SHUCKLAND
DUBIOUS CASES
Below are a number of cases that, for various reasons, I class as 'dubious', and have left out of the main group of records.
Location: Beccles, SUFFOLK
Legend: "Professor Earle of Oxford says: - 'Shock is still a name of dread in Suffolk. Belated travellers see the dog Shock; and it is told how he was once seen even in Beccles Church.' I have been unable to verify Shock's visit to Beccles..."
Source: James Hooper: 'Demon Dogs of Norfolk & Suffolk', in the 'Eastern Daily Press', 2/7/1894.
Comments: Apart from more modern cases, I can't find any other tradition of a phantom dog haunting Beccles. This may be a mistake for Blythburgh or, more likely, Bungay.

Location: Billericay, ESSEX
Legend: 'Miny Meadows' (actually Milly or Mill Meadows, now a nature reserve) are alleged to be haunted by a black dog which reassumes physical form on September 23rd each year. This form is supposedly 'dangerous'.
Source: http://www.knowhere.co.uk/Billericay/Essex/South-East-England/info/bestthings
Comments: I don't feel I can include this one until I can get some more detail - preferably from another source, as the webpage above is highly suspect.

Location: Bradwell-on-Sea, ESSEX
Encounter: "Me and my dad saw Black Shuck twice, scared the hell out of us. We was lamping right out on the marshes the first time we saw it. We had seen its eyes shine in the lamp from a rise in a field that looked over the marshes on the land-side of the sea wall. We thought it was a fox and went over to investigate. When we got next to the sea wall this massive black dog came loping out of a bush right out in front of us and walked calmly over the sea wall, crossing a footpath. We had the lamp on it all the time, it looked quite wolf like, but very shaggy, and unconcerned with our presence. Its eyes were glowing but that was just because of the lamp shining on it. We drove to the top of the sea wall straight away and it was nowhere to be seen.

The next time was in a corner of a field next to our house further in land. Again it popped out of a hedge right in front of us on one side of the corner and walked into the hedge on the other side. Again it disappeared, but I admit there is a big ditch, so if it was a real dog then it could have walked along that.

I think it was about 2000 and 2002, both late summer. both times we was pretty sure it wasn't a normal dog. For a start it was a lot bigger than most. I would say a little bigger than a wolfhound or deerhound. Also it wasn't a bit inquisitive, like you would expect from a domestic dog when you get up close. It just walked along like we wasn't there. When we told people about on the farm they said it was Black Shuck straight away and said they often saw it when they were combining at night during the harvest. Might have been a dog and they were winding us up, but I don't think so. They also call it Old Shuck in the village."

Source: Submitted to this site by Pete, from Bradwell-on-Sea.
Comments: As the witness himself says, there's a fair chance that on both occasions this may well have been an ordinary dog. There certainly don't seem to have been any supernatural aspects to it. I'm intrigued by the hint of existing Shuck traditions and other sightings in Bradwell, but I haven't yet been able to confirm them from any other sources.

Location:

Buckhurst Hill, ESSEX

Encounter: "Black Shuck the demon dog is back again; or he was as recently as Summer 1989 around Buckhurst Hill, Essex, where he alarmed a trio of 17-year-old boys walking to a party through a local graveyard, and soon thereafter a motorist, on the bonnet of whose car he landed. These incidents are fondly recalled among Epping students to whom I teach English literature...the Buckhurst Hill version had but one [eye], planted Cyclops-style in the centre of its forehead."
Source: Michael Goss: 'Black Shuck' in the 'Fortean Times' No. 63 (June/July 1992), p. 57.
Comments: This is dubious partly because of a lack of information, and partly because the author himself guessed that the story was fabricated.

Location: Cambridge, CAMBRIDGESHIRE
Encounter: "[In 1978] I was driving along the main Cherry Hinton Road out of Cambridge in broad daylight, (10am in the morning) when the bus in front of me stopped at some traffic lights and a young man leapt off and started attacking my car. Fortunately, for once all the car doors were locked and he had to make do with simply rocking it and pulling at the door handles...eventually the lights changed and the bus moved off allowing me to do the same.

On reaching my home I telephoned the police and they quickly rounded the lad up. His explanation for the incident was that on getting off the bus he had seen a big black dog sitting in the back of my car and had felt the need to kill it...or at least get me out. He was of course, under the influence of drugs but I wonder what made him think he saw 'the dog.'

I didn't own one at the time, nor did I have any intentions of owning one, however, come that Christmas my husband bought me a black labrador as protection...The lad received one month's sentence I believe - just time to dry him out. I changed my car as an added precaution, in case he struck again, but I have never seen nor heard of him since...having been born and bred in West Suffolk I am of course, familiar with the stories of Black Shuck."

Source: Letter from Mrs. Mary S. Barsham to me, 31/10/1983.
Comments: I have to class this report as dubious as the only actual witness was on drugs at the time.

Location: Canewdon, ESSEX
Legend: Church Road is supposedly haunted by a ghostly black dog, and whoever sees it will be dead by the end of the year.
Source: Former weblink: http://essexparanormal.net/modules/newbb/viewpost.php?uid=572
Comments: One single badly-written mention on a now-defunct message board is the only source I've been able to find for this 'legend'.

Location: Dunwich, SUFFOLK
Encounter: Mrs. Ethel H. Rudkin of Winchester was holidaying with her mother at Dunwich in 1926, and while finding exposed pieces of pottery in a cliff face one hot day, had the feeling of being watched. She looked up to see a very large black dog "rather like a retriever", with mouth open and looking fierce. As Mrs. Rudkin had a six month old pup with her, she hurried away, and later spoke of her encounter to a local fisherman named Chris Watling.

While she asserted that she had seen Black Shuck, he was certain it was just a local sheepdog. He described three such dogs to her, but when she said none of them fitted the description, and that what she'd seen was "a very large black retriever", he turned on his heel and made off. She believes that this was because he knew very well that she'd seen "the black dog of Dunwich..." (1)

"Mrs. Rudkin herself saw the Black Dog in 1926 at the ruined Dunwich Abbey [TM47767038]; she did not at that time know about the local tradition." (2)

Source: (1) A. J. Forrest: 'Encounters with Phantom Dogs', in the 'East Anglian Daily Times', 15/3/1965.
(2) Theo Brown: 'The Black Dog', in 'Folklore', Vol. 69 (1958), p. 179.
Comments: Apart from the witness's perception of the event, and an existing tradition of a black dog at Dunwich, it's hard to see anything remotely 'supernatural' about this encounter.

Location: Earsham area, NORFOLK
Encounter: "...I was friendly with an old lady who has several dogs and we used to walk often together...She was, she said, riding her horse across some fields, I cannot remember quite where, but suddenly her horse reared up and she saw a dog, but she saw a black one. She said it walked towards them. The horse, who was used to dogs as she had quite a few, was terrified and would not go on so she had to go to an aunt's cottage nearby and rest until the horse was ready to go on again. She also said the horse died within a year of this happening."
Source: Letters from Mrs. C. M. Sturman (friend of witness) to me, 21/8/1983, 19/12/1983.
Comments: The writer had told the witness of her own 'Ghostly Dog' incidents (see under Beccles in the main records), and the witness then said "she had also seen it." Otherwise, there seems little 'supernatural' about this dog, and I have to class it as 'dubious'.

Location: Ely, CAMBRIDGESHIRE  
Encounter: Late one night in the early 1950s a woman was walking home from visiting friends in Cambridge Road. Although she didn't have far to go, she became uneasy because there was no street lighting, and the hedges were very tall and dark. While still in this road, there was suddenly a 'big black dog' walking beside her, which she found very comforting even though she wasn't fond of dogs. It walked beside her all the way to her house, then stopped and sat down at her gate. She immediately went upstairs and looked out but the dog had gone, and she never saw it again.  
Source: Vivienne Doughty & Margret Haynes: 'Haunted Ely' (S. B. Publications, 1996), p.10.  
 
Comments: Although this is presented as an encounter with Ely's Black Shuck, I find nothing supernatural about it at all.

Location: Great Livermere, SUFFOLK
Encounter: On the only road north from the village, and not far from the turning to Ampton, a man is supposed to have seen what he was sure was a 'ghost dog'. Described as a thin, rough-coated dark grey or brown lurcher dog about two years old, it crossed the road about 10m away from him and vanished into undergrowth. Although he searched, he could find no trace of it. The date of this incident was described as "quite recent" by the 2001 source.
Source: Beryl Dyson: 'Gt. Livermere: A Parish with Ghosts' (orig. pub. 2001 by the author; republished by Melrose Books 2016), p.6.
Comments: Although classed as a 'ghost dog', I fail to see anything remotely paranormal about an ordinary-looking dog which goes into undergrowth then can't be found. Especially since the witness himself thought he had seen a dog named Kia, which had gone missing only 6 months previously.

Location: Great Yarmouth, NORFOLK
Encounter: A ghost or ghosts were allegedly seen by various people near the Southtown railway station in January 1860. Some said it had a 'Will o'the Wisp' appearance and said it was the same ghost that had haunted Cemetery Road in January 1859. Others said it was a large black dog with a heavy chain attached to its neck. Described as a white dog the size of a polar bear, it was also seen in the marshes to the west of the station, in the engine house of the East Suffolk Railway. It was seen to leap around and over various trucks, and scared cattle in the marshes.

Even more dubiously, a later witness said that he had been beaten by the ghost, "who was dressed in a tight-fitting cow skin, with horns on, and which was accompanied by a friend in white raiment."

Source: The 'Norwich Mercury', 25/1/1860.
Comments: I tend to think either that this report was made up by a journalist having a laugh, or that there were a number of people around in January 1860 still suffering from the New Year celebrations!

Location: Hardley, NORFOLK
Encounter:
"I was walking back from a friend's house near the church in Hardley, South Norfolk. It was midsummer and the sun was up at about
half past four in the morning. The grain fields were fairly tall growing on each side of the road, Church Lane, and I was enjoying the
early morning walk in the bright sunshine. Walking along I was stopped by a large, charcoal grey dog with matted and shaggy hair   
which ran from one field to the other, across the road and disappeared into the barley. I tried to spot the dog running through the
barley but it seemed then to disappear. There was no one else around and I warily walked on after regaining my courage as the 
sight was quite frightening. 
 
The dog was the size of a large Rottweiler but longer and with a longer face. It was running very quickly and I did not get a look at
any of its features really. I have told a few people about this dog and have been laughed at - told it was only a ghost story. I know
what I saw though.
 
I know that seeing a dog like this to be a bad omen; although nothing bad happened to me, within a year my younger sister was 
being treated for cancer. She has made a full recovery now but I thought the point interesting enough to mention."
Source: Email from witness to me, 31/7/14.
Comments: Again there seems to be nothing particularly paranormal about this dog. The witness has so far not responded to my request for clarification of what seemed 'supernatural' to him about the encounter.

Location: Holt, NORFOLK
Encounter: A man and his wife were driving in their car to his mother's home in Holt when 'Shuck' - which they described as "what looked like a dog or a calf" - crossed the road in front of them near the Tithe Barn, "on the borders of Letheringsett and Holt, before you get to the old Holt Rectory..."
Source: Letter from Jane Hales (sister of male witness) to me, 16/9/1983.
Comments: Apart from their perception of the animal as 'Shuck', the phantom hound, it's hard to see why what they saw couldn't have been simply "a dog or a calf."

Location: Little Wakering, ESSEX
Encounter: This occurred in 1985/86 in Little Wakering Road, near the Castle Inn. A man driving along this road was so frightened by a 'huge dog' that ran out of the little lane between the church and the vicarage, leapt onto the car's bonnet then ran off, that he would never go that way again.
Source: :'Small Beginnings' No 11 Winter 2005-06 (newsletter of former pupils of old Barling Primary School), p.2.
Comments: Even with the size of the dog described as 'huge', there's nothing supernatural about this incident. I include it simply because of the 'ghostly dog' stories abounding in the Wakering/Barling/Hockley/Shoeburyness area.

Location: Methwold, NORFOLK
Encounter: Just south of the village there used to be an airfield, in use between 1938 and 1945. "In the winter of 1939/40, a ghost hound was sighted in the trees surrounding the Methwold Airfield. Upon witnessing the 'beast', one airman said it was "A huge supernatural beast"."
Source: http://www.nightwatchmanchronicles.com/HauntedLocationStory11.htm
Comments: I have to class this as dubious because of the lack of detail, the lack of an original source, and the fact that the website it appears on is, to my mind, a rather dubious one.

Location: Pitsea, ESSEX
Encounter: In 1988, or possibly the early 1990s, a group of young people (described variously as 'youngsters' or 'teenagers') were said to have been terrified by two very large black dogs with red eyes, which appeared out of nowhere in the former graveyard at the redundant St. Michael's church on Pitsea Mount (TQ738877). The group tried to get away from the snarling dogs, which seemed to 'mirror' each other in their movements, but the dogs then just vanished. Another source adds that the youngsters returned at a later date, conducted an Ouija board sťance, and contacted something that claimed it was the Devil. The following day, one of the group, a boy, was found dead in bed.
Sources:

https://www.essexghosthunters.co.uk/haunted-places/essex/pitsea-mount-st-michaels-church

http://essexparanormal.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=LOC&action=display&thread=544  (entry dated 14/10/2005).

Comments:

Only the graveyard and the 16th century tower remain, the rest of the church having been demolished in 1998.The incident took place near a 19th century tombstone locally known as the 'witch's grave', although there is no evidence of witchcraft attached to it.

One of the sources claims a history of 'devil dog' sightings and other strange occurrences on the Mount, but I can find no written evidence of this in any of the standard works on Essex. It sounds to me like an urban myth that teenagers have concocted, originating in the 'spooky' nature of the site, so for the moment I regard it as dubious.


Location: West Runton, NORFOLK
Encounter: A man was cycling home from Sheringham one night very late, probably in the 1940s, when he noticed a dog running beside him. He described it as a "large black retriever, with a length of chain attached to his neck...[which was] clinking along the ground." To his surprise, it followed him along the A149 road right to his gate at West Runton, then "passed on down the lane to the beach."
Source: Letter from Mr. Geoffrey A. Booty (witness) in the 'Eastern Daily Press', 9/3/1953.
Comments: Once again, there's nothing to make this encounter in any way supernatural, so I have to class it as 'dubious.'

Location: Wiggenhall St. Mary Magdalen, NORFOLK
Encounter: During a severe winter in about 1865, two men went to the cottage of their acquaintance Abe Mindham in Magdalen Fen, to make sure that he was alright, as no one had seen him for a few days. In the heavy snow, they could see a dog's paw prints leading right up to the door, but not leading away. Inside they found the dead body of Mindham on the floor. He was cold and rigid, eyes staring with a look of total horror on his frozen face. Their immediate conclusion was that Mindham had opened the door just as the phantom 'Shucky Dog' which haunted that area had reached it, and died of terror.
Source: Arthur Randell: 'Sixty Years a Fenman' (Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1966), p.100.
Comments: Although there was a tradition of the Shucky Dog at Wiggenhall, there's nothing supernatural in this particular story.

Location: Woolpit, SUFFOLK
Encounter: "Some years ago my family moved into a fairly new bungalow at Woolpit Green...after a few months...my parents decided to put my younger brother in a room of his own as we were settled. He was about 18 months old. From the first night he wouldn't settle and then he would scream with fear. He told us of a big [black] dog trying to get in his window. He was really scared. We checked outside but didn't find anything and on one occasion he cried and said it was still there but I couldn't see anything. We first put it down to a child's imagination but locals told us of a large black ghost dog which was said to roam about. It was said to have a meaning if you saw it but I can't remember what...I think it was around 1967. I don't remember how many times exactly my brother saw it, at least five or six."
Source: Letters from Mrs. Jennifer Sherman (sister of witness) to me, 7/9/1983 & 6/12/1983.
Comments: An 18 month old witness, so I have to class it as rather dubious.

Location: Unknown location, NORFOLK
Encounter: According to a folk-tale, which probably originates in Norfolk, a boy was sent on an errand at dusk, but when he reached his destination, it was locked up. Just as he was leaving a large black dog "rose up silently from the ground", and put its paws on his shoulders. The boy was scared, but recovered quickly and went home. He told his parents about it, but made little of it and went to bed. During the night he died from 'delayed shock'. The people at the house he had been sent to had no dog, and local superstition reckoned the dog to be a 'Barguest.'
Source: Katherine Briggs: 'Dictionary of British Folk-Tales' Part B, Vol. 1 (1971), p. 10, relating from Christina Hole: 'English Folk-Lore' (1940), p. 150.
Comments: Briggs adds that "though described as a Barguest, this dog appears to have been very like a natural dog." Indeed, I see nothing supernatural about it at all. Also, 'Barguest' is not a term used in East Anglia to describe a supernatural creature.

                   

Location: Unknown location, SUFFOLK
Legend:

"Sir, Vol 1, No. 3 of 'Word-Lore' contains a letter from WJC on the Shuck. This Shuck possibly has some affinity with the Black Shag - that was a terror to the inhabitants of some villages in this district some 40 years ago. In one of these villages in my younger days the Black Shag was like a black dog, and after nightfall haunted the banks of a certain lonely pond. It was considered to be a terrible experience even to see it, and no villager willingly passed by the pond after dark. A week ago in another village a young man told me of a Black Shag that only a few weeks back had attacked a middle aged man of his acquaintance".

Source: Walter Terry of 'Great Furborough', Suffolk, in 'Word-Lore: The Folk Magazine' Vol. 1 (1926), p.167.
Comments: There is no such place as 'Great Furborough' in Suffolk; it may be a misprint for Great Finborough, but there is no other record of any such Black Dog being known in that area. And the name 'Black Shag' for a paracanine is a North Country term, not local to East Anglia at all.

                                                              

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