Folktales of the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire in East Anglia, located in the eastern part of Britain, have been mentioned for centuries related to a demonic dog, which is very terrible in appearance and large in size.
Knowns as Black Shuck
Infamous as Black Shuck or black vampire, the eyes of this animal are said to be burning red. In some places, it is described as having only one eye, that too in the middle of the head.
In legends it is said to be the curse of death i.e. its appearance means death is near. According to some eyewitnesses, it was the size of a calf but some described it as big as a big horse.
In some documents, it is said to be moving even without a head. Legends tell that the cold, fog-shrouded nights of East Anglia often witnessed the appearance of the ghoul who roamed the coasts, streets, squares, cemeteries, and dense forests.
Some legends tell that its appearance on cold, silent nights is a sure death, especially in some areas of Essex County, even when some eyewitnesses died within days after seeing the demonic dog. But people tell that it has nothing to do with any kind of curse. The sight of him was such a terrifying experience that they (who lost their lives) could not recover from the shock. Some people also fell ill after seeing him but were saved. But some documents refer to him as a patron as well, although the truth is still shrouded in mystery.
One of the most unusual sightings of the dog occurred at two churches in Suffolk County. This incident is about four and a half hundred years old. The day was August 4, 1577, when people had just begun to gather at the Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh. Suddenly the same fiendish dog (Black Shuck) appeared at the door of the church with a stormy roar.
Seeing his dreadful form, people were getting scared and amazed as if some evil was about to happen. Then he ran fast towards the middle hall of the church. While running through the crowd, he killed a person and a child and also brought down a church tower with a blow to his body. He also left the marks of the destruction of that day on the north door of that church which can be seen even today.
On the same day, it was also seen at St. Mary’s Church in Bungay, mentioned in 1577 by Abraham Fleming in his work A Straunge and Terrible Wunder.
Also seen in today’s time
In today’s time, it has been seen especially around Peal Palace. In this palace, the guards have been hesitating even to guard alone. Also in some cases, the night guards fainted from fear after seeing the demonic dog. A guard, Brainwood, was reported to have died after seeing the ghost dog.
A terrible accident happened one night with a high officer of the American Air Force living in that area. That night after having dinner, he was sleeping soundly with his wife. In the third quarter of the night, he heard some scratching sounds, he woke up his wife. It was the month of March in the year 1945. It had rained a while ago, and the ground around had become slightly moist. At first, he did not see any reason for the continuous scratching noises around him.
Then he peeped outside the house and saw that under the house, a big dog, which at first sight looked like a black donkey, was scratching the walls of his house with its long claws. Peeping down at the couple, the dog raised its head, two fiery red eyes staring at them.
In no time, he started chewing on the lower floor door with his strong teeth. They had got the indication of that dog being fiendish from its shape and movements. The horrified American couple deposited the entire household belongings in front of the same door so that the fiendish animal could not enter.
After that when both of them went upstairs, suddenly their whole house started shaking as if an earthquake had occurred. He peeped down and saw the same dog used to run back once and then came running and collided with the house in such a way that the whole house was trembling.
But the couple survived
After that, in the same way, he started running and hitting the walls of the house. After a few such attacks, he jumped up and tried to climb on the roof of the house. On the other side, the American husband and wife were celebrating their deity. He felt that night like a ‘night of hell’, the passage of which was getting heavy every moment.
After some time, when there was some peace, he peeped outside and saw no one. There were only a few hours left in the morning, but after being fully convinced, they thought it appropriate to take some rest. But surprisingly when morning came, they found that there was no sign of any damage outside.
To their astonishment, there was no evidence of the night they had spent like hell. They did not see any sign of any kind on the door of their house which the fiendish animal was chewing on, the walls against which it was repeatedly bumping, and the place to which it used to run again and again.
Remains also excavated
Just a few years ago, in May 2014, the remains of a giant dog, excavated from the grounds of Leiston Abbey, have been linked to the legend of the same demonic dog ,Black Shuck. When the age of his remains was ascertained by carbon dating method, it turned out to be around 1650.
East Anglian poet and songwriter Martin Newel, after the recent discovery and listening to some of the untold stories told by the area’s residents, writes that “surprisingly, people still believe in that fiendish Claims to be the appearance of a dog. I was amazed to see how seriously people take these stories. I was speechless when a bookseller in Norfolk smilingly asked me “Oh..you are still writing about that vampire….be careful”!