Gallery C

Seven Feet High
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England’s “Devil Dog” Black Shuck

By James Donahue

There is a legend that a “devil dog” dubbed Black Shuck once terrorized the people of Suffolk and East Anglia England during the Sixteenth Century. As the story was told, this dog was a monster, standing about seven feet tall. They said it had red glowing eyes, shaggy black fur and savage claws.

Superstitions ran wild in those days. People said that anyone who even caught a glimpse of Black Shuck was struck by a fatal course. Some said they thought the animal was as big as a horse.

There was a story that this evil creature appeared during a terrible thunderstorm on a Sunday in August, 1577, and killed worshippers in a church in Blythburgh. It is said that just as a clap of thunder was heard, the church doors smashed open and Black Shuck rushed through the congregation, killing a man and a boy as the people watched in horror. They said the church steeple then fell crashing through the roof and the creature fled. Scorch marks were found on the church door.

Not long after the Blythburgh attack, Black Shuck was said to have appeared at another church in Bungay. The pastor, the Rev. Abraham Fleming, wrote about the event in early English test: “This black dog, or the divel in such a linenesse running all along down the body of the church with great swiftnesse, and incredible haste, among the people, in a visible fourm and shape, passed between two persons, as they were kneeling upon their knees, and occupied in prayer as it seemed, wrung the necks of them bothe at one instant cene backward.”

Such stories have been passed down for centuries, but only recently has there been evidence that such a creature may have once existed.
It appears that the bones of a massive dog that once stood seven feet tall were recently found in the ruins of an ancient abbey. The bones were found within a few miles of the two churches where Black Shuck was said to have made his attacks.

Seven foot high dogs do exist in the world. In fact, an 18-month-old Great Dane named Freddy, is believed to be England’s tallest dog standing at seven feet four inches. And Freddy is still growing. This dog already is as tall as Zeus, a Great Dane from Otsego, Michigan, which was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s tallest dog in 2012.
Fortunately, Great Danes are known for their friendly disposition. The worst attack you might get from these dogs is a wet sloppy tongue-like kiss in the face.