Mythological Throwback Thursday: British Hellhounds
Hello! Are you a dog person? We used to be, until we found out about all the terrifying mutts stalking the British Isles. We’re expecting Alex’s family back in Staffordshire to be devoured by supernatural hounds any day now. Arm yourself with the knowledge to protect your loved ones this Mythological Throwback Thursday!
One of the most notorious is Black Shuck, a ghostly black dog that stalks the wilds of East Anglia. It’s thought its name derives from the Saxon word for demon, ‘scucca’. Others believe it to be a version of the Viking Shukir, the war-dog of Thor and Odin. Black Shuck is a large hound, variously described as the size of a calf or even a horse. It has baleful red eyes (or just one large one in the centre of its head, in some tellings) and can coalesce out of mist on dark nights, to frighten lone travellers. Those who see Black Shuck usually live long enough to tell the tale, but many believed that those who see it were marked for death, and would pass away within the year.
Similar is the tale of the Barghest, a spectral beast that haunted the north of England, and was particularly infamous in Yorkshire. Described to principally take the form of a black dog with fiery eyes, it was said to be able to become invisible, to shapeshift (favouring the form of a headless person) and to have dominion over other dogs. Upon the death of any notable person in the community the Barghest would form the head of a funeral procession of sorts, followed by all the other dogs of the community, leading them in howling and baying. If you were fleeing the Barghest it was considered wise to cross a stream or river, since the superstition was that it was unable to.
On the Isle of Man, a ghost called Moddey Dhoo, which literally means ‘black dog’, haunted Peel Castle. Though it seemed relatively benign, wandering through the hallways of the castle, invariably settling by the fireplace of the guard chamber, it was frightening to those unused to its spooky demeanour. It would never appear during the day, returning always to a passageway that led to the guard captain’s chamber and disappearing. One night a drunken guard defied Moddey Dhoo. On entering the haunted passageway, dreadful sounds were heard. The guard, scared witless, returned to his comrades aghast and died within three days.
The Welsh passed down the tale of the Cŵn Annwn. Not ghosts but denizens of the supernatural realm of Annwn, these hounds were hunting dogs for the king of the realm, Arawn. Unlike the other examples, these dogs were pure white with red ears. During the Wild Hunt, the Cŵn Annwn would run down wrongdoers for their crimes. It is speculated that they accompanied King Arthur’s cousin Culwhch to Arthur’s court.
Of course, the good people of the UK and Ireland could not help but include their hellhound-riddled folklore in their literature. Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre includes an encounter which the titular heroine initially mistakes for a Gytrash, a being similar to a Barghest. J.K Rowling includes the legend of the Grim in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with characteristics identical to those of Black Shuck. And of course we couldn’t go without mentioning the infamous Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Why dogs? Possibly we humans share an inherent, instinctual aversion to wolves, and when like in the British Isles wolves become extinct through our actions, we create our own. Monsters from the id! Or maybe it’s just because we’re just really into dogs, and there’s nothing so terrible as being betrayed by something you love. Join us for another Mythological Throwback Thursday next week, when we’ll be feeling a little sunnier…
As I theorized back in July 2013, I believe Soos is the Protector of the Pines.
“The Handyman knows more than you think”, a code from Rumble’s Revenge, left by Bill Cipher. This is stating that Soos must be playing dumb. Why?
In Dreamscapers, when Bill brings Mabel, Soos, Xyler and Craz into where he is most powerful, Soos knows that whatever Bill sees as their nightmares, he will conjure them to be true. ((As shown with Mabel’s fear of losing her cuteness))
Because Soos is the Protector of the Pines, his worst fear is that Mabel and Dipper don’t make it home, or worse. To avoid having this become a grim reality, he creates a fake nightmare and feeds it directly to Bill, as to avoid the demon from entering his thoughts. “I hope he’s not talking about that British Dog-Man I keep having nightmares about.”
In Land Before Swine, when they are in the caverns, Soos knows that following the thread would lead to extreme peril, and even though he knew that it was losing Waddles, he decided it better than losing Dipper, Mabel and Stan. This is why he wraps up the thread as to lose the trail. He also breaks the lantern on purpose, as he realized the light would attract the dinosaur. Later on, you can see Soos is really emphasizing his need for the Pines to trust him, as he is very close with them, but also as to safely escape.
In Summerween, Soos is the one who ultimately defeats the Trickster, eating his Loser Candy Heart. He pressed the Talking Skull to distract the Trickster from the kids as they tried to escape the Superstore.
In Legend of the Gobblewonker, when Soos, Mabel and Dipper are on Scuttlebutt Island, after the beaver makes off with their lantern, you see Soos pick up a pointed stick, indicating that he was willing to kill for the safety of the twins.
While these are just a few reasons, this post is long enough as it is.
The whole point of Bill accepting Gideon’s deal in Dreamscaperers and going through that entire thing still confuses me. What did he accomplish there. Did he just want to show the kids that he exists? Did he want to give them a false sense of power? Did he want Gideon to think he’s an easy and good thing to deal with? Did he actually need Gideon to do something, but decided whether he succeeded or failed in this it’d be worth it for all the rest of his gain?? All of the above?? Why was Stan so lucid talking to Dips in his memory?? Why is Soos’ worst nightmare a British dog-man??????