dogs in mythology

Pricolici aesthetic

Romanian folklore creatures series - III

Pricolici, similar to strigoi (troubled spirits of the dead rising from the grave), are undead souls that have risen from the grave to harm living people. While a strigoi possesses anthropomorphic qualities similar to the ones it had before death, a pricolici always resembles a wolf or a dog. Malicious, violent men are often said to become pricolici after death, in order to continue harming other humans. Sometimes “sin children” (from incest) become pricolici after they die.


Creatures of Legend:  Black Shuck

Black Shuck (AKA Old Shuck, Old Shock, or Shucks) is a ghostly black dog that is said to be spotted around the coast and countryside of East Anglia. According to legend, Black Shuck is rather large, with reports stating that he is anywhere from being as big as a large dog to the size of a horse. He has shaggy black fur, and evil red or green eyes. Some versions state that Black Shuck only has a single eye instead of two, or that he can appear lacking a head altogether.

Generally it is believed that the appearance of this ghostly dog is a bad omen. Although some stories claim that those who see Black Shuck will immediately die, other stories say that the dog will appear before a witness when a close relative is about to pass away or become seriously ill. In contrast, other tales say that the Black Shuck has been known to protect women on their way home, or to help lost travelers find their way.

While reports of ghostly black dogs date back to around 1127, one of the first accounts specifically of the Black Shuck happened on August 4th, 1577. On this day, Black Shuck burst through the doors of the Holy Trinity Church while the congregation was in session. His entrance was marked by a clap of thunder. Black Shuck then ran up the nave, killing a man and a boy and causing the church steeple to collapse through the roof. When the dog left, scorch marks could be seen on the north door. These scorch marks can still be seen at the church today (last picture above). Only a few hours later, Black Shuck appeared at St. Mary’s Church in Bungay. Like the first encounter, Black Shuck ran down the isle’s. This time he stopped to kill several men who were kneeling in prayer. When Black Shuck left, he once again left scorch marks on the door.



Przeraża mnie ta chwila,
która jej wolność skradła. 
Jaskółka - czarny brylant,
wrzucony tu przez diabła.
[Jaga - Polish Legends by Platige Image]
[official song cover]

Arturo Michelena (1863-1898)
“Diana cazadora” (1896)

In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and nature, is associated with wild animals and the woodland, and with having the power to talk to and control animals. She was eventually equated with the Greek goddess Artemis, though she had an independent origin in Italy. Diana was also known to be the virgin goddess of childbirth and women. She was one of the three maiden goddesses, along with Minerva and Vesta, who swore never to marry.

5. Cerberus

“For Hell and the foul fiend that rules, God’s everlasting fiery jails. (Devised by rogues, dreaded by fools), With his grim, grisly dog that keeps the door, Are senseless stories, idle tales, Dreams, whimseys, and no more.” - John Wilmot


The Kaikidan Ekotoba, a nineteenth century Japanese handscroll of uncertain authorship, is a seemingly inexhaustible source of strange creatures.  Here are four interesting scans that I haven’t seen on Tumblr.

On the left are two unrelated monsters of Fukuoka, Kyushu: A blob of soft flesh suspected of being a shapeshifting Tanuki, and a dog-bird hybrid.

The center illustration is a man-eating cave said to be located somewhere in the Aso Mountain Range of Kyushu.

On the right is a fanciful portrait of a real animal, the Ezo wolf.  This subspecies was extant in a limited range when the scroll was written, but the last known member died in 1889.  There are still occasional sightings reported in rural Hokkaido.

Lastly, there’s a great big angry fish seen off the coast of Hokkaido.