Whether you’re in South America, Asia, or Europe there is something out there stalking you in the night. Of course if it’s “not your time” you wouldn’t know it, but they’re there, always there just a breath away.
Packs of large dogs black as night with solid black eyes that glow in the moonlight, and close behind them follows the huntsman waiting for his turn to collect his due. Beware the howl of the Yeth Hounds…
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Have you ever said to yourself “I’d give anything for a…”. Did you get it, whatever it was you would give “anything” for? If the answer is yes, and ancient to modern stories from around the world are true, then you’re on the huntsman’s list.
The lore of countless cultures throughout history tells that a person can make a deal with a dark force, gifts in the world of the living in exchange for the eternal price tag of your soul in the realm of the dead. Most well known in Western culture of course is the deal with the devil.
The general idea behind a deal with the devil includes the signing of a contract. However, nowhere in the Bible does it discuss these contracts or even the ability to make a deal with the devil. What it does say however is that simply in the act of giving into temptation you give yourself to the devil.
This concept is as old as time and although the names change its spoken of in mythologies and religions as old as Vikings. In other words simply asking for something you do not rightfully have and accepting it upon delivery is all the contract needed. The Huntsman and his pack will be waiting to collect.
Do not confuse the Huntsman with the myths of grim reapers. A reaper is generally thought of as a being responsible for collecting the souls of the dead. The Huntsman on the other hand comes for the souls of the living. He has had many names throughout the millenias, Thanatos, Perkele, Xolotl, Charun, and the list goes on.
As the Huntsman he is depicted as a tall dark man shrouded in moving shadows. He is there for one purpose, to tear your soul from your living body as payment for a debt made.
Many pantheistic religions believed him to be a God, and just as Hade’s job was to oversee the underworld, Thanatos’ job was to bring you there if it had to be against your will. In monotheistic religions and cultures the entity became a demon.
Some, but not all of the beings connected to the Huntsman are depicted with dogs, but in more recent centuries the black dogs have very familiarly been connected with the collecting of your soul. They are as described in the first paragraph, larger than a normal dog, pure black, and most unsettling are their eyes which are often described as black stones reflecting in the moonlight.
Their howl is said to paralyze with fear, a preternatural sound unlike anything you’ve ever heard. That’s what you’ll hear first, the howl. Then you’ll see them coming through the darkness of night in a pack, their eyes set on you, their prey.
There is only one way to survive this encounter and that is literally praying. It’s said that if you lay flat on your back with your arms crossed praying for intervention your prayers just might be answered and the hounds will leave you in peace. If it fails they’ll tear you open and wait for their master to collect his prize.
To add to all this creepiness the dog’s aren’t dogs at all. They are the incarnate souls of damned children. In Western biblical terminology this would refer to unbaptised babies and children born through sin. More ancient religions of course have their own variations, but the concept remains – what stalks you in the night, howls from the peripheral, and tears you open with its teeth are demonic children in the physical form of dogs.
All of these stories and depictions are very creepy, but at least it’s all myth, and ancient myth at that, right?
In 1902 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote of a creature he called The Hound of the Baskervilles. This creature was inspired directly by something known for centuries to haunt the Scottish Highlands of Devon, the Devon Wishthound. Just as above it was described as a large black dog with black eyes and a howl more terrifying than any natural creature, although in this case it is sometimes described as being headless.
The Devon Wishthound may be the best known, throughout Britain they speak of the Yeth Hound, except in these cases they have been witnessed or heard by many, especially in the Dartmoor region.
From Salvadoran to Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and all across Latin America many claim to have witnessed packs of creatures they call the cadejo, but unlike the YethHounds of Britain, the cadejo are not afraid to hunt their pray in urban areas.
They have been sighted in graveyards and lurking in dark alleys even during daylight hours. It could be that modern folklore is getting the better of people’s imagination and these sightings are nothing more than large black stray dogs, but again there’s the howl, unmistakably terrifying and not of this world.
Much further North in the forests of Connecticut, particularly in the Hanging Hills region locals speak of another black dog fitting the description of Hell Hounds or Britain’s Yeth Hounds. In this case they simply call it the Black Dog of Hanging Hills.
Are simple black dogs so terrifying that mankind throughout history would craft them into their religions and in modern times be so petrified by their howl that the exaggeration becomes preternatural, or is there something more to these creatures that could rank them as legitimate cryptids?
I suppose you would just have to see for yourself, and if you’re brave enough Dartmoor may be the place to do it. No other region has as many reports or sightings, and more so no other region reports them so often as appearing as a pack.