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Sacred Places: Prehistory and popular imagination
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Summary of emails received about black dogs
I have been very interested in the black dog/phantom dog lore for quite some time now myself. Are you aware that the tradition exists very heavily in America, especially among the African American communities (at least African American communities in the past)?
I have collected many sources on this and it is incredible. I'm still trying to find out if this has been discussed in any folklore literature, as to why the tradition is so strong among southern blacks in American history. (I'm guessing it has something to do with slavery.)
Jerome Clark also lists many sources in his 1993 book Unexplained. I don't know if you've seen it already but it might have some things in there that you were not aware of. I can send you his list if you wish. I can also send you some other stuff I've found for black dog lore in America.
Robi-Ann Ravalli [August 1997]
I came across some information on apparitions of black dogs on your web-site. I also have a web page containing some information that I have put together http://moebius.psy.ed.ac.uk/~simon/homepage/blackdog.htm
Just thought I'd drop you a line to let you know that I have been successful in obtaining a small grant from Edinburgh University to cover a trip down to Exeter to look at the Theo Brown material. I will be there from 15th-17th April . At least it will give me a chance to have a look and see what's there and consider whether I might be able to do something with it.
Simon Sherwood [February 1998]
I'm a sculptor in the East Midlands, just down the road from Wing maze. I'm writing because I'm in the process of putting together my Web site at the moment, which will include a section on The Black Dog. I have gathered quite a bit of information together and your article in Mercian Mysteries features ( names, locations and meanings). Is it OK to use information from your article, I have acknowledged the source whenever possible.
Most of my sculpture is about the cultural roots of Britain, dealing with The Phantom Hound, Herne the Hunter, The Green Man etc.
Also have you heard of The Phantom Hound of Portland, the Roydog?
Simon Todd [February 1998]
[If anyone knows the current whereabouts of Simon Todd, please email me.]
Thank you for a most interesting page on black dogs. I am curious as to know who I should get in touch with at Exeter University to obtain the notes that you were referring to. I would need an address of course as I am in Australia.
I have been researching this off my own back for some time as my family (the McArthur Clan of Brae Lochaber, Scotland) have a black dog in the family. Not all members have seen it or know of it but it was last seen in 1986 and 1987 prior to the deaths of my grandfather and father.
I often wonder, the very popular tattoo design that is of Celtic origins - three black dogs chasing each others tale in a circle around a ball of fire - where the inspiration came from.
Ewan McArthur [July 1998]
Got a reply from Katie Jordan re. dogs 'n' wells which I'll summarise as follows:
In Wiltshire, at Bratton, a black dog or cat, Katie has heard both versions but suspects a dog is more likely, runs down Stradbrook Lane. Stradbrook is the stream which rises at Luccombe springs (ritual death/burials found nearby). It passes Cat's Well, i.e. St. Catherine's Well, which is on Stradbrook Lane. The parish boundary runs along the stream itself & Katie thinks the dof(sic) dog is more likely to be guarding the boundary.
Alison Maloney [August 1998]
Just looking at your web page on "black dog" mythology, and wonder if the "dog-faced daemon" mentioned in the Chaldean Oracles could be related to this mythology...?
Melanie Brawn Mineo [May 1999]
I enjoyed recently reading your article on 'Black Dogs in Folklore,' on the Internet, and thought you may be interested in my own research. Briefly, I finished a Doctorate Folklore years ago, and published a book with the University of Tennessee Press, in 1994, entitled, To Shoot, Burn, and Hang: Folk History from a Kentucky Mountain Family & Community. It contains a number of events which transpired in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the mountain section of Northeastern Kentucky where all my family and I are from, including a 'witch-burning' that transpired there in 1898.
The reason I bring the above to your attention, is in my book, chapter four, "This is the Tree of Justice,' I include the personal experience narrative of my great-grand-father, John E. Rolph, who saw the proverbial, shaggy-haired animal, with eyes as hesaid, "like balls of fire," about "the size of a calf," in ''Rolph Hollow," (or 'holler' as we say in the Southern Mountain Dialect. He thought he''d seen the Devil, and took it as a token or sign of evil, since that night, a mob broke into the Fleming County, KY jail and took out a man named William Thacker, whom they castrated, tore his tongue out, drove wooden pegs and also pins through his body, drug him behind a horse and finally hung him on a tree near 'Rolph Hollow.' This was in July of 1903.
The 'red-eyed' thing was seen on a number of occasions after this as well in the Hollow. If you can't get the book in England, I'd be more than happy to mail you the chapter, which includes other references (some of which you have in your article) on the 'Black Dog' sightings. My Rolph family and all the families in the area at that time were of English, Scot-Irish ancestry, as are most people in Kentucky. What ever the 'thing' is, it appears to haunt crossroads and appears at the sight or near the place of a murder or where violence has occurred. I tried to place the our family's experience in its cultural and ethnic context, but also showed examples outside of that of British lore.
Daniel Rolph [December 1999]
I got your email address from an article about black dogs folklore. I'm writing because I was wondering if you had any more info. This is because for nearly a year now, myself and a friend have seen a black dog in our area. We know for certain it is not just a stray or something, and to be honest, until we read the information on the sight we thought we must of been imagining it. The creature we see looks a little more like a wolf than a dog, it has glowing red eyes, and is always seen in the same places. We live in Billingham, its a town near to Middlesbrough, and had a really old village nearly a mile away called Wolviston. Also, I've noticed that the information we find always mentions death, but up to now, touch wood, no one near to us has died. We would be really grateful if you could send us some more information about this, and if you want any information on what we've seen I'd gladly send you it.
Graham [Jan 2000]
The following is Graham's answer to my series of questions about this experience:
Q: How often have you and your friend seen this dog?
Q: What time of day?
Q: Always in or near the same place?
Q: How long do you see it for?
Q: Does is behave as a perfectly normal dog or is there anything 'paranormal' about its behaviour (e.g. disappears into thin air after a few seconds)?
Q: What about the eyes?
Q: If you're seeing this at night is there any street lighting or car headlights that will reflect off the retina (animal's eyes tend to reflect light back much more than human eyes - but even human eyes will give a 'red eye' effect e.g. with some types of photographic flash)?
Q: Anything else significant or unusual about what you see, when or where you see it, etc??
Ok, now you either think we are escaped mental patients or kids with too much time on our hands, or telling the truth. I assure you we are telling the truth, I'm 17 and Ste is 19. Hope this info helps, thanks
Graham & Ste [Jan 2000]
My wife and I read your article on the web concerning black dogs with great fascination as we had just finished reading Alien Animals. We have both seen the phantom black dog, on two different occasions, in Tennessee and Florida. Native American tradition has that it is sent on specific errands from the "master of death." It appeared before a racetrack announcer and a huge crowd in Macon Co., Tenn. about 1920. If you are interested we could provide you with more details.
Donald Panther-Yates [July 2000]
You are welcome to pass this information on. It is taken from a book I wrote called Spirit Giftings. I am the "first person" in the excerpt, and Chief Paul Russel is "Grandfather." He is 63 years old now and still lives outside Hartsville, Tenn. I have a web address for him if you would like to contact him.
Several years after the Vermont trip I found myself travelling in Tennessee, at the lower end of the Appalachian chain. I was maybe a toddler on the spiritual path by now. It was late in the afternoon on another sunny May day. I had just left the forests of a large state park [Standing Rock, near the border with Kentucky] and was alone in my car. On my left were farmlands and fences with the occasional cabin. On my right was a precipitous hillside with cedars, briars and rock outcroppings. An animal shot across the road in front of me. It appeared to be a large, sleek black dog with long, powerful haunches. But it had a human face with eyes like burning coals. It did not look at me but went straight ahead right up the hillside with a purpose and intensity that chilled me to the bone. It crossed the fence, ditch, road and rocky hillside as though they weren't there.
Shaken, I asked Grandfather about the beast. "We don't say its name out loud," he said. "But it's real. Looking Heart has seen it. So have the children when we lived on the old homestead. It didn't look at you, did it?"
"That's good. You'd be dead."
He told me the story of the Hound of Hell. It was not a true animal. There was only one of its kind. It did not need food to live on. It was not of this earth. It had a master and it would be sent on errands with messages. These were meant for one person, no one else. It could talk. "It has been seen a lot around Macon County," he said. "It appeared at a racetrack around 1920 before several hundred witnesses. That got put in the newspaper [in Red Boiling Springs or Lafayette, Tenn.]. This beast made a beeline and ran directly up to the announcer in his box. It stood up on its hind legs as it approached him, looked him right in the eyes and spoke to him. What it said, no one knows. The man immediately became sick. He went into a coma. He confessed a horrible crime before all those people. He told them he had killed someone many years ago and could not die before confessing it. Then he died. Another case was similar. A man living way back in the woods was visited by this beast. He had secretly murdered his wife and family."
I never found anyone else who has seen the black dog until I met my wife, Teresa. She will write to you separately of her experience. We believe the black dog is a servant of the "devil." Before seeing the black dog I did not believe in this "devil," being a Native American. The glowing red eyes are its mark and distinguish it from mere "ghost dogs."
Donald Panther-Yates [July 2000]
I believe my husband wrote you separately about the black dog he saw. My daughter Katie and I saw the black dog several years ago before I had met my husband or read about black dogs.This was 1991 or 1992. It was very late at night and we were only yards from my house on a meandering and narrow road. To the right of us was an old fence and bushes and weeds. (There is no water or church nearby that I know of, but that does not mean that there did not used to be.) A huge dog seemed to come from nowhere and jumped in front of the car and lumbered across the fence at an unbelievable speed. At first I thought it a greyhound, but then I realized this was no ordinary dog... it was only the shape of a dog but had no real substance. It was more the shadow of a dog that moved like a dog. The odd thing was how intensely black it truly was..much darker than the dark night outside (for it was truly dark...no street lights). It sent a chill up my spine and I froze in fear. I asked my daughter if she saw it (she has also been able to see what you can call spirits or ghosts before as I have, but nothing like this). She said in a very quiet frozen voice,"Yes, and I never want to speak of it again..." I did not see its eyes and I am glad from what I have read of it,and I pray I never see it again. It seemed to have some demonic and sure purpose in its intense speed and straight direction and the feeling that we both had about it. I have determined it is the messenger of the devil from all of this.
Teresa Panther-Yates [July 2000]
I was wondering if you knew if black dogs acually exist? It probably says in your web-site but I don't have enough time to read it all. I have some real pictures of a hellhound or a black dog, whatever you may call it, and I will trade you one of them for information on when the black dog was last seen, and where it was. I'm pretty sure it was last seen in 1992 but you know more then me on them. I really only want this information if they have been seen in America.
Demona [September 2000]
My name is Michael Perry and I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I was watching the Discovery channel and they had a show on about 'haunted animals'. One of the animals was the Black Dog. I was so drawn to the show and the people they interviewed that had encountered these dogs were defintely not actors. They did the story of the church on that stormy night when the dog had came in and killed some people. On the door where the dog had came in, there were burn marks on it. It also said that the bells at the top of the chapel would get rid of any 'satanic' creatures. Three people ran up the tower to ring the bells but lightning on that stormy night killed all three of them. It also said if you saw one of these dogs you could not tell anyone for one year and one day, or someone in your family will die. Between the show and your report, I am convinced that these dogs are for real. Rather they are all coincidence that members of their family die shortly after seeing these dogs, or these dogs are truly haunted, I don't know. If you have any other information on these dogs please send it to me. I don't know why I am so amazed by these dogs. I live in the United States, could I find myself looking in the red eyes of the Black Phantom Dog? Possibly.
Michael Perry [October 2000]
I know that there is a footnote on your website regarding the archives of Theo Brown at Exeter University Library. I thought you may be interested to know that I am working, with the backing of the literary estate of Miss Brown, on these archives at the moment and am editing the three draft manuscripts and others of Theo Brown's collection of Black Dog lore for hopeful publication in book form.
Mark Norman [October 2000]
I have been doing a lot of research into black dogs recently (I have uncovered some local reports never put down in written form) and as I have already written and published one book (second awaiting), I am considering writing a good book on all the folklore I can find on black dogs. As I am only 17 and have no means of getting transport to Exeter from north Staffordshire I have been unable to get a photocopy of Theo Brown's notes which would be a great help. I e-mailed the library but they said that they couldn't send me a copy.
Byron Machin [August 2001]
I read through your piece on black dogs quickly and I didn't notice any reference to the black dog of Peel Castle in the Isle of Mann known as the - Moddey Dhoo (pronounced 'mawtha doo'). [No disrepect - but there is a brief mention of the Moddey Dhoo in my article. Bob T.]
Off the top off my head I can't recall the full story but if you are interested I will get you the full story. Incidentally my own nick name is - Dog, John Dog (Juan Moddey in Gaelic; pronounced 'jooan mawtha').
The story as I remember it was from the time of one of the King Charleses. The castle was a garrison and a ghostly large black dog used to be seen regularly and even came into the fire with them, the soldiers were fearful and only went about in twos and threes. One soldier, after a fews joughs (beers) decided that he would lock up alone and bring the key back. You guess the rest, there was silence followed by a deathly scream and he returned pale and drawn and never spoke for the three days before he died from fright.
John Callister [September 2001]
I read with interest the articles on black dogs in Britian. I hesitated to write in about my personal experiences with this entity but feel it important that another point of truth be highlighted. I am a professional psychic in South Africa and have had numerous encounters with a large shaggy black spirit dog for close on nine years. I first met the entity whilst walking along a main road in Kensington, a suburb of Johannesburg. At first the entity seemed unpleasant but as a medium I have learnt not to afraid, I told the black dog that he was welcome to walk with me as long as he caused no mischief, I also told him that I wished for him to protect me as South Africa is sadly a very violent place, both physically and spiritualy. Over the years he has sat at my feet during readings and seances. I find him endearing.he will always appear before deaths, both of animals or people I know. I believe that he is actually a good force, needing to protect those on this plane. I suspect this entity is perhaps connected to Anubis. He is so welcome to continue walking with me. I would like to say, that he has red glowing eyes but sometimes they are also green. He appears similiar to an English sheep dog. I promise you that all I have written is true, as I have no reason to lie. Please consider telling people not to be afraid of it, it is a force of the light who only needs love.
Kirsty Hall May [October 2001]
I came upon your article concerning the legendary 'black dog' and enjoyed reading it very much. I would be interested to hear from anyone who can verify or remember hearing the following story about 'black shuck'.
During the last war, so the story goes, an American serviceman married a local Suffolk girl from the vicinity of Dunwich and they rented a small cottage on the heathland in the Dunwich/Minsmere/Raydon area between Southwold and Aldburgh on the East Coast of England. Apparantly, that one night the cottage was attached by a large black dog, snarling and howling which threw itself at the locked doors and windows of the building.The frightened man and his wife dare not venture outside until morning when they found the footprints of a gigantic hound all around and across the roof of the building.
I remember hearing this story as a teenager many years ago but cannot find any written record of it. The exact location was simply given at the time was 'on the cliffs' which would place it in the Dunwich area, however as this was wartime and the area was a defence zone with emplacements and other fortifications, I find this hard to believe as the area would have a large garrison. However I would be interested to hear from anyone who has also heard this story or can throw any light on it.
Bob Newson [November 2001]
If anyone has any information of interest to Bob Newson then please email.
I always loved visiting my father as a preteen in the late 1980s. Dad rented a room in a house set back in the woods of Suffolk County, Long Island, in New York. A long hidden dirt road driveway took us past another house before reaching the dirt cul-de-sac in front of the house where my father lived. I loved that house, the woods, and all of the animals to watch there -- wild and domestic. I love animals and Nature places, and such things never evoked any kind of fear in me. I loved playing with the guard Rottweiler, Ben, every visit.
One late Summer afternoon, Dad sent me out to retrieve something for him that was in his car. I innocently walked onto the dirt cul-de-sac. The Rottweiler, "Ben," remained on the porch behind me. All of a sudden, in the clearness of the afternoon sun, I saw this enoromous black dog-like creature come charging out of the woods to my right a few yards in front of me. I can't honestly say if it truly came from the woods or merely 'manifested' at that point because I was not looking at that exact spot until the creature caught my attention by coming into my view. I can't overemphasize the word 'dog-like' enough because it was obviously not a true dog like the Rott behind me, nor was it like anything I had ever seen or imagined in my lifetime before or since. It was grossly larger than a real dog (300-400+ lbs?), more massive than a Mastiff, and 'ran' with a most unusual, exaggerated gait -- not like a dog at all -- or any other animal for that matter. There was something undog-like about its haunches or hind legs and the way they moved as it 'ran' across the dirt driveway and cul-de-sac. I can't pinpoint what about its hind legs was so unsettling to me, other than to say the beast's gait was out of the ordinary of any animal, lame or healthy. I'm not even sure if its feet ever truly touched the ground because it made no sound -- not of feet, of breath, or of any other animal sounds. In unnatural silence, it 'ran' across the dirt driveway and behind the circle of scant trees and shrubs of the cul-de-sac. I could still see the black dog-like beast behind the thin foliage as it was now on the other side of the dirt cul-de-sac.
As my eyes continued to follow it, the rest of my body remained frozen in absolute fear. I was totally captivated in horror and disbelief of this creature that I tuned out the rest of the world for these brief moments as this terror demanded my total attention. I could see it continue onto the other side of the driveway cul-de-sac in a straight line perpendicular to me. The creature never once looked in my direction or even seemed to notice that I even existed in the same world as it. (For that, I am thankful for I'm afraid I would have died of fright if it had looked at me!) It never changed its direction -- as if it knew where it was going or needed to be -- hell-bent on its course. It just continued in the straight line it was running on until it disappeared -- and I don't mean it retreated into the woods -- I mean it vanished into air before leaving the driveway for the other side of the woods! Throughout the entire event, I stood petrified in absolute terror, innately knowing what I had just witnessed was no animal of this world. Once it disappeared into nothingness, I came out of my spellbound horror and immediately turned to retreat back into the house, never making it to the car where I was at first headed when I first caught sight of the black dog-like beast.
When I turned to go back into the house after the creature disappeared, the Rottweiler who had always been so friendly with me now stood on the porch snarling, growling, and backing up as if he was about to attack. My back was now towards the area where I had just seen the creature running. Was beloved Ben truly growling at me or was he also seeing the creature that had by now disappeared from my sight? I will never know. Ben would not let me pass and enter the house. I called out to my dad that Ben wouldn't let me in, but he didn't realize how threatening the Rott was acting and called out from inside the house that I should, 'Just walk around him.' I assured my dad that was not possible, so he walked out onto the porch and 'Ben' immediately calmed down and I was allowed to pass and reenter the house.
As soon as I was inside, I told my father what I had just witnessed that left me so horrified. I called it a 'Black Dog' for lack of a better description but was very clear about the fact it was not a true dog at all. I assure you I had never heard of a 'Black Dog' before I named the creature I witnessed that, myself. I have never been back to that house since that last visit when I was a preteen. Dad comes to visit me, now, and he himself had to move after a terrible accident 6 months later at that house (in the cul-de-sac driveway no less!) where he had to be brought back to life by paramedics. (I never believed my sighting and his accident were related in any way because I did not perceive the Black Dog as an omen so much as a thing of horror.) After the accident, Dad had to move away from that area of Suffolk County, New York.
Now in my mid-20s, I've been looking more into Black Dog phenomenon for a better understanding of the beast that ran into my life bringing terror years earlier. I'm astonished how widespread and old the phenomenon is and am stunned that modern sightings, like my own, still continue to come in. Some researchers theorize that Black Dog activity is often tied to specific land features. This revelation led me to ask my father a series of questions about the land his old house was on and any 'untimely deaths' on the land. I hadn't mentioned at first my questions were tied to my Black Dog sighting for fear he might not take my inquisition seriously. He was curious about my line of questions, so I at last refreshed his memory about my Black Dog experience during my last visit. We hadn't spoken of it since it occurred years earlier. I recapped what I had witnessed that day for him, still breathless as I recalled the event from so long ago. He said he distinctly remembers my fear from that very day. I told him that I have been reading lately that Black Dogs, like the one I encountered, as most often associated with dirt roads, wells, or ley lines. His interest peaked when he told me we had all of those land features there. My encounter was on the dirt road driveway and dirt cul-de-sac. He confirmed a well on the grounds, just yards from my encounter. He then went further to say that there were cemeteries on either side of the property, out of view, but close in the vicinity, no less. After our phone conversation, he e-mailed me some maps of the area of the house where I saw the Black Dog. The house was in a direct line between an ancient Native American burial ground and a 19th century church and cemetery. He sent another map that showed the house was aligned exactly 1.41 miles from the Native American burial ground to the Northeast and exactly 1.41 miles from the old cemetery to the Southwest. The property was in the exact middle of the aligned burial grounds. All of these things were news to me, but fit right in with the theory that most Black Dogs occur in such areas.
Also interesting to note, there was a murder on the property. This, too, was shocking news to me! I don't blame my father for never wanting to tell me this when I was a child, but as an adult, he knows that I did encounter something on the property he can't deny. My father did not live on the property at the time of the murder, so he only remembers it from the landlord's accounts, but there is no doubt a murder was committed on the property. Dad and I don't know where the body was buried.
In the phone conversation, Dad asked me what are these 'Black Dogs' called. I told him they are referred to as 'Black Dogs', but each county also seems to have their own name for the beast. I rambled off a list of a few I had off the top of my head. He stopped me on 'Barguest' by eagerly asking, "What was that?" I replied, "Barguest -- but I may be mispronouncing it. I've never heard it spoken; only read it. It comes from a German word meaning 'ghost of the funeral.' " He said that the Barguest sounded familiar, although he didn't say how. I then told him about one of the most famous Black Dogs having reported kills in 1577 when it appeared in two churches in Suffolk County, England. He then stopped me again at the mention of Suffolk, because my encounter occurred in Suffolk County, New York... Another curiosity is that Dad believes the name of the church with the 19th century cemetery near his old house in Suffolk County, New York was called Trinity Church. I'm trying to verify that, at this moment. I, then, informed Dad that one of the churches in 1577 where a reported Black Dog killed several people was Holy Trinity Church in Suffolk County, England. Coincidences or connections?...
Cindy Fallon [February 2002]
I was listening to Art Bell's "Coast to Coast" on the radio the other night. A police officer in South Carolina called in to share his account from years ago of his encounter with what he called a "demonic dog." He said it just appeared in his bedroom and he was sure he would die as it walked towards him and looked right at him. All he could do was close his eyes and pray. Described as "big" with a "matted coat," he likened it to the rabid St. Bernard in Stephen King's Cujo. He kept saying "it smelt like death." Being a police officer, he insisted he knew what death smells like. He insisted the dog was REAL. Chills ran up my neck as I listened to his account. Although he did not specify color, I immediately envisioned the Black Dog known as "Shuck" from his description. He asked the host if anyone has ever heard of such a thing. Moments later, another listener told Art Bell about "Black Shuck." The officer said he's never heard of such stories before, and neither had Art Bell. Now that someone came forward on this show, I wouldn't be surprised to hear others call in. I was so excited to continue to find other modern witnesses, I couldn't sleep!
Cindy Fallon [April 2002]
I saw the "black dog" when I was four (1989). I remember the encounter very well, however, because it terrified me unlike any nightmare could do. It was a normal night, I had not seen any scary movies lately, I had never heard anything about ghosts, black dogs, or hellhounds in my life. I felt the need to relieve myself, but was reluctant to get out of bed because my parents had told me that I should have gone before I went to bed. So I layed there for about ten minutes, squirming uncomfortably, and finally decided that I would go to the bathroom anyway. Holding my breath, I slid onto the cold wooden floor, and tiptoed around the corner of my bunkbed. I saw it then. It was standing between me and the doorway. Being a rather tall child (I'm six feet one inch now) at the time, I was slightly taller than it. We were no more than two and a half feet apart. I froze in terror when I saw it, and although it must have only been a few moments, I can remember every detail.
It was black, of course, slick and shiny like a doberman with cropped ears. It had a long, slender black tail and glowing red eyes. Unlike other reports that I have read, the dog I saw did not have eyes the size or shape of saucers. Instead, they were normal shaped, like any other dog's. The eyes...they were what made the biggest impression on me, I think. When you look at a creature, it is human nature to look them in the eyes, and they were the first thing I saw. It being dark, and they being a smoldering, glowing red, that seems rather natural I suppose. It was baring its teeth at me, but it made no sound whatsoever. It didn't even move. I screamed.
My grandmother, sleeping in the room at the end of the hall, woke and started for my bedroom. I knew she was coming, and I slipped past the apparition and ran into her arms. She comforted me and asked me what the matter was. "Mean doggy," was all I could say. She assured me she saw no "mean doggy" anywhere and urged me to turn around and look. I did.
It was still there...
It stood there, silent, menacing, but no longer snarling. Just staring at me with those eerie, glowing eyes. I gasped and turned around and buried my face in my grandmother's bosom once more. When at last my grandmother pried my arms from around her neck, it had gone.
For years I believed it had been a nightmare. How could it not be? I was wide awake, but it still must have been a nightmare. I kept the encounter to myself for years, afraid of being ridiculed. When I was ten, I happened to see a book in my school library that caught my attention. It was called Animal Phantoms. I don't know who it was by, and I haven't been able to find it anywhere on the internet. But I remember picking it up and looking at its cover and nearly fainting. Surrounded by see-through cats, horses, cows, and other strange, ghostly animals, was an almost perfect rendition of what I had seen six years before. It looked exactly like what I had saw, except for one thing - the eyes were glowing a little too much more than what I had seen. They were red and glowing, yes, but it looked like the eyes were giving off some kind of light, like a perverted sort of headlight. When I saw the eyes of the real thing, it was like looking into a...I don't know, but although the eyes glowed, they gave off no light. The redness of its eyes did not illuminate the darkness in any way. I wish I could find that book. I have since moved away from my grammar school, and I am unable to see the book again. As I said, I cannot find it anywhere on the internet, but I can even remember that it was a pink book. Rather odd, isn't it, that I can remember such minute details so easily, but I have trouble remembering my best friend's birthday? Ha. Anyway, I hope this can be of some interest to you. It was a pleasure finally being able to tell this to someone. You still may think I'm crazy, but I don't really care because I believe what I saw, and that's really all that matters, eh?
Nicolle [May 2002]
I am a resident of Hagerstown, Maryland in the United States. Legends of spectral black dogs still exist here even to this day. It was often a favorite ' ghost story' told by my grandparents when they were still alive. My mother still speaks of stories on occasion. Local fokelore of this area, and surrounding areas such as Boonsboro and South mountain, claims that seeing the black dog can be a harbinger of death. My grandfather claimed to have seen it several times, but did not reach his end until years later. The most vivid story I can recall is when he said he was coming home off the mountain and saw a large black dog standing in the middle of the road. He was driving his pick-up truck home in the evening. With no time to stop, he said he ran over it . . . feeling and hearing a 'thump' as he rolled over the dogs' body. He stopped and looked back, only to see the dog still standing there. It was staring at him, then growled and vanished into the evening air. My grandmother, a few weeks before she died in her bed, even claimed that a black dog came into to her room at night and crawled beneath her bed. The folklore in this area is quite strong among the older generation, and still important to those of us who may be young but still remember.
P.S. The black dog is often called the "Snarly Yow" around these parts.
Joseph Pyne [June 2002]
I have had some experiences with the Black Dog. My experiences began about fourty three years ago.
I dreamed one night of a white horse who was very large and freightening. I told my mother of the dream and she told me it meant that there would soon be a death. She seemed terribly shaken. Within two weeks of the dream a close friend died. I don't remember ever dreaming of the white horse again.
I then began to have dreams of a 'demon dog', medium size, black, with glowing red eyes. These dreams were terrifying. I truly thought I had been face to face with a demon. Through out the years the pattern has been that within two weeks of the dreams someone I felt closely bonded with would die, an infant sister-in-law, uncles and aunts as well as some close friends.
A day or two before the birth of my son I dreamed of the dog again. In this dream the dog was a small pup who lay outside my bedroom window and was ill. In this dream I realized that without care the dog would die. Knowing just what dog this was I was tempted to let it die. I was unable to do that though and decided I must go out side, get the dog and nurse it back to health. This dream was not at all pleasant. I had much fear yet managed to care for the dog inspite of the overwhelming fear. I awakened knowing the dog would survive. I believe I came to understand the purpose of the dream about a week later, June 1, 1962, the day of my son's birth. My son was ill at birth, internal hemoraging, and not expected to survive. He did survive and is now fourty years of age.
Then one evening, one month and four days after the birth of my son, I saw the dog with my physical eyes. My husband and had been watching television. I headed to the bathroom. I'm wide awake and on my feet when I saw the dog seated on the bedroom floor at the foot of my bed. He was as real, as solid, as any thing physical. I could not see through him as one might see through a 'ghost'. I stopped, shocked to see a dog in the house. I looked at him and became terified. I recognized who he was. His red glowing eyes somehow captured my attention. I could not move nor make a sound. It was as though I was stuck in that spot. He looked at me intensely, eye to eye. Once I acknowledged who he was and that he was there to forwarn of death, he turned his head slightly. He was no longer looking at me. He looked like a dog who is saddened, head turned slightly away and down. In that instant he faded away. I thought I would not tell my husband and took my time returning to the living room believing I had regained my composure. He looked at me and said, "You look like you've just seen a ghost!" I then told him what had happened. I also explained that I felt as though I had come face to face with the devil himself. Neither of us understood why he appeared in physical form until the following day when my four year old daughter died.
I continue to dream of the dog on occasion and always with the expected results. I prayed to have this 'curse' removed. It was such a terrifying experience I did not want any part of it. I wanted never again to have this experience, even to forget it had ever happened. I really thought the whole thing was evil. I thought that I had been evil because I had dabbled in the occult, Ouija Board and Scrying out of curiosoty, and this was my punishment. In time I thought my mind had created this dog and therefor could get rid of it.
About eight years ago I saw him again with my physical eyes. On this particular morning I awakened feeling as thought I hadn't slept enough. I lay in bed for a moment before feeling ready to get up and prepare to go to work. As I turned to get out of bed I saw the dog sitting there. He was like any dog sitting on the floor at the side of the bed. We were nose to nose! Again there was this intense eye contact, recognition of who he is, and what he had come to inform me about. I felt the usual terror. I noticed his eyes were glowing as usual but this time yellow and not red. He faded away. I also thought there was something else diferent about him this time. I just could not identify what that something was. I though he had come for me this time, that I would be the person to die. I decided this time I'd say nothing to my children. I did share this with two friends.
My youngest daughter was planning to move back to Arizona from California and would be renting a U Haul truck for the move. I hoped I would not die before seeing her again. One night about midnight she telephoned from her sister's home in Prescott, about fourty five miles from my home. She said she and her fiance were leaving there within a short time to come to my home. I feared for their safety so suggested they not come until morning after they'd had a night's rest. They had been driving for about eight hours and which ever of the two posssible routes they would take they would have to come down some steep and winding mountain roads. I was very much afraid for them. I just didn't want to alarm them by saying anything about having seen 'the dog'. She insisted they would arrive at my home in less than an hour. I could not talk her out of this until I said to her that I had seen 'the dog'. Immediately she said "Oh, Ok Mom. We'll stay here tonight. We'll see you tomorrow." As she and her fiance had planned to shop around for a used auto while in Arizona they went to a car lot, in Prescott, the following day after unloading the truck. As they pulled into the car lot something fell out of the U Haul truck, the axel! I believe the dog came with a warning and that warning saved lives this time.
In the mean time my oldest daughter began seeing the dog. Just before the death of her grandmother and just before the death of her father. She shared that when she first encountered him she thought - "No, he can't be here. That's Mom's dog." She also reports there is much terror associated with his appearance.
My granddaughter is also having these experiences. She repots she has seen him yet usually simply senses his presence. She has reported this to her mother every time it has happened and each time there has been a death.
Thinking I should never have told my children about the black dog, I blamed myself for this. For many years I referred to him as "the black dog", "the demon dog", or "the dog".
Until August 26, 1992, I had never known others have experienced the Black Dog. I know the date because I had made a note of this and today (Sept. 17, 2002) I found the note. I then began to realize this dog is not a creation of my mind. He is an entity with a mind and a will of his own. That made him even more freightnening to me.
I have often wondered what is the point of him showing himself to me? I don't know who will die, I can't do anything to prevent the death. I do now, however, pray that the person whose death he has predicted will pass peacefully without pain and fear.
I must add that without his appearance at the time of my daughter's move from California though, I might have lost another loved one, my youngest child.
C. E. De Rosett [September 2002]
I've been researching the "black dog" phenomena for a while. I've also heard theat they can also be a psychopomp (a messenger or something that takes the soul to its afterlife) as well as an omen for death. The reason it is so interesting is that while I knew a bit about it my mother did not. Shortly before and after my father died she has seen a black dog wandering around the neighbor's yard and she says "staring over the fence at her." She saw it again the other day and we received news last evening that my Uncle had died that day. I've been able to somewhat explain the myth to her but obviously... it's not a myth for her now. I don't have an explanation as to why we would be seeing it now within the last couple of years as opposed to any other times of death in the family.
We live in GLen Carbon, Illinois, USA and as far as I know have no ties to England where the dog seems to be seen the most often.
Liz Willow [October 2002]
I am a student of Afro-Caribbean background (Trinidad) now studying in the UK. I was utterly ammazed at the accounts recorded on your website, especially the story given by the South African psychic which bears a broad similarity to this incident. This is a synopsis of a story related to me by my mother who was born and raised on the island of Grenada, 100 miles north of Trinidad.
When she was a child she often spent weekends at her grandmother's house (this was just after World War II). Early one morning she set out to walk back home to her mother's house with her grandmother, this route took them through unlit cocoa plantations and rural roads with only starlight to guide them. My mother tells me that on passing a local shop that she knew well she saw a huge white dog sleeping in front ot its locked front door. Interestingly enough, the dog did not give any indication that it was aware of their presence and her grandmother did not seem to pay much attention to it.
The incident that remains embedded in her memory occurred just as her mother's house came into view. Her grandmother always wore a wide brimmed straw hat and my mother said that she distinctly remembers a "sound like that of gravel falling on the brim of mama's hat" after which she was heard to say to someone (or something) "Yuh goin? Byebye" (Translation: "You're off? OK fine, goodbye"), as if she was talking to an old friend. She says that she later heard her grandmother say to her mother that the dog was a guardian that protected her whenever she walked alone at night. I have heard of other similar stories involving canine apparitions in the Caribbean they may be worth investigating.
Kenneth Lowe [October 2002]
Having read your website article Black Dogs in Folklore, I felt I must write to you. I have had a sighting of a black ghost dog about 20 years ago. I was with a friend who also witnessed the sighting. Driving through Faldingworth in Lincolnshire, we saw in the distance a black dog walk out from the shadows of the hedges. It slowly walked into the middle of the road as we approached it. It stopped in the middle of the road and turned its head to look at us, as we were only about 50 feet away we noticed that it had no features or eyes to its face. It was like a deep black vivid shadow. As we got a little closer it disappeared in front of our eyes. This sighting was in 1982. In 1992 I heard a BBC Radio Four a documentary called 'Chasing the black dog' where other people had witnessed sightings. The memory of this has lived with me for the past twenty years and I was so pleased to find your article which backs up my experience.
Richard Jones [December 2002]
This is the first time I have heard anything on black dogs. But I have seen one. I am 50 years old now but when I was 6 or 7 I was helping my grandma in her little store. She used to make and sell corn tortialas and tameles. Well anyway it was getting dark and I was getting scared cause I had to go thur a cemetary to get to my house. So I was upset with grandma for keeing me so long. I started to go out the door, I opened the door and there it was a big black dog with red eyes. We stared at each other. I was so scared I couldn't move. I yell, went back inside and told my grandma. She went to the door, open it and call out to the dog , but the dog never showed up again. All this time I have been thinking I must have dreamed it. But I know I was awake.
Melie [January 2003]
P.S. My grandma lived in Pharr. That's in the Rio Grande Valley, south Texas. The cemetary was one block away.
I finally can rest assured that I was not hallucinating one very windy summer night twenty years ago when living at my parents house in Bouctouche, New-Brunswick, Canada.
I always told people my story about the Black Dog apparition I experienced, yet I never had any explanation for what happened until now, nor did I realize this was an actual phenomenon that happened to individuals other than myself.
Here’s my account of the events:
I was a very hot summer night, I couldn’t sleep, and it was just too uncomfortable upstairs where my bedroom was in my parents 100 year-old house. My mother, being the night owl that she is was still awake and I knew she would be downstairs so I got up. It was around midnight when I got up, went downstairs and told my mother I was going outside to sit on the front step for a breath of fresh air.
I went outside and was sitting on the steps, the wind was blowing the trees all over the place and it was a little spooky, but I needed to cool off. I looked down for a few seconds when a chill went down my spine and I had this horrible feeling someone or something was watching me. Slowly I raised my head and there It was, staring at me, not moving, just sitting a few feet away from me. Just writing this I can picture him, the unblinking eyes, the big black body.... Anyways, needless to say, I was scared out of my tree, I was just too scared to move! What do I do? I start saying the Our Father, thinking if the Dog was something evil, the prayer will make him go away... Again, looking down for not even a second, he just vanished out of thin air the same way he came!!!! I was frozen from fear, with this feeling of... I can’t even explain it.
I ran inside the house and when my mother saw my face, she asked me what happened because she said I was as white as a sheet when she looked at me! I then proceeded to explain to her the encounter.
To this day when I come home at night I still cannot look directly in front of me when I come up the drive way and park. I just look sideways towards the door for fear of seeing the Black Dog again. I have chills every time I tell someone about what happened to me that night.
PS: As far as the Black Dog itself, from what I read on you site it appears to different people in various shapes and sizes. Mine reminded me more of a Black Lab, but it was surely not the friendly type. It was big, menacing, sitting there staring at me in silence. I really didn’t get a good look at his eyes thinking in my head that if you stare down a dog it will surely attack because it feels provoked, so I can’t say they were red. If I had to say anything about them they did shine, but that could have been like any other animal’s eyes at night....
Lise [December 2004]
Lise would be interested to know if anyone else has seen anomalous black dogs in the Bouctouche area. Please email c/o At the Edge
I myself have had two experiences of seeing phantom black dogs and so has my daughter and I thought you may be interested. I am writing from the Cambridgeshire fenlands in East Anglia, England. There have been many stories of phantom dogs in this area going back to pagan times. My first experiance occurred when I was about 10. I was visiting my aunt's farm for the day and was playing in an old orchard on her property. The area itself is very old and was only about half a mile away from an old burial mound (though I did not know this then). I had my aunts two Alsatians with me that afternoon, it was a gloomy afternoon about 3 oclock and I think it was late autumn, I was playing under an old apple tree at the edge of the orchard when suddenly the hackles of the dogs with me began to rise and suddenly this large black dog appeared looking through the hedge on the edge of the orchard at me. My aunts' Alsatians ran off leaving me there. The dog was large sort of Alsatian-like in appearence and definitely had red eyes. I was frozen in fear for what seemed ages and then I too ran. The dog did nothing only stood and stared at me. I never did play down the orchard again!
The second time I saw a black dog was about 4 years later. I was with my dad travelling at night (about 10pm) along a very isolated fen road which was very bendy so we moving quite slowly. We came around a large bend and there in the middle of the road stood a large black dog, again with red eyes. It did not attempt to move and just stood staring at us it looked solid and my dad stopped the Land Rover we were in. I was really frightened as I knew it was the same sort of thing I had seen when I was younger. My dad went to open the door to get out and go toward it, but I did'nt want him to because I was scared so I turned and grabbed at his arm. When I turned back it had vanished.
I now only live about 4 miles from where my dad and I saw the dog that night and about 11 years later my 3 year old daughter looked out of the back bedroom window one evening and got hysterical, saying a big black dog was in our back garden staring up at her! It did make me uneasy but I managed to convince her that she dreamed it. I thought she perhaps had, but in the 5 years since then my pet cats at times have refused to go outside and on several occasions have run in like the Devil himself is chasing them and then hide behind the furniture shaking and refusing to come out. Then last night my daughter who is now 10 let our pet collie dog outside to go to the toilet. It was about 8 pm. Our dog ran straight back in the house and cowered at my feet obviously frightened and about 2 seconds later my daughter ran in shaking crying and nearly hysterical. She said that she saw the same large black dog that she saw when she was little and she now knew she did not dream it! She said it stood in the corner of our garden (which backs onto open fields) and just stood still staring at her. She said it was larger than our collie and had yellow eyes. I immediately went outside but did not see anything, though the atmosphere felt very sinister and the hair on my neck stood up. Needless to say I soon came back in!
Now an intersting thing is that I have always been psychic and I am sure that a spirit path runs adjacent to our property. I think that spirits use this line of energy to travel along. I have seen movement there before though not a dog, I promise I am not making this up and I am completely sane! But I must admit last night I felt quite freaked out, I do not like the thought of a phantom dog appearing in my garden at all.
Michelle (February 2005)
I have a very differing, but quite interesting story of my encounter with the black dog you mention. It all came about a few days after some friends and I had innocently and skeptically played with a Ouija board. It began first with awakening at night feeling paralyzed, and I couldn't breathe, I thought I was dying. The same thing happened to my sister who lived several miles away, she was a very skeptical person by the way. And she only touched the Ouija board, she didn't play with it. The others that played with it, had paranormal experiences akin to that of poltergeist activity, so did I, but they didn't encounter any out of the body experiences or encounters with a black dog, they thought we were crazy.
Anyhow, I'm not sure after reading up the other day on the subject of sleep paralysis if I was experiencing that along with the encounters of the black dog or if I was actually having an OBE. I do know that I would hear voices and see visions when this was going on, I would be supposedly flying over cities, I even remember this fellow I liked being at an Army base and seeing him on watch, he saw me in whatever form I was and screamed and I got shocked into my body. I felt like I was convulsing, all my organs I could feel convulsing, my body was jumping up and down on the bed. The preacher and demonologist did an exorcism and it all stopped, they assumed I was possessed. My sister's problems stopped suddenly on their own.
That was 18 years ago when I was about the age of 15 or 16, I experienced these episodes for over a year. I am a Southern Baptist and did not know what my preacher's take on this would be, but I became terrified. I didn't see the black dog anytime other than at night, I was afraid to go to sleep, because at first I would go into those trances upon falling asleep and it's like it would draw me out of my body. At first it appeared to be very friendly, it looked like a huge black lab, and whined for me to pet it. Then, suddenly, it growled at me and crouched as if it would attack me, a buzzing went all through my head comparative to the pain you would feel under air pressure from a tornado, the buzzing hurt, and his eyes glowed red. He would talk to me by telepathy, he would say things like one day he would get me out of my body and he would kill me and devour my soul. I didn't have any family or close friends to die either. It got to where when I would lay down at night, he would accompany me by my bed terrifying me just by being there.
I became so scared that it was happening to me more often and not when I had even drifted off to sleep, that I called my preacher. I would have thought that I was crazy, but my sister was experiencing the very same thing on the very same night. The dog at the bed wanting to be petted and then a sudden feeling of fear and it's eyes glowing red. I prayed that last night like I had never prayed before, I began to hear all of these voices, a beautiful woman came near me and I was scared, I flogged at her, and a voice in my head said "you just touched an angel" and I felt so remorseful, more than I've ever been. Then, I began to hear all of these people talking, so loud it was hurting my ears, and the whole room disappeared and filled up with the most perfect looking people I have ever laid eyes upon, and they were all angels, then the Lord's hands reached out to me, and I felt so much warmth and protection, and then a voice told me to touch the dog and it would disappear and I did and it's like it exploded, not like in a loud noisy explosion, it was more like little ions of red particles it exploded into and then disappeared.
I then went and called my preacher and we had the exorcism performed several days later, the demonologist knew about the black dog, I can't remember what he called it, but he mentioned something about India and a witch that had a black dog in legend. I have seen other black forms at three other times in my life, but they were like a part man, part goat, one was like a hooded figure, and one was just a flowing figure like someone in a cape.
I will tell you that I learned from a co-worker that her son was experiencing visions of a flood at a river and he said a black dog with red eyes attacked him and was ripping him to pieces, he awoke, his fan fell over, he saw a pair of black eyes in it, and he had bite marks on his arm.
My sister was as myself, she saw visions of war, planes flying overhead, her deaf brother-in-law talking normally screaming that the house was on fire, yet she couldn't move because she was paralyzed. The dog would want her to pet it also and then it's eyes would glow red and she knew it was evil.
If you know of anyone reporting any similar experiences, I would like to know [please email c/o At the Edge], as I have only heard of people sighting the dog but no accounts like mine and these two other people. I hope this has provided some insight into your investigation.
Rhonda Silverthorn [April 2005]
When I was a child I lived in a mostly undeveloped part of Nevada. Our neighborhood that was essentially two rows of houses opposite each other as such, with a sort of developed road on one end and endless desert on the other.
There was a huge black dog that I saw often. It would be standing in the middle of the road, whenever I (or any of my friends) spotted the thing it would run down the street with this bizaare bounding leap and vanish into the desert. It made a horrible noise as it ran, like growling distorted human laughter. I remember being terrified of this thing, and asking around, but nobody around had a black dog. I saw it on a regular basis from the time I was five until I was in my early teens, when more streets were added and the desert was paved over to build a road and some apartments. Just last year (I am now 21) I was visiting home and baby-sitting my cousin's children, who now live in the house, when the six year old girl came running inside babbling about a "black laughing dog". I ran out, but I was too late to catch it. Maybe only kids can see it, I don't know. There's my black dog story.
P.S. On recalling all this, I brought it up to my mother. She remembers this dog, which suprises me, and says it was "built like a very big dingo, but pitch black." She however, doesn't remember the noise it made, only that she saw it once or twice, and could never figure out where it went to. If anyone else in Las Vegas or in Nevada has black dog experiences, I would love for them to get hold of me. [please email c/o At the Edge]
Valentina Morgan [May 2005]
When I was in High School (1979–81) Art Classes and about 13–15 years old, I painted a picture of a black dog. It looked a bit like an English Bull Terrier, sleek, black, blue tinge to its shiny coat. It was up on a hill with a flaming torch in its mouth. In the valley below houses were on fire. He had a sinister look about him.
Years later when I’ve had 2 daughters and am a adult in my late 20s, I brought a old library book from a library sale called Folklore Myths & Legends of Britain, I came across a small section on the Black Shuck and how it set fire to two churches in England. I thought as I read it. That sounds like my “devil dog “as I called it, painting. I didn’t think much more about it.
This year 2005 I’m 39 now. I had a dream about a big black dog. In the dream, I was outside, at night, with my small pet dog, and I thought something, a cat? Is after my birds in the aviary? A big black animal jumped my fence. I first thought it was a panther. It moves like one. It whirled around the yard. But then as I got closer, I saw it was a big black dog. It was the most amazing looking creature. It was beautiful. I wasn’t afraid of it at all. And it wasn’t after my bird. It came inside with me and up stairs to my bedroom and into the ensuite. It sniffed about a bit and then the dream ended.
I woke up totally amazed by this creature and wondered what the dream meant. Was it a spirit not wanting to be identified or some type of totem animal, or was it just checking out my new house, what?
A month or so later I decided to look up Black Shuck on the Internet. This site is quite good to hear of sightings and descriptions etc from real people, not just books. I got out my old painting to compare it with other’s descriptions. Thinking I don’t think my picture had anything strange about the eyes. But I found that I had in fact painted my dog with “shining red eyes” – even painted a big sparkle flashing off them. Also a studded collar and it had set fire to some trees as well as the houses.
Upon looking at other Web sites I found interesting that the hound likes to hang around, near the shoreline, the marshes, the downs areas and solitary roads (the road leads to an old church yard cemetery at a crossroad), all of which are on the other side of my fence that the dog jumped over in my dream.
My house is newly built and we’ve only been living here since December 2004. I had never heard any tales when I was little about any such dogs. So I don’t know why I painted the picture of the devil dog when I was a kid? The resemblance to the Black Shuck is uncanny. I have had people close to me die over the years, but can’t relate anything to the black dog omen. So far, it was quite non-threatening and didn’t have red eyes in my dream, unlike my painting. One of my daughters has direct descendants to Lincolnshire Pinchbeck England. Still very interesting. Pleased to get any comments or similar events that happened to anyone else, especially Australia? [please email c/o At the Edge]
Louise Carlsson, South Australia [May 2005]
I am 25 and live in South Texas. I was recalling a story that I have heard from my father. He said that one day as a boy he was walking on a sidewalk in a populated residential area and saw a big black dog walking in front of him. As he approached the dog it turned to look at him and he saw that it had bright red eyes. He was terrified and ran home. He has not seen it again. Another story was told to me when I was about 12, by an older cousin. She told a group of family members that at a local house party a group of teens were drinking and listening to music. Someone noticed a big dog outside and yelled for everyone to look at it. She said that the dog was running around the house and that when it looked at them it had bright red eyes like fire. It scared the teens and everyone huddled together in the living room until they were sure that it had departed. Just wanted to let you know that the black dog has been seen by a heavy latino population in south Texas. I myself recently typed in the words "black dog with red eyes" and was very surprised to see that it was a legend around the world. I always just figured it as a mexican thing like the cucuy. Thank you for your time.
Thomas [July 2007]
p.s. as far as I know, no bad luck or immediate death was experienced.
In answer to my questions:
Do you know which towns these two sightings were in/near?
Would you describe the family as Hispanic (e.g. predominately Spanish-speaking with good knowledge of Hispanic traditions) or are they more English-speaking?
I was visiting my grandparents at their house on the Isle Of Wight, the year was either 1984 or 1985, I can be sure it was no later or earlier than that. I would have been 10 years old.
I was always exploring at the bottom of their garden which contained a shed that I used to rummage around in for no apparent reason!
One afternoon, as I made my way around behind the shed to the boundary of the garden, I heard a rustling sound in the undergrowth to the left of me. I saw what I recognized to be a smallish black dog and as soon as I spotted it, it spotted me too and froze. I had an eerie feeling of surprise, fear and wonder all in one as I was immediately struck by two things: it's bright, burning red eyes and the facial reaction of the animal to my spotting it.
I had never seen any such creature and although I of course thought 'dog' my instincts told me this was somehow much different. The eyes looked almost filled with blood but deeper than that and almost glowing, this is what I believe led me to freeze like a statue. The other strange part was that the dog looked as if it had been 'caught out' and froze at the same time as I did. It looked at me with the strangest expression with a distorted face that seemed to change as I looked at it. At first I thought 'what an ugly dog!' but as I say, if I was to describe in detail the face itself, I don't think I could as it sort of morphed between a dog and what I felt was a pigs face! Its eyes looked at me with almost human characteristics and stared at me with alarm. The dogs body also seemed very strange, it was about the size of a pit bull terrier but again, unlike any I had seen before. I have to say, I do not remember seeing any normal features of a dog's face.
I feel I must point out at this point my frustration in not being able to fully recall every detail of the dogs appearance. Although it is now some 20 years past, that itself is not the problem because even 5 minutes after the event, I had no more recollection than I do now. It is as if time stood still for the seconds that myself and the animal stared at each other and when I search deep and concentrate on remembering more, I get a very strange hazy feeling.
The strangest part of the whole incident was that after what I would say felt like no more than 10 seconds or so, the animal made a high pitched screaming sound that ran through me. It shocked me as I was expecting maybe a 'woof' or growl at best! I would liken the sound to a pigs whine and it felt strangely as if it echoed in my head. 'Whhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeccch! – something like that!!!
The final part that still amazes me more than almost any other is that as soon as it made the screeching noise, it jumped/ran at speed/flew up through the trees at the end of the garden! This is where I remember being completely dumbstruck as it happened fast but I had never seen a dog jump from branch to branch like a monkey would. It disappeared along the tree branches to... where? I honestly cannot say or surmise.
The thing is, the bottom of my grandparents garden overlooked the local car park and was some 150 feet above it (at least). These trees I mention were not rooted from the ground, moreover, they were growing out of the side of the (for want of a better word) cliff face. The point that I'm trying to make is that there was a sheer drop below these tree leaves and the animal did not go down, it skipped as if on air to the right of me and disappeared from sight but like I say, logically it had to go somewhere but it just disappeared.
I have read accounts that are in no way similar to what I experienced, although I was shocked by what I saw, the animal did not attack me or double in size as some tales have suggested. What I can relate to though, is the descriptions of an almost human facial look of the dog, while it looked ugly and distorted, it was almost as if it was changing shape and features as it stared at me and I was aware of freezing to the spot as I stared into it's glowing red eyes.
Phil [December 2007]
Could this have been a muntjac deer? Anyone reading this seen a muntjac this close? What colour are their eyes? Was the species known to be present on the Isle of Wight in the 1980s? Email please!
I have looked just now at many images of muntjac deers and I can assure you 100% that is not what I saw that day!
Furthermore, I'd have to say it is almost as unlikely as seeing a so called apparition that I would have seen a deer in my grandparents neighbours back garden! As I mentioned before, there was no forestry or any other ending to the garden, just a sheer drop below of about 150 ft.
I saw a big black dog this morning around 5 am. I was in bed with my husband. I had already gotten to much sleep and was half in and half out of the beginning stages of sleep, kind of in-between. It is something I have always done; I just recently found out it is a type of meditation. Anyway I was in bed and I was dreaming/thinking about a show I watch on TV - it is a guilty pleasure of mine Rock of Love II with Bret Micheals. I was thinking of who would be kicked off next and I was visualizing the girls and one by one who would be left. I was startled awake by a feeling. I looked up and standing on the side/end of my bed was a very large dark colored dog. I own a chocolate lab and at first thought it might be her, but this dog was much bigger than her and had scruffy hair. It stood with its head kind of bent down so that it was level with its back and it stood frozen with one front paw up, like I had caught it sneaking into my room. It didn't seem evil, just out of place and maybe a little malevolent. Actually my first impression was that the dog was sneaking in like a thief. I remember looking at its back and seeing some kind of back pack or saddle like you put on a horse or something on its back. It had no eye color, I think they were black too. Than just as instantly as my realization was it was there it disappeared. I raised the blanket over my head and said a prayer. When I lowered the blanket it was not there. I was freaked out. I went online and there is all this talk about black dogs being an omen of death. I don't think it was but I have no idea what it means!!
Joy Hastings [March 2008]
Incident experienced by four people
Time: August 18th 2007 around 10pm
Location: I was visiting family in Georgia, USA
I was upstairs sleeping late when this thunderstorm woke me up out of my sleep. I remember the loud rumble of the thunder, thinking that the house was going to crack in half. I was a little scared and I put the covers over my head, and braced myself for each thunder boom.
Later that day, my aunt stopped over to pick up my mother and I and show us her new house.
We stayed for a while at her house.
By this time, it was close to 9pm, we stayed at my aunts house for about a hour.
My aunt wanted to show us the house that she wanted to buy. We came to a cul-de-sac and she pointed it out. She said that this house had a backyard facing lots of trees. She said that it was a no construction area like a protected land.
We went round the cul-de-sac and continued around to newer houses being built in this area. It was dark with no street lights and the homes on either sides were not completed and were just frames. We went past these houses, and came area of land that would soon be developed. The road continued through this area.
My aunt was chatting in the front, my mother in the passenger side, and me and my cousin in the back looking out the window, but could see nothing because it was so dark. My aunt said that her and her husband frequently walked in this area in the late afternoons. She mentioned that once they were walking and they came across some boys with georgia clay (mud) on them up to their necks. When asked what happened to them, the boys said that they had been playing in the undeveloped area. My aunt told them that they were lucky to get out of the mud.
No other cars were around as we continued leaving the development. It was dark and quiet in our car, expect for the my mother and aunt chatting. Just as they stopped talking, we approached a curve in the road. Coming around the corner, we all noticed something in the middle of the street, directly in the headlights. At first it looked like a very large stone, or s tree stump. It was sitting like how dogs sit but it was much bigger than that. It didn’t seem like it was alive at that moment. But the yellow saucer eyes were glowing and very large in the headlights.
My aunt said normally What is that? My mother repeated in a whisper. My cousin and me leaned forward, heads in between the front seats. I said What IS that? Then we were all quiet. My mind was trying to see what this was, what it was going to do, and should we try and scream. I don’t remember my aunt steering the car away from this thing in the middle of the road as we got closer to it. It felt like the car was floating to this thing, and the quietness in the car was something we remember. As we got closer, this thing had two large glowing yellow eyes, like round balls or saucers, on top of some head.
My mother's account: My mother said that she cannot make it out. But she says that at that time, from the front passenger seat where the animal was on her side, she says that she saw two fangs as it showed its teeth. She says that she said “ohhh” after seeing this. She said that the image seemed to be going in and out, not a solid image. And at the same time it looked like a stone.
As we moved closer and the thing was up near the headlights of the car, I remember being really frightened. I knew this thing was evil, but had no idea what it was capable of. It looked similar to a gargoyle. It's body was very muscular and the fur was shaggy, and brownish. My mind told me that it was going to jump on the hood and bark like a mad dog, foam coming out the mouth. From the backseat, I saw it put its head down, lift up from the sitting position, and glide on all fours beside the left side of the car. It made no noise at all, no smells. I couldn't make out the legs or feet, just the head and eyes, but I felt it had legs.
My mothers account: My mother said that from her seat she looked and saw its evil face and teeth. Her first thought was it was going to jump on the hood and come through the glass and attack. My mother said that her body froze then trembled in absolute fear not knowing what it was.
As it passed on the side of the car, we all felt its heavy, menacing presence. We felt its muscular body and strength along side the car, hoping that the windows were not down. I felt that it was longer than the length of the four door sedan. We were all very quiet during this 30–45 second incident.
We continued driving out of the neighborhood to the main road. Before we approached the main road, we all sat in silence, that is when my cousin said, “my friend in my class died. I asked him “how”. He said “she got hit by a bus crossing the street. That was strange to say after what we had just seen.
When reached the stoplight, my aunt saw her husbands car. She called him on her cell so that he could stop and say hi to us. We pulled into the first area we could which happened to be a church, we were all still silent as we noticed that we were at a church cemetery. We exchanged greetings with my uncle and we headed back in silence.
My aunts account: When asked about the thing, my aunt said that she thought that it was going to jump up on the hood. She refuses to give any other information, as she lives in that area. But recently June 2008, she said that when leaving her bedroom window cracked between 3-4 in the morning, you can hear strange sounds from outside, she thinks maybe its’ wolves, but it sounds more like a baby' cry.
My young cousin' account: He said that it looked like a mad dog. Two days later, he asked his father if spirits could talk. He has not said anything of this incident since.
Reply to Simon Sherwood's email:
Here are some answers, as best I could to your questions:
The sighting occurred in Fairburn GA.
I became interested in this topic when my aunt, her husband, my two cousins and myself were driving home on a country road in south Tipperary in 1999. I don't remember what time it was but it was winthertime and dark outside. Anyways we passed a farm which had its light on in de yard and as we were passing we saw what looked like an old man walkin up the road in the same direction as us. That street don't have much traffic but I was wondering why this man was walkin it in in de dark as it doesn't have any street lights and its very dangerous at night because alot of people drive way too fast there. We wouldn't have seen him if it hadnt been for the yard light.
Now all this happened within seconds because as I said we were in the car. What happened next was just really weird. The second we passed the man he disappeared and instead there was a huge black dog on the side of the road. What bothered me and my family the most was the size of the animal and its red eyes staring in our rear window out of which us on the back seats were looking. I would've put this down to my imagination if not all uf us had seen it, but at the time I hadn't even heard of a haunted dog yet.
If you want to know exactly where this was: the road between Newport and Rearcross in south Tipperary, Ireland.
Sandra Meyer [Jan 2009]
I've been interested in black dog sightings ever since having my own rather scary experience. The year was 1998. It was very early morning and I was visiting a lovely old California mission [San Luis Rey Mission, Oceanside, California]. Alone, I had wandered out to a huge field out back where were orchards, and the stations of the cross – quite far from any of the mission buildings. But the air was cool and fresh, and I was enjoying the lonely serenity. I had just started walking the stations of the cross when I saw this beautiful black raven on a low-hanging branch, about ten feet in front of me. The raven made a loud call and I stopped to look at him. He seemed to be looking at me, and I was fascinated.
Then I noticed movement to the right, just off the path. About ten feet down from the large bird, was a huge, black black black, scruffy dog – the size of a Saint Bernard. The dog had a (and I hate to say this about a dog because I'm an ardent dog lover) malevolent, other-world energy about him. He didn't appear to even notice I was there and though I was truly grateful, I was confused as to why not. The dog seemed to be out of it, or on a different dimension. Like he couldn't see me? He simply sniffed around in some bushes and weeds at the side of my path.
So here we are, me, a raven, and a huge strange-acting black dog. No one around to hear me scream should I need help. And seriously folks, I had a strong hunch that if he did see me, I would be history. I was pretty sure about that.
Then I heard a voice in my head – presumably from the raven – saying, "Stand still and follow my directions."
I thought back, "OK."
The raven 'said' in my head, "When I tell you to go, go. Don't turn around, don't run. Just turn and walk away."
I thought back, "OK."
A moment later the Raven cawed loudly, while at the same exact moment another dog barked in the background. The black dog turned towards the bark and stumbled off in what was the opposite direction that I was to go in. When the raven cawed it was like, "Go!" – understand all this was happening at the same time, the caw, the bark, the dog turning, me hearing "Go!" – and I immediately turned around, walked quickly towards the buildings, totally expecting to hear sounds of black dog chasing me, but happily, didn't.
When I got a safe distance I turned to see where the dog had gone but he'd disappeared. It was baffling because the direction he'd gone was grassy field for quite a ways and I should've seen some hint of him.
Anyway, I went to my car and left. Happy to be alive, because I'm pretty sure if that dog had seen me... That's my experience.
Gina Fox (July 2009)
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Copyright 2001–2009 individual contributors. No unauthorised copying or reproduction except if all following conditions apply: a: Copy is complete (including this copyright statement). b: No changes are made. c: No charge is made.
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Created October 2001; last updated July 2009.