There is an old superstition that exists, and that is the first soul to be buried inside a new graveyard has to guard it for an eternity.
For hundreds of years, it was common practice for people kill a large dog and bury it within the confines of a new graveyard. It was believed that dog would protect the dead.
The Black Dog, as it later became known, is supposedly fiercely territorial and will even protect the living should the need arise.
Early in the 1900s, a woman from the Midlands was walking home one night when she was approached by a large black dog. At first, the women felt alarmed and uneasy, but when a group of labourers passed her, saying ‘what they would like to do to her’ if the dog was not there. As soon as the men were out of sight, the dog simply vanished.
Not all of these black dog sightings are greeted with the same enthusiasm throughout the world. In some countries, black dogs are believed to be the guardians of the underworld or even a manifestation of the Devil himself. Some folklore suggests that mischievous spirits often take on the form of a black dog.
In 1577, a black dog supposedly appeared in a church in Bungay, Suffolk. Apparently, the dog ran down the aisle between two people who were praying. According to the legend, both of them died.