Mythos Monday: Hounds of Hell

I’m off to the Welsh coast tomorrow for a long deserved bit of R & R.  I just need to wash the little gray cells out with some good, fresh, salt air.  

Naturally, with Wales on the brain, I thought I’d dredge up some Welsh zombie myths (what with it being zombie month and all), but nary a one was to be found.  I did, however, find the myth of the hellhound.

Ohhhh … goodie!  I do love a good demon dog.  And since they have to do with hell and death and zombies are all about death (or undeath, if you will), it seemed a fitting choice for today’s post.

Generally speaking, hellhounds are ethereal black dogs with glowing red eyes who roam the countryside leaving a trail of fire and brimstone behind them.  Their appearance foretells imminent death, and if you’re not careful they will drag your soul to hell.

Think hellhounds are a thing of the past?  Think again.  While sightings of the beasts date back to the time of the Vikings, the giant dogs have been seen more recently prowling through cemeteries in such states as Kentucky and Louisiana.

What does that have to do with Wales?

Well, the Welsh have their own version of a hellhound called a Cwn Annwn (Do NOT ask me to pronounce that).  Unlike many of its counterparts throughout the world, the Cwn Annwn is benign, not evil.

The Cwn Annwn were the dogs of Annwn or, as we might call it, the “Otherworld.”  Early Christians took to referring to them as the “hounds of hell” and assumed they were creatures of Satan.  This, however, could not be further from the truth.  Annwn was not a hell, but a paradise.  So, while the dogs are a death portent, they are not in any way evil.

Can you imagine a fight between the typical evil hellhound and the Cwn Annwn?  Fighting over the souls of the newly departed.  The hellhound wishing to drag the soul down to it’s demonic master and the Cwn Annwn to deliver the soul to paradise?  The clash between those fearsome beasts would be something to behold.

And that gives me an idea.  Guess I’ll have a little research to do in Wales …

While I’m gone, stay close.  The hilariously funny PJ Jones will be talking Zombies and Humor this Wednesday, and there will be the usual roundup of insanity on Friday.  Plus this Saturday there’ll be an exciting new Apocalypse Survival Tip.

Have a fantastic week and I’ll see you next Monday!

 

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