I have posted this snippet as these devil dogs, as some people called them, feature in my Merlin's School series.
“So you will do well to shut your eyes if you hear him howling. Shut them even if you are uncertain if it is the dog fiend or the wind that you hear.”
--from Highways and Byways of East Anglia by, W.A. Dutch (1901)
"The congregants inside Holy Trinity Church of Blythburgh England are kneeling together in prayer. It is the middle of the night, August 4, 1577, and outside the church a fierce storm has been raging all day and night.
Winds howl and shake the church. Lightning crashes, thunder booms and the rain falls in torrential sheets. The townspeople are gathered together in fervent supplication--praying and hoping against hope that soon the storm will let up.
Blythburgh is located among the marshy fens of East Anglia along the coast of England, and each one of the residents are keeping a watchful and apprehensive eye on the rising tide levels because their livelihoods depend on it. The prospect of calamitous flooding is a constant and fearful reality.
On this stormy night all the townspeople are on their knees fervently praying for the rain to stop, but little do they know that in just a few moments each one of them is about to experience a supernatural terror far worse than anything ever described in even the most fiery of sermons.
There is a crack of thunder that shakes Holy Trinity Church to its foundation. In an instant, an enormous black shaggy hound, foaming at the mouth and with fiery blazing red eyes, bursts through the large wooden double doors of the church and comes howling and sprinting up the aisle towards the nave.
The worshippers scream in terror as the hellish dog runs amok inside. The hound clamps its jaws around a young boy’s throat and yanks out his jugular before mauling the boy’s father and leaving him in a bloody heap next to his son.
The beast lets out a blood-curdling howl and then sprints out the door in a flash. Once the demonic hound has left, the steeple of Holy Trinity Church in the town of Blythburgh, England, comes crashing through the ceiling. To this very day, claw marks are said to be visible, literally burnt into the door of the church, from that fateful night so long ago.
On that very same night, August 4, 1577, it is said that the same hellish beast appeared yet again not very far away, this time in St. Mary’s Church in the English town of Bungay. In St. Mary’s Church the hellhound followed much the same script as in Blythburgh as reported by a contemporary witness:
“The black dog running all along down the body of the church, with great swiftness passed between two persons kneeling and occupied in prayer, as it seemed, wrung the necks of them both, in an instant, clean back.”
-from A Strange and Terrible Wonder by, Arthur Flemming (1577)