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Literature / The Barking Ghost

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The Goosebumps book with ghost dogs.

Cooper Holmes and his family have recently moved from Boston to Maine. Cooper soon hears rumors that the house and woods are haunted, and discovers that the rumors aren't exactly true... but the truth is much stranger.

It was adapted into the seventh episode of the third season of the TV series.

The book provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Cooper and Fergie in dog form are cornered by his angry family, the two try to stand on their hind legs to convince them that they're actually human. This only causes them to fall over while doing so, which makes his family laugh, despite wanting them to leave.
  • Animorphism: The story bases its entire plot around this, in which the titular "ghosts" are actually a pair of men who got turned into dogs. Now they want to switch bodies with someone else.
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  • Artistic License – Biology: While Cooper is stuck in the body of a dog, he can only see in black and white vision. While dogs in real life may have a less directed sight on color than humans do, they can view a wider variety of color than just black and white.
  • Baby Talk: After scaring Cooper at the beginning of the book, by hiding under his bed in the middle of the night, Mickey asks him in a baby voice if he wants a night-light for his bed. This causes Cooper to lose it, and attack him.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: Especially ones that are ghosts!
  • Big Brother Bully: Mickey to Cooper. He spends most of his free time frightening Cooper every chance he gets.
  • Copycat Mockery: Cooper sees Mickey fall unconscious with ripped clothing and fake blood on, and he worriedly asks him if he's alright. Mickey then stopped pretending and gloatingly copies Cooper's ramblings.
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  • Cruel Twist Ending: In the climax, the two human protagonists return the two former-dogs that stole their bodies into the log that swapped their minds, only to get their bodies swapped with chipmunks instead.
  • Didn't Think This Through: How Cooper's first two attempts in dog form to prove to his family that he was really him work out. Firstly, he goes into his father's office and attempts to write a letter saying that he and Fergie are actually them in the bodies of dogs. But because dogs don't have opposable thumbs, he tries to grab a pen with his paw, but is unable to hold onto it, let alone write with it. Secondly, at dinner when the fake in his original body shows a dislike for liver (his favorite), Cooper goes in and starts eating it to show that it's really him because he loves liver. This does not work at all, and simply looks to his family as though a stray dog came in and starts eating his food, just like any typical dog would do.
  • Epic Fail: One time at summer camp, Cooper got lost in the woods on his way back to the bathroom cabin. He became so scared, he just stood there shaking in fright. Then his bunkmates found him and pointed out that he was merely standing a few feet away from the dining hall the whole time.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The heroes end up trapped in the bodies of chipmunks.
  • Foreshadowing: After Cooper and Fergie leave embarrassed in their failed attempt at scaring, Mickey calls after them to run away with their tails between their legs. Later in the story, the two would end up in the bodies of two dogs.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Between a pair of humans and some evil ghost dogs.
  • Lame Comeback: After Mickey scares Cooper in bed, he gloats to him how he got him good. A stupefied Cooper tries to think of a clever comeback, but just blurts out, "You're a jerk!" Mickey tells him to grow up.
  • Man Bites Man: After Mickey scares him in front of Fergie, Cooper retaliates by biting him on the arm. This shuts up Mickey for once.
  • Never My Fault: Cooper gets into a fight with Mickey at night for scaring him. His parents wake up and break the two up whilst scolding him, and Cooper defends himself by doing the typical immature "He started it!"
    Mr. Holmes: (rolls his eyes) And you're totally innocent, right?
    Mr. Holmes: (shakes his head) Go to sleep, Cooper.
  • Nightmare Face: The evil, snarling, red-eyed dog on the cover.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Cooper at one point refers to his and Fergie's revenge plan toward Mickey as Operation "Scare Mickey."
  • Ordered Apology: At breakfast, Mickey pours salt all over Cooper's french toast. His mother demanded that he apologize. Mickey is reluctant, but eventually does so. But as soon as their mother turns away, Mickey silently teases Cooper. This causes Cooper to leave the table in protest.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: At dinner, Mrs. Holmes serves the phony Cooper liver, only for him to be quite disgusted and say he hates it. Mrs. Holmes is shocked at him, saying that he loves liver. This causes the phony Cooper to awkwardly pretend that he was just joking. The real Cooper, in the body of a dog, takes advantage of this by coming in and eating the liver himself, to try and convince them that it's really him. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
  • Out-Gambitted: Cooper and Fergie devise a scheme to get back at Mickey for all the times he scared the former. They plan on scaring him in the middle of the night with a rubber rat in his bed and then bursting out of his closet to further scare him. However, Mickey saw them bringing in the supplies for this prank that morning, so he decided to make a fake him in bed and hide in the closet and scare them.
  • The Prankster: Mickey, who takes advantage of his younger brother Cooper being easily scared.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: The book ends with the protagonists stuck in the bodies of chipmunks while the chipmunks are now in the bodies of the dogs and the dogs still have the bodies of the protagonists. However, if they can lure the chipmunks in the bodies of the dogs (or another pair of stronger animals) back into the Changing Room, they can get stronger bodies and once again try to swap bodies with the ghost dogs who stole their bodies. Most notably, Cooper describes his physical appearance of his human form in the present-tense, implying that he got it back.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: After Mickey tricked him into thinking that he was really hurt by the dogs, Cooper asked him if he didn't have anything better to do than to try and scare him. Mickey smugly replies, "I don't even have to try."
  • Shout-Out: Cooper is nervous about moving to his wooded Maine home because he's only read two horror novels, both of which take place in the woods of Maine.
  • Sleeping Dummy: How Mickey fools Cooper and Fergie in their attempted prank. He planted a bunch of rolled up sheets and towels under the blanket of his bed to make it seem as though he was asleep.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Mickey, who constantly tries to scare his easily-scared brother Cooper.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Cooper says this when he finds out that the person that scared him and Fergie in the closet was none other than Mickey.

The episode provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The episode ends with Cooper and Fergie getting their bodies back, and it's the Big Brother Bully character who becomes a chipmunk instead.
  • Adaptational Karma: The episode ends with Mickey, who's been a jerk to Cooper the whole time, getting body-swapped into a chipmunk.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Unlike the book, where the two men who became the ghost dogs had no backstory, the episode explains that they were originally pirates before they got transformed.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The ghost dogs are given the names Grimm and Scratch.