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
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
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
What is this! Photographed by a Norfolkcoast
visitor in December 2003.
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.
The picture was taken out on the coast at Dunwich in Suffolk. The
photograph was sent in by Mr. Potter of Suffolk.