PATSY SORENTI tells of coming face to face with a phantom black dog!
It was New Year’s Eve last year, 31 December 2018.
Over the Christmas, I’d decided to make a New Year Resolution to tidy up my family graves (I have three graves in three different cemeteries) and I’d made up my mind to begin with my Nan’s in Isleworth, as it hadn’t been visited for years.
This day, I loaded up the car with the ‘cemetery bag’ – a big bag with shears, gloves, a trowel, watering can and paper wipes.
I needed some decorations, so made a visit to a garden centre for the rest of the things I needed.
I arrived at the cemetery in the early afternoon.
The grave had all but disappeared under grass; the old stone urn had been tossed into the bushes and litter and rubbish was strewn everywhere.
I started to dig with my newly-purchased garden fork, and to clear up the debris.
I was well into my task when I sensed a ‘presence’ behind me; it was as if ‘something’ was watching me, although I knew the cemetery was deserted.
I didn’t dare turn around, the sensation was very strong and quite menacing.
Eventually I couldn’t resist it: as I turned around, a huge, black, shaggy dog jumped over the iron railings, cleared the unkempt bushes and landed six feet from where I was standing.
It looked at me with an air of menace, as if I had intruded on its territory.
I instinctively knew that this wasn’t an ordinary unexpected meeting with a dog.
I put down my tools and as I did so, the dog ran off into the cemetery.
As it went, it ‘disappeared’ behind a nearly gravestone and never reappeared, not even for me to see it scamper across the grounds, making not a sound.
I looked around for the owner, but there was nobody around.
I was pretty shocked at the dog – the way it jumped a nine-foot iron fence, the menacing look on its face, how silent it was and the disappearance – all very odd.
I carried on working at Nan’s grave until it began to grow dark.
Was the black dog ‘Black Shuck’?
This alarming encounter reminded me of the old East Anglian ‘Black Shuck’ and I wondered if this was akin to that.
The dog was black, shaggy and huge with a disdain for humans.
I can still see the look on the dog’s face – wild and threatening.
The cemetery where this happened has a ghostly reputation locally; indeed, it is a stopping point on my ghost walks.
Maybe I will include this story on my next walk around Isleworth Cemetery!