Black Shuck

You may remember our previous stories on the Beast of Bray Road, and a mysterious wolf man that stalked the train tracks from one small community through the Midwestern United States.  But today’s story centers on something far older and – if some of the legends are to be believed – even more terrifying.  Black Shuck, as he has been dubbed, is often considered nothing less than a demon – and one that has been stalking several villages and roads throughout England for centuries.

They say it looks almost like a massive evil looking dog.  But there are a few differences that cause those few unfortunates who cross its path to be stricken with terror. Its eyes are like saucers, and burn with a terrible rage.  Some witnesses have stated that the eyes are a glowing green while others state that they will testify under oath that they are like red hot coals.  Its fur is as black as midnight.  Its very name itself comes from the Old English Scucca, meaning in a word – demon.  And its motive always appears to be the same: inspire fear and terror.

But the demon was not always said to be evil.  Long ago it was said Black Shuck would follow women in the dead of night watching them from the shadows and protecting them from attackers that may cross their paths.  One story tells of Black Shuck walking out from the shadows as a drunken robber was about to attack a newlywed woman.  The attacker, armed with a knife approached and told her to give up her purse.  Within seconds the attacker was frightened off by something terrible and fled screaming into the night.  Turning to see who her savior was, the young woman was equally terrified to see Black Shuck standing there glaring at her from behind a pair of glowing eyes.  Though she wasn’t as terrified as the prospective bandit, she did say she couldn’t tell if it had come to save her or simply enjoyed scaring whoever was around.

It has also appeared in several different forms, sometimes walking into peoples’ homes without a head.  Other times it is said you can hear the howl of Black Shuck mournfully crying in howls loud and chilling enough to “freeze a grown man’s blood solid.”  It has been the scapegoat of many deaths said to have occurred when a person died of fright.

And of course there is the most legendary appearance of Black Shuck in Blythburgh in the summer of 1577.  Though accounts vary, the most commonly told version states that the creature leapt into the town’s church and killed a man and his son during Sunday Mass.  After the terrified congregation leapt to its feet, the creature dove through the wall and disappeared through the front door and burning its feet into the wood.  As the congregation left the church, the tower collapsed behind them into the church.