Black Dogs are often thought to be a typically English phenomenon. It isn’t. People in other countries are seeing them too. The following story happened in Italy to a French Batallion in the 19th century. This is a translation from the Dutch original I stumbled upon in a 1889 Spiritualistic weekly.
A French Battalion chased away by ghosts
Here’s a strange happening, told by doctor Parent, that took place in a regiment, where he served as a surgeon-major. This regiment received order to set out from Palmi in Calabria towards Tropea.
Having arrived at their destination, they were directed to a very bad barrack. It was an old, dilapidated abbey . The inhabitants of the village warned the officers that the battalion would not be able to have a quiet night in this abode, for every night ghosts were haunting the place, because of which other regiments that had been quartered there, couldn’t stay.
(The soldiers) laughed about the superstition of these simple folks. But round and about midnight they heard terrible noises in all the corners of the barrack, as a result of which all soldiers, sleeping completely clothed, took flight in a hurry. Asked about it by their officers, they all answered, that they had seen the devil enter through an opening in the door to their room, in the shape of a big black dog with a long tail, that threw itself on them, went over them as quick as lightning, to disappear on the opposing side (of the room)
It was impossible to convince the soldiers to return to their barrack. The remainder of the night they stayed in different parts of the city.
The next morning the officers could not get the soldiers to sleep in their quarters than on the condition, that they too would stay there.
Doctor Parent and the other officers split up over several rooms and they were convinced that there would be no repetition of the nightly scene. The whole battalion slept the sleep of the innocent, until 1 o’clock in the morning, and now in al rooms at once, the same thing happened, and everybody left the barrack never to return again.
We are bound to accept the reality of this fact, and we can’t say it was a dream or a hallucination, because it was not a one of a kind happening, while the inhabitants of Tropea had taken the precaution to warn for the apparition, which appeared every night and chased away several regiments in the past.
From “Spiritualist Weekly’, November 23 , 1889