The Legend of the Devil Dog

Archeologists, digging in ruins of Leiston Abbey, Suffolk, UK, found the bones of dog buried 20 inches deep. The dog would have been around 200 pounds and could have been seven feet tall standing on its hind legs! It’s very possible that it was a reverent burial of a beloved pet, but then again, the grave could be associated with the legend of Black Shuck, a hellhound or demon dog.   

Black Shuck, Old Shuck, Old Shock, or Shuck is the name given to a medieval hellhound in England. This devil dog was said to have black fur, flaming eyes, sharp teeth and claws, and great strength. Locals described sightings of Black Shuck in graveyards, forests, and roadsides. Shuck’s most famous attack happened on August 4, 1577 at two churches in Blythburgh and Bungay in the English countryside.

During a storm on August 4, 1577, Black Shuck reportedly broke through the doors of Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh, about seven miles from Leiston Abbey, and charged through a large congregation. It was during this attack that he allegedly killed a man and a boy, before the church steeple collapsed through the roof. As the hellhound departed, he left claw marks on the north door of Holy Trinity Church that are supposedly still visible today.

Black Shuck is not the only devil dog in European legend. Read about others at Atlas Obscura.

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