Terrifying tales of “hell hounds” – ferocious black dogs, eyes glowing and teeth bared as they wreak vengeance on the population – have been the stuff of legend for centuries. It has cemented the place of these mythical beasts in English folklore, but how and why have accounts of their terrifying marauding spread so far and wide?
In 1577, according to one particularly poetic account, a snarling beast broke into a church, rampaged through the congregation and bit the necks of two people – who promptly dropped dead.
Having traumatised the churchgoers of Bungay in Suffolk, the mythical dog – known as Black Shuck – next cropped up on the county’s coast at Blythburgh.
Again, it targeted worshippers – bursting though the doors of Holy Trinity Church before killing a man and boy and causing the steeple to collapse.