Dark tales of the ghostly black dogs - or hell-hounds - of old England can be found in abundance in many old towns and villages all across the nation. And now they're in the news again.
So, what are the black dogs? In his definitive book Explore Phantom Black Dogs, English author and researcher Bob Trubshaw wrote: “The folklore of phantom black dogs is known throughout the British Isles. From the Black Shuck of East Anglia to the Mauthe Dhoog of the Isle of Man there are tales of huge spectral hounds ‘darker than the night sky’ with eyes ‘glowing red as burning coals.’ The phantom black dog of British and Irish folklore, which often forewarns of death, is part of a worldwide belief that dogs are sensitive to spirits and the approach of death, and keep watch over the dead and dying. North European and Scandinavian myths dating back to the Iron Age depict dogs as corpse eaters and the guardians of the roads to hell. Medieval folklore includes a variety of ‘Devil dogs’ and spectral hounds.”
You can also find more on the mystery black dogs in this recent article I wrote for Fate magazine.