Alphabetical List of Locations


Mythconception 2: The Vikings


Analysing the Hell out of the Beast: part 1

                part 2

                part 3

                part 4

                part 5


Dubious Cases


Related Creatures



Moddey Dhoo & Snarleyow

Firstly, I'd like to lay to rest a pair of errors that have crept into the mythology of the phantom dog  in the eastern region:

  • Nowhere in East Anglia - and I mean nowhere - has Shuck or any related ghostly hound ever been known to the inhabitants as either 'Moddey Dhoo' or 'Snarleyow' - or any variant thereof!!!

It's common even now to find in books, magazine articles and on the Internet both of those names being applied to our local dog. For example, in an article to be found here: norfolk: "Norfolk’s hell hound goes by many names: Black Shuck, Old Shock, Snarleyow…and in Lenwade and Attlebridge, he’s Owd Rugman."

And here: : "In the north of England in counties such as Yorkshire and Lancashire you will hear names such as Guytrash, Shriker or Barguest, in East Anglia and Norfolk you will hear Black Shuck, Skeff or Moddey Dhoo..."

This simply isn't true. The Moddey Dhoo or 'Mauthe Doog' is a black dog haunting the Isle of Man. Snarleyow, on the other hand, isn't even a ghostly dog. It's the eponymous 'anti-hero' vicious ship's dog in an 1837 novel 'Snarleyyow, the Dog Fiend' by Captain Frederick Marryat.

The 'mythconception' (okay, it's not original, but I like it) seems to have arisen from the following passage in popular local writer W. A. Dutt's 1901 book 'Highways and Byways in East Anglia': "Black Shuck is the 'Moddey Dhoo' of the Norfolk coast...Should you never set eyes on our Norfolk Snarleyow you may perhaps doubt his existence, and like other learned folks, tell us that his story is nothing but the old Scandinavian myth of the black hound of Odin, brought to us by the Vikings who long ago settled down on the Norfolk coast."

But Dutt was using both names as comparatives, not stating literally that they were actually used in East Anglia. Nevertheless, from that moment on, those names kept finding their way into the established literature on the subject.

Even the acknowledged authority on the phenomenon, the late Theo Brown, made the mistake in her seminal article 'The Black Dog' (in 'Folklore' Volume 69 (1958), p. 178): "Suffolk: Moddey Dhoe also appears in human shape..."

It also didn't help that the Rev. G. Munford, in his 1870 'Local Names in Norfolk', did a bit of amateur etymology and tried to derive the name of the Norfolk village Mautby (Old Danish: 'Malti's homestead')  from the 'Mauthe Doog.' But that's by the by. It was Dutt who did the damage - or rather the undiscerning travel writers such as Morley Adams who followed him a bit too literally. 

Okay, rant over on that one. Now to the next Mythconception...