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And then there’s this

Suffolk has a giant devil dog named Black Shuck who made his first appearance in Blythburgh in 1577, when it broke down the door of Holy Trinity Church, killed a couple of people, burned claw marks in the floor and scampered off. He has reappeared on the usual occasions ever since.

Seven miles away at the site of Leiston Abbey, a dig in 2014 unearthed this big boy. And by big, I mean a vet estimated it would have stood seven feet tall and weighed 200 pounds. A very big boy indeed.

Here’s an article putting the two together. I mean, honestly – if you can’t trust a site called ufoholic.com, who can you trust? And here is a less breathless account in a local paper.

The dog was buried under the site of the monastery kitchens, which would have been demolished some time after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537. Which would draw a delightful straight line from a very big dog to, decades later, a legend of a very big dog.

But the second article says indications are the dog may have been alive in the 18th C. and was buried with some ceremony. In which case, I’m surprised there isn’t a record of him in some local estate’s accounts. Further (expensive) analysis is probably way down on the county archaeologist’s priority list, which is a shame.

I think we can assume he was a very good boy.

Bonus: my first thought was a turnspit dog. But it turns out, that was an actual breed of little dog with a long body and short crooked legs. Which makes perfect sense for a dog that climbed inside a big hamster wheel and ran for a few hours a day.

The dogs were also taken to church to serve as foot warmers. One story says that during service at a church in Bath, the Bishop of Gloucester gave a sermon and uttered the line “It was then that Ezekiel saw the wheel…”. At the mention of the word “wheel” several turnspit dogs, who had been brought to church as foot warmers, ran for the door.

Queen Victoria kept a few retired turnspit dogs as pets, which wasn’t enough to rehabilitate their reputation. Poor things were considered so ugly and common they were allowed to go extinct.


Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 25, 2021, 2:59 am

I’d seen a drawing of them on a treadmill looking thing.
What ‘we’ think of as a treadmill, that is.

Because…here’s the original…

And NOT that thing.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 25, 2021, 3:02 am

But – given the art work for this, probably period and therefore accurate, as opposed to the Rube Goldberg device I recall.


Comment from technochitlin
Time: February 25, 2021, 12:24 pm

We have learned of Black Shuck and turnspit dogs.

Technowife’s, and my day is complete.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: February 25, 2021, 1:45 pm

I hope the guy who runs my local Chinese take-away doesn’t read about “turnspit dogs” and get the wrong idea.

(Insert distasteful “wok the dog” comment here.)

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: February 25, 2021, 2:46 pm

Now can you tell me who “‘Shark” is.

A long long time ago one of the Andre Norton Witch World books had two baddies in them that she never explained in the story except you could infer they were baaaaaad and the heroine would end if she was caught by them.

Another character saved her by using their names to lure them away, and as we all know, knowing and using the “Name” of a thing gives one a certain level of power over that thing.
“Shark Shuck! Shark Shuck!”

“Shuck” has now been explained.
Anyone know who ‘Shark’ might have been?

Old Fantasy authors steeped in various lore are awesome.
Andre Norton was, Roger Zelazny, and one to match them all, Tim Powers.
It’s always a bit rewarding to discover that elements, or their entire story background, has an entire fantastic history all it’s own.

New authors steeped in Social Justice, not so much.

Ah, the Norton book is “Dread Companion”.
The internet – sometimes useful eh?

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