1924 (pre): Theodore Ebert Encounters a Black Dog

On August 6, 1957, a storyteller named Theodore Roosevelt Ebert in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, USA, recorded a number of odd events he had heard of or experienced for a folklorist named George Korson. One of these odd stories Ebert recorded had to do with a strange event that occurred when he was just a boy.

        One night when Ebert was walking with friends along Seven Stars Road, a big black dog appeared from nowhere and came between him and one of his friends. Ebert reached down to pet the dog, but it disappeared instantly! Ebert ran home as fast as he could after that. Ebert went on to explain that no one in the area owned a dog matching the description, and that after his own encounter with the strange animal other people living in the area started to report almost the same experience.

        It needs to be noted that Ebert was known in the town as a teller of ghost stories -- it was this very fact that attracted Korson to Ebert, as Korson was compiling a book on the folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Also, Ebert's tale uses a motif that is very common in stories of the phantom beasts known as "Black Dogs", and which would almost certainly have been something any lover of stories at the time would have run across. So whether the story is strictly true or not (when many of his others were strictly not) is a tricky question for anyone who wants to use this account as evidence of a true paranormal event.

The Theoretical Timing

        Ebert was 53 years old when the story was recorded in 1957; given that he states it occured when he was "a boy," I subtracted thirty-three years off the date to get an approximate time frame for when he would be around twenty years or younger. Assuming the event happened.

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