1937, November (pre): The Preacher’s Escort
In November 1937, Ethel Rudkin received a letter written by a woman she only identified as 'Mrs. C, of Boston.' The letter described Mrs. C's father's experience one Sunday evening in winter while walking from the town of Hogsthorpe to Willoughby. He was a Lay Preacher attached to the Methodist Church, and a man of astounding physical strength and courage; yet, on this night, as he approached Mumby Long Lane, he was assaulted by an uncanny feeling of something being wrong. Despite this, he pushed on his way entering the lane.
Almost immediately upon entering the lane, the preacher found himself walking next to a large black dog that seemed to appear from nowhere. The preacher was somewhat nervous about dogs, and would have rather faceed a man at night than a canine, so he tried to shoo off the strange animal to no avail. It steadfastly walked with him until he reached the end of the lane, where the animal vanished as mysteriously as it had appeared. Apparently, the uncanny feeling must have vanished along with the Black Dog, for the preacher always maintained from then on that his unexpected escort that night had been providentially sent to protect him from some unknown danger.
This account was taken from a collection of Lincolnshire, England, Black Dog accounts gathered by Folklorist Ethel Rudkin in 1938, hence the year given of pre-1938. The purpose of her study was to record the beliefs in the county regarding the phantom-like Black Dogs. While an argument could be put forward that the people Rudkin talked to simply encountered a real dog that was black, the point to the collection was that none of these people believed that to be the case... every single person she included in her collection was sure they had encountered the supernatural creature labeled a 'Black Dog.' As to the question of the intelligence or veracity of the people interviewed, Rudkin herself stated:
"I would like to emphasise this point: I have never yet had a Black Dog story from anyone who was weak either in body or mind."
As with all accounts from Rudkin, it is entirely up to you to decide if it is true or not; but, in either case, it still evidences the beliefs regarding the Black Dog spirits in the area.