One of the most widely read works of Sherlock Holmes is the story Hound of the Basketballs. It has everything you need for the reader’s success: a little mystery, some humor, a love story and, of course, brilliantly conducted by inquiry. But that’s where the writer Conan Doyle took a mysterious legend of the Baskerville curse?
Read the famous story about the terrible dog is also interesting because it’s not a detective in a pure form – it can be seen elements of the psychological novel, a diary of prose and, of course, a Gothic horror story.
In the role of master of horror in the product performs demonic Hound of the Baskervilles, the prototype of which in reality turned out to be half-bred English Mastiff. Until now, there are many versions, explains why the black dog (as, for example, not the cat) was the epitome of the ancient ancestral curse. On this account, there are several assumptions that are not, however, strongly contradicting each other.
Let’s start with the fact that in the eastern counties of England, which include the one described in the story Devonshire, in the Middle Ages were very common folk tales about his encounters with the black dog, a bad omen. Throughout the British Isles there were rumors about his encounters with a huge, pitch black dog: … from her mouth hole burst flame, his eyes darted sparks in the face and nape poured flickering fire…. It is usually met lonely travelers at night in deserted villages or on the rocky beach and the marshes.
This animal was often black color that emphasizes its relationship with the dark forces. As is known, the English phrase black dog in a figurative sense meaning sadness and is one of the euphemisms of Satan, who is known to enter into this grave sin is not particularly solid in the faith of Christians. Therefore, the black dogs in England, no less afraid of black cats.
True, the stories of travelers who met with the dog, at first it was not shown anything supernatural. It was only when she suddenly disappeared (in some descriptions when a traveler wanted to pet her), it became clear that this visitor from another world (usually the dog sank into the ground or disappeared in the outbursts of bright light). Evidence of attacks on people, generally speaking, was not, however, a tradition continued to exist in some aristocratic families.
The latter belonged to the genus and Baskerville-Vaughan, whose members actually lived in Devon for three centuries. (And they continue to live there still.) With one of them, Sir Henry Baskerville, who at the time of the creation story was 32 years old, knew a close friend of Conan Doyle, journalist Fletcher Robinson. Incidentally, it was him, according to relatives of the writer, belonged to the idea of the story about the dog-ghost (of which he personally heard from Sir Henry). Incidentally, Sir Henry was a legitimate bearer of the title of Baronet, spent his whole life in England and had never been to Canada.
However, in the Baskerville family legend of a mysterious dog does not hunt for members of an ancient race. According to legend, he appeared at the time of death of each representative of the family the Baskervilles, and not for those that steal it to hell, but rather to protect from the demons of the underworld. It turns out, in their case, a black dog was not an enemy, but something of the spirit-protector.
Perhaps the legend highlights some mysterious chosen an ancient clan of the Baskervilles (their ancestors were in a distant relative of the last king of Wales and, consequently, by King Arthur). However, Conan Doyle, first conceived not write detective, namely, the Gothic novel (without the participation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson), a variant of the tradition untenable. He wanted a dog as the epitome of a family curse. That is why some researchers believe the writer’s work, he turned to the booklet A strange and terrible wonder, what happened recently in the parish of a church in Bangui, the author of which is the Reverend Abraham Fleming.
In a small booklet priest describes in great detail the incident that occurred in 1577 in the church a small town located not far from Norwich. During an unusually strong storm which broke out on August 4 between 9 and 10 am, when the church of St. Mary of the town of Bangui listened to a sermon about twenty men, under the glitter of lightning and thunder in the church burst into a terrible black dog. He peregryz throat two men, and then mysteriously disappeared.
A few minutes later, when the storm passed, the same dog appeared in Holy Trinity Church in Claysburg, a town 11 km from Bangui. There, he stabbed two more men and one boy and burned Hellfire hand of one parishioner. Devil’s dog has disappeared, leaving claw marks on the oak doors of the temple (the tracks, incidentally, have survived in the days of Conan Doyle, so he could see them).
The most interesting thing is that if the Rev. Fleming was not an eyewitness of this mystical scene: As the rector of St. Pancras in London, he rarely left the capital. The brochure mentions some hand-written documents stored in both churches, but find them so far failed. Church records of both churches did not report this very unusual event – they only have a record of that day a few parishioners were killed and some burned lightning strikes during severe thunderstorms.
It turns out, Fleming’s message is based solely on the testimony of witnesses, which greatly frightened by the storm, could see a flash of lightning anyone – even a fire-breathing dragon. It is known that after a bright flash in the eyes of people often like to swim black circles (the usual reaction of the pupil and retina to intense light). Not whether they were frightened, mystically-minded believers for a monster?
It is quite possible, and this version of events. According to the description Fleming, thunder, shook the building, and bright flashes of lightning frightened parishioners to the loss of reason. In this state they can take a hell Envoy ordinary dog, provided by someone at a church service or just taking a fast from the yard to hide from the weather. Moreover, as the author writes, the sky darkened ominously, in the church, too, was dark and at that moment, all fell to their knees.
Medium-sized dog could easily get a man to his shoulders, kneeling, and in this case may seem like just a giant creature. And in a flash of lightning the animal’s eyes can glow red, like a man in a photograph taken with a flash. This dog is likely, and left claw marks on the door of the church.
Horror parishioners could strengthen yet another circumstance. In the Middle Ages are often cases of poisoning by bread infected with the fungus ergot, which is a particularly hard hit spike in wet years. Ergotamine alkaloid contained in this fungus, and falling from the poisoned grain baked bread on properties similar to known hallucinogenic drug LSD.
Under the action of ergotamine parishioners could be seen in the normal dog hell of a monster with all necessary attributes – fire on the nape and in the mouth, glowing eyes, and teleportation. By the way, summer 1577 was just such a warm and rainy, when ergot especially rampant.
But where the dog could appear in the church, if you do not accidentally ran through the open door? It turns out that in those days not only aristocrats but also the commoners were allowed to bring with him to serve four-legged pets. The church even had special servants who take care of dogs and, if those plants fussing and distracted from the present life, drove them out the door. On payment of such services to keep a record in the church book containing the above-mentioned report of the terrible storm in the church of Santa Maria in Bangui.
So, most likely, the progenitor of Hound of the Baskervilles was a mysterious stray animals living in Bangui, or a home dog of one of the parishioners of St. Mary’s Church. It should be noted that, according to eyewitnesses, at that time in this part of England, it was fashionable to keep a large and vicious wolf-dogs, which are often accompanied by not only the local aristocracy, but also simple and rustic shepherds. Perhaps it is for their image and likeness of Conan Doyle created the appearance of Grimpen monster.
As you can see, the terrible Hound of the Baskervilles was not a guest from another world. This is just a trace of the lightning flashes, and hallucinogenic effects … man’s fear of the power of the raging elements. Perhaps those same reasons, and give birth to all the other monsters of folklore.