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Monday, July 06, 2009

MAX BLAKE: The Gurt Dog returns

Phenomena seem to be of a certain time and place. Despite claims to the contrary, crop circles, for example, are almost exclusively a phenomenon of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Even the classic Loch Ness monster sightings are mostly a post 1933 phenomenon, and `flying triangles` are a very recent affair. But some phenomena that were once relatively common seem to have vanished by the wayside; entombed toads, for example, have hardly been heard of during the last century, and Celtic black dogs - whilst they inhabit the pages of fortean literature, the most recent reliable English sources in the CFZ files are from the 1950s. This has now changed, as Max reports....

Yes indeed, I am back from scampering around the South West hunting for more beer. My quest has taken me to the increasingly eco-conscious Glastonbury Festival, where the mighty cider bus and its cider brandy helped fuel me on dark, err, summer nights; Shangri-la, home of a particularly attractive bipedal panda and more strong beer; and finally, Cornwall, where whisky and lager were the order of the day.

My tale begins a few months ago, in a dark gloomy biology lab. I am pouring over a rat dissection, whilst my partner in the study plays the “famous game” with my name. For those not in the know, this is an odd game whereby you google someone’s name and count how many references there are to them on the first 5 pages of Google. The more famous you are, the higher your score and then you win a prize, usually a small cake.

After we found that my name produces a lot of hits to this very website (try it, get us more hits!), most of which were to do with big cats, a friend shouted across the table that:

“Maybe that was what I saw the other night!”

Hold on! What? This is now the third of my close friends to have seen a big black “something” out on the roads in north Somerset. I asked her to describe what she saw and to draw a quick sketch of it. The description is as follows:

“I was driving home at about 22:30 after taking my boyfriend back to his house. I decided to take the more fun route home via the country lanes that link our houses. Halfway home, a huge black animal walked out of the bushes on my right hand side. I did an emergency stop to prevent myself from hitting it. It’s eyes glowed in the dark, and when it walked over into the front of the car it looked at me straight in the eye. It looked like a huge dog; like an Alsatian but much bigger; bigger than any dog I have ever seen. It had a long tail which curled at the end with shaggy fur. The eyes were huge and crazy, fierce red in colour but in such a way that the animal looked mad. It continued looking at me before it walked off in an odd manner to the left of the car where it melted and merged into the bushes without disturbing anything, something which seemed a hard feat for such a huge animal. I could not see it after it went into the side of the road, the eyes were probably blocked by branches.

“If pushed to give measurements for it, I would say that it weighed over 100kgs, its head was long like a wolves’, whilst it’s total length must have been over 7’. It did not seem threatening, despite the eyes. I did not want to get out of the car to follow it, but it never seemed hostile to me being in it’s area, just dismissive.”

The sheer size of the beast, the red “crazy” eyes and the odd way that it walked and moved into the bushes make me think that this was a phantom black dog. Now, I am hardly an authority on this particular zooform, but does anyone have any idea what it could be? A big cat is right out, the long muzzle and long coat drop this one pretty quickly. If it was a large domestic or feral dog, the eyes would have possibly gone a red colour in the blaze of the car’s lights, but this is a colour that seems liquid, and would be quite different to the crazy eyes described. Surely everyone has seen a dog’s eyes at night when a torch is shone on them; they glow, but not a fiery red. But the odd walk, the way it merged with the bushes on the left of the car and the strange eyes are a bit of a thorn in this theory’s side.

Somerset’s Gurt Dog is the best candidate for the explanation. Usually appearing as a huge dog with shaggy black fur and glowing red eyes, the zooform perfectly matched the description. The Gurt Dog is usually seen by roads and footpaths (check!), at night, and walks either in front of the viewer, or it follows them. It is supposedly benevolent, unlike the malevolent dogs which haunt the rest of the country. It is supposed to keep children safe out on the moors and can guide lost travellers home again. However, in the 60s a black dog appeared to two people, and they both died shortly afterward. Seeing as my friend has not died yet, nor suffered any ill (touch wood), one hopes that the same fate will not befall her.

If we want to make a bit of a jump, this sighting can be explained by the domestic dog theory. The size has been exaggerated due to shock, the odd walk due to a wound or a characteristic of its ‘breed’, and the red eyes exaggerated, again from shock. Then we have a normal dog (feral or not). I, however, feel that this is a bit of a leap too far to explain the sighting. I say that the Gurt Dog of Somerset has risen once more.

17 comments:

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

Jon, you don't happen to know a more exact location for this sighting, do you? I have something of a fascination for the Black Dog phenomenon and I wouldn't mind knowing of an area where one had been sighted. Furthermore I could probably scare up the odd contact in the local farming communities in these sorts of areas; see if anyone else has seen it, or owns it and so on.

borky said...

Max, the fact your friend was in her car means she was fully equipped with a perfect set of benchmarks by which to accurately ascertain the scale of this 'beast'.

I note with interest, though, she "decided to take the more fun route home" - presumably as opposed to her normal route - which strongly suggests she had an 'appointment' with this 'critter'.

It may even be if this was the Gurt - great in size - Dog, that, rather than being a presentiment of doom, her detour - and subsequent delay - actually served to head off some untoward development that may, otherwise've lain ahead for her.

Woody said...

the black "ghost" dog in my part of Suffolk is call "Black Shuck", it is meant to roam the lonely water ways and coastal roads of Suffolk and Norfolk ...my own incounterwith him, if that's what it was happened in the summer of 1994. I can't remember the month even, but I can tell you exactly where i saw him, i had a habit at the time of going for a run each night after work with my then new dog, Max...the route took us accross the absoulute limit of a strech of tidal water called Martlesham creek, accross a small boating club and into farm land that ran parralled to the Church lane at Martlesham, it would be a rare event to see anyone or anything save the horses that were grazed there by the river, (Deben, that runs to near by Woodbridge. On leaving the river path i started to notice that Max began to run very close to my feet almost tripping me - when stopping to sort the dog out - I was intsantly aware of being watched, checking behind me about 50 yards back stood a huge black dog, my own would take his eyes off it. It stood stock still, watching us ...after a minite or so have put my dog on a lead I walk out of site of it, stopping again to unleash Max and resume our run, Max turned again and growled back the way we'd just came. There stood the big black dog again ...at this point it was clear that there was no owner nearby and i begain to worry a bit. So grabbing a solid stick from the hedge i carried on walking, happy to see looking back that the black dog seemed content to stand his ground. On reaching the lane and now once again well out of sight we started running only after a few seconds Max once agin got spooked and stopped to face back up the lane and once again the black dog was there same distance, even the same stance...walking now this happens 3 or 4 times, with me very nerviously looking over my sholder until we got level with Martlesham church, when Max turned growled and practically broke the lead in his egerness for a fight only, in true, good ghost story fashion, there was nothing there!ran like hell the remaining mile or so home and locked the doors. I told my dad about it a couple of days latter saying how chuffed I was that Max, who was then little more than a pupy was willing to fight for me, (I left out some of the spookier details), and my dad in true Suffolk-Boi fashion, said, after a deep draw on his rolly cigerette, "...well son, you now wot they say ...a man can walk ta hell with his eyes wide open, but even the devil's own can fool a dog!" ....which i think is an ace way to finish the story, but it happened, as did a lot of wierd stuff round the church at Martlesham as i later was told, the creek it's self is full of stories of fairy lights and ghosts, and of course the dog i saw may just have been someone's mut, be it a bloody big one, but I like to think that Max saw Shuck off, I went back loads of times armed with a camera but never saw anything like it again, but my interest did invite several conversations of other people's wierd incounters in the same area ...

anneymarc said...

On the news today: security guard at mall smashes car window to save dog locked inside?
I caught only part of this on the news this morning and I am unable to find it on the internet.

A mall secutiry guard saw a dog locked inside a car in this heat and smashed open the winod w, saved the dog. When the owner returned, he handcuffed him to the car and went to get help for the dog. People saw the man handcuffed to the car and beat him up.

Anyone know where I can find the story?

I cannot find it on any of my local sites.

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AlexPZ said...

I know of two reliable witnesses here in Cornwall who have both seen a similar Black Dog on separate occasions (several years ago now).
Both encounters were near Madron Holy Well and Chapel, near Penzance.

Adelaide said...

I have something of a fascination for the Black Dog phenomenon and I wouldn't mind knowing of an area where one had been sighted...

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Amenda said...

I wouldn't mind knowing of an area where one had been sighted. Furthermore I could probably scare up the odd contact in the local farming communities in these sorts of areas; see if anyone else has seen it, or owns it and so on.
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neha said...

Well I have never seen such a big black dog....and seriously the description given in this blog seems to be very scary...I guess I would never go out alone in the dark..Teeth Whitening Teeth Whitening Natural Teeth Whitening

Daniel Dawson said...

I am trying to find out some answers about the big black dog I saw in Sept 2009 about 2 months ago in southern IL going west on hwy 70 I beleive towards St Louis.

It was about 12am and on the side of the road sniffing road kill was the biggest scariest black dog I have seen. Its hair was wirey and sticking together in greasy clumps sticky straight up. Almost like a hollywood movie. Its shoulders were really high about 4 feet high. It looked like sme something from a movie I have never seens anything like it.

Anyone have any idea of what this was or if anyone else has seen it? It was so big and so black and with the hair the wayit way it was alerted me right away that this was nothing I have ever seen before other then a movie.

Daniel Dawson said...

I am trying to find out some answers about the big black dog I saw in Sept 2009 about 2 months ago in southern IL going west on hwy 70 I beleive towards St Louis.

It was about 12am and on the side of the road sniffing road kill was the biggest scariest black dog I have seen. Its hair was wirey and sticking together in greasy clumps sticky straight up. Almost like a hollywood movie. Its shoulders were really high about 4 feet high. It looked like sme something from a movie I have never seens anything like it.

Anyone have any idea of what this was or if anyone else has seen it? It was so big and so black and with the hair the wayit way it was alerted me right away that this was nothing I have ever seen before other then a movie.

leonen messi said...

i don't have much knowledge about this.I would love to know more.
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brad pitt said...

This seems quite interesting.I really enjoyed reading this article. And would love to know more about it. Keep sharing similar articles and posts in future as well.
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Jenny Craig said...

I really enjoyed reading this article. keep sharing similar articles and posts in future as well.

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Doris said...

the black "ghost" dog in my part of Suffolk is call "Black Shuck", it is meant to roam the lonely water ways and coastal roads of Suffolk and Norfolk ...my own incounterwith him, if that's what it was happened in the summer of 1994. I can't remember the month even, but I can tell you exactly where i saw him, i had a habit at the time of going for a run each night after work with my then new dog, Max...the route took us accross the absoulute limit of a strech of tidal water called Martlesham creek, accross a small boating club and into farm land that ran parralled to the Church lane at Martlesham, it would be a rare event to see anyone or anything save the horses that were grazed there by the river, (Deben, that runs to near by Woodbridge. On leaving the river path i started to notice that Max began to run very close to my feet almost tripping me - when stopping to sort the dog out - I was intsantly aware of being watched, checking behind me about 50 yards back stood a huge black dog, my own would take his eyes off it. It stood stock still, watching us ...after a minite or so have put my dog on a lead I walk out of site of it, stopping again to unleash Max and resume our run, Max turned again and growled back the way we'd just came. There stood the big black dog again ...at this point it was clear that there was no owner nearby and i begain to worry a bit. So grabbing a solid stick from the hedge i carried on walking, happy to see looking back that the black dog seemed content to stand his ground. On reaching the lane and now once again well out of sight we started running only after a few seconds Max once agin got spooked and stopped to face back up the lane and once again the black dog was there same distance, even the same stance...walking now this happens 3 or 4 times, with me very nerviously looking over my sholder until we got level with Martlesham church, when Max turned growled and practically broke the lead in his egerness for a fight only, in true, good ghost story fashion, there was nothing there!ran like hell the remaining mile or so home and locked the doors. I told my dad about it a couple of days latter saying how chuffed I was that Max, who was then little more than a pupy was willing to fight for me, (I left out some of the spookier details), and my dad in true Suffolk-Boi fashion, said, after a deep draw on his rolly cigerette, "...well son, you now wot they say ...a man can walk ta hell with his eyes wide open, but even the devil's own can fool a dog!" ....which i think is an ace way to finish the story, but it happened, as did a lot of wierd stuff round the church at Martlesham as i later was told, the creek it's self is full of stories of fairy lights and ghosts, and of course the dog i saw may just have been someone's mut, be it a bloody big one, but I like to think that Max saw Shuck off, I went back loads of times armed with a camera but never saw anything like it again, but my interest did invite several conversations of other people's wierd incounters in the same area ...Omaha Steaks
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stella said...

I certainly hope that the curse of having seen such a scary dog will not befall on your friend who is definitely not at fault for having such a bad luck of being at that road at the time that that dog is crossing by.

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djingersoll@jetbroadband.com said...

personally I think crop circles are a hox.

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lee said...

Dan I used to live in cornwall . Upton cross not far from liskeard to be exact . The older members of My family and alot of people in had reported sights of what people called the beast of bodmin more. I always thought they were jus making it up for attention or just so they could say they saw it to . Its locally associated as a black big cat but what I saw was definately not. On bodmin more the fog seems to always come down unaturally fast . I came down to the point where I could not see two feet in front of me . I got lost and it got dark . I walked most of the night then gave up and decided to try and get some sleep and find my way out in the morning and try to find someplace to get some signal on my phone. Something woke me up I dont know what guessing it was a sheep because a flock ran past me 10sec after I was awake . It was early morning and was starting to get light and I realised where I was . I started to walk back down the trail towards my car when I saw something run through the bushes thought it must be another sheep but I cept hearing and seeing something breif glimpses of something black. It seemed as if it was following me . Buy this time I was terrified scared to look and see what it was . Then I saw the end of the trail and sprinted to my car as fast as I could got in and locked the door as I put the car in reverse and turned on my lights I saw a pair of big eyes I stoped the car and put it in drive and went forwads then braked hard to try and scare it away but it just stayed still then it turned and walked into the bushes . I saw a full side veiw as It lumberd away . Look like a big black german sheaperd but not bulky more long than tall . I found out buy the man in the local farm shop that three sheep had been killed that night but the farmer diddnt know by what . Ive never been on the more since . And never intend to