The Hounds Of Hell & More Mysterious Beasts!

A great pleasure indeed to get into the world of Sherlock Holmes with Nick Redfern concerning the new book “Hounds of the Baskervilles. From Demon Dogs to Sherlock Holmes. The True Story of the Beast!” Featuring authors Timothy Beckley, Nick Redfern, Andrew Gable, Claudia Cunningham, and William Kern. Also the book contains the original story from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As well as actual case accounts of run ins from eye witnesses who have seen these actual black demon dogs. I have always been interested in the paranormal genre and explored it openly on my radio show at the Church of Mabus. With Nick Redfern and Timothy Beckley and Claudia Cunningham appearing as guests in the past. It it was great pleasure to present this interview.

1. What was the inspiration behind Hounds of the Baskervilles From Demon Dogs to Sherlock Holmes? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fetish?

Nick Redfern : Basically, the idea of the book is to demonstrate to people the little-known fact that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took his inspiration for The Hound of the Baskervilles from existing folklore, legends, myths, tales and real-life encounters with huge, blazing-eyed, black hounds of a definitive paranormal nature in the UK. The British Isles has a very rich history extending back centuries and right up to the modern era of encounters with spectral, phantom black dogs. So, it’s essentially the case that the book is the “truth behind the fiction” of the Doyle novel.

2. I have seen some Arthur Conan Doyle documentaries lately revolving around Sherlock Holmes. He tried to escape the character but Sherlock’s fame always came back to haunt him and kept him on the storyteller’s path with the detective mysteries. What are some of your thoughts about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life and writing?

Nick Redfern: First and foremost I would say that Doyle possessed the two most important attributes when it comes to writing good, solid, adventurous and atmospheric fiction: (A) the ability to weave a story that captivates and enthralls the reader; and (B) the talent to create life-like, believable characters to who the reader can relate, and who have image, style and a sense that they really exist. Doyle had a fine writing ability, a keen eye for what the public wanted, and also a deep belief in the existence of a very real world of the paranormal and supernatural – all of which helped create some great, classic stories.

3. Very cool that the original story of the Hounds of the Baskervilles is included with the book. I recently got a hold of some of the older films and plan to watch them particularly the Hammer film. What intrigues you about the original story?

Nick Redfern: Everything about The Hound of the Baskervilles is perfect: the spooky, sinister setting of the foggy moors of old England; the creepy and atmospheric Baskerville Hall; strange and mysterious characters roaming the moors by night; the legend of the devilish beast; the chief characters – Holmes, Watson, Sir Henry Baskerville, Stapleton, etc – and the sheer brilliance of how Doyle took the old legends, played around with them and brought them into the mind of the reader in a great new fashion. I would say that the best two filmed versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles are the Hammer version and the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce version. Both are great, and I’d say I watch both of them at least once or twice a year.

4. You mention that Doyle didn’t invent the fiery red eyed hounds but instead brought them to the public’s eyes. What do you mean by that?

Nick Redfern: Well, all across Britain you can find centuries-old stories of huge, hulking black dogs that were – and still are! – seen roaming around old cemeteries, ancient bridges, old crossroads and countless other places that have long and traditionally been associated with paranormal activity. Their names include The Black Dog of Bungay; Black Shuck; the Girt Dog; and Skriker. Doyle heard these stories from friends and colleagues who were knowledgeable of, and steeped in, British mythology and folklore. And, on hearing these old and – in my view – very real cases, he found a way to bring the old tales to life in a fantastic novel that is as good today as when it was written.

5. What exactly do you think these demon dogs are paranormally speaking per say?

Nick Redfern: I can only speculate, but there can be no denying that many researchers and witnesses to the Phantom Black Dogs note how they seem to appear around the time of death and misfortune. And, of course, they are often seen in the vicinity of cemeteries. That’s to say they have a Grim Reaper quality to them. Even today, it’s perceived as being quite ominous and unsettling to see one of these things. It doesn’t take long for the old legends, myths and fears to take hold again, even in the 21st Century.

6. The Wisht Hounds are said to travel with the headless devil who rides a horse doing his satanic bidding. Druid pagan rituals in the deep woods. Sounds like a party! When it comes to dogs in belief systems and ancient cultures. What do we know about them exactly as far as their purpose and symbolism?

Nick Redfern: Interestingly, to expand on my answer above, in many old cultures around the world these hounds were seen as the guardians of the gateway to the next realm of existence after this one. Or they were perceived as being responsible for taking people to the next realm. Or, they manifested as a way of telling someone that death was imminent – for them or a close family member or friend. Or, a combination of all these scenarios. Occasionally, however, and somewhat paradoxically, Phantom Black Dogs are helpful and will help a lost traveler on a lonely road, etc, late at night.

7. Could you share some real life cases of people really seeing these black dogs through out history and in modern times?

Nick Redfern: Yeah, sure. Dartmoor, England – where The Hound of the Baskervilles is set – has been a hotbed of sightings of black dogs for hundreds of years. The English county of Suffolk is rich in such tales, many of which are still revered today in the little villages where the events occurred. The central England county of Staffordshire has reports dating up to 1985 of great hounds that would materialize and dematerialize in front of petrified witnesses.

8. The book says it shares articles from various researchers about the phantom black dogs. What can you share about?

Nick Redfern: My contribution to the book is a lengthy paper on the history of the Phantom Black Dog in the UK. It discusses cases old and new, from all across the UK. It also dissects the theories that these hounds are associated with the land of the dead. Or that they are a kind of Grim Reaper. I also dispel the myth that the beasts are chiefly a phenomenon of times long gone. I include in my paper many encounters from the 20th and 21st centuries.

9. What is your perspective on Sherlock Holmes and how do you think this literary famous character has influenced yourself and the world?

Nick Redfern: There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the finest fictional detective of all time. People are going to love and appreciate the Holmes novels forever – or, at least, until the looming New World Order subtly tries to ban books and turn us all into brain-dead, controlled mush. We have to stop that from happening and encourage people to read. I’m not so sure Holmes – as a fictional character – has influenced me. But I realize – as he does in the stories – the importance of gathering facts, evidence and analysis when doing investigations. I can’t say I share his taste in music though. Violins? No thanks!

10. And what would Mr. Redfern be up to next when it comes to books and events? Anything you can share? Thanks Nick!

Nick Redfern: I have a new book out with New Page Books in September called The World’s Weirdest Places. I’ll be speaking at the Oklahoma-based Cryptid Fest on September 8; at the Austin, Texas-based Austin Center for Spiritual Living on September 29; and at the Paradigm Symposium in Minneapolis on the weekend of October 19-21. So, if anyone reading this is coming along, say hello and hang out!

Book Description

PICKS UP WHERE SHERLOCK HOLMES’ LEFT OFF. . . DEVIL HOUNDS. DEMON DOGS. PHANTOM CANINES FROM HELL. THEY DO EXIST! One nearly scared to death eyewitness proclaimed after the beast loomed in front of him: “It was the biggest bloody ‘dog’ I have ever seen in my life!” Legends of black dogs and phantom hounds are widespread throughout the United Kingdom as well as in the United States. Though presented in novelized form, Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his most popular detective thriller on true accounts of a mysterious black beast with blazing red eyes who is said to have attacked those crossing the moors. Some were lucky to have gotten away with their lives. Perhaps there are others who disappeared and their bodies were not accounted for. Who can say for certain? In addition to presenting the number one classic detective thriller of all time in its unabridged, fully illustrated, form, this work goes way beyond the boundaries of fiction into the realm of the supernatural. Today’s top paranormal researcher’s delve into stories of the bloody beast who comes in various sizes and apparently even has the ability to shape shift into a more hideous creature when cornered.

As England’s leading cryptozoologist, Nick Redfern, points out, “There is one important factor to remember: Conan Doyle did not invent Britain’s phantom, fiery-eyed hounds. He merely brought them to the attention of the public in spectacularly entertaining style. In reality, the creature had been prowling around the British countryside for centuries; and particularly so Dartmoor – the fictional home of the world’s most famous hound of horror in all its awful glory.” According to Redfern the same area the imaginary Sherlock Holmes conducted his investigation around, is also, in reality, rife with ancient tales and legends of a group of diabolical and unholy creatures known as the Wisht Hounds – fearsome devil-dogs with glowing eyes and large fangs. “They are said to have a taste for both human flesh and human souls, and ride with the Devil himself, as he crosses the windswept wilds of Dartmoor late at night – and atop a headless, black horse, no less.” According to legend, the Wisht Hounds inhabit the nearby Wistman’s Woods – a sacred grove where, in centuries past, ancient druids held pagan rituals in honor of a veritable multitude of old Earth gods and goddesses. Here are dozens of accounts of devilish, gruesome, repugnant “monsters” – some of whom stand eight feet tall – who are said to be Satan’s watch dogs protecting the portals to another dimension or realm where no mortal should be made to tread!

About Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern is the author of more than 20 books, including The NASA Conspiracies, The Real Men in Black, Keep Out!, Contactees, and Memoirs of a Monster Hunter (all published by New Page Books). He has appeared on numerous TV shows, including the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, Monster Quest, and UFO Hunters; the BBC’s Out of This World; the SyFy Channel’s Proof Positive; the National Geographic Channel’s Paranatural; and MSNBC’s Countdown. Nick is the co-host, with Raven Meindel, of the weekly radio show Exploring All Realms. He lives in Arlington, Texas with his wife, Dana. He can be contacted at



About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).