According to legend, a huge, black, spectral dog haunts the fenlands, broads, and windswept beaches of Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex in Eastern England, and his name is Black Shuck, or simply Shuck.

A few accounts and variants describe this ghostly canine as companionable, but he is more often seen as a harbinger of doom, reflected in the fact that the very name is derived from and Old English word for "devil".

One of the most evocative descriptions of the fearsome creature appears in W.A. Dutt's 1901 book "Highways & Byways in East Anglia". He speaks of his silent tread and blood curling howl, and in this version of the story he is described as having only one eye - a flaming one! - in the manner of Cyclops. Dutt is not averse to mingling his mythologies as he also refers (more geographically appropriate, perhaps) to Odin's dark hound.

There are many accounts of sightings (and hearings!) of Black Shuck, and interest in him remains keen to the present day. Interestingly, J.K. Rowling makes use of the legend in her novel "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" where Sirius Black metamorphoses into a large, ominous, black dog.

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