SHUCKLAND       Introduction        Alphabetical List of Locations
Location: Geldeston area, NORFOLK
Legend: "There is an uncomfortable sort of ghostly terror, in beast form, that haunts villages on the borders of the two counties [Norfolk & Suffolk], which is commonly called the 'Hateful Thing'. I allude to the churchyard or hell-beast. This charming creature generally takes the somewhat indefinite form of a 'swounding' i.e. a swooning shadow, whatever that may be! Whenever it is met in any locality, it is a sign that some great and unusually horrible wickedness is about to be committed, or has just taken place there. The writer, when crossing a field at night, once came on a countryman who had just seen this apparition, but a slight search for the goblin was wholly unsuccessful."
Source: M. H. James: 'Bogie Tales of East Anglia' (Pawsey & Hayes, 1891), p. 9.
Comments: Although there is no mention of the creature taking on dog form, it's made clear that it does in the following encounter, from the same source.
Place Name: Geldeston - OE 'Gyldi's homestead/village'

Location: On path & road, then lane leading to Geldeston churchyard
Encounter: 'Mrs. S', her daughter 'A', and her daughter's young man Josh were walking one late evening on the 'market path' back from Gillingham, and as they got over a stile onto Geldeston Road, 'A' suddenly said "How that dog did frighten me!" The others saw nothing, but 'A' said it was now walking slowly ahead of them. 'Mrs. S' then heard a 'thumping' sound, and 'A' said that were now "just agin it", at which Josh then struck about on the road with his stick, hitting nothing.

Then 'gelders.jpg (20270 bytes)Mrs. S' could see it when 'A' took hold of her, but lost sight of it again every time she let go. They described it as a big black dog, or "like a black dog", but it "didn't keep the same size, and wasn't any regular shape." At one point, it was "bigger than a horse." Walking slowly so that it wouldn't get behind them, Josh then found that he too could hear the 'thumping' sound. After about half a mile they passed a threeways known as the Gelders [TM39909190], where the dog then went on before them until it came to the sandy lane [TM39529196] leading to the churchyard, then "went off there." Very scared, 'Mrs. S' and 'A' went home, while Josh went back to Beccles.

'A' was born in the 'Chime Hours', "so she could see things", while they found it terrible passing the Gelders, since 'Mrs. S' "had seen things there before."

Source: As above, p. 9-11. 
Comments: Described as the 'Hateful Thing' from the legend above.

It should be noted that Morley Adams also gives a version of this encounter in his 1914 book 'In the Footsteps of Borrow & Fitzgerald' (part of which in turn is used in Janet & Colin Bord's well-known 'Alien Animals.') But Adams' version (plagiarised from James) wrongly mixes in information from another story set at Aldeburgh, and should be ignored.

Other: The Gelders or Gelders Clump stands in the triangular centre of a threeways, which used to be the site of the 'Geld Stone', a small sandstone rock at which tradition says the 10th century Danegeld was paid (and which later used to stand in the grounds of Geldeston Lodge.)

Location: Gelders Clump, Geldeston
Encounter: "Biddy Turner's son William saw Shuck one night in the early 1970's on the low road from Geldeston to Gillingham at Dunburgh Corner."
Source: From the former 'Eastern Daily Press' website message boards.
Other: 'Dunburgh Corner' turns out to be the same Gelders Clump as in the encounter above. Many thanks to a reader of this website, Mark Ashford, for this information.

                                                                                                                                                                             NEXT >>