Freybug is a monstrous Black Dog that is stated to come from medieval English folklore, specifically from Norfolk. Like most supernatural black dogs, it was roughly the size of a calf, and wandered country roads terrifying travelers.
The oldest known mention of the creature is in Carol Rose's books Giants, Monsters, and Dragons and Spirits, Fairies, Gnomes, and Goblins, which state no sources outside of Rose's own books and "an English manuscript from 1555", but the manuscript is never specified. This has led some to question whether the creature really is mentioned in medieval English folklore.
The English martyr Laurence Saunders mentioned Fray-bugs in his letters to his wife in 1555. The word Fray-bug is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “an object of fear; a bogy, spectre.” The similar word “fray-boggart” was a word for a scarecrow. Popular Antiquities of Great Britain, by John Brand, referenced Saunders' letters and suggested that the Fray-bug was a Black Dog similar to the Barghest. Carol Rose seems to have drawn on Brand’s work for her description of the Freybug.
- Matthews, John (2005). The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: the Ultimate a-Z of Fantastic Beings from Myth and Magic. New York: Sterling. p. 220. ISBN 1-4027-3543-X.
- Rose, Carol (2001). Giants, Monsters, and Dragons. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-32211-4.
- Richmond, Leigh (1810). The Fathers of the English Church: Or, A Selection from the Writings of the Reformers and Early Protestant Divines of the Church of England, Volume 6. London: John Hatchard. pp. 643, 655.
- Brand, John (1905). Brand's Popular Antiquities of Great Britain: Faiths and Folklore; a Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, Past and Current, with Their Classical and Foreign Analogues, Described and Illustrated. Reeves and Turner. p. 28.