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Hellhounds are mythological, supernatural dogs from ancient folklore. They are most associated with being Satan's pets and are popular in pop culture when mentioning the underworld of the Devil. In this article we explore the ancient folklore, appearances, and purpose of these hellish dogs.
So where did hellhounds come from? Well, like most myths, legends, and stories are, we have to look at ancient folklore; in this case: Cerberus, also known as the Hound of Hades, is the hellhound from Greek mythology. Cerberus belongs to Hades, the Greek god of the underworld. Cerberus is the offspring of the creatures Echidna (half-women and half-snake) and Typhon (a serpentine giant). Cerberus was said to be a massive, three-headed black dog that guarded the entrance to the underworld. Said to be the most powerful creatures in Greek mythology, Cerberus is described as a massive, three-headed black dog with a serpent for a tail and snakes protruding from parts of his body. Cerberus is mostly known for his capture by Heracles as one of Heracles's 12 labours.
Today, hellhounds are depicted roughly the same in most countries. In terms of features and how they look, hellhounds can range in size from large dogs such as a mastiff or a German shepherd to a small pony. They are said to have mangled black fur that give off a rather distinct foul, sulphur like odour, as well as glowing red eyes, razor-sharp fangs, and have phantom-like characteristics that are said to produce a black aura that makes them seem to be made out of shadows. Hellhounds are said to be violent and aggressive, with super strength and speed, but are also said to be highly intelligent.
Purpose and Attacks
There are many reasons you may be attacked by a hellhound and many reasons they roam on Earth. Their main purpose is to guard the entrances to the underworld and to protect the secrecy of the supernatural from us curious humans. Although they are sent to guard entrances to the underworld, they are often known to guard graveyards in search for lost souls to bring them to the underworld. Hellhounds are often sent to collect souls that were promised to Satan as part of a bargain or crossroads deal.
Hellhounds are clever beyond human comparison and are near impossible to trick or distract from their task of hunting your soul. They hunt by the scent of your soul, meaning once a hound has your scent then it will have it forever, and it will not stop until you have been hunted and brought to the underworld or it has been called off by its master.
Hellhounds attack by causing you to hallucinate so you come out of hiding in fear. Once in view, the hound will appear to the person they are collecting the soul from at the very last minute before they attack. Hellhounds are invisible to humans they are not collecting souls from and they only show themselves before they attack. Once they show their true selves, they will rip you to shreds and deliver your soul to their master to complete their task.
How to Stop Them
Unfortunately, you can't fight a hellhound or shoot it with a shotgun, and there isn't a massive list of what you can use to warn it off or kill it, but there are three things you can use: Salt, the Devil’s shoestring, and Goofer Dust.
Salt: We have all seen movies and TV shows where they all stand in a ring of salt and silently wait for a spirit to leave. Well, salt is known to warn off the supernatural and paranormal. In order to warn off something, it must be poured across all entrances to prevent anything from entering the room. As long as the line of salt remains intact, a creature cannot enter. Some people even place cloth bags of salt into their pockets so a creature can't touch you if the salt line splits.
The Devil's shoestring is a type of viburnum and it belongs to the honeysuckle family. Devil's shoestring is grown in North America.
The Devil's shoestring is often used in hoodoo to help gain power and success, and it is often used so Satan trips on its long vines, so he can't get into the house. It will prevent a hound from entering if you place it at the door handle.
Goofer dust is a material used in traditional hexing and practiced in hoodoo. Goofer dust is a mixture of graveyard dust, snakeskin, dried manure, and salt, among other things more morbid or natural. With Goofer dust, you sprinkle it around the room the same way you do with salt to warn off hellhounds and other supernatural creatures.
Famous Cases of Hellhounds
There are so many cases and people out there all around the world claiming they have solid evidence of hellhounds, with pictures and video footage, but there is no clear evidence. These aren't just hoaxes using black dogs or black wolves with Photoshop or a light reflection. With that being said, there are some of the most famous cases of hellhounds with no explanation that could debunk them.
The Demon of Dartmoor has been a Cornish myth for hundreds of years. It is the myth that inspired The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. The Dartmoor beast has been scaring farmers and locals for generations, as the beast has been preying on their animals. They are said to roam the Moor with a thick black fur and blood red eyes. Many people have come close to the beast, although they haven't had solid proof, barring tonnes of blurry pictures and videos.
Robert Leroy Johnson: I haven't dug into much detail, as I am currently doing a independent, more in depth article on this case. Robert Leroy Johnson was an American delta blues singer from Hazlehurst, Mississippi, and he has become one of the most famous cases of the Crossroads demon. Robert's life was poorly documented and no one knows what truly happened to the 27-year-old when he died, barring what the witnesses and a few others had to say, giving more to the legend surrounding his death. The legend is that he sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads in exchange for success, and hellhounds eventually took his soul, causing his death. More strangely, Robert wrote a song "Hellhound on my Trail," which became one of his most famous songs before passing a year later due to unknown causes.