|[Image courtesy: Fanpop]|
So what are these beasts and where did they originate?
Today I'm talking about the Hellhound, a mythical beast that appears in mythologies all around the world. The Hellhound in its various forms has been found in Greek, English, Welsh, German, Catalan, Central American mythology to name but a few.
Firstly, I'm going to talk about "Black Dogs", a name now synonymous with depression and misery. Throughout Europe, legendary black dogs of enormous size have appeared to haunt particular places and prey on humans.
Phantom Black Dogs
|[image courtesy: Brenda Rosen, Mythical Creatures bible]|
Legend has it than on Sunday 4th August 1577, in a town in Suffolk, a terrible thunderstorm took place. Suddenly, a huge black dog, known in the area as "Black Shuck", lit by lightening, appeared in the church attacked the congregation. Most believed that that the beast was a Hellhound, sent by the devil. The beast is credited with killing two people and injuring several more.
The dog was later believed to have visited the Cathedral of the Marshes in Blythburgh (Holy Trinity Church) during the same thunderstorm - within an hour of its earlier appearance. In this appearance the hound, after charging down the aisle, fled through the North door of the church. Large black scorched gouges can still be seen on the door. (Which I think is pretty nifty!)
In other places throughout England, the black dogs are believed to be portents of death. One, apparently commonly sighted in Yorkshire, is called the Barghest. It is believed that anyone who sights this creature will die shortly after. It is my opinion that the Grim in Harry Potter is probably closely linked to this one. Similarly there is a similar beastcalled the Mauthe Dog, who guards the ancient castle of Peel, on the Isle of Man.
As I mentioned Belgium earlier, I feel I should also mention the Kludde. This is a black dog, who can also appear rather randomly as a cat, frog, bat or horse. In all its forms, the Kludde can be identified by the sounds of rattling chains, as well as blue flame that flickers around its head. The Kluddes modus operandi is jumping onto the backs of lone travellers and mauling them... nice.
I couldn't write about Hellhounds without mentioning Cerberus, whom it is said is the mythic ancestor of all other Hellhounds.
Cerberus is the terrifying hellhound that guards the gates of Hades (the Underworld in Greek Mythology). Cerberus' job is to ensure that no living person can enter the underworld, and likewise, no spirit escape.
Cerberus is described in several ancient works chiefly Homer and Hesiod, in the 8th Century BC. Cerberus is uniformly described as immensely huge and fierce, and originally was described as the offspring of Echidna and had fifty heads. Later texts describe him as having three heads, and the tail of a serpent and mane of snakes. You may also remember "Fluffy" from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone... a giant dog with rather noticible Cerberean characteristics!
The Beast of Gevaudan
My last Hellhound to mention is called the Beast of Gevaudan. There is a lot of information on this beast as it walks the line between mythological beast and cryptid. This means that there are eye witness accounts of the creature and although the beast cannot be proven to have existed, it hasn't been proven to not to have existed either.
|[Image courtesy: abovetopsecret]|
Well I hope this post has been fodder for your muse, and you've discovered something you didn't know about the magical world of myths and mythology.
Enjoy your Thursday!