Over on our sister site VAMPIRES.COM this week we’ve been examining supposed real-life incidents of paranormal occurrences linked to this time of year and the annual celebration of Christmas. One of the stories I came across while researching the subject, however, is better suited to this particular site, as it deals with a phantasmagorical hellhound, albeit one with a distinguishing characteristic not typical to other hellhounds: it is lacking a head.
The hound accompanies the scarlet-clad ghost of Sir Geoffrey de Mandeville, which appears at various locations around jolly old England, and not infrequently at Christmastime. Geoffrey de Mandeville lived during the reign of King Stephen, who in 1140 made him the Earl of Essex. He would eventually turn against the king and live as an outlaw until he was killed in battle with Stephen’s forces in 1144. He died excommunicated from the Church, so is that the reason why he does not requiescat in pace? His body was finally wrapped in lead and buried by members of the Knights Templar. Supposedly Mandeville did some rather nasty things during his time as an outlaw, so is that the reason why he sometimes appears accompanied by the headless hellhound? As for why the hellhound is headless, you’d have to ask Sir Geoffrey about that.