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29 August 2012 @ 05:25 pm
black shuck  
so there’s this cemetery my friend likes to drive through/park in (she’s a scorpio). we were hanging out yesterday and she decided to park there for a little while. i’ve been there a few times with her and she always muses aloud about these strange little wooden silhouettes of ‘coyotes.’ ‘what are they doing here? that’d be cute in, like, Arizona or something…’ so i said to her, ‘how do you know they’re coyotes?’ she said she didn’t, they just looked like it. i had never really paid attention to them before, but suddenly it dawned on me what they must be. i asked her if she’d ever heard about Black Shuck, the ghostly dogs that are sometimes seen in graveyards. she said she hadn’t. so i told her about them. they have many names (grim, shag, padfoot, gwyllgi, hellhound, gytrash, etc), and many superstitions surround them. they are almost universally described as large, shaggy black dogs with glowing red eyes and a piercing stare. my friend was doing something on her smartphone while she listened to me, but when i mentioned that last part, her head whipped around and she stared at me with wide eyes as i told her the rest. they are considered guardians of the churchyard, punishers of the wicked, or omens of death, and are variably evil, benevolent, or neutral. they appear out of nowhere and occasionally give chase before disappearing just as suddenly. she asked me if they were only seen in graveyards. i told her no. usually but not always. she then explained to me that the mention of glowing red eyes brought back a memory of a large black dog that she would see standing by her grandparents’ bed when she visited overnight. it would just stand there staring, and she felt so intimidated by it that she wouldn’t even get up to use the bathroom until morning. a google map search revealed that her grandparents’ house was 5 miles away from a cemetery. i asked her if there were any deaths in the family around that time. she said no. but she did mention that her grandfather passed away about a decade later after a long sickness. i asked her if she stopped seeing it eventually. she said yes, it went away after her grandfather got sick.