Prynhawn da, Insiders!

How do you feel about dogs? Would you say they are endlessly loyal, man's best friend, and forgiving to a fault? Me too. This week we're going to learn about dogs, but these dogs aren't any of those things I just mentioned. These dogs are Gwyllgi, the Black Cadejo, and Inu-gami; none of these are loyal, forgiving, or snugly.

Meet Gwyllgi

Gwyllgi is a hell-hound known to the Welsh as The Dog of Darkness. It often appears on lonely roads in the middle of the night but has been sighted numerous times at the Nant y Garth Pass near Llandegla in Denbighshire, Wales. His very breath is evil, his eyes are blazing red, his stature is that of a mastiff, and spotting him is an omen of the darkest kind. The Gwyllgi means death to you or someone close to you.

As well-known as the Gwyllgi is throughout Wales, there is some disagreement as to what exactly he looks like; variants if you will. Some, in Neath Port Talbot, say the Gwyllgi is blood-red in color and frequently appears in the early hours of Sunday (possibly a reminder to go to church). The beast is known as Black Shuck in East Anglia and as Padfoot, Trash, or Shriker in northern England; though in these areas he's described simply as a wild dog and isn't quite as fantastical in appearance as he is in the rest of Wales.

The Black Cadejo

The Cadejos are a breed of spirits who take the shape of dogs in order to terrorize the living. According to this Central American legend, there are four types of Cadejos; first, white ones and black ones. The color doesn't indicate their level of evilness - for both these types are equally evil animals born from Satan himself - rather a result of the condition that Cadejos can only take the form of pure-colored dogs; all white or all black. Possibly a way of giving humans a chance at identifying the Cadejos from regular dogs when confronted by them.

To complicate the legend, it is estimated that about half of white Cadejos are actually helpful spirits - which makes white Cadejos particularly dangerous as you might be convinced to trust them when you shouldn't. You can't kill a Cadejos, only another Cadejos can do that, the best you can hope for is that a good white Cadejos will protect you from the bad white and black Cadejos. It seems that your best bet to stay alive is to simply stay home at night.

The third type of Cadejos is one born from a black or white Cadejos and a normal dog. These half-breeds can be killed by humans but when they are, they immediately disintegrate leaving only a poisonous puddle of bodily fluids behind. This puddle of dead dog curses the earth it spills on and nothing will be able to grow in that spot again.

The final type of Cadejos is Satan himself in the form of a giant black phantom dog. Twice the size of the other Cadejos and with red hot chains draped around his body, the Satan Cadejos is a rare sight and can mean the destruction of an entire village.

Inu-gami, the tortured god

The Inu-gami - from Japanese legend - are dog gods of the Kami and are summoned only for unspeakable violence against the living. They are usually described as a cross between a person and a wolf but an Inu-gami can possess pretty much anything (including humans) and use it as a puppet to do its bidding.

Inu-gami do not appear of their own volition, they are servants to be summoned. Given their violent nature, it should be no surprise that the ritual through which they are summoned is just as cruel. To bring forth a Inu-gami from the spirit world you must first bury a young dog up to its head. From there you place a small bowl of food on the ground just out of reach of the restrained animal. As the pup is about to starve to death, you chop off its head and place it on a box. The buried portion of the dog will grow a new head, a larger body, and will now be at your command.

There are families in Japan that practice this ritual to this day; they are known as Inugami-mochi (meaning, "those who own a dog-god"). It is tradition within these families to marry into fellow Inugami-mochi families.

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