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Shuck, Shock


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In Norfolk and Suffolk lore, there are many accounts of an apparition known as ‘Old Shuck’ or ‘Black Shuck’ (or ‘Shock’), usually described as a phantom dog as big as a calf, shaggy, with fiery eyes, and sometimes dragging a clanking chain. Printed references begin in the 1840s, and memories of personal encounters continue to the present day. In most cases Shuck is said to terrify humans who see him, and their dogs and horses too, and in 19th-century accounts to meet him is often said to mean death, for oneself or another. In other accounts Shuck is harmless, or even benevolent—for instance, by frightening a cyclist into dismounting, and thus saving him from being knocked down by a speeding car. At Overstrand, where Shuck has long been said to run regularly along a coastal path, he is claimed to be the ghost of a faithful dog searching for the bodies of his drowned masters, who were smugglers or fishermen.

Jennifer Westwood, in Supernatural Enemies, ed. Hilda R. Davidson and Chaudhri, 2001: 101–16.


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