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It roamed the countryside spreading death and terror – a giant, ferocious hell-hound with flaming eyes and savage claws.
For centuries, the beast that came to be known as Black Shuck struck fear into the hearts of all who crossed its path.
Just a single glimpse was enough to impart a fatal curse; the briefest encounter sufficient to suck the life from any hapless victim.
But first, the legend. The beast’s most celebrated attack began at Holy Trinity church, Blythburgh. A clap of thunder burst open the church doors and a hairy black ‘devil dog’ came snarling in.
It ran through the congregation, killing a man and boy and causing the church steeple to fall through the roof. Scorch marks still visible on the church doors are purported to have come from Shuck’s claws as it fled.
Local verse records the event thus: ‘All down the church in the midst of fire, the hellish monster flew, and, passing onward to the quire, he many people slew.’