Black

Canine Entity of Europe and North America. Distinguished from the Alien Big Dog by its paranormal qualities.

Variant names: BarguesT, Black Shuck, Blue dog, Bray Road Beast, el Cadejo (in Costa Rica), Capelthwaite (in Cumbria), Cappel, Choin dubh (Gaelic), Church grim, Ct SlTH, Dando dog (in Cornwall), Fairy hound, Farbhann (in the Hebrides), Farvann, Gabriel Hound, GallyTrot Girt dog, Gurt dog (in Somerset), Gwyllgi, Hairy Jack, Hooter, Kludde (in Belgium), Long dog, Mirrii, Moddey Dhoe, Muckle black tyke, Owd Ru-gusan, Padfoot (in Leeds), POOKA, SCARFE, Shag Dog, Snarly YOw Spectral hound, Le Tchan de Bcuole, Trash, VArmint, Wish Hound.

Physical description: As large as a calf or collie dog. Black, like a Labrador retriever; often described as jet-black or coal-black. Shaggy coat. Occasionally said to be headless. Large, red or green, glowing eyes. Foaming or slavering mouth. Long teeth.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Often malevolent or menacing. Screams, growls, or howls. Bad or fiery breath reported frequently. Occasionally acts as a guide or protector to travelers. Tends to follow or run alongside people. Often appari-tional in nature—seemingly real, but when a witness tries to touch or strike it, nothing solid is felt. Can appear or disappear suddenly. Sometimes grows bigger or shrinks before it disappears. Guards churchyards and treasure. Said to be an omen of death.

Habitat: Most often reported along roads or country lanes; also graveyards, fields, barrows, and downs. An association with waterways has also been noted.

Distribution: In Europe, especially common in Great Britain but also reported from Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Austria, Poland. In the United States, there have been reports from Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Other reports come from Canada, especially Nova Scotia; Costa Rica; Argentina; and Australia.

Significant sightings: A fearsome Black dog appeared inside a church in Bungay, Suffolk, England, on August 4, 1577, accompanied by "fearful flashes of fire" during a violent thunderstorm. It rushed down the aisle, killed two people and injured a few others, then appeared 7

Title page of a pamphlet describing the appearance of a BLACK DOG in a church at Bungay, Suffolk, England, in 1577. (Fortean Picture Library)

miles away at the church in Blythburgh, where its claws left burn marks on the church door.

In 1928, a Trinity College student was fishing in a river in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, when a Black dog with blazing red eyes came toward him in the shallow water. Terrified, he climbed a tree, and the animal looked up at him and snarled as it passed.

In 1949, a waterworker near Keresley, Warwick, England, was confronted early one morning by a huge Black dog sitting on its haunches. Its glowing eyes watched him as he edged around it and ran away.

In the winter of 1959 or 1960, a twelve-year-old boy and his mother saw a Black dog with a huge head peering into their window on Sharpe

Street in South Baltimore, Maryland. Its eyes were oval-shaped and bright red or yellowish. Later, the boy went outside but could find no tracks in the snow.

On April 19, 1972, British coastguardsman Graham Grant was on watch at Gorleston, near the harbor entrance to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, when he saw a large, black hound on the beach. It alternatively ran, then stopped and looked around, and after a short time it vanished. Grant said there was nowhere it might have hidden.

On April 30, 1976, a black-and-brown dog was seen in Abingdon, Massachusetts, feeding on a Shetland pony it had killed.

On October 31, 1984, a Mr. Lee was driving toward Molland, Devon, England, when he saw a huge, black great dane run toward the road at him. As Lee braked to a stop, the animal walked up to the hood of the car, looked at him, and vanished.

Victoria Rice-Heaps encountered a huge Black dog with glowing red eyes as she was driving past Hodsock Priory near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, early in the morning of May 11, 1991. It was about 18 inches taller than a great dane and seemed to be dragging something across the road. Possible explanations:

(1) Black feral Domestic dogs (Canis famil-iaris); the glowing red eyes might be an indication of opacity caused by cataracts, which make the eyes shine red in reflected light.

(2) The odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the Black dog being a paranormal—rather than a biological—entity, more related to ghosts than to dogs.

(3) British Big Cats, seen under imperfect conditions, may have contributed to Black dog folklore. However, the shaggy coat, the tendency to follow humans, and noisy movement argue against a cat.

Sources: Abraham Fleming, A Straunge and Terrible Wunder Wrought Very Late in the Parish Church of Bongay (London: Francis Godley, 1577); Robert Hunt, Popular Romances of the West of England (London: J. C Hot ten, 1865), pp. 220-223; Fr ank Hamel, Human Animals (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1917), pp.

238—246; John Symonds Udal, Dorsetshire Folk-Lore (Her t for d, England: S. Aust in, 1922), p. 167; Ethel H. Rudkin, "The Black Dog," Folklore 49 (1938): 111-131; Pierre van Paassen, Days of Our Years (London: William Heinemann, 1939), pp. 237-240; Helen Cr eight on, "Folklor e of Lunenbur g Count y, Nova Scotia," Bulletin of the National Museum of Canada, no. 117 (1950): 41; Alasdair Alpin MacGregor, The Ghost Book (London: Robert Hale, 1955), pp. 55-81; Robert J. Fugate, "The Devil Is a Black Dog," Fate 9 (January 1956): 22-24; Theo Brown, "The Black Dog," Folklore 69 (1958): 175-192; Theo Brown, "The Black Dog in Devon," Transactions of the Devonshire Association 91 (1959): 38-44; Ruth L. Tongue, Somerset Folklore (London: FolkLore Society, 1965), pp. 107-110; Patricia Dale-Gr een, Dog (London: Ruper t Har t -Davis, 1966), pp. 50-84, 107-108, 183-193; Ruth E. Saint Leger-Gor don, Witchcraft and Folklore of Dartmoor (New York: Bell, 1973), pp. 26-41, 188; Diarmuid A. MacManus, The Middle Kingdom (Gerrards Cross, England: Colin Smythe, 1973), pp. 66-76, 133-137; Katharine M. Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies (London: Allen Lane, 1976), pp. 16-17, 25, 62, 72, 74-75, 85, 89-90, 97-98, 140-141, 183, 207-208, 209, 216, 225-226, 282, 301, 321, 370, 412, 440; Ivan Bunn, "Black Dogs and Water," Fortean Times, no. 17 (August 1976): 12-13; "Killer Dog," Fate 29 (September 1976): 8-12; John Michell and Rober t Rickar d, Phenomena: A Book of Wonders (1977); Janet and Colin Bord, Alien Animals (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1981), pp. 77-111; Graham J. McEwan, Mystery Animals of Britain and Ireland (London: Rober t Hale, 1986), pp. 119-149; Christopher Reeve, A Straunge and Terrible Wunder: The Story of the Black Dog of Bungay (Bungay, England: Morrow, 1988); Karl Shuker, "Red Eye Glow: A New Explanation," Strange Magazine, no. 8 (Fall 1991): 39; David McGrory, "On the Sniff," Fortean Times, no. 83 (Oct ober -November 1995): 42-43; Christopher Kiernan Coleman, Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground (Nashville, Tenn.: Rut ledge Hill, 1998), pp. 31-34; Mark Chorvinsky,

"Phant om Dogs in Maryland," Strange Magazine, no. 19 (Spring 1998): 6-9, 52-53; "Wild Thing: Ar gent inian Wer ewolf on t he Prowl," Fortean Times, no. 146 (June 2001): 21; Victoria Rice-Heaps, "Black Shuck Seen," Fortean Times, no. 154 (February 2002): 52-53; Simon Sherwood, Apparitions of Black Dogs, ht tp://moebius.psy.ed.ac.uk/~simon/ homepage/blackdog.ht m.

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