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Thread: "Old Trash" - Phantom Black Dogs around the Formby/Southport area

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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Default "Old Trash" - Phantom Black Dogs around the Formby/Southport area

    I've found a few accounts of phantom black dogs (prevalent in folklore across the British Isles) associated with the coast around Formby. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who had ever encountered any of these beasts or who knows anything more about them.


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    The Black Dog myth is usually assosiated with areas that have had some nordic influence - usually through the Vikings. It has been postulated that the Black Dogs were actually the Vikings themselves as there are Old English references to them as Sea-Wolves and Sea-Dogs, possibly because they wore the pelts of Wolves as battle dress. The idea of these Dogs attacking a terrorising communities fits quite well with the raiding expeditions carried out by the Vikings.

    As you are probably aware Formby has a Viking history so I do not find it suprising that there are traces of this myth found there. I'm sorry I can't give you are more info specific to Formby. Good luck with the search.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fortinian View Post
    The Black Dog myth is usually assosiated with areas that have had some nordic influence - usually through the Vikings. It has been postulated that the Black Dogs were actually the Vikings themselves as there are Old English references to them as Sea-Wolves and Sea-Dogs, possibly because they wore the pelts of Wolves as battle dress. The idea of these Dogs attacking a terrorising communities fits quite well with the raiding expeditions carried out by the Vikings.

    As you are probably aware Formby has a Viking history so I do not find it suprising that there are traces of this myth found there. I'm sorry I can't give you are more info specific to Formby. Good luck with the search.
    Thank you very much fortinian.

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    Thirty-odd years ago, self and motley chums would often spend weekends camping in a secluded wooded area in the 'no man's land' between the nature reserve and the golf course, approached via Freshfield railway station and the Fisherman's Path. Guitars round the fire, a few drinks 'n' smokes, all good clean fun.
    Now, outside the shelter of the trees was an extensive sandy/scrubby area with a steep climb at the end- an old sand dune now well inland- which one had to clamber up in order to make one's way to the beach a quarter mile or so away.
    On one of these trips, a summer night lit by brilliant moonlight, doubtlessly fuelled by cider and Moroccan I decided to do just that, alone, the aim being to have a 'bit of a dip' in the sea.
    I had started the climb up the slope when I heard what sounded for all the world like a steam train, of all things, approaching rapidly from the far side of the dune. I froze in my tracks, the sound getting louder, and almost immediately an enormous black dog appeared on the summit ten feet or so above me, moving at a hell of a lick. And I mean enormous. It may have been the moon playing tricks but I swear it had red eyes. Without a pause it bounded past me down the slope- without paying me the least attention, I'm glad to say. Upon turning round to see where the monster had got to- there was nothing to be seen and even the brute's train-like panting had ceased abruptly.
    I returned to camp with all the speed possible for someone with trousers in that state (not really) and recounted my experience to the others, most of whom, naturally, were greatly amused by the outlandish yarn. One however, a lad from Formby, then recounted the local legend of the black dog and said lots of local folk had claimed to have seen it in the past. That shut them up.
    Now, I'm not what you'd call the 'psychic' type and have never seen or felt anything remotely spooky before or since. In fact, I'd completely forgotten about it until I read the question. But what I've told here is absolutely true. Make of it what you will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by knowhowe View Post
    Thirty-odd years ago, self and motley chums would often spend weekends camping in a secluded wooded area in the 'no man's land' between the nature reserve and the golf course, approached via Freshfield railway station and the Fisherman's Path. Guitars round the fire, a few drinks 'n' smokes, all good clean fun.
    Now, outside the shelter of the trees was an extensive sandy/scrubby area with a steep climb at the end- an old sand dune now well inland- which one had to clamber up in order to make one's way to the beach a quarter mile or so away.
    On one of these trips, a summer night lit by brilliant moonlight, doubtlessly fuelled by cider and Moroccan I decided to do just that, alone, the aim being to have a 'bit of a dip' in the sea.
    I had started the climb up the slope when I heard what sounded for all the world like a steam train, of all things, approaching rapidly from the far side of the dune. I froze in my tracks, the sound getting louder, and almost immediately an enormous black dog appeared on the summit ten feet or so above me, moving at a hell of a lick. And I mean enormous. It may have been the moon playing tricks but I swear it had red eyes. Without a pause it bounded past me down the slope- without paying me the least attention, I'm glad to say. Upon turning round to see where the monster had got to- there was nothing to be seen and even the brute's train-like panting had ceased abruptly.
    I returned to camp with all the speed possible for someone with trousers in that state (not really) and recounted my experience to the others, most of whom, naturally, were greatly amused by the outlandish yarn. One however, a lad from Formby, then recounted the local legend of the black dog and said lots of local folk had claimed to have seen it in the past. That shut them up.
    Now, I'm not what you'd call the 'psychic' type and have never seen or felt anything remotely spooky before or since. In fact, I'd completely forgotten about it until I read the question. But what I've told here is absolutely true. Make of it what you will.
    Now that is the very definition of what I am looking for. Almost too good to be true. Would it be alright if I used your very eloquent account in my book?

    Fantastic stuff, made my night that has.
    Last edited by johnreppion; 03-12-2008 at 02:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by researchwriter View Post
    I've found a few accounts of phantom black dogs (prevalent in folklore across the British Isles) associated with the coast around Formby. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who had ever encountered any of these beasts or who knows anything more about them.

    Cheers

    I lived in Formby throughout my childhood and teens, in fact from around 1935 `til 1960. I lived close to a road which was and still is called RAVEN MEOLS LANE , this was said to have been the route taken by marauding Viking bands making their way inland from where they had landed on the coast. It is well known that Viking banners usually figured a `Raven`. Also, the word `Meols` actually means `banner`. So, `fortinian` is quite correct about the Viking connection. However, about your `black dogs` and the one that `knowhowe` claims to have seen in the sandhills, it is certainly not for me to speculate on what `knowehowe`may or may not have seen, but the said `black dog` was unheard of or never mentioned in the Formby I grew up in. My Mum was widowed my Dad being lost at sea. Throughout my child hood I loved the sea and its ships, and I used to take every possible opportunity to go off to the shore simply to watch the ships go by. [They were very numerous in those days ]. Throughout many years I spent thousands of hours roaming the sandhills of Formby after school and late into the night completely alone in daylight and darkness. [and weekends of course]. Throughout all those years I never saw or even heard tell of any `black dogs`. Formby folk in those days were really country folk and many of them quite superstitious, yet I never ever heard a single mention of `black dogs`. There was an old hermit called Billy Tasker who lived for very many years in a shack amidst the Formby sand dunes completely isolated and alone. If there had been any `black dogs` around he certainly would have known. I spent many many hours with him and he never made mention of such things. I can only now leave you to draw your own conclusions.

    Regards,
    Ken.

    PS:- I also roamed Freshfield sand dunes and those of Hightown and Hall Road extensively as well as Formby, and knew them all like the back of my hand, day or night. No `black dogs` in those places either !!!
    Last edited by Trampshipman; 07-25-2010 at 05:18 PM. Reason: to add post script.

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