Posted in Weird Animals
IntroductionIf Britain's alien big cats seem to have some basis in fleshy reality, what are we to make of the black dogs? More terrifying and alien than their feline compatriots, the black dogs lurk in the shadow of legend - often appearing as portents of doom, horrifying unwary travellers on remote pathways and replete with glowing eyes and ethereal auras.
No. It is not to science and the physical reality we shall look to find our dogs. Whether they spring merely from legends, fragmentary folk-tales that live on still in imagination, or whether they are truly within the landscape in some form not yet understood, remains a mystery.
Yet still the dogs are seen and heard, making their eerie presence felt with jet black fur and blazing eyes. Should you happen across one yourself, a prayer may not be out of place.
They are typically identified by their great size - commonly described as the size of a calf - and their flaming, luminous red eyes. That the black dogs are non-corporeal is evidenced by frequent reports of them walking through solid objects or in their sudden appearance and disappearance - often accompanied by a flash or lightning or a loud bang. They are usually encountered at night and unlike their mysterious feline counterparts leave no trace such as pawprints (an honourable exception must be made for the Beast of Bungay, whose ghostly, scorched clawmarks adorn the door of Bungay church to this day).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these phantasmic canines are associated in folklore with death or doom, although in some parts of the country - like Essex - they are held to perform protective duties. Like many spirits or manifestations of evil they are often to be found in churchyards, ancient monuments and boundaries between parishes or counties.
The black dogs have been accorded many names in different parts of the country: Barghest, The Mauthe Dog, Mhuddy Doo, Trash, Shriker and Padfoot are all names under which this mysterious mythological beast travels.