The Deadly Dog of Peel Castle, Isle of Man
Legends concerning black dogs abound in Britain, but the one linked with ,a href="http://www.information-britain.co.uk/showPlace.cfm?Place_ID=5872">Peel Castle on the Isle of Man is particularly spooksome. The trouble is, however, that in the local language black dog gives the creature the name Moddey Dhoo, it is hard not to wonder if the ghastly canine is any distant relation of Scrappy and Scooby.
As with most such legends, the origin of the beast is obscure: could it be the shade of some Viking warrior’s companion; or the spirit of the scheming Duchess of Gloucester who was imprisoned in the fortress for witchcraft for the last 14 years of her life; or the ghost of a dog found buried there at the feet of the 13th century Bishop of Sodor?
The giant dog is said to have haunted the guard room of the castle, to such an extent that in the reign of Charles II the soldiers would only move between it and their captain’s room – down a suitably dark passageway – in pairs. The tale most often told of Moddey Dhoo is that of a young soldier of that period who, as soldiers will, drank too much and became truculent. He wasn’t scared by any ethereal animal. He would brave the passage alone, and taunt the thing to do its worst. Which as he went out of sight, it did: his screams resonated through the building to his friends, but they were immobilised by terror. Eventually the foolish soldier returned; his hair grey, his face ashen, shaking from head to toe. Within three days the lad expired, not a mark on his body but his mind destroyed by whatever he had seen. The soldiers went back to travelling in pairs, though the dog didn’t appear again in their time. Others supposedly have seen it; local lore saying that those who do will die within the week.
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