Black Animals

PaganGreen Pagan Witches

A favored shape-shifted form of the
Devil and demons, especially demons who serve as the
familiars of witches.
Dogs and cats were the most common black animals
mentioned as demons and familiars in the trials of the
witch hysteria. Black birds, especially crows and ravens,
were also thought to be forms taken often by demons.
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In the Chelmsford witches trial of 1566, Joan Waterhouse
was accused of sending a black dog familiar
with a short tail, the face of an ape, a pair of horns on his
head and a silver whistle about his neck. In 1577, during
a storm in East Anglia, a demonic black dog tore through
a church in Bungay, leaving behind two people strangled
and a third “as shrunken as a piece of leather scorched in
a hot fire.”
In 1945, a phantom black dog was associated with
the alleged witchcraft murder of Charles Walton in the
Cotswolds. Walton himself had seen such a dog, which
metamorphosed into a headless woman, as an omen of
death.
Black spectral animals in ghost lore are associated
with witches (see Hecate) and demons (see Wild Hunt).
The best-known black dog in England’s ghost lore is
Black Shuck, also called Old Shuck. Shuck comes from
the Anglo-Saxon term scucca, meaning “demon.” Black
Shuck lurks about graveyards, lonely country roads,
misty marshes and the hills around villages. Anecdotal
accounts describe him as big as a calf, with glowing red
or green eyes. Black Shuck follows travelers and also
darts out on roads in front of automobiles that pass right
through him.
Black Shuck is also a death omen. To see him means
that one or a member of one’s family will soon die.