Wednesday Weirdness: Black Dogs of Folklore

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over image

For today’s Wednesday Weirdness, I’m referencing a creature that appears in End of Day, book two of my Hode’s Hill series. Long before writing that tale, I was intrigued by legends of the nocturnal black dogs of folklore. Larger than an average canine, such creatures are a portent of doom or death and will usually appear to a lone traveler. In times past, those who walked the roads at night would buddy-up with a companion, hoping to stave off the dog’s appearance. Even then, the animal might only be visible to one of the two, assuring the person meant to see the hound could not escape their destiny.

dark, foggy forest with path through centerMany cultures believe in a creature or object that is said to be an omen of death. I remember finding a black feather as a child then running home terrified, sobbing to my mother, when someone told me it was a sign of death. She did what mothers do—calmed my fears, hugged me, and told me I would be fine. Moms don’t lie, but I remember lying awake that night, listening to every creak and groan of the house waiting for something to happen. When dawn arrived, I decided I was safe.

Superstitions are always more frightening when examined in the dark, especially through the eyes of a child.

But the legend of the Black Dog was passed from country to country and continent to continent by adults. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even had his master detective, Sherlock Holmes tangle with “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (my favorite Holmes story).

Large standing stone in a field of browned grassAnd then there is Black Dog Tor, a large standing stone said to conceal the spirit of a spectral hound.  In all cases, these dogs are utterly silent which makes their eerie appearance all the more spine-tingling. Imagine crossing a grassy knoll silvered by moonlight and watching a bulky apparition with glowing eyes crest the rise.

Black Dogs were also seen at crossroads, footpaths, gallows, gravesites and bridges. Sometimes associated with storms, they were given differing names depending on location and who was telling the tale—grims, hellhounds, Padfoot, Hairy Jack, the yeth hound, Gurt, and Black Shuck to name a few.

It makes you realize black cats weren’t the only critters to get a bad rap!

It’s Release Day! End of Day by Mae Clair #SupernaturalSuspense #Mystery #Thriller

Today is the book birthday for End of Day, book 2 of my Hode’s Hill trilogy.  If you enjoyed book 1, Cusp of Night, you’ll find this one in the same vein. Once again, I’m visiting the small Pennsylvania town of Hode’s Hill, but with a plot whose tentacles reach back to the town’s founding. As in Cusp of Night, I’ve spun two mysteries—one in the the past (taking place in the year 1799) and one in the present. You get two separate mysteries that tie together at the end.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

The past is never truly buried…  

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

~ooOOoo~

In Cusp of Night, I introduced the reader to the spiritualist movement of the 1800s, sham mediums, and a creature called the Fiend.

This time around, the story touches on Church Grims, Folk Memories, and a collection of monsters. Yes, monsters. I do love my creatures 🙂 The two lead characters—Jillian Cley and Dante DeLuca—had minor roles in Cusp. They take center stage, along with several new characters who bullied their way into the story. I never saw Madison, Sherre Lorquet, or the Porter Brothers coming until they appeared in their respective scenes. All added new layers which helped develop the plot. My muse knew what he was doing.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered. If you haven’t already grabbed a copy and would like to, you can purchase from the bookseller of your choice through this link.

Although this is the second book of a series, it can also be read as a stand alone. I would love to tell you more about grims and folk memories, but for now, I’ll let them unravel in the book. 🙂