Daily Archives: February 26, 2012

Old Shuck – forerunner of death…


This is an illustration from my children’s picture book MARITIME MONSTERS: A FIELD GUIDE.

This old dog is called Shuck or Old Shug and according to the old people you can expect a death in the family if you see the black hound anywhere close to your door.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


I’ve written about Old Shug, the black dog, a couple of times – notably in Haunted Harbours and my children’s picture book Maritime Monsters – so I thought I’d reblog this entry from Anil Balan’s blog GHOST CITIES.

Ghost Cities

Tales of ghostly black dogs and demonic hounds are prevalent throughout the folklore, myths and legends of the British Isles, from tales of Black Shuck in East Anglia to stories of Barghest in North Yorkshire. These terrifying beasts have even made their way into English Literature in the form of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. The black dog is essentially a nocturnal apparition, often said to be associated with the Devil, and its appearance is usually regarded as a portent of death. It is often associated with electrical storms and also with crossroads, places of execution and ancient pathways. The origins of the black dog are difficult to discern, as it has numerous precedents in a wide range of European myths. For example, there is the shape-shifting pooka of Celtic folklore, which was said to have a predilection for taking on the guise of a spectral hound when it appeared…

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