Is East Anglia haunted by a huge hound from hell?

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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

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