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Hellhounds: Myth or Legend?

Updated on January 24, 2017

The beginning.

This is one of the harder myths/legends to nail down exactly when it started. Almost every religion has a tale of some sort that involves Hellhounds or a variation of them, Greeks being the most famous.

Cerberus was a Hellhound of amazing proportional size and strength. It was written that he was the guardian of hell for Hades to stop souls from getting out and people from getting into hell to break them out. He was a three headed hound with a serpent tail, and snakes protruding from various areas of his body. It was written that no one but Hades himself could sooth the beast and stop him from tearing someone apart.

The Vikings had their own version that would guard the gates of the Underworld called Garmr. It was the pet of Hel, the Viking version of a female Hades, in Helheim. Garmr was said to be basically the same as Cerberus minus two heads and all the snakes. Garmr would tear the throat of any trespasser in Helheim or anyone Hel told him to; the details are a little sketchy when it comes to how big he was.

One of the guardians of hell least thought of as a Hellhound would be Anubis. He was also a guardian of the dead and gates of hell who helped ferry the dead where they needed to go. There really aren't any tales of him ripping peoples throats out if you crossed him but it wasn't really a good idea all the same.

All three guardians of the gates mentioned above are from different religions but all serve the same purpose of keeping the dead where they are supposed to be and protecting the process of death by keeping the living from interfering with the inevitable road we must all walk down one day. Most religions teach that death is inevitable but they want to show you how to reach the better side of death, there is a line between the living and the dead that must not be crossed and these guardians are there to make sure that everything stays as it's supposed to be.

Myths and legends like these always develop through the years with new religions adopting the old ones to fit their needs of the Gods or Goddess.

Developing through the years

If you can, imagine Satan sitting on the throne of hell with a Hellhound beside him ready to do his bidding and drag your soul to hell if he was bid to do so. It sits there as Satan strokes the coal black fur as the fire of hell reflects in its eyes watching everything that is going on, ready to act on a nod from its master.

As the legend continues the Hellhound has developed into something of a modern day Cerberus. It is said the Hellhound guards the cemeteries from those who would do harm to the dead or collect the souls of the damned who have sold their souls to the devil.

When the beast isn't patrolling the cemeteries protecting them from local trespassers, truckers have also reported seeing the beast running towards their rigs as they begin to fall asleep. The less lucky ones see it sitting next to them in the passenger seat even though they never picked anyone or anything up during their haul. It seems kind of obvious that they would be seeing these hounds as they are falling asleep they are dreaming of them after a long haul, but what if they aren't?

Stories these days are so detailed they can even detail what the animals smell like and the unearthly howl they hear when they go looking for it. One story details that people have even taken shots at it, know they hit it and it keeps coming after them.

Is our modern stories of Hellhounds just a continued development of an old legend that we have adapted to our needs? Are Hellhounds the hellish offspring of Cerberus that are guarding the dead here on earth instead of just at the gates of hell? As with any modern myth or legend it's impossible to say one way or the other if this is real or not but it's important to keep an open mind and be respectful when you visit any cemetery just in case.

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© 2016 Chosen Shades

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