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The Barguest & Church Grim (Kirk Grim)


The Barguest - One name for the phantom black dog. In appearance the Barguest was as large as a calf, with long sharp fangs and claws, fiery eyes and a shaggy black coat.

Barguest: by D ParkinsonBarguest: by D ParkinsonThe Barguest seems to have been a name used relatively widely for a shapeshifting creature, which could also appear in the shape of a bear, indeed the name Barguest may derive from the German for 'bear ghost'.

In common with many supernatural creatures, the Barguest could not cross running water, and as a black dog it was often seen as a death portent.

Church Grim or Kirk Grim - The guardian of old churchyards in the form of a black dog, it protected the dead from the Devil, demons and other nefarious supernatural creatures. The dog was often seen on stormy nights and was regarded as a portent of death.

It has been surmised that the Church Grim is a folk memory of a sacrifice. It was believed in the past that the first burial in a churchyard would have to watch over the rest of the dead. A dog may have been buried first in place of a human.

Phantom black dogs are numerous in Britain, and almost every area has its own variant. Although not all of these are thought to be derived from a folk memory of a sacrifice, the practice was once widespread.

Authorship
Daniel Parkinson

The Dolphin Hotel, Littlehampton

Ellie and Katie along with their staff have created a warm and friendly pub with a traditional feel and traditional values. They have worked hard to turn the Dolphin into one of the safest, cleanest and most welcoming pubs around. Between them they have nearly 30 years experience in the pub and catering trade. Read More »



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