Weird Norfolk: The ghostly black dog of Cromer

Cromer's ghost dog looking out to sea. Picture: Weird Norfolk

Cromer's ghost dog looking out to sea. Picture: Weird Norfolk - Credit: Archant

Just a stone's throw from the swallowed town of Shipden and Cromer's famous pier, local folklore tells of a ghost dog that haunts the beach, waiting where the waves break on the sand for an owner who never returned from the sea.

Witnesses tell of a large black dog – missing the glowing red saucer eyes of the county's famous Black Shuck, so a different beast altogether – which can be spotted close to the surf, seemingly staring out to sea. When approached, the hound simply vanishes into thin air, like a fading sea fret.

Another legend tells of a beautiful maiden who would often visit Cromer's jetty and parade her loveliness to the folk of the town until one day, a great black dog leapt from the sea and rewarded her vanity by carrying her away under the waves.

Then there is an altogether more sinister tale of a child who befriended a black dog on Cromer's beach and innocently paddled out to sea with the creature, taking to the waters for a swim.

Once in deep water, the dog is said to have started barking and growling at the child, apparently refusing to let the child return to the beach and safety – the floundering youngster was spotted by nearby sailors who swooped in and rescued the child. When they looked for the dog, it was nowhere to be seen.

In more colourful renditions of the same tale, the dog transforms into a man once in the sea and attempts to drown the poor child. Whatever the story, the black dog of Cromer beach can still be seen, according to some, hopelessly staring towards the Baltics…watching and waiting for a master who will never return.

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