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Updated on March 23, 2016
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Nightcat is a practicing witch who loves to write about Wicca and many of the Gods and Goddesses she’s had the pleasure to encounter.

Welcome to the graveyard

This hub will be all about hellhounds, what they are, might be, and what they aren't. Whether you think they are real or not, Halloween (Samhain for us pagans) is the time you are most likely to see these dogs afoot. The black curtain between the worlds is the thinnest, and the hellhounds prowl, looking for lost souls. Are they dangerous or mere fantasy? Now enter the graveyard....

Growls come from out of the fog, then you see glowing red eyes. The snarling dogs leaps, only to dissappear right before impact. Beware for you have seen his glowing eyes once this night. Twice more and death will swiftly follow. Read a frightening ture encounter here.

Lost Tapes--Hellhounds

Now I am all for the young getting into paganism or becoming witches, but this is exactly what happens when you mock the dead to put the scare into a new coven member. Remember respect the dead, magic is real, and so are hellhounds. Notice how here the dog just looks normal?



What are hellhounds?

Hellhounds are ancient spirit dogs that guard the entrances to the underworld in some cases. Yes, Cerebus would be one. They also guard the sleeping dead, so they often prowl graveyards and areas like battlefields and where long forgotten bodies lie.

These dogs were at one time seen as sacred and took part in the Wild Hunt, helping gather up lost souls. For you see, it is easy for the dead to become lost. So once a year the God would ride out to find these lost souls and shepherd them to the afterlife.

The hunt was seen as a good thing. For the living seeing the dogs gave them time enough to get earthly affairs in order to provide for those left behind. But times and views change. As paganism was wiped out the Gods became devils, and the hounds, once sacred became hell hounds, dragging unwary souls off to Hell.

Hell hounds also guard holy areas including mounds, sacred groves and ley lines. In this guise they merely ward, and do not collect the living.

What do they look like?

Most hellhounds are said to be black with glowing yellow or red eyes. They have fire powers according to some, so they might appear in flames or even cause fires. Being spirits though, they can take any form or might even be unseen.

In rare cases black dogs that sound like hell hounds have been known to adopt families or people to protect. More than one soul walking alone at night has had a massive black dog glide along beside them in silence. Other than the size these dogs appear normal. Are these spirits the same dogs sent on sacred missions to thwart evil?

Some even glow, and the famous Hound of the Baskervilles was said to be one such dog. Although the story itself was fiction, massive glowing hounds are often seen on the moors.

Where do they appear?

As mentioned before, anywhere duty takes them. Most often in graveyards or protecting the entrances to the realms of the dead. But they have also been seen on roads, in houses, on playgrounds. Here in America we often call them ghost dogs, as the masive animals seem benevolent and often save children.

Given that many lords of the underworld love children, perhaps these dogs were sent to guard them.

Can they be contacted?

Direct contact is not advised, as to see a hellhound sent for you three times means death is near. However, Goddess loves her children and in emergencies these sacred dogs may show up if you ask Her. These dogs cannot be controlled, not are they able to be sent after people. Doing the holy work the do, they would attack any such person who tried to stop them.

Other names: Yell Hounds, Gabriel's hounds, Devil Dogs, ghost dogs, fey dogs, fairy dogs. Black Dog of_____, spirit dogs, shuck, padfoot, striker. Thanks to the artist Griffin who artwork was used here.

Hellhound Gifts

Read books, download videos, buy dvds, or learn about the scared hounds in a magical sense.


Hellhounds Around the World

Europe: Hounds of the Goddess

In the old days, and even now among pagans and witches these dogs are seen as the sacred companions of the Goddess. Such Ladies as Hel, Diana, and Hecate have dogs as loyal companions. It is likely that in matriarchal culture it was the Goddess who led the hunt and her dogs helped her.

Africa and Haiti:

Dogs of supernatural size and strength appear all over. From Africa, then to Haiti, we get both Ogu and his brother Legba having dogs as companions.

Sometimes these were hunting dogs, or wild cousins such as hyaenas. Ogu is even known to ride a hyena or take the form of a massive black dog. Some of the Barons, guardian lwa of the dead also appear as massive black dogs.

In Ethiopia, blacksmiths being magical folks are werehyaenas and can take on the shape of massive hyaenas. Some folks distrust them as legends persist where evil men have abused these forms and eaten other humans. Contrast this to some areas of Nigeria where people live with tamed hyaenas, and consider the living ones and spiritual ones as guardians.

Haiti shares the American legend of the werewolf, than often comes out of the ground as a giant wolf spirit. Sometimes these are also though to be human shapeshifters, but the most common form is a huge wolf.

In America

Every settler camp had at least one story about spirit dogs, or sometimes wolves that could be friendly or evil. Many a child was saved by a massive black dog that either pulled it from fires, fought off attackers, or laid beside the child to ward off freezing cold.

On the negative side, some folks claimed these dogs lurked in certain places and would attack lone travelers. Then these dogs were seen as demons as they often liked to lurk around churches and on lone roads.

In Native American legend spirit dogs are seen as teachers, they sometimes marry humans, and they befriended humans to care for and protect us.

China and Japan:

Foo dogs are really lions, but as lions are long gone from China and Japan, everyone calls the stone guardians foo dogs now. Thought to be part dog and part lion they do everything from warding off evil in homes and temples to bringing in good fortune. Some guard homes but at one time huge statues guarded specific provinces in China. These mystical guardians always come in a male and female set. They often guard doorways and roads just like the hellhounds.

Hellhound sources

Study these sacred creatures through, legend, video, and more. Please keep in mind that to millions of people hellhounds are quite real. You'd no more hunt for or tease one than you would an angel.

Hellhound Films

Ever see or meet a hellhound yourself? Know a good story or have a comment? post 'em here.

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    • Nightcat profile image

      Nightcat 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Matt! I was never notified you posted. The hellhound was most likely protecting you. Or you might have pagan or other magical ancestors and they are calling you, or a Crone Goddess like Hecate is. Hope that helps!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      ive seen a hellhound twice in my life so far once when i was 10 after my mom passed away then again in 2011 first time i was 10 layin in bed i rolled over say a pitbull with glowing red eyes layin beside me then it vanished last year i saw it again at the end of my hallway it walked toward me and stared and once again it vanished it has never once seemed to be a threat or act like it wanted to harm me... what could this mean?

    • Nightcat profile image

      Nightcat 6 years ago

      Aww, thank you so much CanadaREVIEW! :)

    • CanadaREVIEW profile image

      CanadaREVIEW 6 years ago

      So many stories from around the world---Hades dog "the hellohound" is one small article that I had read recently. Fun lens, I love your Gothic style of lenses!