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Oschaert was a road monster and Black Dog from Belgian folklore, found in and around the town of Hamme.

Description

Oschaert's favorite shapes to take were those of a horse, donkey, or dog, although it could also take the shape of less imposing creatures, such as a rabbit. It was a road monster with elements of the Barghest, but unlike the Barghest it had no set form. There was no sure way to identify an animal as Oschaert outside of strange behaviour.

Behavior

Much like the Shriker, Aufhocker, and Kludde, Oschaert was a malicious creature that terrorized and attacked lost travelers. Its favorite trick was to jump on their backs, pinning them down or crushing them under its weight. The victim could only escape the monster's grip by finding a crossroad or a picture of the Virgin Mary. Oschaert was especially dangerous to people with a bad conscience, as it would rip at them with its claws and breathe fire on their necks.

The creature was finally overcome by a local priest, who banished Oschaert to the sea for ninety-nine years.

Quote

Oschaert, a sprite which haunted the town of Hamme, near Dendermonde, was of much the same character. On one occasion it appeared to a young man who went out courting—first as an enormous horse, then like a huge dog, then as a rabbit springing backwards and forwards before his path; and finally like a gigantic ass, with fiery eyes as large as plates. It does not appear that Oschaert ever received travellers on his back; but he used sometimes to leap on theirs, and cling on with out-spread claws, till the poor victim came either to a cross-road or to an image of the Virgin, when his burden would fall off. On those who were troubled in conscience Oschaert used to press very heavily, striking his claws deep into their flesh, and scorching their necks with his breath. But all is past now. A good priest has exorcised the sprite, and banished him to the seashore for ninety-nine years, and there he wanders now.

- William Henderson

See also

References

  • Henderson, William. Notes on the folk-lore of the northern counties of England and the borders. 1879.
  • Rose, Carol [November 2001]. Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth (in English). W. W.