BARRY RING tells about about the night a quick trip out for a snack turned into a confrontation with a phantom black dog!
Most of us have heard of strange dog-like creatures being sighted across the UK. Stories of black dogs, like Shuck, and Gytrash, are shared in myths and legends across the country over the centuries, usually in East Anglia, the West Country, or areas of moorland.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even had them in The Hound of the Baskervilles, so why would three then-17 year olds see one in Wallington, South London? I can’t answer that, all I know is that it happened to me and two friends (Rob and Ian) about 13 years ago, in June/July 1999.
Being typical kids of that age, we had an abundance of energy and regularly stayed over each others houses over night playing video games & watching movies. As Rob’s parents had the biggest house and there was a 24- hour petrol station only a five minute walk away, most of our movie nights took place round his place.
On one of our snack runs to the petrol station, which usually happened between midnight and 1am, we found they were closed for a fuel delivery.
Since none of us were tired, we tried a second one nearby, but that was closed too. Having decided we weren’t tired but still wanted to gorge on sweets, we headed to a third petrol station about 25-minute walk away in Beddington.
After stuffing ourselves with all sorts of sugary junk food at this garage, we decided to walk a few more minutes and see what the nearby retail parks along Purley Way were like at that time of the night. On previous movie nights, we’d watched the TV adaption of Stephen Kings ‘The Stand’ and we thought deserted main roads would be spooky.
After a while we started heading back to Rob’s, but were still talking about how strange the retail parks look being so deserted. Being full of bravado and sweets, we decided to take a different route back to Rob’s through Beddington Park and past the allegedly haunted Carew Manor to test how brave we all were.
We stood around in the road outside the manor trying to see anything as there are all the typical haunting stories attached to this building – Grey ladies floating like a mist down hallways, spectral watchers from the top floor windows, all the usual clichés.
As the manor had been a school, hospital, orphanage, and a family home over the centuries, you could really believe that some of these stories had at least an ounce of truth, especially as the attached St. Mary’s Church is known to have a mass grave from an epidemic of some kind that afflicted many of the children during the manor’s spell as an orphanage.
Needless to say, our bravado lasted about 10 minutes before we all decided that we were tired, and it had nothing to do with us being a bit scared.
We started to head away from the manor house and church, and got about 300 yards before I got a great sense of unease, as if we were being followed.
I turned to look, but couldn’t see anything in the section of park we had just walked past.
We carried on walking for about another 30 seconds before I mentioned this unease to the others, who agreed they felt something too.
It was about this point I turned and looked behind us.
Maybe 50 yards away and illuminated by the streetlights was a large black shape on all fours.
It was big enough that as it went behind a parked car on the other side of the road, I could still see its back over the bonnet.
I mentioned this to the others, and Ian suggested we try to shout and scare it off, but as I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal, I’d read about the ‘rules’ when dealing with Black dogs and similar apparitions.
You don’t look directly at it, talk above a whisper, run, or try to touch it.
I told them to Rob and Ian, and said we just keep walking at a slightly quicker speed.
The road we were walking down, Demesne Road is fairly straight and very well lit, so we could clearly see this thing following us when we tried to sneak a peak.
It was large, with black or dark brown fur covering the entire body.
Ian told us at a later date that he insisted it had red eyes, though I never saw that myself.
As we got to the end of the road, I thought it may leave us be as the main road is even better lit and in some of the stories I’ve heard about these sorts of creatures, they sometimes protect people until they reach main roads or towns, however this one didn’t leave us.
We carried on across the main road and up another road that joined onto Rob’s, and another bizarre thing happened to us as we turned the corner: Rob’s cat, Mia, was there waiting for us.
This was very strange as she was virtually a house cat, and even though she only recently passed at the ripe old age of 18, this was the one and only time I saw her further than five or six doors away from the house.
We tried getting her to come along with us back home, though she looked up once or twice before looking back down the road behind us.
We headed towards Robs house, and after about 50 yards Mia came sprinting up behind us before jumping onto a parked car and turning back to face down the road from where we’d just come. We carried on and Mia repeated this jumping onto another few cars until we reached the house.
At this point Mia finally darted between our legs the moment the door was open.
We shut the door and locked it tightly, then spent the remainder of the night in the living room listening out at the noises on the driveway.
To say we were beyond terrified throughout this experience is an understatement! I’ve contacted a few local paranormal groups about this story and researched the route we took, but have not had much success finding anything similar.
If any of your readers have had similar encounters in and around London, I’d very much like to hear from them in the comments below or send us a message through the Spooky Isles Contact Page.
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