Barguest / Barghest

(Image: “Night of the Black Wolf”)

A barguest, or barghest, is typically a giant, demonic black dog, and it originates roughly from Northern England. Some stories describe it as having horns or red eyes, and one of the more common variants describe it as a large, black bear. In many stories, it is wrapped in chains or drags them with it, and it only appears at night. However, the most fearful ability of this monster is to curse those who see it. Most often the barguest signifies death and misery to anyone who sees it (Rose 39).

Obviously, the barguest represents death, but there may be another layer to the symbolism. The beast’s usual likeness to a dog may have cultural meaning, as a dog would often be one of the most helpful animals to a human. The barghest may signify the world turning against a person in death.

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