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The Ruthin Gwyllgi

Spectral black dogs are ubiquitous in mythology, just about anywhere you find yourself, but of course they go by different names depending on what part of the world you may find yourself.  In Wales, these snarling, glowering, red eyed beasts are called ‘gwyllgi’, possibly translating as, ‘wild’, or perhaps, ‘twilight’, the latter since they are inevitably seen slinking through the near dark of dusk.

Professor T. Gwynn Jones in, ‘Welsh Folklore and Welsh Folk-custom’ (1930), tells of a time when his grandmother encountered a gwyllgi while riding out of Ruthin.  She had ridden a little ahead of her husband and on passing a non-descript, lightless home by the side of the road, her horse became skittish and frightened.  On trying to regain control of the horse, she saw the gwyllgi, a huge mastiff with glowing red eyes.

Her husband, on seeing his wife struggling with her mount, cantered forward to join her, but on arriving on the scene, neither he, nor his horse sensed anything untoward.  As menacing as the presence of the gwyllgi had seemed to Jones’ grandmother, it paid her no heed, and ran down the path before her, disappearing into the evening.

On explaining to her husband what she had witnessed, it became clear that he had seen, and sensed nothing.  They later discovered that locals considered the house they had passed as haunted, and never ventured near the place after dark.

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