Black Dogs and Other Ghost Dogs
Black Dogs is the name given to a type of phantom hound that appears in many places in Britain. In Suffolk it is known as 'Black Shuck', in Yorkshire as 'Barghest' and in Cornwall as the 'Yeth Hound'. What all these have in common is that they are large, muscular black animals that it is unlucky to see.
It is difficult in many cases to determine whether a particular spectral hound is one of the 'Black Dogs' or not. So you can find all ghost dogs (with the exception of the Mauthe Doog ) on this page.
Black Dog Hill, Wiltshire
In Britain there are several places that are named after spectral dogs. Black Dog Hill is one of them and is named after the phantom hound that haunts the area.
The story tells how two men fought a duel with pistols over the love of a lady. One was shot and his black dog, seeing his master was fatally wounded, attacked his killer, tearing out his throat.
The lady could not bear the thought of the loss of both her lovers so killed herself. As a suicide, she was buried at the aptly named 'Dead Maids' crossroads to prevent her from returning as some form of spirit. However, the reason the ghost dog should return and not either of the two men is not related.
Cannock Chase in Stafford was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1958 and is the largest area of lowland heathland in the Midlands. It has many rare animals, including a herd of deer that were probably introduced to the area by the Normans over 1,000 years ago. Its rarest animal is however the 'Hellhound' or 'Ghost dog of Brereton'.
The dog has been described as big and muscular. It has pointed ears and eyes that look like they are glowing. It has been observed many times around Cannock and Huntington. As with all barghests, it is supposed to bring dire misfortune if seen. So maybe this is one of those ghosts that it is not a good idea to seek out.
Littlecote House, Berkshire
This is not the main haunting at Littlecote, but as it is a phantom dog, it deserves a mention here.
A ghost dog has been seen on the Jerusalem staircase by several members of the staff. It is black in colour and appears to be totally 'real'. If someone makes an attempt to to grab it or stroke it, their hand goes straight through the animal.
Leeds Castle, Kent
There is a spectral hound that can be found at the beautiful Leeds Castle, which you can read about on the Haunted Castle page.
Incidentally, if you should ever go to the castle, it has a fascinating Dog Collar Museum that is well worth a visit.
Newgate Prison, London
The notorious Newgate Prison stood near St, Paul's Cathedral until its demolition in 1902. In the years between 1783 and 1868, public executions by hanging outside the prison were a popular form of Monday morning entertainment. The condemned man, woman or child was led along "Deadman's Walk", beneath which their body would later be buried in quick-lime, and onto the scaffold. Hundreds of people turned up either to cheer or to jeer and to watch the poor wretch breath their last. And always, it is said, the Black Dog would appear in the prison on the night before the executions.
Newgate Prison was demolished in 1902 but a sinister black shape has often been seen slithering along the top of the wall in Amen Court behind which once stood the prison and the Deadman's Walk. The apparition is always accompanied by a terrible smell of death.
Incidentally, one of the massive original Newgate Prison doors can be seen in the Museum of London. And but there does seem to be something unpleasant about it.
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