A hellhound is a supernatural canine that is found in folklore and mythology in almost every culture around the world. It is said that some guard the entrances of the dead like grave yards and burial grounds and are often associated with the afterlife.
It is also thought that if you see a hellhound or hear it howl, it is an omen of death. Some are claimed to hunt souls or guard supernatural treasures.
A term used for describing a hellhound is “Bearer of Death”. They were believed to be created by ancient demons to serve as messengers of death. Some cultures say one sighting of a hellhound will bring death, while others say three sightings.
The most common features of a hellhound is dark fur, glowing red or yellow eyes, super strength and agility, and having a ghostly or phantom-like characteristic. Some have even been claimed to talk and others release a foul stench.
Sightings have occurred throughout history and are not restricted to one area. However, most of the sightings occur in or near cemeteries.
One of the most famous hellhounds comes from Greek mythology. Its name is Cerberus. The dog belonged to Hades, the God of the underworld. It had three heads with razor sharp teeth, black in color, and guarded the ‘Gates of Hell.’ Orthrus, was the brother of Cerberus, but only had two heads.
The Cadejo is a hellhound from Central America and Mexican folklore. It is a large black dog that haunts travelers who walk on rural roads late at night.
The Black Shuck is another famous hellhound from England. It is described as having flaming eyes; in one depiction a single eye. The size of this ghostly canine varies from a large dog to the size of a horse. The Black Shuck may have inspired the novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Dip is the name for an evil black dog in Catalan mythology. It is considered a messenger of the devil himself that sucks the blood from its victims. This hellhound is lame in one leg.
In Welsh mythology and folklore the hellhound is called Cwn Annwn. These hounds were said to be owned by Satan, as told by the Christian community. They are considered to be escort for the souls on their journey to the underworld. It is believed that anyone hearing the howl of the Cwn Annwn is a prediction of death.
The Moddy Dhoo is claimed to be at Peel Castle on the Isle of Man. A story of a guard drunk on alcohol decided to seek out the hellhound. His screams were heard and when he was found, only the dog was mentioned. The guard died several days later.
In Wales, the Gwyllgi is a hellhound with blazing red eyes and is called the “Dog of Darkness” or the “Black hound of Destiny.” It haunts secluded roads at night.
The Yeth Hound in Devon Folklore is described as a headless dog and is the spirit of an unbaptized child roaming the forests wailing.
Hellhounds have been featured in film, books, anime, and games.
Image Caption: Hellhound concept. Credit: Thinkstock.com