A Shape-Shifting Hell Hound

mysterious universe


In his definitive book on the subject Explore Phantom Black Dogs, author and researcher Bob Trubshaw wrote thus: “The folklore of phantom black dogs is known throughout the British Isles. From the Black Shuck of East Anglia to the Mauthe Dhoog of the Isle of Man there are tales of huge spectral hounds ‘darker than the night sky’ with eyes ‘glowing red as burning coals.’ The phantom black dog of British and Irish folklore, which often forewarns of death, is part of a world-wide belief that dogs are sensitive to spirits and the approach of death, and keep watch over the dead and dying.”

And, during the summer of 2007, one of these most ancient and sinister beasts of folklore and the paranormal reared its ugly head in, of all places, the Lone Star State: Texas. On May 31, 2007, I received a mid-morning telephone call from a late-middle-aged woman named Ronda who lived in the city of Amarillo, deep in the heart of the Texas Panhandle.

“Are you the guy who writes about strange animals?” she asked, in somewhat wary tones. I told her that, yes, I was. And having done so, I sat back and listened to what she had to tell me. According to Ronda, only two days earlier, and with her daughter and son-in-law, she had traveled to a spectacularly beautiful, and huge, canyon a short journey from Amarillo called Palo Duro Canyon.

The trio trekked a mile or so into the canyon and found a pleasant place to sit that overlooked its vast, expansive depths. All seemed normal and Ronda and her daughter unpacked their picnic basket and duly set about preparing lunch. As they did so, Ronda told me, she developed a sudden and eerie feeling of being watched. For reasons that she was not really able to understand, Ronda quickly turned around and could see at a distance of a couple of hundred feet a large dark colored dog staring intently in her direction.

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