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It's a Suffolk shaggy dog story that has been passed down through generations. Black Shuck is a regular visitor to Suffolk, and on this occasion we visit Barham to discover how a late-night walk home became a terrifying race with a dog sent from hell.

Suffolk has long-since feared the devil dog with eyes as red as glowing coals which stalks the highways and byways close to the coast. From Blythburgh to Bungay, Bury to Barham, Old – or Black – Shuck has been witnessed by terrified onlookers who have ensured that the terrifying tales of his influence over his kingdom have been passed down through the generations. The tales are of a hell hound with flaming red eyes and shaggy black hair that stood seven feet in height and had savage claws as sharp as scalpels – a mere glimpse of the dog would impart a fatal curse on those unlucky enough to spy him, and that was if he hadn't already sealed their fate with a swipe of his deadly claws.

At Blythburgh and Bungay in the 16th century, Shuck left the dead in his wake after bursting into churches and scattering the worshippers, killing those who got in his way. In his 1577 pamphlet A
Straunge And Terrible Wunder, the Rev Abraham Fleming recounted the story: 'This black dog, or the
divel in such a linenesse (God hee knoweth al who worketh all,) running all along down the body of the church with great swiftnesse, and incredible haste, among the people, in a visible fourm and shape, passed between two persons, as they were kneeling uppon their knees, and occupied in prayer as it seemed, wrung the necks of them bothe at one instant clene backward, in somuch that even at a moment where they kneeled, they strangely dyed.

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Category: Weird Desk