In the Chelmsford witches trial of 1566, Joan Wa-terhouse was accused of sending a black dog familiar with a short tail, the face of an ape, a pair of horns on his head and a silver whistle about his neck. In 1577, during a storm in East Anglia, a demonic black dog tore through a church in Bungay, leaving behind two people strangled and a third "as shrunken as a piece of leather scorched in a hot fire."
In 1945, a phantom black dog was associated with the alleged witchcraft murder of Charles wALTON in the Cotswolds. Walton himself had seen such a dog, which metamorphosed into a headless woman, as an omen of death.
Black spectral animals in ghost lore are associated with witches (see HECATE) and demons (see WILD Hunt). The best-known black dog in England's ghost lore is Black Shuck, also called Old Shuck. Shuck comes from the Anglo-Saxon term scucca, meaning "demon." Black Shuck lurks about graveyards, lonely country roads, misty marshes and the hills around villages. Anecdotal accounts describe him as big as a calf, with glowing red or green eyes. Black Shuck follows travelers and also darts out on roads in front of automobiles that pass right through him.
Black Shuck is also a death omen. To see him means that one or a member of one's family will soon die.
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