Black dog myths date back hundreds of years. Stories from all over the globe tell of these fearsome, dark shadowy creatures with glowing red eyes. But what are they? Are they simply ghost dogs, apparitions of someone’s once beloved pet? Could they be something not of this realm, altogether evil and demonic like a hellhound or some kind of guardian of the gates of hell? Who knows for sure but with all that folklore out there it’s hard for anyone to say that they don’t exist!
Well the first thing is to try and establish what you are seeing or indeed dealing with (which can be extremely hard to do at the time) because some folklore is a little sketchy or hazy in places and you will find that many of the characteristics crossover from one creature to another. One of the main ways to decide what you are looking at is by analysing how it interacts with you. For instance, is it looking at you specifically? It may be a Death Omen (or just hungry!)
Is it growling at you and looking like it is going to chase you down? It may be a Hellhound or something very demonic (get out of there, very quickly!)
Can you touch it or does it vanish and simply walk through things? You may be dealing with a ghost dog or apparition of a living dog (enjoy the experience, it may walk you home if you are vulnerable).
So here are some folklore/myths about black dogs and hellhounds so see what you think?
Black Dogs are the most common of all curious sightings and people still claim to have seen them here in the UK today. The most famous dog case noted is that of The Bungay Black Dog in 1577. In medieval times they were mostly associated with witches as their so called familiars. It is written that they are seen searching for something or someone but they could just be an apparition of a once love pet who is looking for their owner perhaps? They are said to sometimes travel alongside a person, keeping them company on the lonely walk home, as if seeing them safely to their door. But they are also know as Death Omens that appear when someone close is about to die bit like the grim reaper.
Their main characteristics include that they are black (mostly) or very dark in colour and extremely large varying from bigger than and Alsatian to the size of a calf. They tend to have a shaggy coat and glowing eyes which are normally crimson or yellow. There might also be a whiff of sulphur. They may be shadowy but can be solid looking although they will vanish at will. The areas they are most commonly spotted include quiet lanes, church yards and ancient trackways.
This is rumoured to be where the Bungay Beast left scorch marks on the door…
Medieval European superstition said that the first person to be buried in a Church yard would have to guard all the souls that followed so a black dog was killed and buried first. This may have been where all the myths started originally.
There are other names that these black dogs can be know by :-
Black Shuck (East Anglia and the US)
Skiker, “Howler” (Lancashire)
Padfoot (Staffordshire and Wakefield) – Better known as Sirius Black in Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban
Muckle the Black Tyke (Scotland)
Mauthe Doog (Isle of Man) Gwyllgi, “Dog of Darkness” (Wales)
Barghest (Yorkshire) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barghest
Route 66 in America supposedly has numerous reported sightings of Black Dogs. It is said that they run alongside motorists driving on the highway, sometimes biting through the tyres to cause accidents. Loads of books have also been written using some of the black dogs myths such as The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle.Another horrid and weird fact is that it is believed that black dogs were often sacrificed in Japan to bring on the rain!
Hellhounds are slightly different,they are pretty ugly and are normally invisible (good job!) but not to their intended victim. They are Demon’s shaped into something resembling a dog they are totally evil and are out to take your soul!
They are also lightning quick, with super human strength and can sometimes talk. But many people still believe that these could be the black dogs that they are seeing!
Urban legend tells that Robert Johnson, a famous urban blues singer, did a deal with the Devil at the crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Apparently, the Devil made him a star in return for his soul, which the Hellhounds later collected. He died aged just 27! Some of the songs he sang included “Crossroads”, “Hellhound on my trail” and “Me and the devil blues”.
Cerberus is a three headed beast in form of a dog, sometime shown with a serpent as a tail. He guards the Gates of the Underworld or Hell.
Could Fluffy in Harry Potter be this kind of Beast ?
The beast of Gevaudan is one of the very first supernatural beast attacks recorded in history and one of the most famous. It seemingly only killed women and children under the age of 16. Starting in 1764 it is documented to have killed and evaded capture for years around parts of France. Locals believed it was the work of the Devil whereas people who came from further afield to shoot this beast believed it to be a wolf.
Brotherhood of the Wolf, the movie tells the story of the beast and it’s hunters.
Watch the Trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSjvrlDxlaQ
Maybe this is where is where the first legends of Werewolves started!
Well I know what I would do if I was facing the Beast of Gevaudan while in France, I would grab the fastest and best handling car from Car Hire France and I would high tail it out of there!!
Demon Chick xx