1938 (pub.): Willingham Black Dog
In the village of Willingham in Lincolnshire, England, it is said that a Black Dog can be seen down Brick Pit Lane near the bridge that crosses the river Till. This manifestation of the phantom hound is locally considered to be connected to a woman who drowned herself at this spot.
This account was taken from a collection of Lincolnshire, England, Black Dog accounts gathered by Folklorist Ethel Rudkin in 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. Given the vagueness of the report and the lack of a direct sighting story, I've logged this tidbit of information uner the Legends index.