Black Shuck

Black Dog of southern England.

Etymology: Possibly from the Old English scucca ("demon") or from "shag" or "shaggy" after its tousled coat.

Variant names: Old Shock (in Suffolk), Old Shuck (in Norfolk), Shuck, Shucky dog.

Physical description: Size of a calf. Shaggy black dog with glowing eyes. Some writers say it has only one eye.

Behavior: Appears before bad weather. Accompanied by the sound of chains. Walks behind people, growling. Follows cyclists. Said to throw people down and break their legs.

Distribution: Norfolk and Suffolk, England.

Significant sighting: John Harries was followed by a Black dog in November 1945 as he cycled from East Dereham, Norfolk, to the Royal Air Force (RAF) station at Swanton Mor-ley. Whenever he stopped, the dog would stop, and it kept pace with him even at 20 miles per hour. When he got to the base, it vanished.

Sources: Morley Adams, In the Footsteps of Borrow and Fitzgerald (London: Jerrold, 1914); John Harries, The Ghost Hunter's Road Book (London: Frederick Muller, 1968); Ivan Bunn, "Black Shuck: Encounters, Legends and Ambiguities," Lantern, no. 18 (Summer 1977): 3-6, and no. 19 (Autumn 1977): 4.

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