Black Dog of Bouley Bay spotted in Sark!
Island elders appeal for calm after third unverified report emerges that fabled black dog of Jersey's north coast bay now roams the fields and lanes of Sark
Furious exchanges have broken out in both Jersey and Sark alike, after the second sighting in a week of a ‘mysterious black dog’ has been filed in one of the smallest of all the Channel Islands.
This most recent sighting was by carriage operator, Claude Gimpnel, who we caught up with at Sark harbour yesterday. ‘I’d just dropped off my last visitors for the day’ he explained ‘-up at the Stocks. This was Sunday. The horses were spooked - were they ever! Icarus bucked; jolted so hard to the left I thought we were ending up in the ditch. Michaela didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t see it, you understand. The dog. What with her being blind and all. It just lurched out from behind some hydrangeas’ he said ‘Huge red eyes it had. Big frothy mouth with gnashing teeth and a big black tail. Paws that looked like hay forks. Huge, tufty ears. Hips like Beyoncé. I ‘aint never seen nothing like it, so I haven’t.’ ‘More like a bear, it was……a sort of hairy great crocodile - with bigger legs and a smaller nose’
The question as to the whether the Black Dog of Bouley Bay was ever real, has always attracted fierce debate, in both Jersey and the wider world. The three most famous images of the creature still feature heavily in global publications of mythology and folklore, and have been the subject of numerous investigations and research projects of zoological institutions, universities and by privately funded individuals for scientific journals - amidst claim and counter-claim as to their authenticity:
For over one hundred years there has been a reluctance by the States of Jersey to verify, or as some argue, a flat refusal, to even debate the existence of the Black Dog, after a dark cloud of notoriety was cast over the island in 1894, when ‘Marmaduke’, a prize-winning spaniel belonging to the Deputy Bailiff, Harold de Carteret, was hunted down by Trinity parishioners, and drowned in Grand Vaux reservoir for being a witch.
With regard to Sark, and the most recent sightings, there have been loud cries of foul play, both from in Bouley Bay, and in mainland Guernsey, by those who believe they amount to nothing more than a cheaply executed publicity stunt, designed to breathe life into a faltering tourism industry.
‘The very idea that the ‘‘Black Dog’’ brought about his own resettlement from one Channel Island to another’ claimed Barclay brothers’ spokesman, Clarence Grubstone ‘is one that should be met with ridicule.’ ‘No, he did not stow away on a fishing boat. No, he did not utilise an unattended paddleboard. He is not a ‘fantastic swimmer’. He’s not there because he’s not real. He doesn’t exist.’ ‘My aunt’ he said ‘lived in Bouley Bay until her death in ’91. And she never saw it once’
In Sark, head of the Stocks Hotel events and PR department, Romany Blackwater, was quick to rubbish rumours that the recent sightings were fakes, orchestrated by - and then peddled by - their kitchen porter. ‘The idea that we would fabricate all this is just nonsense’ she explained ‘Yes, our bookings are up. Yes, we are getting more enquires about availability. Yes, we are now selling ‘Black Dog of Sark’ t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, knee braces, sports bras and parasols; and yes, Marco was spotted re-entering the premises late at night in fancy dress a week ago. But he had merely been trying on that costume of his – outside - and had needed to know if he would be able to run in it…… which he did…… through the woods. And it was a gorilla suit anyway, for New Years Eve. Which has since perished in a fire that broke out in one of our wheelie bins.’ ‘And anyway, Marco is a lovely man. And certainly wouldn’t do anything like that.’ ‘And neither of course would we.’ ‘Absurd’
And so, the questions remain. And despite the outward sentiments of the Brecqhou residing Barclay brothers’, South African big-game hunter Rudi Bachstabbe was yesterday photographed arriving on Sark in their helicopter, carrying a tranquiliser gun, a 70litre bag of Bonio and a large net.
Time will, or will not, tell.