GABRIEL HOUNDS, a spectral pack supposed in the North of England to foretell death by their yelping at night. The legend is that they are the souls of unbaptized children wandering through the air till the day of judgment. They are also sometimes called Gabriel or Gabble Ratchet. A very prosaic explanation of this nocturnal noise is given by J.C. Atkinson in his Cleveland Glossary (1868). "This," he writes, "is the name for a yelping sound heard at night, more or less resembling the cry of hounds or yelping of dogs, probably due to large flocks of wild geese which chance to be flying by night."
See further Joseph Lucas, Studies in Nidderdale (1882), pp. 156-157.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)