Dogs are pure joy and love. These furry creatures have been around since ages and have found their way in the mythological scriptures too. However, quite often we come to realize that these dollops of sunshine have been associated with pain, death and pure evil. Anthropologically speaking, these are either the manifestations of our subconscious or simple tell-tale stories to scare the children into submission. Fear of the unknown, darkness and grotesque have almost always overpowered the natural thought processes and such stories occur as a coping mechanism.
Imagine you are walking down a dark road at night and you see a black and a dirty dog walking by. The eyes are glowing because of the existence of tapetum lucidum (a light-reflecting surface located between the optic nerve and the retina). Since the dog is stray and uncared for, it might be lame or wounded. The dog may be minding his/her own business and walking by. On the surprise encounter, you are scared out of your mind, plus it does not help that the dog is scared too and shows bare teeth to you as its natural coping mechanism. The dog growls to protect itself and you (with the fear in your subconscious) believe it to be an evil being. The dog runs for its life and disappears quickly into the dark woods.
By the time you walk home, your mind has filled in the gaps and an entire story is made now like
“I was walking by the dark woods the other night, and you won’t believe what I saw there. There was a large black dog with green glowing eyes. It had blood all over him and smelled like death. It was growling at me. I said all the prayers I could muster and the evil reincarnate was finally afraid and disappeared into the darkness”.
All this while, the dirty wounded dog was scared out of its wits and ran in the woods to nurse its wounds, which, by the way, smelled bad.
These descriptions seem more like manifestations of the fears of the unknown and inexplicable in nature that have been passed down from generations and now have become mythological scriptures.
Then again, I love dogs and I don’t know psychology, so what do I know… I may be 100% incorrect!
Anyhoo, these are some of the doggo incarnates in the European mythology who have been feared by generations for being evil and omen of death and destruction. These are just a few of them. There are many more of such misunderstood creatures.
Ahuizotl – Aztec Mythology
It is a dog-like creature with waterproof fur and hands capable of manipulation. It also has an additional hand in the place of its tail. This creature is feared by all because it likes human flesh, especially nails, eyes, and teeth. It is said to live in or near the water and to use the hand on the end of its tail to snatch its prey, dragging the person into the depths to drown them. Lores dictate that these victims have a reserved place for Tlāloc’s (god of earthly fertility and of water) Paradise.
Black Dog – European Mythology
Throughout European mythology, dogs have been associated with death. A shape-shifter by nature, the black dog is a nocturnal entity that is demonic. It is often associated with the Devil himself and is described as a hell-hound. Appearance wise, the black dog supposed to be larger than a normal dog and often has large glowing eyes. It is associated with crossroads, places of execution and ancient pathways.
Cerberus – Greek Mythology
AKA hound of Hades. It is a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving. Cerberus was the offspring of the monsters Echidna and Typhon (multi snake-headed) and usually is described as having three heads, a serpent for a tail, and snakes protruding from parts of his body. Cerberus is primarily known for his capture by Heracles, as one of his twelve tasks.
Cŵn Annwn – Welsh Mythology
These are the spectral hounds of Annwn, the otherworld of Welsh myth. The Cŵn Annwn hunts around the mountain of Cadair Idris, where they say that anyone who hears their howling, have DEATH written all over their cards. According to Welsh folklore, their growling is loudest when they are at a distance, and as they draw nearer, it grows softer and softer. Their coming is generally seen as a harbinger of Death.
Dip – Catalan Mythology
An ambassador of the devil himself, Dip is an evil, black, hairy dog, who sucks people’s blood. He is also lame in one leg.
Then there are these fur balls, how can anyone believe that these goofballs can be evil and bad…