffuse light to the road and fence where I was (i.e., no need for a flashlight there).
Suddenly I saw a movement ahead of me and across the road: it was a low, animal-like shape, right along the wrought iron fence. I immediately think "Dog" and glance down at my footing and simultaneously move more to the left, onto the gravel shoulder, to give myself the maximum berth around the animal. The shape of the object was a bit more than knee-high, and its size and outline were very collie-like, in that the back was flat and straight but with that abrupt, right-angle downturn back at the tail.
In the 1-2 seconds between seeing the shape, glancing down and moving left, and then looking again across the road to see whether this "dog" was any sort of threat to me, the form had disappeared. Vanished. And there was absolutely nowhere for it to have gone--the fence was impenetrable for a critter of that size, too low to squeeze under, and too high to jump.
Besides, by the light of the streetlights I could see across the fence into the cemetery, which was fairly open, and there was no "dog" inside. The critter could not have simply scooted along the fence to a corner and exited that way, for it was too near the middle of the 200' run of fence to reach a corner in the time it took for me to look down and back up.
It was simply gone, with no explainable way of disappearing.
Beyond the normal rush of adrenaline that any runner would get from suddenly encountering a dog whose intentions are unknown, the experience was not menacing in any way. It just was. Any me and my rational thinking cannot figure it out.