In every society and culture from around the world, there is a legend of a supernatural dog known as the hellhound. The creature is described to be a large canine with dark black fur, razor sharp teeth and glowing red eyes along with possessing the ability to appear and vanish in a blink of an eye. In some legends the hellhound is said to be from the underworld guarding graveyards and entry ways to the world of the dead. While in other folklore, these dogs hunted down the souls of the condemned and why many believed that to see or hear one is a bad omen as death would follow. Over the years, I have read many of these tales about hellhounds and there is one I wish to tell which takes place during World War one.
In 1914, British and German forces would engage what would be known as the Battle of Mons. Both sides suffered heavy causalities as neither could gain ground in the battlefield it led into trench warfare. The British and Germans over the next few years would engage each other with artillery, machine guns, snipers and even to hand to hand. The area between the two forces would become known as No Man’s Land that was a barren wasteland. This is where the story of Hellhound of Mons was born. The tale was told by a Canadian war veteran, named F.J. Newhouse that was published by the Ada Evening News form Oklahoma and was later picked up by other news media.
The story begins in the early days of the Battle of Mons, when men of the London Fusiliers were ordered patrol the perimeter of no man’s land. The patrol never returned and was assumed they had died by enemy fire until their bodies were discovered several days later. The corpses’ necks were found to be ripped out as there were large teeth marks around the wounds. Some time later, soldiers reported hearing a horrifying howl one night making even the most battle harden men to shiver in fear.
As the war continues, men sent to patrol no man’s land would be found to be attacked by a large creature. There were reports from the front line where British soldier would hear that unearthly howl follow by the cries and screams of terror of the Germans. The few troops on sentry duty gave accounts of witnessing a large, gray or black hound prowling in the shadows of no man’s land. In some versions of this story captured German soldiers gave similar testimony of encountering some strange beast that was killing off their own man. This hound continued to terrorize the battlefield for two years until one day the attacks, sightings and howling all stopped.
In such stories one would expect the hellhound to be supernatural, but Newhouse gave a different origins to the creature. According to the war veteran, the canine was the result of a German military experiment to producing a living weapon. Newhouse mentioned that a German scientist by the name of Dr. Gottlieb Hochmuller had been searching in the mental asylums for a madman with a hatred for England. Once that person was found, the doctor surgically removed his brain and inserted into the skull of a large Siberian wolf. The creature was trained then released into no man’s land to rain death and terror upon the British troops, yet the no one fore seen it would eventually turn on the Germans. Newhouse claims the experiment was outlined in papers written by Dr. Hochuller that were discovered after the war.
Now many believe the story of the Hound of Mons is a fabrication as there are no historical or military documents to back Hewhouse’s account. Also, the medical technology to successfully remove a human brain and implanted into a different species doesn’t exist today or even back then. The fact is dogs have been used in wars through out history. In World War one, canines were used as messengers and guard dogs. If the Hound of Mons was true, some theorize that soldiers many have been assaulted or killed by feral or German attack dogs. Just as most legends, this tale will continue to be told and remains a mystery.
“The Hounds of Mons”. Historic Mysteries. (Accessed March 31, 2015). http://www.historicmysteries.com
“The Hounds of Mons”. She Wolf Night. (Accessed March 31, 2015). http://she-wolf-night.blogspot.ca