In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Couple thinks dog literally rose from the ashes.

CENTENNIAL - The Nichalsons don't expect you to believe something beyond the laws of physics is at work on their backyard patio.

But they do want you to knowthat the image that has now appeared on their grill cover certainly does look a lot like their old dog Fletcher.

"It's very freaky," Steve Nicholson said. "It is a little spooky."

"Yep, we've joined the club," his wife Peggy added with a smile.

She's referring to the seemingly endless parade of images that have been appearing on rather normal things in recent years (or at least as long as the internet has been around).

Go ahead. Google "George Bush on a piece of toast." Or "Elvis on a rock." Or "Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese."

Who knows? Maybe one day soon you will be able to Google "Fletcher on a grill cover" and see what has come to the attention of the Nichalsons as of late.

Here's the story. Fletcher was the couple's chocolate Lab. When he was 13, a vet told them the dog needed to be put to sleep.

"We had to pick a day, because he was really starting to suffer," said Peggy. "We were just so sad about having to do that."

That was a few years ago.

Over time the couple's memories of Fletcher started to fade. They even decided to get another Lab. His name is Bodie.

Then a few days ago, something happened that caused both Peggy and Steve to start thinking about their old pooch.

"We were getting set to grill," said Steve. "[Peggy] came running in and told me there was something amazing out there."

Steve went outside to look at the grill cover, and that's when he saw it as well.

"It really looks like a Lab," he remembered thinking.

"I see a very old Lab," added Peggy.

When 9NEWS compared the image on the grill cover with the old pictures of Fletcher, it's hard to instantly blow them off as another party solely interested in selling another item on eBay.

In fact they don't want to sell it at all.

Here are a few things to consider when trying to make up your mind on the issue. The family did place Fletcher's ashes in the backyard shortly after he died. The grill is under an area of the porch where condensation has clearly and repeatedly fallen down onto the grill, and its cover, below.

"You can see the drip marks," said Peggy.

And right beside the image is something that looks a lot like a fish jumping out of water.

"I'm a fly fisherman and I used to take Fletcher with me. He loved it. He would just sit there and stare just like that," said Steve.

Is it a forgery? Perhaps. Is it coincidence. Very likely.

But is it also a sign of something else? Who knows?

Judge for yourself.

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