Is East Anglia haunted by a huge hound from hell?
It was the morning of 4 August 1577, and a ferocious thunderstorm was raging in the town of Bungay, Suffolk. Back then, such harsh weather conditions were feared, as the timber-andthatch houses were particularly vulnerable.
Frightened locals hurried to St Mary’s Church to take refuge.
The pews were filled with people kneeling in prayer, hoping God might let the storm pass with little damage.
Then a massive clap of thunder cracked overhead, bursting open the church doors.
Startled, the congregation looked up – to see a huge black dog with flaming eyes standing at the top of the aisle.
The terrifying creature was growling, baring its teeth.
Screams of horror rang out as the beast rampaged around the church, tearing and ripping its way through the mass of terrified townsfolk.
Amid the panic and mayhem, the creature brutally killed two people. One was left shrivelled ‘like a drawn purse’ as he prayed. Another man was reported to have suffered severe burns from the hound’s claws – as if they were fuelled by the fires of hell itself.
Earlier that same day, 12 miles from Bungay, Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh suffered a similar incident.
As the powerful storm battered the village, worshippers in the church were set upon by a massive dog with flaming eyes.
It killed a man and a boy, and destroyed most of the church, causing the steeple to collapse.
Claw marks were left scorched onto the doors, and can still be seen to this day.
Survivors were convinced only Satan could be responsible for such carnage, that the Devil himself had taken the form of a large dog and come to Suffolk to wreak havoc.
That year, the Rev Abraham Fleming wrote a pamphlet entitled A Straunge And Terrible Wunder, about the incident.
He told how the satanic beast came running all along down the body of the church with great swiftnesse and incredible haste, among the people, in a visible fourm and shape.
The hell hound became known as Black Shuck – a name possibly from the Old English scucca, meaning ‘witch’, or from the local dialect word shucky meaning ‘shaggy’.
For hundreds of years, Black Shuck struck fear in the hearts of those unlucky enough to encounter it.
In 1890, a small boy rescued from the freezing North Sea claimed he’d been chased in there by a gigantic black dog.
A midwife was cycling home on a winter’s night in the 1930s when she realised a hound was stalking her.
No matter how fast she rode, the dog effortlessly kept up – before vanishing.
The most recent sighting was in 1972. A coastguard on duty in the early hours saw a large black dog running along the beach, as if it were looking
Screams of horror rang out as the beast rampaged