If you ever happen to find yourself alone traveling the English countryside be wary of any strange black dogs that might cross your path for such a creature might just be none other than the hell hound, Black Shuck.
Said to be an enormous black dog, sometimes as big as a horse, Black Shuck is believed to be a harbinger of doom. In fact legend states that if one is unlucky enough to come across Black Shuck and look into it’s ghastly eyes they shall be dead within the year. Though Black Shuck‘s appearance may differ from one account to the next, some claiming that it’s eyes glow red, others yellow or green, some that it has only one eye like a cyclops and others that Black Shuck is a headless phantom floating upon mist instead of walking on the ground, all tales say the same thing… To meet Black Shuck is a terrible omen indeed.
The tales of Black Shuck roaming the English countryside are said to go back even further than the arrival of the Vikings in Great Britain. The name Shuck is believed to be derived from the Old English word scucca meaning demon or devil. Others believe that the legend of Black Shuck actually comes from Norse mythology and is based on the legends of Odin‘s fearsome dog of war, Shukir. Whatever the origins, Black Shuck remains one of the oldest legends of Great Britain.
One such legend dates back to August 4th 1577 when Black Shuck is said to have burst through the doors of a church in Blythburgh, running past the congregation and killing two people. So fierce was the devil hound that he caused the church tower to collapse through the roof and upon leaving had left scorch marks on the church’s north door which are still there to this day.
It is also widely believed that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s inspiration for his classic Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles was the legend of Black Shuck.
So dear reader, if ever you happen to find yourself roaming the English countryside one dark and lonely night and hear fearsome growls coming from behind, ask yourself: “Could that be a werewolf behind me or is it the dreaded Black Shuck?” Whatever the answer make sure to say your prayers, don’t look back… And run like hell!