The rolling moors and hillsides of the Scottish Highlands harbour this witchlike creature. She has been seen in many parts of Scotland from Ben Lomond to the Pentland Firth, and so it appears she has no settled home. Probably this is because any report of her appearance causes mothers to keep their children indoors and even the bravest Highlander to walk in company, thus robbing her of her prey and forcing her to move on again.
Terrified gillies from the moors have described Black Annis as a hideous hag, easily distinguishable from any other old woman by her blue skin and her single piercing eye. They have only glimpsed her in the distance, because anyone who approaches closely enough to see Black Annis clearly will not escape from her clutches. The manner in which she deals with her victims, and whether she eats them raw or cooked, is therefore unknown.
Usually the reports of her presence say she is sitting on a pile of bones outside a cave, but when a party assembles to hunt her out of the district she has always moved on. Only the pile of bones remains, and when the party inspects these relics they see that Black Annis often has to content herself with a diet of sheep or deer when humans are not available.
Pedestrians of Celtic or Gaelic descent should never venture along lonely roads without a companion. A walkmate will not necessarily ward off the black dog, which is sometimes visible to one of a pair but not the other, but he or she may bestow some measure of protection. The ideal companion is a descendant of Ean MacEndroe of Loch Ewe. In the year of Culloden, MacEndroe rescued a fairy entangled in a bramble bush and she gave to him and all his descendants, even to the seventh son of a seventh son, perpetual immunity from the power of the black dog.
Black dog sightings were once restricted to Scotland and Ireland, but widespread emigration from those nations has attracted the black dog to many parts of the world. Descriptions are vague because those who see the dog are seized by such a chill desponency and despair, generally progressing to a decline of all their vital faculties, that they have little interest in defining the experience.
Some say the creature is no larger than a Labrador: others that it is as big as a calf or 'as stout as a kelpie'. All agree that it moves in utter silence, without the panting and claw-clicking which accompanies most canine progression. If the person whom it follows utters some nervous comment, the dog takes no notice.
Members of Clan MacLartin have particular reason to fear the black dog. In appearance foretells death on a dunghill. The last member of the clan to see the black dog was Lord Jamie MacLartin in 1715. A few days after it followed him, English dragoons hanged Lord Jamie at Arbroath and threw his body on a dunghill.