Do canine remains belong to the legendary Hell Hound of Suffolk?

Do canine remains belong to the legendary Hell Hound of Suffolk?



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Archaeologists discovered the skeleton of a massive dog that would have stood 7 feet tall on its hind legs, in the ruins of Leiston Abbey in Suffolk, England, according to a report in The Express . The remains are near where an ancient legend spoke of a hellhound called Black Shuck, said to have flaming red eyes and a rugged black coat, who terrorized villagers.

The name Shuck derives from the Old English word scucca meaning ‘demon’. He is one of many ghostly black dogs recorded across the British Isles. Its alleged appearance during a storm on 4 th August, 1577 at the Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, is a particularly famous account of the beast, in which legend says that thunder caused the doors of the church to burst open and the snarling dog crashed in and ran through the congregation, killing a man and a boy, before it fled when the steeple collapsed. The encounter on the same day at St Mary's Church, Bungay was described in ‘A Straunge and Terrible Wunder’ by the Reverend Abraham Fleming in 1577:

This black dog, or the devil in such a likeness (God he 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 kneeling upon their knees, and occupied in prayer as it seemed, wrung the necks of them both at one instant clean backward, in so much that even at a moment where they kneeled, they strangely died.

Brendon Wilkins, projects director of archaeological group Dig Ventures, said: “Most of these legends about dogs may have some roots in reality.”

The remains of the massive dog, which is estimated to have weighed 200 pounds, were found just a few miles from the two churches where Black Shuck killed the worshippers. It appears to have been buried in a shallow grave at precisely the same time as Shuck is said to have been on the loose, primarily around Suffolk and the East Anglia region.

The remains of the huge dog found in Leiston Abbey, Suffolk. Photo credit: East Anglia News Service

Radio carbon dating tests will be carried out to give an exact age for the bones, which will either serve to enhance the hell hound stories, or support the far less exciting theory that it is an abbot’s old hunting dog. Regardless of the outcome, it is unlikely to change the iconography of the local area, which relies on stories of Black Shuck to attract curious visitors.

Featured image: Harakiri: demonic hellhound. Image credit: WhiteSpiritWolf


    Phantom Apparitions Of Black Dogs

    The story took place in August 4th 1577 and it resulted in two people being killed in Bungay church where they were shelterting from a storm. Damage was also done to the church, many were injured and the dog reappeared 12 miles away where it killed others. This Suffolk based story is one of many from the UK and it is often said that the dog (Black Shuck as he is sometimes known) presages a death.

    All very well and interesting but most black dog storíes are old. So imagine my delight when I received an email from Lars Munk Sørensen, telling of his own recent sighting. I reproduce the email below:-

    "Sightings of the Black phantom Dog of Viborg:

    A report by Lars Munk, Danish M. A. of Theology

    Jul 29, 2012 #2 2012-07-29T05:20

    The term ‘Black dog’ is used to refer to apparitions of creatures which typically resemble black dogs though it is also often used as a generic term for canine apparitions of other colours and types. The term does not usually include apparitions of pets however (Brown, 1978 Miller, 1984).
    Brown (1958) distinguishes between three separate types of black dog though she does note that "Obviously these three divisions exist for our convenience merely there are many overlaps." (p.179).

    "A. That which is generally known locally as the Barguest, Shuck, Black Shag, Trash, Skriker, Padfoot, Hooter, and other names. These are not the names of individuals but of an impersonal creature which is distributed over certain areas…This type, which we may call the Barguest type, changes its shape, a thing that no true black dog ever does." (p.176).

    "B. That which is nearly always known as the Black Dog, is always black, and is always a dog and nothing else…It is always associated with a definite place or ‘beat’ on a road. It is always an individual. Sometimes it is associated with a person or a family…Another personal association is that with witches." (p.178).

    "C. A third variety of Black Dog, which is rare, is that which appears in a certain locality in conjunction with a calendar cycle." (p.179).

    This site has a great deal of information on phantom black dogs:

    Jul 29, 2012 #3 2012-07-29T05:21

    In spite of a general folkloric association between ghósts and cemeteries, it is not very common for ghóst sightings to originate from inside cemeteries. Happily, very few people actually die within cemeteries, and it seems to be more common or ghósts to cling to the places or circumstances of their death rather than linger alongside their mortal remains.

    There are of course some exceptions, and a significant one is the ghóstly black dog, sometimes known as the ‘Grim’. Strangely enough, storíes of these creatures appearing in and guarding cemeteries and graveyards stretch from the UK to as far afield as the USA, where there is a particular link with slave cemeteries and black dogs in the South. Living visitors that remain in these cemeteries after sundown are chased away by the resident angry black ghóst dog. Why a phantom dog should appear inside a human burial ground is uncertain. Evidently these hounds act as a sort of spíritual guardian, protecting the dead from disturbance by the living.

    The American ghóst hounds share some characteristics with the barghest, in that some of them are not only guardians of the dead but also portents of doom and even bringers of death in their own right. In some cemeteries, local folklore has it that any visitors should vacate the burial grounds before nightfall. If visitors are foolish to remain for as long as it takes the ghóstly hound to círcle the perimeter a mystical three times, they are sure to die before sunup.

    For an interesting Australían variation of this tale, see ‘Modern Black Dogs’ below.

    There is another branch of tales about ghóstly dogs that in life were not dogs at all, but humans. These storíes, many of them originating from Devon, Cornwall and the southwest of England, tell of people who in life were so nasty that in death their souls are forced to remain éarthbound in the guise of phantom hounds.

    The well-known story of the evil Lady Howard, which originates from Dartmoor, is an excellent example of this legend. Lady Howard was wicked in life, the story goes, and in death her tormented soul appears in the form of a large black dog. Every night this dog must run beside a coach made of bones (driven by the obligatory headless coachman) to Okehampton Castle, where she plucks one single blade of grass in her mouth and bears it back to her old home at Tavistock. According to legend, when every blade of grass has been removed from the castle grounds this way, her spírit wíll finally find peace. Unsurprisingly, poor Lady Howard has not yet managed to complete this task.

    Jul 29, 2012 #4 2012-07-29T05:24

    In Phantom Black Dogs in Latin America I arrived at the conclusion that
    the Black Dog apparitions of Latin America have their origin with the
    Spanish Conquest, although dogs already occupied a powérful place in
    prehispanic myth and legend. Since then I have cóme across a passage in
    an early Colonial-era book that has forced me to re-evaluate this
    conclusion.
    Bernardino de Sahagún was a Franciscan friar who arrived in Tenochtitlán
    (modern Mexico City) in 1529, some eight years after the Conquest of the
    Aztecs. He learnt Nahuatl, the Aztec language, and interviewed the
    surviving Aztec priesthood upon their beliefs and practices for the express
    purpose of evangelising the natives - he wanted the Church to be able to
    recognise survivals of pre-Conquest belief when it saw them, so they could
    be eradicated. Leaving aside his motivations and how they appear to
    modern eyes, he left an invaluable work entitled Historia General de las
    cosas de Nueva España (General History of the Things of New Spain) a
    monumental catalogue of Aztec beliefs and customs and the natural
    history of central Mexico. A large part of what is now known about Aztec
    religious practices cómes from this work, which he took some fifty years to
    complete.

    In Chapter XIII of Book 5, entitled Which is about other ghósts that appear
    at night, we find the following passage:
    . they said that Tezcatlipoca often transformed himself into an
    animal that they call cóyutl [i.e. coyote – SB], that is like a wólf.
    And thus transformed it would place itself in the path of 1
    travellers, blocking their path so they could not continue. And in
    this the traveller understood that some danger of thieves or
    robbers lay ahead, or that some other misfortune would occur
    upon the road ahead.
    (Sahagún 1577, 1989: 296)

    This sounds very much like the actions of a typical Black Dog! That this is
    not a normal coyote is indicated by the fact that it is said to be a
    transformed god (Tezcatlipoca, Smoking Mirror, was one of the most
    important Aztec deities) and that this paragraph is included in a chapter
    that deals largely with supernatural apparitions. This short chapter contains
    details of three evil spírits that were said to appear in pre-Conquest times,
    followed by a brief note that the cry of the woodpecker was a bad omen,
    followed by the section that I have translated above. The only note of
    caution is that it places this reference directly after the only reference to a
    natural animal (the woodpecker). However, omens to do with natural
    animals were placed in preceding chapters, and Sahagún's entry on the
    nature and habits of the coyote .

    Jul 29, 2012 #5 2012-07-29T05:25

    Throughout history, the multi-cultural phenomenon of large, supernatural black dogs have appeared in legends, folklore, and numerous modern eye-witness reports. Characteristically, these phantom canines are larger than most ordinary dogs and are always black in colour with fiery, red eyes. They usually appear for only a few moments, then vanish into thin air. Sometimes they are benevolent, but more often they are sinister and viscious.

    Sometimes called "Hellhounds", phantom dogs are usually associated with death or the devil. Some claim these dogs accompany a black robed figure assumed to be the devil, while others believe these animals are shapeshifters, a disguise of the devil.

    Large Black Dogs with fiery, red eyes reportedly raided European churches several times during the middle ages. They would enter a church service (usually during a severe storm) and appear to be searching for something or someone and on August 4, 1577, in Bongay, England, a large black dog ran down the aisle of a church, killed two people in attendance and badly injured another.

    Many reports in England and the United States report ghóstly canines crossing roads in front of cars, then vanishing into thin air as the car approaches.Throughout history, the multi-cultural phenomenon of large, supernatural black dogs have appeared in legends, folklore, and numerous modern eye-witness reports. Characteristically, these phantom canines are larger than most ordinary dogs and are always black in colour with fiery, red eyes. They usually appear for only a few moments, then vanish into thin air. Sometimes they are benevolent, but more often they are sinister and viscious.

    Sometimes called "Hellhounds", phantom dogs are usually associated with death or the devil. Some claim these dogs accompany a black robed figure assumed to be the devil, while others believe these animals are shapeshifters, a disguise of the devil.

    Large Black Dogs with fiery, red eyes reportedly raided European churches several times during the middle ages. They would enter a church service (usually during a severe storm) and appear to be searching for something or someone and on August 4, 1577, in Bongay, England, a large black dog ran down the aisle of a church, killed two people in attendance and badly injured another.

    Many reports in England and the United States report ghóstly canines crossing roads in front of cars, then vanishing into thin air as the car approaches.

    Jul 29, 2012 #6 2012-07-29T05:35

    How can we ever forget the black dog in the movie "The Omen". it sort of lingers in your mind long after. Years later I read in the "Emerald Tablets of Thoth" about the hounds of hell, and how to escape them by running in a zig zag pattern. because the hounds of hell can only run in straight línes.

    One of our older members here that hasn't posted in a year or two now. "sadly" posted that she woke with a phantom black dog pulling on her arm. Back then I never pieced the phantom black dog to these accounts of them. I hope she is ok. and would love to see her post again.

    Oct 28, 2013 #7 2013-10-28T07:38

    This, as you see from the label, is one of four maps from the article. It's a little bit of a fooler if you take it in too quickly. The Black Dog sightings are marked with a "star", i.e. *, and the bulk of the marks, "dots", are locations of villages with certain place name endings. Ms Rudkin was trying to find if there were patterns in her collection, and looking for "historical" connections was one thing that she tried [mostly, not entirely, unconvincingly for me].

    The red circle [drawn in by me] shows a cluster of Black Dog sightings around her own town of Willoughton. This is a phenomenon commonly seen in the research into anomalistic encounter mysteries. If there is an active interested fieldworker about, that person will uncover a pile of reports. Even though Ethel Rudkin never had a Black Dog encounter herself [not for lack of trying], many friends, neighbors, townsfolk told her of their own [or their own family's] incidents. The other smaller circle drawn in by me on her map indicates Atterby. I put this in as a reminder to you readers about the Mystery BOL which traveled [travels?] between Willoughton to Atterby on The Old Leys Lane.

    The other thing to understand about the map is that every * indicates a "spot" where a Pookha has been seen, not necessarily only one time. Some of these locations, although seeming to be wonderfully "fixed", have seen many encounters across a lot of years.

    What I want to do is tell the stories, or at least a few of them --- THAT's a relief isn't is? I can just sense you all thinking, when is this Clown going to get around to the good stuff? OK.


    . hmmmmm. looking at these cases I can't suss any logical order to present them. Each has something different to say. I guess you'll have to put up with a random dis-order.


    A). An acquaintance of Ms Rudkin told this encounter which happened in about 1916. She was going from Willoughton to nearby Kennington to be with a friend who had pneumonia. This was a short-ish uphill walk, and it was dusk. About halfway up this hill, there is an Ash tree with a hole in the hedge which lines that lane. As she passed, a large and shaggy black dog came through the hedge and followed her. It came quite close, but this lady was a dog lover and didn't mind. She did not, however, try to touch the strange animal. The dog paced closeby, and left her when she reached the top gate. She stayed with her friend for a few hours, and began the walk back home at around 10pm. She was a bit worried to be walking that late, and the husband of her friend accompanied her just a short way. When she reached the top gate, there was the black dog. Upon appearance it came right up to her and padded its way alongside down the hill. When they arrived at the Ash tree and the hole in the hedge, the dog veered right into the hole and disappeared. The lady thought that it was awfully nice that the big black dog had waited for her all those hours.


    Indeed. "Nice" hardly covers it.


    B). A case with a similar feel to it was told to Ms Rudkin by another native of Willoughton about his father, and from the same general timespan. This took place along a footpath to the south of town. His Dad was going out early in the morning to thrash "corn" [wheat]. It was still dark but there was a bright Moon. On this journey, the Black Dog suddenly appeared and trotted alongside. This continued until they reached am Elm tree where the dog seemed to disappear. At just about that moment, his Dad heard a loud cracking/scratching sound, as if the hedge was being broken. Curious, he got to an entry point through the hedge and searched for the source of that sound --- he found nothing at all [of course].


    This same person told his son that although he knew of no one else who had seen the Black Dog just on that path, that it had been seen several times trotting alongside a walker on a different nearby lane, either joining you or leaving you precisely at the same spot, a place called The Old Yard Close gate. . Ms Rudkin noted that this encounter had occurred there many times, but did not precisely follow the "modern" road, but rather seemed to preferably follow the track of the older lane. In reports about the "other end" of this Black Dog trackway, the entity seems to disappear at the position of another Ash tree. Ms Rudkin says that she lives very near there, and [you can hear the sadness] never has had an encounter along those lanes herself. The curse of the scientist-analyst methinks. One "studies" something, and one puts a little "distance" between oneself and the happening.


    C). A tough-minded fellow, a mining foreman by occupation, told her that he had seen the Black Dog several times in the same location at a corner of Gainsborough Lane in Willoughton. He said that the thing would join you on the lane at a particular point and walk alongside. If the Dog went ahead of you, you'd see it turn into the [seemingly impenetrable] hedge, and hear a great "crackle just as if a bullock was pushing his way through". This experience was common enough that the foreman didn't always watch the Dog continuously as they walked along. On those occasions, he'd still hear the "crackle" and the Dog would be gone.


    Ms Rudkin mapped these areas closely and to her eye, the Black Dog walked old tracks between fields --- tracks which were in place in the 1700s and probably FAR FAR earlier.


    D). There is a town in the eastern area of Lincolnshire named Boston. This case is from there. Once again it is an incident told by the son of a father who had experienced the event. This fellow's Dad was a Methodist lay preacher and used to walk many miles to do his duties for the church. He was also an unusually strong man who feared little. One wintry Sunday evening he was returning home alone on something called Mumby Long Lane. He got one of those "I'm being watched" types of feeling, and very intense. Just as he entered Mumby Long Lane "apparently from nowhere", a large Black Dog came up to his side and trotted along. Despite his physique and will, this really unnerved him, and he wished it would go away [Rudkin says "tried to get rid of it", but doesn't say how].


    This accompaniment continued despite his fears all the way down that lane, whereabouts, at the end, the Black Dog "mysteriously vanished". Later, when the preacher had a bit more relaxed state of mind, he felt that, although scary, the big Black Dog was there to protect him.


    2 thoughts on &ldquo THE DOG-AWFUL TRUTH BEHIND “CRYPTID CREATURES FROM DARK DOMAINS” &rdquo

    Outstanding Post here!! Looks to be anothermust read for sure! Many thanks for sharing!
    Demonic? Evil? Really,…who knows! I’d say the odds are,…well,…damned good to quite excellent.
    It’s refreshing and excellent in itself to see such stealer info still coming out from credited amd reputable authors. The data and info is needed likely now. far more now than ever
    I can only say..and for now all that I know…is that the overwhelming majority of interactions,.sightings. etc with absolutely agreeable with too many of the info above produced/provided by The stated authors,….that is “Bad”. As in these bipedal hounds and encountering them are said to be “not so swell” experiences by folks all over that’s ended up meeting or had/having them. And that’s. no doubts. to say the very least. Despite any/all of the “w’s” of the thing..I think we can all agree there’s only the best and finest reasons. whatever they may be. that these incidents and Events never seemingly end up as the type of materials sought out by those kind and wholesome themed folks that make them pretty and thoughtful cards at Hallmark.
    Be it that old..wonderful ‘primative/primal fear” that nomanlly keeps out our asses out of likely too many large and expensive(let alone embersing!!) slings. or something unknown but present all the same,…these creatures seem to ooze more than a serious few bad vibes. far above and More so than anythings ij the crytpid/Fortean realm. perhaps better than quite possibly.
    Most of my knowledge comes from other researchers and invest/authors that have been so kind and that I’ve been beyond fortunate to meet and learn so much from. But I do have some alarming info and first hand type of info that have ended up as learned the hard way. and plan on sharing soon with everyone. Suffice to say..for the time being. that in my cases and area at least…it may be past safe to say these events and creatures likely present somethings “entirely differing” from the causal and old standards of Bigfoot/Sasquatch encounters. Certainly many if not all of us are well versed in the occult and paranormal. so of course it’s mainly a matter of guesswork or perhaps conjecture at times with personal matters…this is why I’m letting all the info out later on. in hope to give more time to the situations. and mainly. to see if there was anything missed or etc(it was almost two plus years later after the main events before I learned of a separate but very concerning event that occurred to a young man while hunting behind my family’s property and home that can seriously be considered a “near miss” in the mainstream vernacular and for those that’s heard the young mans account..as for myself being in agreement with also….it is pretty well seen that if the young man wasn’t well armed. he likely would be not here to tell of his brief but life changing ordeal. Thus. the final part of a series of inter winded “syncs” and seemingly only passingly unrelated but atypical and harshly unique events. but,.well. it’s hard to say. My worst fears may be are not to those ends of if they are all related. as the fisrt couple to three are for sure. but was it I,…myself,…the cause for such things. As in my learning,.intensive interests and study’s,,etc. the genuine causes for what the he’ll happened a couple years back here.
    For now it’s like any of these subjects,…one never can say. for one can never truly know. And the damned thing is. to add some uncomfortable insults to metal injury,….the area and specific town I grew up. live and have spent the last few years researching in is one of a renown and notorious notoriety via a few decades past. that small river town called Point Pleasant WV. Furthermore. I live on the outskirts and edges of the elder place of fear and dread. still felt heavy and porouslly today. known as the tnt grounds,…or T to us locals lol.
    Another thing is to be sure,…the DM are still here. I’m currently tracking three different areas where folks are terrified of the sounds and events that in two areas and with these folks/family’s living within are saying is as “ongoing” but very sporadic,…and I’m presently trying to track down some facts. unsuccessfully in all effects as of the moment,…to the rumors of their being some missing folks…mainly teenage females locally. mainly the most being from the Gallia co area of Ohio,…a few miles across the Ohio river.
    Thanks Agian for the post here. I hope the data keeps getting out there to the folks in dire need of it. These things aren’t bigfoot(as if they are the huge teddy bears some make then out to be as it is. They sure are not the murdering killer machines some claim,.or not one of us to ever step Into some woods in wonder and curiosity among us would have any chances whatsoever,…we’d not be here,…none of us would make it out. But they are not what some claim none as many of us regrettably know too well. amd thankfully this is not news to many of folks these days.).
    I hope as well the younger people think long and hard before they get into these subjects,….but more than any of,…this one here. Once some things are learned. it can’t be undone. And some things,…are seemingly no matter how many times one or many may look. not whatsoever what they appear to be on outward or on their surface…..
    As a matter of fact. in some cases,…It could end up being the farthest possible thing from it.
    Thanks again!! And Please keep up the awesome and much needed epic work. blessings and take care!

    Your very positive comments are very much appreciated by our staff. We have had a number of
    shows on our YouTube channel – Mr UFOs Secret Files — on the subject of Cryptids. Check it out!

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    Paiutes.

    The Paiutes have an oral legend of red-haired, white cannibals that stood about 10 feet tall and lived near Lovelock Cave, Nevada. It’s hard to know for sure if this oral tradition is true or if the truth has been distorted over time and these were just normal sized cannibals that lived near Lovelock Cave.

    Some similar Piutes legends feature the same story just without the giants. Archaeologists have found remains of people with red hair in the area, but black hair can turn red with time.

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    Discovery of official clay seals support existence of biblical kings David and Solomon, archaeologists say…..

    Six official clay seals found by an archaeological team at a small site in Israel offer evidence that supports the existence of biblical kings David and Solomon. Many modern scholars dismiss David and Solomon as mythological figures and believe no kingdom could have existed in the region at the time the Bible recounted their activities. The new finds provide evidence that some type of government activity was conducted there in that period.

    Six official clay seals found by a Mississippi State University archaeological team at a small site in Israel offer evidence that supports the existence of biblical kings David and Solomon.

    Many modern scholars dismiss David and Solomon as mythological figures and believe no kingdom could have existed in the region at the time the Bible recounted their activities. The new finds provide evidence that some type of government activity was conducted there in that period.

    Jimmy Hardin, associate professor in the MSU Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures, said these clay bullae were used to seal official correspondence in much the same way wax seals were used on official documents in later periods.

    Hardin, co-director of the Hesi Regional Project, has been excavating each summer at Khirbet Summeily, a site east of Gaza in southern Israel, since 2011. Hardin’s findings were published in the December 2014 issue of Near Eastern Archaeology.

    “Our preliminary results indicated that this site is integrated into a political entity that is typified by elite activities, suggesting that a state was already being formed in the 10th century B.C.,” Hardin said. “We are very positive that these bullae are associated with the Iron Age IIA, which we date to the 10th century B.C., and which lends general support to the historical veracity of David and Solomon as recorded in the Hebrew biblical texts.

    “These appear to be the only known examples of bullae from the 10th century, making this discovery unique,” he said.

    The finds contribute significantly to an ongoing debate in the archaeological community about whether governments or states existed in the early Iron Ages. The artifacts hold far-reaching implications for the growing number of scholars who maintain that such political organization occurred much later than biblical texts suggest.

    “Some text scholars and archaeologists have dismissed the historic reliability of the biblical text surrounding kings David and Solomon, such as recorded in the Bible in the books of Kings and Second Samuel, which scholars often date to the Iron Age IIA or 10th century B.C,” Hardin said.

    “The fact that these bullae came off of sealed written documents shows that this site — located out on the periphery of pretty much everything — is integrated at a level far beyond subsistence,” he said. “You have either political or administrative activities going on at a level well beyond those typical of a rural farmstead.”

    The journal article describes the dig site as a borderland area between the heartlands of Judah and Philistia. It was originally assumed to be a small Iron Age farmstead. However, the excavation of the bullae and other recent archaeological finds indicate a level of political organization previously thought not to exist at that time. “We believe that the aggregate material culture remains that have been discovered at Summeily demonstrate a level of political-economic activity that has not been suspected recently for the late Iron Age I and early Iron Age IIA,” the journal article states. “This is especially the case if one integrates data from nearby Hesi [a much more extensively excavated site].

    “It is our contention that, when taken together, these reflect a greater political complexity and integration across the transitional Iron I/IIA landscape than has been appreciated recently, as scholars have tended to dismiss trends toward political complexity (e.g., state formation) occurring prior to the arrival of the Assyrians in the region in the later eighth century b.c.e.”

    Two of the bullae Hardin’s team excavated have complete seal impressions, two have partial seal impressions, and two others have none. Two bullae were blackened by fire. One bulla has a well-preserved hole where the string used to seal the document passed through the clay. The impressions in the bullae do not contain writing.

    The dig site was chosen so researchers could study border dynamics between the nations of Philistia and Judea in the area previously dated to the 10th century B.C. “We were trying to identify in the archaeological record the differences between Philistia and Judah,” Hardin said. “Why is there a border in this area and only at this time? We’re trying to learn what was the process by which these political entities were created. Within that larger question, you have a number of questions about whether the archaeological record matches the historical record from the texts, and if it disagrees, how do we reconcile the two.”

    The bullae the team found were in the layer of material tested by the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Rock Magnetism at the University of Minnesota. The markings were examined and dated by Christopher Rollston, an epigrapher in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at George Washington University.

    Jeff Blakely of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is co-director of the Hesi Regional Project and has studied the region for 40 years. Blakely explained how the age of the bullae was determined.

    “Our dates for the bullae are based on multiple types of evidence we combined to determine a general 10th century B.C. date,” Blakely said. “The style of the bullae, the types of ancient pottery found in the same contexts as the bullae, the types of Egyptian scarabs found, the style of an Egyptian amulet, and the overall stratigraphy or layering of the site each suggested a 10th century date.

    “In addition, archaeomagnetism dating, which is based on the strength and direction of the earth’s magnetic fields in the past, also suggested the layers in which the bullae were found must be 10th century. Further research and analysis should refine our dating to decades rather than a century,” he said.

    From the start of the project, archaeologists have tried to determine what people were doing in the region of Khirbet Summeily, Blakely said.

    “Generations of scholarship have suggested farming, but over the past few years, we have slowly realized that humans rarely farmed this region,” he said. “It was a pasture. Shepherds tended sheep and goats under the protection of their government. Finding the bullae this past summer strongly supports our idea that Khirbet Summeily was a governmental installation.”


    Churchgoers Attributed A Storm's Destruction To The Black Shuck In 1577

    On August 4, 1577, a ferocious thunderstorm struck the small Suffolk town of Bungay, bringing the threat of strong winds and fire from lightning strikes. The citizens were terrified and gathered in St Mary's Church to pray, but the church couldn't keep them safe.

    According to the legend, the church doors flew open and a giant black hellhound charged inside, slaying parishioners as it made its way down the aisle. An old verse goes:

    All down the church in midst of fire, the hellish monster flew

    And, passing onward to the quire, he many people slew.

    The demon dog then went on to the Blythburgh church about 12 miles away, where it took the lives of even more people and caused further damage.

    Although no official records exist of the losses occurring that night, a church official did prepare a report that noted the passing of two men in the belfry of St Mary's, and both churches did suffer significant damage.

    Today, the damage and mortality rates are attributed to the storm itself, but superstition was part of life in those days. It's possible that the damage was real while the cause turned into a metaphoric moral warning.


    Tag Archives: Shuck

    I have written a good deal, some would say too much, about the monsters which terrorized France between 1500 and the end of the nineteenth century. The most conservative zoologists say that the so-called monsters were just wolves behaving badly. Other more daring individuals say they were cave hyenas or dire wolves or waheelas or whatever:

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    I personally think that they were some kind of Superwolf which was like generally pretty much like an ordinary wolf in appearance, but with enough differences in behaviour to stand out from the rest. Just enough for the French peasant of 1764-1767 to think to himself, “C’était comme un loup, mais ce n’était pas un loup.”
    What I have never imagined as the solution to this blood spattered conundrum is the werewolf. In French, it is the Loup-garou:

    The Americans in those areas of the USA which have a French heritage call it the Rougarou, rather as if somebody in 1700 had slightly misheard the word. Given that the Rougarou allegedly lives in the bayou and perhaps makes a “Wooo-hooo” call, I have always been somewhat surprised that no aspiring songwriter has ever taken up this subject.


    Nobody, though, would expect there to be any claims of werewolves, Loup-garou or Rougaroux in England, but, of course, there have been. I visited a forum recently, and they mentioned not one, but several.


    In two cases, back in the day, they were unknown creatures that attacked livestock and left a trail of blood and gore. That could have been anything, of course, perhaps even the first Alien Big Cats in the country but much more likely to have been just feral dogs, which regularly kill both people and livestock in far larger numbers than either wolves or werewolves:


    There was mention of a genuine werewolf near Ripon, Yorkshire, in the 1920s and then another in Edale, Lancashire, in 1925. It was described by the forum contributor, Jerry_B as “some large animal…tearing sheep to bits”. Sounds like it’s back to those feral dogs to me.
    A bloodsucking equivalent of these two werewolves, allegedly, was the monster “on the prowl in 1905, at Badminton (Gloucester)”.
    All of these seem extremely far-fetched in my humble opinion, but there is one interesting English werewolf tale which features very widely on the Internet. For me though, it is a superb example of putting a couple of interesting facts together, and then using them to come to a fairly ridiculous conclusion. After that, everybody is more than happy to view this iffy conclusion as completely sensible and to consider it henceforth as hard fact. No need to bother about questioning the reasoning process. If you still don’t understand what I’m getting at, then treat yourself to the finest example I know of, namely any episode whatsoever in the “Ancient Aliens” TV series.

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    First of all, though, for the sake of argument, I am willing to accept the supposition, for the moment, that wolves in England, centuries ago, were capable of behaviour that, nowadays, would be dismissed as being highly unlikely. That behaviour, of course, would be to treat human beings as a prey item and to attack them as a matter of ordinary routine:

    Whatever you may think about that as a supposition, the author, John Harries, in his book “A Ghost Hunter’s Road Book”, states that things were so bad in Saxon times that, presumably at the behest of King Aethelstan:

    “ about the year 940 AD a hostel was built in the village of Flixton to shelter wayfarers in wintertime from attacks by wolves. At that period packs of the animals were not uncommon in the north of the country, and they were regarded with particular loathing because in times of severe weather they scavenged in graveyards.”

    That statement is by no means outrageous, although it would be nice to know where the story originally came from. After all, there cannot be too many sources available to be cited when it comes to events more than a thousand years ago in 940 AD.
    What tips it over the edge, though, is the next piece of rather iffy logic:

    “Their cunning in discovering unprotected cattle, their boldness in attacking travellers, and their habit of suddenly descending in large numbers on an area where they had previously been unknown, all helped to give rise to the belief that the animals were not ordinary wolves but human beings who adopted a travesty of wolf shape by night.”

    Wolves capable of finding “unprotected cattle”? How unusual! How unprecedented! I’m sure that has never happened in the northern states of the USA.

    “Descending in large numbers” to a source of easy food? How extraordinary for a pack predator to be any good at doing that!

    The wolf is one of the most widespread and successful predators on the planet. So why do we need to explain his achievements as the work of werewolves? And not even ordinary werewolves at that…

    “Their nocturnal exploits were supposed to be organised by a wizard whose innocent appearance enabled him to gather information about cattle, sheep and human wayfarers in taverns and market places.”

    Look out! There’s a wizard about!! Careless talk costs lives!!

    Flixton, by the way, is in Yorkshire, in the north of England, near Scarborough. Look for the orange arrow:

    Here is a more detailed map:

    Further details about the Flixton Werewolf were that he has glowing red eyes and a particularly bad body odour. (Don’t say it!) Reports supposedly began all over again in 1150, although by now he had grown a very long tail. In 1800 a stagecoach making its way to York was supposedly attacked by an apparent werewolf. In 1970, the Flixton Werewolf made an unsuccessful attempt at attacking a long distance lorry. Easy prey, of course:

    All these additional details, and a succession of precise dates, all help to give the story of a werewolf in Yorkshire veracity and credence, of course.

    I was able to find mention on the Internet of just a two other werewolves in England, both of them in Devon (in the Valley of the Rocks in Lynton and the Valley of the Doones on Exmoor). On the latter occasion, a Victorian lady walking home in the dark saw a grey man with a wolf’s head, apparently stalking a large rabbit. The grey man disappeared when he was disturbed by a stag emerging suddenly from some nearby woodland.
    Funnily enough, this apparently bizarre tale of the grey man with a wolf’s head sounds a lot more probable to me. If you have read my articles about Shuck and then the Wolfmen in the USA, you may recall that the almost cute behaviour of this grey man with a wolf’s head is much more typical of these cryptocanids:

    Much more interesting than the Flixton Werewolf though, was the article I found by Nick Redfern about Wolfmen in the Cannock Chase German Cemetery. Nick’s approach is much more studied and cautious, and it is remarkable how close his “2+2” comes to equalling the “4” of Linda S.Godfrey in her description of such entities as the Beast of Bray Road and the Michigan Dogman. Reports mentioned by Nick include:

    “Nick Duffy, of the West Midlands Ghost Club, reported that “The first person to contact us was a postman, who told us he had seen what he thought was a werewolf. He saw what he believed was a large dog, but when he got closer, the creature got on his hind legs and ran away.”

    “A local scout-leader reported that: “It just looked like a huge dog. But when I slammed the door of my car it reared up on its back legs and ran into the trees. It must have been about six to seven feet tall.”

    Both of these pieces of behaviour come much, much closer to the Dogmen and Werewolves of the USA. If you read Linda S.Godfrey, you will see that the majority of these monsters prefer not to attack but to run away:

    Let’s finish with two things. Firstly a question. Why do you always have to shoot a werewolf with a silver bullet to kill it?

    It’s because back in the days of muskets and similar hit-and-miss weapons, accuracy was way below today’s standards, as was killing power. One, albeit expensive, way to improve both was to discard the third rate bullets of the day, and make your own, rock hard, bullets from…you’ve guessed it! Silver.
    And secondly I was unaware that when they were filming that classic tale “An American Werewolf In London”, the opening scenes on the Yorkshire moors were all filmed in Wales because “Yorkshire didn’t look Yorkshire enough”:


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