Tuesday 10 June 2014

A time to CELEBRATE Fairy Tales & Hell Hounds!


So last week Richard Dawkins, managed to upset almost everyone I know by doing a talk at the Cheltenham Science fair where he allegedly (and now stringently denies) said that ‘fairy tales are harmful to children’. What Mr Dawkins exactly said or implied make little difference the real thing of note to me was the masses of people jumping in to defend the centuries old tales. What more of testament and validation can fairy tales have? The sheer quantity of people who came forward to defend them proved that Fairy Tales are love adored by millions of people. Millions of sane people, who know that they are factious, yet are happy to defend them against any slander.

Maria Warner defends fairy tales, equating them to Wonder Tales, that promote thought experiments read more press here:

Of head over to the BBC News for a interesting debate with many professors who discuss the merits of all things Once upon a time, press here.

Then Philippa Francis talks about the love of fairy tales over on her blog in way of celebration and support to visit press here.

All in all whether Richard Dawkins intended to or not, he unleashed a wide spread debate about fair tales, and a mass declaration of love for them. This I think should be celebrated!


Hell Hounds, and my most favourite of the un-dead critters, there’s something rather wonderful about the Jungian primeval fear that wolves evoke in human kind, whether they are actual wolves, werewolves or dog-headed-people but Hell Hounds are the Daddy of wolf like critters.

Hell hounds, seem to be less unitised in fiction though, after racking my brain the only one I can think of is Miss Lupescu in Neil Gaiman’s, The Graveyard Book. But Hell Hound stories are plentiful and far stranger than fiction in history. One of the most fascinating is that of Thiess who in his werewolf trial in 1692 Livonian, admitted to being a werewolf, who descended into Hell to take back and release God’s Harvest that had been stolen by Saturn’s sorcerer Skeistan. Theiss’s own evidence that he was detested by the Devil, and that he was working with his fellow brotherhood of werewolves on god missions was enough to secure the old man life. to read more about Thiess, and translations of the trial read, Witches Werewolves and Fairies by Claude Lecoutex.

Large black wolves with burning fire-like eyes, pop up all over Europe in the Middle Ages, one of the most famous being The Beast of Gavaudin, who In the summer of 1764 terrorized the region in France slaughtering many people. After many attempts to kill or capture the beast, on orders from the King Louis XV a troop of his cavalry was sent to help with the mission. Eventually in June 1767 on a hunt involving 300 men the beast was shot. The body was displayed in the Versailles and was described as being; the size of a donkey and wolf-like, with ears that looked like pointed horns, long fangs it’s paws were larger than a man’s head and it eyes glowed red. Eventually the beast corpse was buried and lost. In fact all of the bodies of these immense creatures have been lost and so their existence relegated to myth. To find out more about The Beast of Gavaudin read Werewolves by Nigel Suckling.

The UK also had its share of Hell Hounds, including one that in a storm on 4th August, 1577 at the Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, broke in to the church and killed a man and boy before fleeing into the night. Now this is why I’m celebrating the Hell Hound, because every other Hell Hound corpse has been lost, all evidence of the huge creatures gone EXCEPT that archaeologist working in Suffolk have found the skeleton of a huge dog that on its hind legs would have been 7 foot long, and would have weighed over 200 pounds! The dog’s remains were found in a shallow grave close to The Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh and date from about the same time. To find out more visit and see photo’s of the skeleton visit the Ancient Origins site press here.

So, although I never want to meet a living Hell Hound in the flesh, the fact that there existence is proven and they can be restored for myth, is in my view a cause for celebration.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post. I'm so excited that they found the hell hound skeleton. I love it when a myth becomes reality. Although it wasn't too handy for the peopie in the church, of course!