Black Shuck is the name given to a large black dog which is said to roam the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline.
For centuries, the inhabitants of East Anglia have told tales of a large black hellhound, the size of a calf, with flaming eyes. Even as recently as the 1970s, the snarling dog was reportedly seen on the beach at Great Yarmouth.
Apparitions such as these are commonly called "Black Dogs". These creatures are known to haunt church yards and crossroads, appearing before lonely travellers. Black Dogs may appear as omens of death, but most simply follow travellers along the road, or appear in front of them briefly. In more recent times, Black Dogs such as Shuck have become almost helpful, guiding the lost or accompanying frightened girls on their way home.
One of the most vivid reports of Black Shuck, though, is of his appearance at the church in Blythburgh , near the Suffolk border. On August 4, 1577, Black Shuck is said to have burst in through the large wooden doors. He ran up the nave, past a large congregation, killing a man and boy and causing the church tower to collapse through the roof. As the dog left, he left scorch marks on the north door which can be seen at the church to this day. Other accounts attribute the event to lightning or the Devil.
The legend was part of the inspiration for the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles.
The legends of a black dog roaming the Anglian countryside date back as far as the time of the Vikings. His name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word scucca meaning "demon".
Black Shuck is also the name of a song about the incident at Blythburgh by the United Kingdom band The Darkness, who grew up nearby. It features on their album Permission to Land.