The Black Dog of the Hanging Hills

| May 30, 2009 | 2 Comments

The Black Dog of the Hanging Hills

“If you meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time shall bring death.” – W.H.C. Pynchon

The legend of the Black Dog has been told by those living near the Hanging Hills of Meriden for over 100 years. Those who claim to have seen the dog describe it as a supernatural creature who supposedly leaves no footprints and remains completely silent as it travels along the ridges of Meriden’s Hubbard Park.   At least six deaths have been blamed on third meetings with the Black Dog.

One of the earliest accounts of the dog was published in the Connecticut Quarterly, (April-June, 1898) by New York geologist W.H.C. Pynchon. According to Pynchon, in February 1891 he and geologist Herbert Marshall of the USGS were conducting geologic research in the Hanging Hills when they saw the dog.  But this was not the first time for either man.  Years earlier, while Pynchon was studying some rocks near the Merimere Reservoir, he happened to notice a little dog standing on a boulder nearby. When Pynchon finally moved on, the friendly little dog trotted eagerly alongside him all the way up to the West Peak and later down into Southington, where Pynchon entered a restaurant for lunch. Later, the dog began following Pynchon back to his hotel, but by the time the two got back to the spot where they originally met, the dog was suddenly gone. Pynchon whistled for his new found sidekick, but the little dog seemed to have vanished into thin air.

Marshall, who had seen the dog twice before, scoffed at the legend.   While the two men were studying a rock formation near the ledge of a cliff, they noticed the dog approaching them; wagging its tail excitedly without making a sound.    As the dog drew closer, Marshall slipped on the ice and plunged to his death.  His body was later recovered by authorities.  This was the 3rd time Marshall had seen the dog, and the second time for Pynchon.  Reports of the Black Dog continue to circulate today.

The Hanging Hills of Meriden offer much more than spooky legends about supernatural black dogs.  The ridge is located entirely within Hubbard Park, which offers spectacular cliffside views, a stone tower known as Castle Craig, hiking trails, and picnic areas.   The Metacomet Trail passes through the park.  For more information including directions, trail maps and pictures, click here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Things To Do

About the Author ()

Digital marketing pro & photographer, founder of The Connecticut Weekender, owner of Sean Henri Marketing, and Digital Analytics Manager for an international Fortune 500 company. Married to the lovely Kelly Henri. Ask anyone and they'll tell you favorite band is The Beatles (I've met Paul McCartney a few times). I love to camp, bike, hike and kayak. I spend most of my free time working on creative projects, working with clients, and roaming around Connecticut. Follow me on twitter @SeanHenri and read more at

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Duderama says:


    • cn says:

      We have lived across the street from Hubbard Park for 17 years. Our street sign holds the message “100 feet to Entrance to Hubbard Park”. You can’t imagine how beautiful it is here, just looking out our windows is a thrill, especially in the fall season. But this brings me to the above article. We have had “experiences” in our home.

      Our dining room table moved from the center of the room to the back end.,
      A heavy, tall bar stool flew across the room, just seconds before our dog started to whine,
      Our dog stops whatever she is doing and just stares at the walls or one of two sets of staircases we have in our home (build in 1929). I have heard footsteps and running, but not as loud if it were actually happening, only slightly hearing it. It’s been going on since we moved in. There is one room in particular where I always feel uncomfortable. Just wonderding if the stories of Hubbard Park, the trails and the dog would have anything to do with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *