Artists Impression Of The Black Shuck

The Black Shuck – England

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The Black Shuck, or Old Shuck, is a ghostly black dog cryptid that is said to haunt the countryside and coastline of East Anglia in England.

Cryptid Name:Black Shuck / Old Shuck / Shuck
Location:East Anglia, England
Black Shuck - Location on Map
Category:Canine Cryptid
Description:A ghostly black dog with red eyes that glow; shaggy or mangy fur. Associated with bad luck and foreboding occurrences.
Size:Described as varying in size, from that of a large dog to as large as a calf or horse in some accounts.
Behavior/Characteristics:Linked to negative events, such as accidents or deaths. May appear suddenly and cause fear and panic.
Habitat/Environment:The Black Shuck is said to haunt coastal areas, countryside, roadsides, and near churches in East Anglia.
Evidence:Sightings of the Black Shuck have been reported for centuries, but there is no scientific evidence to support its existence.
Sightings and Encounters:Numerous sightings and encounters have been reported over the centuries, often involving witnesses seeing the black dog with red eyes on lonely roads or near places of worship.
Skepticism/Explanations:Many people believe that the Black Shuck is a misidentification of another animal, such as a wolf or bear. Many others believe that it is a ghost dog.

What Does The Black Shuck Look Like?

Artists Impression Of The Black Shuck
Artist’s Impression Of The Black Shuck

The Black Shuck is described as a big black dog with red eyes that glow. It has black shaggy fur that is sometimes described as being mangy. Most eyewitnesses say that it is about the size of a big domestic dog but some have even reported it as being as big as a horse.

Although the Black Shuck is said to be big and foreboding, eyewitnesses say that it makes no sound when it walks. It is said to have a blood-curdling howl and it is believed that if you hear its howl that you should shut your eyes so that you don’t see its red eyes because seeing a black dog with red eyes is a sign of bad luck.

The Black Shuck is most often seen on lonely roads and remote areas with many sightings being reported near places of worship such as churches or graveyards. It is believed that the Black Shuck is associated with bad luck and that it is a harbinger of impending misfortune and even death.

Legends Of The Black Shuck

There are many accounts of the Black Shuck that have been recorded through the centuries.

Black Shuck Eyewitness Report
Title page of the report of Rev. Abraham Fleming’s account of the appearance of the ghostly black dog “Black Shuck” at the church of Bungay, Suffolk in 1577
Source: Abraham Fleming

In 1577 the following was recorded in a report titled,  “The reporte of a straunge and wonderful Spectacle”. The incident took place during a violent storm at the church of Bungay, Suffolk, and was recorded by Reverend Abraham Fleming.

Immediately hereupon, there appeared in a most horrible similitude and likeness to the congregation then and there present, a dog as they might discern it, of a black colour: at the sight whereof, together with the fearful flashes of fire which then were séen, moved such admiration in the minds of the assembly, that they thought dooms day was already come.

This black dog, or the divel in such a likeness (God hée knoweth all who worketh all) running all along down the body of the Church with great swiftness, and incredible haste, among the people, in a visible form and shape, passed between two persons, as they were knéeling upon their knées, and occupied in prayer as it séemed, wrung the necks of them both at one instant clean backward, in so much that even at a momēnt where they kneeled, they strāngely died.

This is a wōnderful example of God’s wrath, no doubt to terrify us, that we might fear him for his justice, or pulling back our footsteps from the paths of sin, to loud him for his mercy.

To our matter again. There was at the same time another wonder wrought: for the same black dog, still continuing and remaining in one and the self-same shape, passing by another man of the congregation in the Church, gave him such a gripe on the back, that therewith he was presently drawn together and shrunk, as it were a piece of leather scorched in a hot fire: or as the mouth of a purse or bag, drawn together with a string. The man, albeit he was in so strange a taking, died not, but as it is thought is yet alive: which thing is marvelous in the eyes of men, and offereth much matter of amazing the mind.

The reporte of a straunge and wonderful Spectacle

In 1849, another report was recorded that described the Black Shuck as a black shaggy dog with fiery eyes. Again, this sighting was linked to the church.

Shuck the Dog-fiend. — This phantom I have heard many persons in East Norfolk, and even Cambridgeshire, describe as having seen as a black shaggy dog, with fiery eyes, and of immense size, and who visits churchyards at midnight. One witness nearly fainted away at seeing it, and on bringing his neighbours to see the place where he saw it, he found a large spot as if gunpowder had been exploded there. A lane in the parish of Overstrand is called, after him, Shuck’s Lane. The name appears to be a corruption of ” shag,” as shucky is the Norfolk dialect for “shaggy.” Is not this a vestige of the German “Dog-fiend?”

Notes and Queries

Black Shuck Sightings

There have been many recorded sightings of the Black Shuck through the centuries, many of these linked to churches and graveyards. Here is a short documentary about the Black Shuck which the BBC created with interviews and commentary from eyewitnesses and researchers.

BBC Reel – The Black Dog Of East Anglia

Where Does The Name “Black Shuck” Come From?

Shuck is a word that comes from the Old English words “scucca” which means “a devil, demon; Satan, Beelzebub” and “shucke” which means “A demon, devil; a devilish companion; Satan, the Devil; the Devil of Hell; a monster, giant;“.

Black Shuck could therefore be translated to “Black Devil” or “Black Demon”.

The Black Shuck Festival

The Black Shuck Festival is an annual event that is held in Bungay, England towards the beginning of August. It celebrates the folklore and legend of the Black Shuck. The festival features many events that include live music, storytelling, and kid’s activities. There is also a parade where people dress up as the Black Shuck and other creatures.

The Black Shuck festival is a popular festival that is loved by locals and tourists alike and it is a great opportunity for people to learn more about the stories that surround the Black Shuck.

Is The Black Shuck Real?

Many skeptics see the legend of the Black Shuck as simply a product of superstition and fear with many of them attributing the stories and sightings as a way to explain natural phenomena like the incredible storm of 1577.

There are also many who believe that the Black Shuck is a misidentification of other animals such as big domestic black dogs, wolves, or even bears.

Of course, there are also those who believe that the Black Shuck is just a legend that has grown through exaggerations of more normal and explainable events and sightings. However, because there are so many eyewitness reports that have been corroborated by multiple witnesses, it is very difficult to simply explain away the stories as simply myth, legend, or folklore.

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