Friday, November 28, 2008
In Dark Age Europe storms were associated with the Norse goddess Freya who traveled about on the crest of a storm in her chariot pulled by two smashing looking felines. As Freya was the bringer of fertility and love but also death and magic, dog owners appreciated advance warning from their pets that Freya was on the way.
The Welsh kept pet dogs to warn them of the presence of the hounds of Annwn and the red-eyed Gwyllgi, both supernatural spectres that forecast death. In the rest of the British Isles devilish dog spirits were called Bargest, Gytrash, Black Shuck. Skryker, and Ronguer d’Os aka the Bone Crusher.
In Ancient China barking dogs meant the presence of ghosts. Mediums would smear a little fluid from a dog’s eye on their own in order to see these ghosts too.
Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there's no denying dogs can predict an incoming storm so accurately that you’re better off deciding if you should take in your laundry on your dog’s recommendation than on what you can see in the sky or what yesterday’s weather report said.
Check out tomorrow's Dog Talk article in the print version of the Weekender in the Malaysian national daily The Star.
In the meantime, here are some links to further information on dog superstitions and thunderstorms.
Encyclopfdia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World (Volume II)
Fiske, John, 1842-1901 Myths and myth-makers: Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology
Paul Henri Thiry Holbach, 1723-1789 Superstition In All Ages (1732)Common Sense (English)
Charles Southwell Superstition Unveiled