Is Stapleton trying to assess Dr.Watson's interest in the story of the hound-or is he trying to cleverly frighten Dr.Watson by giving him graphic details of the moor?
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I think it was primarily to give them a good scare. Sir Henry and Watson begin to fall prey to superstition because of the gloomy atmosphere of both the house and the moor. They are no longer protected by bustling, urban life, which tends to support a more rational outlook. One reason that superstition is less associated with urban life is the plethora of witnesses: there are always many people who see an event, and hence is there less room for occult mythology to grow.