It’s been a long time coming, but thought I would kick off my posts on Cryptozoology with a little piece on the Black Shuck.
This ghostly giant hound has been spotted up and down the country, but most importantly there have been three sightings over the years in my home town of Stevenage. Which means the beast is closer to home and worth a look!
Unfortunately at this time I don’t have any specific dates when these sightings occurred, but at least two of these reports were sent to a local historian around 1910. These two reports are also in close proximity to one another, which is also interesting. The third Stevenage report is across town, but also interesting as its based around Six Hills Way near to some ancient burial mounds!
W B Gerish, a local historian received two reports of the large black hounds both by letter. The first was from a woman that had been walking with friends near to the Bury Mead area of Stevenage late at night. She told of a shadow which appeared to rise out of the ground, its head bent towards the ground and its tail curled over its back. It was said to be as big as a donkey. The creature passed them by and simply disappeared!
The second report came from a gamekeeper heading home in the direction of Whomerley Woods after visiting friends. As he passed a gate which led onto a byway to The Avenue he too saw a large black hound. Oddly this is where this account connects to the Six Hills Way account. The gamekeeper reported that hound rushed passed him, through the closed gate and in the direction of Six Hills Way. The gamekeeper continued on his way, but as he approached nearby woods the hound reappeared and then began to follow him. The gamekeeper described the hound as having its nose to the ground and its tail bent back. The encounter frightened the gamekeeper so much that he eventually turned around and headed back to his friends house.
I’ve always found it odd how these three accounts seem to interconnect slightly. The descriptions are very similar, two accounts are in the same part of Stevenage, but one also references the location of the other account!
It would seem that tales of the Black Shuck or similar hounds have been present throughout the history of the United Kingdom, but what seems quite apparent is that you really don’t want to meet one of these gigantic hounds on a dark night! Apart from the obvious fact that no one really wants to come face to face with a huge black hound, who’s eyes are a fiery glow and that appears from practically nowhere! These creatures of the night are also associated with pending death! Of course the specifics are a little vague as with anything in this field, but basically an encounter could mean that you or a family member may die within the next twelve months. Back in the old days this was probably a given!
Accounts of these large black hounds seem to haunt through history and date back quite a way. There have even been recent reports of these hounds around the country and websites have even sprung up to discuss them. I have even watched a few videos on YouTube on them. One particular video which showed a Black Shuck caught on camera was particularly interesting. Although the reason wasn’t the case in hand, more that it concerned me that Norfolk may have a large cat on the loose! Basically the video describes the size of a domestic cat, bob and mountain lion, then shows you the footage they caught. For me the footage was possibly a large cat, as the shape wasn’t dog like! However if the guys that filmed the ‘cat’ were right, it was a particularly large cat loose in the UK! Note to self, cancel any trips to Norfolk. In fact I’m sure this video will possibly lead to another future post on large cats roaming the British isles, which is a slight worry! Don’t get me wrong cats are lovely, but mountain lion size cats isn’t something that crosses your mind when you have a nice walk around Bodmin!
Back to our ghostly hound and it’s probably a good time to discuss if the Black Shuck should actually be included in the cryptozoology section? You see I have a slight issue with this particular hound of the dark, which is its inexplicable ability to appear and then disappear into thin air! Now I know many famous Cryptids are known to pretty much appear and disappear without much warning, but reports of the Black Shuck often include a good description of the hound rising up out of the ground. In my mind this kind of behaviour is more associated with perhaps a spirit which makes me believe that the Black Shuck could be a kind of ghost hound. Which places the hound with the likes of your White Ladies, Grey Ladies and regularly sighted ghosts. However thats my own opinion which without much more research and investigation is hard to prove as much in the paranormal field can be.
Still that doesn’t leave the Black Shuck out in the cold only witnessed by few. After all the creature has inspired some great story monsters too! After all the Hounds of the Baskervilles brought the Black Shuck to more of us, just hidden in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story where his famous character Sherlock Holmes investigates. I’m sure these dark hounds have inspired other writers too.
Ghostly dogs of the night or large cryptid hounds hidden in the depths of our countryside, these elusive creatures mean the same thing either way, pending death to you or yours! Although the threat it would seem is so loose that it could really be applied to any one you know! The thing is these hounds are still being seen with witness reports within the last couple of years too! I wonder where they will crop up next?
Let me know what you think of the Black Shuck? If you’ve seen one yourself? All comments are more than welcome, after all understanding everyone’s point of view or experiences is what makes the paranormal interesting!