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I was skimming through a book I bought a while back, looking for monsters to use in a story when I came across the Barguest.

It just shows that there are incredible creatures in folklore if you just look…


Barguest, as I see it in my stories.


To start, the Barguest is a magical dog in folklore. It’s sometimes seen as an omen of death.


Barguest, as seen on a google images search.


“A hellish black hound of the northern English moors, eyes afire, on the hunt for its next victim. Only those doomed to die can hear the howl of the barguest and their only escape is to cross running water, for the hound cannot follow.”

– More can be read in The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies by Lucy Cooper.


Phantom black dogs are numerous in Britain, and almost every area has its own variant. Although not all of these are thought to be derived from a folk memory of a sacrifice, the practice was once widespread.




also bar·guest  (bär′gĕst)


A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.




More can be read in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.


In Northern English folklore, the Barghest or Barguest , is a mythical monstrous black dog with huge teeth and claws, though in other cases the name can refer to a ghost or household elf, especially in Northumberland and Durham (see Cauld Lad of Hylton).



The Barguest is a supernatural beast that usually takes the form of an enormous dog.

The Barguest is usually described as a black dog the size of a mastiff, with horns, fangs and fiery eyes. Alternatively it is said to look like a bear with huge claws and eyes like glowing coals. In some accounts it drags a chain, in others it is wrapped in chains.

The mere sight of it bodes disaster or death, and if anyone tries to approach it or pass in front of it, it will inflict a terrible wound that never heals. Some tales, particularly in Yorkshire say it would appear and set all other dogs of the city howling when anyone of importance was about to die.




Even knowing all this, I decided that the Barguest can be something a little different too.

Barguest [Origin of Fae Page]

The Barguest is a black dog who usually looks like an Alsatian with Reddish eyes. But a mirror can reveal its true nature and looks: a spectral creature with fire for eyes.

They live in the Underworld, keeping souls from escaping back to the world of the living. And if souls were to escape, they go on the hunt in the human realm and forcibly take them back to where they belong.

Barguests ensure that all deals made with creatures from the Underworld are upheld. Usually it entails keeping the foolish mortal safe.

They are great companions and loyal. They have a strong sense of duty.


The Barguest is but one of several creatures I used in a gothic fantasy story I entered into a #creaturefeature competition on Wattpad early August.

‘You will be guarded, of course. I want you to live as long as possible.’


A spectral dog emerged from the shadows. Its eyes gleamed like hot coals. Alyssa blinked and the creature was merely a large dog with red eyes. Scary but not nearly as terrifying as the beast she thought she’d seen.

‘Barguest will take good care of you.’

Wishmaster, Ronel Janse van Vuuren


I hope you enjoy reading this tale. Comments can be left here or on Wattpad – I always appreciate feedback. I haven’t heard back yet about the competition I’d entered it into, but I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I did writing it. Have you heard of the Barguest before? Do you like gothic fantasy?

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