Prevalent in Northern English folklore, the Barghest is a monstrous black dog, with fiery eyes, large teeth and claws, though the name has been known to refer to ghosts or household elves in other regions of the country. The word “Ghost” was pronounced “Guest” in Northern England, and the etymology of Barghest is thought to be the combination word, Burh-ghest or “Town-Ghost”. Similar to other mythical Black Dogs like the Black Shuck, Grim, Padfoot, Gwyllgi and Gytrash, the Barghest is believed to be an omen of death, foretelling the passing of an individual by laying on or near their doorstep. In some tales, the dog is but one form the entity can shapeshift into, with other appearances being that of a headless man or woman, a white cat or a rabbit. They are said to attack lone travelers in the countryside as well as the narrow alleys in those of the old English cities.
The Barghest is a specific black dog from Northern England. It is typically described as a large black dog with long claws and teeth. Legend goes that if a person would see the Barghest clearly, they would soon die. However, if they only saw it briefly, they would continue to live, but only for a few months. Another legend says that the Barghest could become invisible and would sound like rattling chains as it walked around unseen.