Hellhounds are supernatural animals borne out of folklore that have been part of the legends of many countries around the world for centuries.
These dog-like creatures are thought to be closely linked to the devil, helping him harvest souls.
Typically, Hellhounds are described as having black fur and glowing eyes. They are said to possess supernatural speed or strength, their teeth and claws are often prominent, and some are supposed to have more than one head. Hellhounds are also believed to have a foul smell.
Varying in size from a mastiff to bigger than a bear, Hellhounds are often said to guard the entrance to the so-called Underworld (the world of the dead). They are also alleged to guard graveyards and are said to hunt lost souls.
Many cultures have their own version of the Hellhound, including the three-headed Cerberus in Greek mythology, the Garmr in Norse mythology, and the Anubis in Egyptian mythology.
In European lore, the sight or sound of a Hellhound supposedly means death is around the corner, or some sort of tragedy is going to happen.
The Hellhound, perhaps unsurprisingly, has links to the Devil. Legend has it that a Hellhound will kill a person who has made a deal with a demon, thus allowing their soul to be harvested.
In some cases, the presence of a Hellhound is enough to kill people — when they are actually said to be literally scared to death.
People have also been thought to have committed suicide as a result of being hunted by one of these dastardly creatures.
Other Hellhounds are tasked with guarding treasure or important items. They will not attack humans unless they feel threatened or they believe someone is trying to steal what they are guarding.
There are, on the other hand, exceptions to this — see the Hellhound Sightings section below.
Hellhounds are said to have originally been companions of God. However, when the hounds became vicious, God had them all destroyed bar one. This hound was pregnant and was rescued by Lucifer, later becoming a matriarch to all the hellhounds roaming hell and earth.
Hellhounds have the ability to make themselves invisible. However, angels, demons, and other supernatural creatures can still see them.
There are very few ways in which Hellhounds can be killed. Legend tells us they are vulnerable to salt and iron, but normal weapons do not harm them. To kill a Hellhound, a person must have a weapon such as Ruby’s knife or an Angel blade.
The Hellhound is a truly global phenomenon, and there have been multiple cases in Europe. In 2015, researcher Nick Stone collected over 400 accounts of Hellhounds throughout Europe.
Sightings and Tales
A hellhound stalks a group in Jacksonville, Florida
In 2010 a group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, had an encounter with what they thought were Hellhounds.
The guys were messing around at a local baseball park at night. As they walked from one part of the park to another, they felt the temperature drop suddenly and significantly.
As they walked on, one of the guys saw a creature out of the corner of his eye. It was a dog, its body was about seven feet long, and its head looked like a hollowed-out tiger’s skull.
One witness described the encounter as being like staring death in the face; he felt a primal fear as he had never felt before.
The creature began to run towards them and then prepared to climb the fence that separated them. It pulled its right hind leg over its body and, twisting its spine very unnaturally, grabbed the top of the fence and lifted itself over.
According to the group, the creature disappeared when it hit the ground. After this, three smaller dogs appeared, all with glowing eyes. The group fled at this point.
Hellhound torments a family in Romulus, Michigan
In Romulus, Michigan, a family was stalked by an unidentified dog. They say it was the size of a Great Dane and had pronounced red eyes.
The dog stalked the family farm, rearing up on its hind legs if challenged. The family kept finding dead chickens and rabbits next to huge paw prints.
Soon after, the dog started attacking the house, ripping the screens from the screen doors. It didn’t, however, attack the family.
One night, one of the children was found talking to the dog. The boy’s mother said he seemed to be transfixed, talking to the dog in a low voice. The dog was growling, so the mother threw a bottle at it, and it ran off.
For a week afterward, the boy said things to his family, like “We don’t want you here” or “Our ghosts are food.” The family’s pet cats began to be afraid of the boy.
He also started to prick his fingers with needles and use the blood to paint all over the walls.
The boy’s uncle decided enough was enough and shot the beast the next time he saw it. Wounded, the dog loped into the woods and did not bother the family again.
In 2023, there were reports of several sightings of a large beast with “canine-like qualities” in the Mark Twain Forest in Missouri. A number of hikers have reported spotting a beast as large as a bear howling and gnashing its way through the woods.
One hiker claimed that they felt they were being watched before hearing a chuckling sound. They then saw a large wolf-like beast flee into the woods.
Black Shuck terrorizes worshippers in England
A much older cluster of sightings occurred in 16th-century England but had such an impact that the legend still resonates today. In 1577, a ferocious large black dog with glowing eyes attacked worshippers as they prayed in church. The beast attacked twice in two towns in Norfolk, east England.
The terrifying beast killed at least four people and caused the collapse of a church steeple. It also left scorch marks on a church door. The creature became known as Black Shuck and has haunted the area of Norfolk ever since.
|Other Name/s||Devil Dog, Bearer of Death|
Where to find
atlasobscura.com, “The Skeletal Remains of a Hellhound in the Folklore of Devil Dogs,” accessed August 24, 2017,
cryptidcentral.tumblr.com, “Untitled,” accessed August 24, 2017,
supernatural.wikia.com, “Hellhounds,” accessed August 24, 2017,
mythology.net, “Hellhound,” accessed August 24, 2017,
unexplained-mysteries.com, “Possible HellHound Sighting” (sic), accessed August 24, 2017,
ghosttheory.com, “Hellhound Harrasses Family” (sic), accessed August 24, 2017,
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-34369461, “The terrifying story of the ‘hell hound,’” accessed February 17, 2023,
https://101theeagle.com/strange-reports-of-hellhounds-in-missouris-mark-twain-forest/, “Strange Reports of ‘Hellhounds’ in Missouri’s Mark Twain Forest,” accessed February 17, 2023.
- Hellhounds are often portrayed as three-headed savage creatures. Pic credit: Pixabay
Last modified on March 15th, 2023 at 3:29 pm