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History, Beliefs, and Modern Ideas. On January 3, , Augustus Hare dined with his friend Mr. Wharton, who told Hare of the odd occurence a friend of his had experienced. Whaton's friend was Johnnie Greenwood, of Swancliffe, England. One night, Greenwood had to ride on a road through a wood to get to where he was going. The road was about a mile long and, as he entered the woods, he was joined by a large black dog running beside his horse.

He didn't see where the animal had come from, and it stayed with him through the whole trip As Greenwood emerged from the woods, he realized that the black dog had somehow vanished, and had no clue as to where it could have gone. Greenwood paid the visit he had set out to do, and then started home along the same road.

Once again, as he entered the woods, the black dog appeared from nowhere to run beside Greenwood Years after this strange experience, two condemned prisoners in the York jail confessed to the chaplain that they had planned to murder Greenwood and rob his corpse that night in the woods They had felt that having to fight Greenwood and the large dog would be more than they could handle, so they let their intended victim escape.

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There's no 'Swancliffe' in England Wharton claimed to have heard the story about Greenwood. One night on his way there he encountered a sinister black dog, and every night thereafter until he brought a friend along with him. When the dog appeared again he attacked it using the yoke of his milk pails as a weapon, but when he did so the dog vanished and the man fell senseless to the ground. He was carried home alive but remained speechless and paralytic for the rest of his life. Near the town of Lyme Regis in Dorset stood a farmhouse that was haunted by a black dog.

This dog never caused any harm, but one night the master of the house in a drunken rage tried to attack it with an iron poker. The dog fled to the attic where it leaped out through the ceiling, and when the master struck the spot where the dog vanished he discovered a hidden cache of gold and silver. The dog was never again seen indoors, but to this day it continues to haunt at midnight a lane which leads to the house called Haye Lane or Dog Lane. Dogs who are allowed to stray in this area late at night have often mysteriously disappeared. The Black Dog of Newgate has been said to haunt the Newgate Prison for over years, appearing before executions.

According to legend, in a scholar was sent to the prison for witchcraft, but was killed and eaten by starving prisoners before he was given a trial. The dog was said to appear soon after, and although the terrified men killed their guards and escaped, the beast is said to have hunted them down and killed them wherever they fled.

He was also referred to as the Black Dog of Newgate, but though he enjoyed frightening people he never did any serious harm. In the village of Northorpe in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire not to be confused with Northorpe in the South Kesteven district the churchyard was said to be haunted by a "Bargest". Some black dogs are said to be human beings with the power of shapeshifting. In another nearby village there lived an old man who was reputed to be a wizard. It was claimed that he would transform into a black dog and attack his neighbours' cattle.

It is uncertain if there was any connection between the barghest and the wizard. In the parish of Tring , Hertfordshire , a chimney sweep named Thomas Colley was executed by hanging in for the drowning murder of Ruth Osborne whom he accused of being a witch. Colley's spirit now haunts the site of the gibbet in the form of a black dog, and the clanking of his chains can also be heard.

After a few minutes it disappeared, either vanishing like a shadow or sinking into the earth. In Norfolk , Suffolk and the northern parts of Essex , a black dog known as Black Shuck also Old Shuck or Shock is regarded as malevolent, with stories ranging from terrifying people or killing them outright to being a portent of death to themselves or a person close to the victim.

There are tales that in it attacked the church in the market town of Bungay, killing two people and appearing on the same day at the church in the nearby village of Blythburgh , taking the lives of another three and leaving claw marks which remain today. If the spot where it was just seen is examined then one may find scorch marks and the smell of brimstone.

In Westmorland and adjacent parts of Yorkshire there was a belief in Capelthwaite, who could take the form of any quadruped but usually appeared as a large black dog. He took his name from the barn in which he lived called Capelthwaite Barn, near Milnthorpe. He performed helpful services for the people on the farm such as rounding up the sheep, but toward outsiders he was very spiteful and mischievous until one day he was banished by a vicar.

The Church Grim guards a local Christian church and its attached churchyard from those who would profane them including thieves, vandals, witches, and warlocks. Sometimes the grim will toll the bells at midnight before a death occurs. At funerals the presiding clergyman may see the dog looking out from the churchtower and determine from its "aspect" whether the soul of the departed was bound for Heaven or Hell. Another tradition states that when a new churchyard was opened the first man buried there had to guard it against the Devil.

To save a human soul from such a duty a black dog was buried in the north part of the churchyard as a substitute. Freybug is the name of an alleged Black Dog appearing in an English manuscript from In fact, the earliest known mention of the Freybug are the books "Giants, Monsters, and Dragons" and "Spirits, Fairies, Gnomes, and Goblins" by Carol Rose, who never specified the English manuscript, so the Freybug may be made up by Rose.

Gabriel Hounds are dogs with human heads that fly high through the air, and are often heard but seldom seen. They sometimes hover over a house, and this is taken as a sign that death or misfortune will befall those who dwell within. They are also known as Gabriel Ratchets ratchet being a hound that hunts by scent , Gabble Retchets, and "sky yelpers", and like Yeth Hounds they are sometimes said to be the souls of unbaptised children. Popular conceptions of the Gabriel Hounds may have been partially based on migrating flocks of wild geese when they fly at night with loud honking.

In other traditions their leader Gabriel is condemned to follow his hounds at night for the sin of having hunted on Sunday much like the Cornish Dando , and their yelping cry is regarded as a death omen similar to the birds of folklore known as the Seven Whistlers. Guardian Black Dogs refer to those relatively rare black dogs that are neither omens of death nor causes of it.

Instead they guide lost travellers and protect them from danger. Stories of this type became more widespread starting around the early s. In different versions of one popular tale a man was journeying along a lonely forest road at night when a large black dog appeared at his side and remained there until the man left the forest. On his return journey through the wood the dog reappeared and did the same as before.

Years later two convicted prisoners told the chaplain that they would have robbed and murdered the wayfarer in the forest that night but were intimidated by the presence of the black dog. It is said that mothers would allow their children to play unsupervised on the Quantock Hills because they believed the Gurt Dog would protect them. It would also accompany lone travellers in the area, acting as a protector and guide.

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The Gytrash or Guytrash is a black dog and death omen of Northern England that haunts solitary ways and also takes the form of a horse, mule and cow. There are many tales of ghostly black dogs in Lincolnshire collected by Ethel Rudkin for her publication Folklore. Such a creature, known locally as Hairy Jack, is said to haunt the fields and village lanes around Hemswell , and there have been reported sightings throughout the county from Brigg to Spalding.

Rudkin, who claimed to have seen Hairy Jack herself, formed the impression that black dogs in Lincolnshire were mainly of a gentle nature, and looked upon as a spiritual protector.

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In Wakefield , [13] Leeds , Pudsey and some areas of Bradford the local version of the legend is known as Padfoot. A death omen like others of its type, it may become visible or invisible and exhibits certain characteristics that give it its name. It is known to follow people with a light padding sound of its paws, then appearing again in front of them or at their side.

It can utter a roar unlike the voice of any known animal, and sometimes the trailing of a chain can be heard along with the pad of its feet. One story tells of a man who tried to kick the Padfoot and found himself dragged by it through hedge and ditch all the way to his home and left under his own window.

Although usually described as black, another tale concerns a man who encountered a white Padfoot. He attempted to strike it with his stick but it passed completely through, and he ran home in fear. Soon afterward he fell sick and died. The Skriker or Shrieker [14] of Lancashire and Yorkshire is a death omen like many others of its type, but it also wanders invisibly in the woods at night uttering loud, piercing shrieks. It may also take visible form as a large black dog with enormous paws that make a splashing sound when walking, like "old shoes walking in soft mud".

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For this reason the Skriker is also known as Trash, another word for trudge or slog. According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable , the Yeth Hound is a headless dog, said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child, that rambles through the woods at night making wailing noises. It is also mentioned in the Denham Tracts , a 19th-century collection of folklore by Michael Denham.

It may have been one inspiration for the ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, described as "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen" - with fire in his eyes and breath Hausman The Wisht or Wish Hounds wisht is a dialect word for "ghostly" or "haunted" are a related phenomenon [70] and some folklorists regard them as identical to the Yeth Hounds. Oude Rode Ogen "Old Red Eyes" or the " Beast of Flanders " was a spirit reported in Flanders , Belgium in the 18th century who would take the form of a large black dog with fiery red eyes.

The earliest known report of a black dog was in France in AD , when one was said to materialise in a church even though the doors were shut. The church grew dark as it padded up and down the aisle, as if looking for someone. The dog then vanished as suddenly as it had appeared.

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In Lower Brittany there are stories of a ghost ship crewed by the souls of criminals with hellhounds set to guard them and inflict on them a thousand tortures. They are usually said to be either incarnations of the Devil or a shape-changing sorcerer.

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The legend of a small black dog has persisted in Meriden , Connecticut since the 19th century. The dog is said to haunt the Hanging Hills: The first non-local account came from W. Pychon in The Connecticut Quarterly , in which it is described as a death omen. It is said that, "If you meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time shall bring death.

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A New England black dog story comes from southeastern Massachusetts in the area known, by some, as the Bridgewater Triangle. In the mids, the town of Abington was, reportedly, terrorized by a large, black dog that caused a panic. A local fireman saw it attacking ponies. Local police unsuccessfully searched for it, at first; but, eventually, a police officer sighted the dog walking along train tracks and shot at it. Apparently, the bullets had no effect on the animal; and, it wandered off never to be seen, again.

The legend has been referenced many times in popular culture. One of the most famous ghostly black dogs in fiction appears in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles , where a large dog-like creature haunts a family estate.

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Sherlock Holmes is brought in to determine if the dog is in fact real or supernatural. This story makes use of folktales where black dogs symbolize death. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Mythical creature of British folklore. Black dog ghosts in popular culture.

Suffolk Black Dog" Anomalies. Penguin Book of Scandinavian Folktales. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: