The bones of a large dog have been excavated at Leiston Abbey archaeological site in the U.K. The media outlet connects it to tales of the Black Dog, the Hell Hound. That gives me a chance to tell one of the great pieces of supernatural animal folklore that is still being told today. Whether or not it has any connection to the new find is irrelevant. 🙂
Since the middle-ages, legend has spread of a fearful beast once said to stalk the region’s coastline and countryside.
Despite tales of a fiery-eyed monster showing up in graveyards, forests and roadsides – and an account of claw marks surfacing on the door to Blythburgh Church – the giant dog’s existence has been reserved to the annals of folklore.
Until now, perhaps, as archeologists have revealed evidence of huge skeletal remains unearthed by a member of the public in the trenches at Leiston Abbey last year.
The most famous black dog legend is that of the Black Dog of Bungay. The story goes that during a terrible storm, a huge black dog burst into St Mary’s church in Bungay in the summer of 1577 slaying some praying parishioners. Earlier, it is said that the beast, in likeness of the devil himself, left scorch marks on the door of another church. What happened that day is investigated in this book by Waldron and Reeve (recommended).
However, back to reality… this is more likely not at all related to the talk of spectral hounds but a beloved pet that whose death was a solemn, meaningful affair.
While this story may seem like hype to promote the dig site, it does show us an important aspect of human culture – that we have long had a serious and sometimes complicated relationship with dogs.