Shap Fell

Following their survey of local folklore, L. F. Newman and E. M. Wilson in 1952 wrote:

It is still a current belief in Westmorland and North Lancashire that black dogs haunt certain places. Where the belief is associated with a given locality, the ghost may perhaps assume other manifestations … The belief in the appearance of a phantom black dog as a death omen also exists in the area.

An apparition that may have changed categories from shape-shifting animal bogey to death omen in dog-form (if indeed in local belief they were ever separate) is one haunting Shap Fell. The Revd Joseph Whiteside in Shappe in Bygone Days (1904) reports the existence near Shap of a ‘dobby’ or bogey that generally appeared as a large black dog. Later, in 1988, J. A. Brooks writes that the A6 over Shap Fell used to be extremely hazardous in winter and local people believed that fatal accidents on it would be presaged by the sight of a black dog. He always appeared at the same spot, running in front of cars for a little way, before jumping over a stone parapet between the road and a drop of three hundred feet (91 m). He apparently made newspaper headlines in the autumn of 1937 when he was seen on several nights.

See also BRIGG, Lincolnshire; SHERINGHAM, Norfolk.



Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008