Dogs of Darkness
Date 25/11/2003 | Topic: Types Of Ghosts
| Are they folklore or on the prowl in Marchwiel, Ruthin and Corwen..?|
"Like one that on a lonesome road doth walk in fear and dread... because he knows a frightful fiend doth close behind him tread." 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'.
The fiend Coleridge had in mind was almost certainly one which frequently crops up in Welsh folklore - the Gwyllgi, or Dog of Darkness.
These terrifying apparitions took the form of a huge hound with a shaggy pelt and great glowing eyes.
The favourite haunt of Gwyllgi were lonely roads at night. A lane in the parish of Marchwiel south of Wrexham, called Lon Bwbach Ddu (Lane of the Black Spectre) probably recalls such a haunting.
An encounter near Ruthin with one of these hell hounds was recorded by T Gwynn Jones in his 'Welsh Folklore and Folk Custom' (1930). He says:
"My grandmother declared that as she and my grandfather were riding on horseback from Ruthin one evening, in passing a roadside house, the nag suddenly shied and pressed to the hedge. At the moment a very tall mastiff was passing on the other side. My grandfather who rode behind saw nothing and his horse had not been startled. They had just come to live in the district and only got to know afterwards that the house had the reputation of being haunted."
A more alarming adventure was had by a Mr Edward Jones when he was returning home late one night from a fair at Cynwyd, near Corwen.
"The Black hound of destiny", as he called it, chased him across the moor, literally dogging his footsteps, keeping just behind as he hurried along.
He said it was "a beast of fearsome visage and blood-shot eye".
At any moment he expected to feel its jaws clamp upon him and he suffered terrible anxiety "as in the horrible, cold sweat of a nightmare".
The dreaded climax never came, however, and when, nervous and exhausted, he eventually reached his farm gate, he found the beast had vanished.
found at http://www.bbc.co.uk
25th novemeber 2003