Black Shuck - Norfolks Hell Hound

An Old Norfolk Saying... "And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring, And its wild bark thrill'd around, His eyes had the glow of the fires below, Twas the form of the Spectre Hound"

There are so many myths, tales, legends and sighting's of this fearsome apparition that it is hard to know where to begin. Black Shuck is said to be one of the oldest phantoms of Great Britain, with the name deriving from the Anglo-Saxon word 'scucca' meaning demon or devil.

Other historians say that the hound has its origins in Norse mythology based on the huge dog of war of Odin and Thor 'Shukir' who came over to Britain thousands of years ago along with the Vikings long ships.
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Local legend tells of a huge hound, the size of a small calf with blazing eyes, who regularly prowls the coastal path  between Sheringham and Overstrand. 

Unsuspecting night walkers will first become aware of the pad pad sound of the hounds heavy paws.

Out of the corner of their eye they may see a gathering darkness, which slowly forms into the outline of a huge hound. 

Lurking in the night shadows the beast is said to track the steps of its victim, drawing ever closer.

 Anyone unfortunate enough to turn around and meet its fiery gaze is said to die within a twelve month period.

The hell hound of Norfolk has had many documented sighting.  In 1890 a young boy was rescued from the North Sea who told a tale of being forced to swim further and further from the shore by a huge black dog who had chased him into the sea. 

Even during the 1920's and 1930's there were reports from the fishermen of Sheringham of hearing a hound howling on the cliff tops during stormy nights. As recently as 1970 a sighting of Black Shuck made the headlines. When a huge hound was seen pounding over the beach at Great Yarmouth. 1980, a young woman claimed to have met the hell hound, whilst out walking with her young son. This sighting took place near Wisbeach, though the woman said that this hound had yellow eyes, rather than red, but all of the other details were the same as that of Black Shuck.

In the village of Overstrand the old Village Sign used to show a picture of the legendary Black Shuck and to this day there is still a lane in the village which is called locally after the Norfolk hell hound.

Another of the hounds tracks runs through what today is Mill Lane into the grounds of Cromer Hall.  It is said that it was this particular locality which Arthur Conan Doyle based his Hound of the Baskervilles on. 

Mythology says that 'ghost dogs' tend to haunt old straight roads which may be located on 'Leylines'. 
Leylines are ancient straight paths of invisible earth energy.  Folklore says that churches would be sited on these straight lines and would be used by spirits who would travel along them from graveyard to graveyard and they were sometimes known as 'Corpse Ways'. 

We are unable to confirm if this Norfolk hound does or does not exist.  We have been told many a tale, over a pint, on a cold and windy moonless night in a Norfolk pub, when an extra log is thrown on the fire.  Unfortunately we have yet to find a team member who is prepared to go out and look for it! We will keep you advised.

What is this!  Photographed by a Norfolkcoast visitor in December 2003.

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                and Breakfast or Accommodations Link.s. The picture was taken out on the coast at Dunwich in Suffolk. The photograph was sent in by Mr. Potter of Suffolk.