SHUCKLAND       Introduction        Alphabetical List of Locations
Encounter: "'We was living in Market Street...some of this street is today demolished. There was no back door entrance and everything including coal all had to be brought in through the front door (some people say 'Street Door'), so we was never troubled with hawkers. There was a 15 feet high wall separating our 'slummy row' from the gentry folks' great big houses, as they were 'Post Office Master', master Painter, Printer etc., high class people; also this wall protected the Prison which was at the top end of Market Street. But there was a wooden fence to separate each neighbour's garden, and there was a brewery in front, so certainly no dogs or a farm you see we was walled in...'

"Of course there was no inside lavatory so a trip down the garden path in all weathers had to be undertaken when necessary...About eight o'clock on a very dark night in 1919 Miss Palmer's eldest sister asked her mother if she would go down the garden path with her to the lavatory. The path was a long one and they had not got more than halfway down when Miss Palmer's sister said in great alarm 'Look Mother at that big, awful-looking dog in the next garden.'

"Mrs. Palmer looked into the next garden and then the two women panicked and fled back to the house. The daughter managed to get indoors first and then as her mother turned to slam the door, there stood a big black dog, almost as big as a calf with 'eyes as large as saucers' and shining 'like a full moon.' Mrs. Palmer screamed and slammed the door and on going into the living room burst into tears while her daughter literally shook with fright. The dog apparently made no effort to scratch at the door nor did it howl or bark."

None of the family had heard stories about Black Shuck, and they were adamant that there were no farms nearby (in case it had been a calf), and that there were no big dogs of the Newfoundland or St. Bernard type anywhere nearby.

Source: Letters from Miss Lily Palmer (daughter of one witness, younger sister of the other) to Miss Margaret Aldred FRSA (October 1962), then from Miss Aldred to me, 12/11/1983.
Place Name: Soham - OE 'homestead by the lake'

Encounter: "Mr & Mrs C. E. Fuller saw him [Black Shuck] in Soham one evening in the late 1970s as they were driving past Downfield's mill on the A142. They had to pull up sharply to avoid the great black dog who ran across the road straight in front of them by the Cherry Tree pub [TL603721]. They watched anxiously for his arrival on the other side by the old footpath [Cherry Tree Lane, right next to pub] that leads towards Wicken but he had disappeared."
Source: Vivienne Doughty & Margret Haynes: 'Haunted Ely' (S. B. Publications, 1996), p.8.
Comments: Taking the geography of the spot into account, this means that the dog went from east to west at or very near the crossroads formed by the A142, Regal Lane, and Cherry Tree Lane.

Encounter: In 1995 or 96, possibly in the Spring, at about 11pm, Sally Sadler and her husband Patrick were driving from Fordham, and joined the A142 Soham bypass at the roundabout at Downfields. Very shortly afterwards, an "enormous" dog ran from east to west directly in front of their car; it was so close that they were sure they would have hit it, but it had just disappeared. They described it as rather like a Great Dane in shape, and if not actually black, then certainly a dark colour. They both found the experience unnerving, and thought "something about the dog just didn't seem 'real'." Not long afterward a close family member died, but Mrs. Sadler doesn't connect this with their experience. She was aware of the Shuck legend at the time, but had no interest in it, and had no idea that it had previously been seen in the Soham area.
Source: Emails to myself from Mrs. Sally Sadler, 8/4/16 and 14/4/16.
Comments: This sighting occurred only about 750m east of the previous encounter in the 1970s, on a bypass that did not exist back then, with the dog travelling on the same east-west route.

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