"If a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die."
-Local Saying -Berlin, Conneticut.
The tale is told in the hill country of Meriden, Southington, and Berlin of a black dog that can be a harbinger of death. It is said to appear with no
sound as if out of nowhere. It leaves no track, even in dust and snow, Some have seen it open it's mouth to bark but no sound comes out. How many have
seen it is unknown, but many claim to have. Those that have seen it a second time, have experienced tragedy. It is believed that no one has lived to
tell of having seen the dog a third time.
Deep in Berlin, Connecticut, U.S.A., is a horseshoe shaped, mountainous ridge called the Hanging Hills. The Hanging Hills are made of basalt
rock, into which erosion has cut dramatically steep cliffs with abrupt, overhanging ledges which are sometimes over 700 feet in height.
There are a series of primary peaks that define the bleak profile of the hills, and it is on the
where the dog is most often encountered.
Likely the most famous story of a death involving having seen The Black Dog of West Peak three times, is that told by geologist W.H.C. Pynchon, which
was published in The Connecticut Magazine
in 1898. At some point when Pynchon was a student at Harvard, he rented a horse and wagon and took
off for West Peak in search of rock specimens. Along the way he spotted a black dog. The black dog followed him throughout his entire trip to West
Peak and most of the way home. Pynchon describes the dog as having “vanished in the woods”, he whistled and called out but the dog did not
Three years later, Pynchon returned with friend and fellow geologist Herbert Marshall. In the story, Pynchon recounts how he could not remember what
compelled him to visit West Peak again in the dead of winter. Oddly, while sitting in front of the fire at the hotel, Pynchon learned for the first
time that Marshall knew about the black dog. Marshall had been all over the region and had heard the folktale. Then Marshall confessed that he had
seen The Black Dog three times himself
, but believed it to be only superstition, and laughed it off.
They left the next morning to climb the peak. Reaching the beginning of their climb, they left the dead weight of their lunch behind, intending to eat
it when they got down. They were initially rebuffed by too much snow, so they moved to the southern face and started up. Pynchon describes the climbe
as an ordeal and a struggle, but they both pushed through.
As they neared the top and moved in to the shadow of the sharp cliffs, their hearts sinking as they clawed their way up through cold drifting snow,
Marshall suddenly stopped and pointed upwards. Pynchon immediately followed Marshall's hand and found himself staring at the Black Dog. Pynchon saw
the dog throw his head back and open his maw, steam issued forth but no sound; Pynchon then turned to Marshall, who was white as a ghost.
Marshall said, “I did not believe it before. I believe it now; and it is the third time.”
And with that, the rock that Marshall was standing on gave way, and he plunged to his death. Pynchon, struggled down West Peak to his friend, but
Marshall was dead. Pynchon was in shock, torn battered and bruised; and he had seen The Black Dog of West Peak twice.
Since then at least 6 deaths have been directly attributed to having seen the black dog. That conundrum and its attending stories I would like to get
into later, if the interest develops.
Especially I hope that other members that have any experience with The Black Dog of West Peak, or any other black dogs, will ring in with their tales
as well, if they wish.
Thanks for reading, ATS.
edit on 21-2-2013 by Bybyots because: