A Conversation for Phantom Hounds
Black Shuck The Ghost Hound of North Norfolk.
Shannock Started conversation Feb 24, 2002
There are many stories told about Black Shuck of the North Norfolk coast and may go back hundreds of years. Black Shuck or Old Shuck as it is known to the local inhabitants of the coast is a large black dog with fiery red eyes as big as saucers. Accordig to the tales the eyes will burn right into your soul if you look into them. Round its neck is a piece of chain that clank and rattle as it haunt its way along the coast.
On stormy nights when the wind whistle round the chimney's children were told, 'if you do not go to sleep Old Shuck will come and get you.'
Another local story is when Arthur Conan Doyle was staying at Cromer Hall he was told the story of Old Shuck by the local fishermen and shortly afterwards he wrote the story the Hound of the Baskerville.
Old Shuck is the bringer of bad luck. It is said, 'if you see him death will follow within the year. Another version is if he is seen a violent storm will hit the North Norfolk coast shortly afterwards.
Smugglers in days gone by used the stories of Old Shuck to their advantage when they wanted to run a cargo ashore. Accounts of sightings were embellished by tales of foul deeds done to victims it found on the lonley cliff paths and beaches at night. These stories kept the superstitious fishermen and farm hands behind locked doors at night giving the smugglers little chance of detection.
Stories of how Old Shuck came into existence are as many and varied as the rest of the stories about it.
One story is Old Shuck was the dog of a Viking warrior killed in a raid on the coast. The body of the Viking was never found and the dog is treading the lonley cliff paths looking for him. Another is Old Shuck was a shepherds dog whose master while tending his flock fell over the cliff and was swept away by the sea and Old Shuck is still looking for his master. The story most told is where Old Shuck was the faithful companion of a sea captain whoes ship was wrecked one night in a violent storm on the North Norfolk coast. At first light a search party set out to scour the beach for survivors. The beach was strewn with wreckage and amongst it were the bodies of the ships crew. One of the bodies was clinging to the chain collar of a large black dog. The search party had six bodies to take back to the village for Christian burials so it was decided to bury the body of the dog on the beach. The body clinging to the dog turned out to be the captain of the ship. Shortly afterward a large black dog was seen roaming the beaches at night and all these years later the ghost hound is still looking for its master.
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