Creatures of the night

The most horrible monsters and evil creatures of Celtic mythology. Bloody-Bones is a bugaboo from the childish rhyme. The legend about dreadful vampire the Dearg-Due. Monster the Banshee is a Celtic female spirit foretelling coming death in a family.

Рубрика Религия и мифология
Вид топик
Язык английский
Дата добавления 25.05.2014
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Vinogradova A.V.

Виноградова А.В.

Scientific adviser PhD, docen Doborovich A.N.

Н. Рук.: к.ф.н., доц. Доборович А. Н.

Rawhead and Bloody Bones

Steals naughty children from their homes,

Takes them to his dirty den, And they are never seen again.

Celtic mythology is considered to be one of the most interesting and fascinating mythologies in the world. And one the scariest. It's full of mysteries and bloody battles. And though there are many different positive, negative and neutral characters in it, in most cases people know more about Celtic mythology's heroes and gods. I would like to pay attention on the scariest monsters and evil creatures that Celts could imagine.

So what is the monster from the childish rhyme that steals children? According the legends originated in Yorkshire or Lancashire, Rawhead and Bloody Bones (Tommy Rawhead, Rawhead or Booly Bones) is a bogeyman feared by children. Bogeyman exists in all cultures though he has different names. The first written appearance of the Celtic bogeyman was in 1550 as "Hobgoblin, Rawhed, and Bloody-bone" in The Oxford English Dictionary. Bloody-Bones is usually said to live near ponds, but according to Ruth Tongue in Somerset Folklore, "lived in a dark cupboard, usually under the stairs. If you were heroic enough to peep through a crack you would get a glimpse of the dreadful, crouching creature, with blood running down his face, seated waiting on a pile of raw bones that had belonged to children who told lies or said bad words.”

The other creature is as dreadful as the previous one. Everybody has heard stories about vampires. The Celtic vampire is called the Dearg-Due which means `red-blood sucker' in Irish. According to the legend, it's a beautiful woman who fell in love with a local peasant but was forced to marry an old cruel man by her father. Her husband torched her badly and she committed suicide. And now the Dearg-Due raises from her grave every full moon or on an anniversary of her death to revenge all men by sucking out all their blood or life force. This monster can turn into a bat-like creature. In many towns through all Britain there are still graves with piles of stones over them keep finding. As known it's the only way to prevent the Dearg-Due's rising from the grave. It won't kill her but can provide a non-vampire year for you. [3]

Next monster is the Banshee. The banshee is a Celtic female spirit foretelling coming death in a family. The myth is based on an old Irish tradition where woman would sing a lament to signify one's passing. It's called `keening'. Many keeners accepted alcohol as payment and speculated it. These women were punished at the eyes of God and were forced to become Banshees. There are many variants of appearance of Banshees. It can be ugly or not, old or young. If a person lived a life of selfishness or decadence or committed cruel acts during his lifetime, his soul would remain close to the earth, suffering in penance. The Banshee would always be there to make certain this punishment was carried out. The Banshee predicts death by wailing and crying near the house of death. [2] Some people believe that Banshees relish in taking a life and stalk their victims wailing and screaming to the point that the victims go insane or die. It has been told that the Banshee has ripped many a brave man to death with her bare hands.

The other dark creature is the Dullahan. The Dullahan is a headless rider, usually caring his head in his arm. There is a plenty of variants in which way the Dullahan can harm you. Some people say when he stops riding, a human dies but everybody agree with the fact that you shouldn't listen to what he wants to tell you. A human can die by hearing the Dullahan's real name. The rider can also say a name of a person who will die soon. And it can turn out your name. As with most evil forces, the Dullahan has a weakness - gold. So it'd better to have a golden thing and to close your ears (and eyes, probably) if the rider would like to have a talk with you.

Balor also deserves to be mentioned. Balor is the demonic God of Death in Celtic mythology and King of the Fomori, demons who lived in the dark depths of lakes and seas. He has only one eye but have to keep it closed because he can kill people by just staring at them and it's not always easy to trip over dead bodies. But nowadays there is no anything to be afraid of Balor as he was killed by his grandson Lug who shot him with a slingshot, according to the myth. Now the Fomori have returned to their waters and transformed into sea monsters that prey on humans. monster celtic mythology

The other dark creature I would like to tell you about is also terrifying. It is called Carman. Carman is a Celtic witch. She tried to invade Ireland with her three sons: Dub (“darkness” in Irish), Dother (“evil”) and Dain (“violence”), destroying anything or anyone in their path. The witch used her magical powers to destroy all the fruit of Ireland. But Carman and her sons were defeated by people of the goddess Danu (the Tuathe De Danann in Irish). So you can also check off your list of scary creatures to worry about.

Britain is surrounded by water so it's not surprising that Celts were afraid of sea creatures. Celtic sea monster is called Kelpie. The creature can take on multiple shapes, but usually it appears in the form of a horse. The kelpie galloped around Ireland, looking like a lost pony, attempting to trick women and children into riding on it. But the strange thing about this pony is that its mane would always be dripping with water. If a woman hopped on, the monster would then run into the water, drowning its victim, and then would take her to its lair to eat her. The Irish demon would sometimes transform into a handsome man to lure women to its trap, but a telltale sign that it is a kelpie is if that “man” has kelp in its hair. So don't trust a lonely horse and a man with seaweed in his hair. [4]

The next monster is quite mystic because there is no united opinion about its story and background. Caorthannach, thought by some to be the devil's mother, is a demon that was fought off by St. Patrick when he banished the snakes out of Ireland. The saint is said to have stood on the mountain now known as Croagh Patrick and expelled all the serpents and demons out of the Emerald Isle into the sea to drown. One monster, however, managed to escape - Caorthannach, the fire-spitter. The demon slid down a mountain away from the saint, but Patrick spotted her, and chased her down upon the fastest horse in Ireland, which was brought to him. The pursuit was a long one, and Caorthannach knew St. Patrick would need water to quench his thirst along the way, so she spit fire as she fled, and poisoned every well she passed. Though the saint was desperately thirsty, he refused to drink from the poisoned wells and prayed for guidance. Patrick eventually made it to the Hawk's Rock, where he waited for Caorthannach. As the demon approached, he jumped out from his hiding spot and banished her from Ireland with a single word. So thanks to St. Patrick we live in safety now and don't have to worry about monstrous demonic snakes that consider you their dinner.

United Kingdom is a motherland of many great writers. But where did the talent of these incredible people come from? Celtic mythology, probably, has an answer - Leanan Sidhe. Leanan Sidhe is the evil Irish fairy-muse. Both a muse and a demon, Leanan Sidhe is another one of Ireland's mythological vampires. The fairy was a beautiful woman who is said to give inspiration to poets and musicians - but at the price of their lives. She makes the artist her lover, sharing with them her intelligence, creativity and magic, but when she leaves, the men will be so depressed, that they will die. After that Leanan Sidhe will take her dead lovers back to her lair. Rather than directly suck the blood of her victims, Leanan Sidhe got creative - she collects men's blood in a giant red cauldron, which is the source of her beauty and artistic inspiration. As with Dearg-due, to prevent the undead Leanan Sidhe from rising, one must put a cairn of stones over her resting place. So, artists, be aware and look elsewhere for inspiration. Don't risk your life by using Leanan Sidhe's help!

And the last evil creature I would like to acquaint you is Questing Beast, the Celtic hybrid monster. It's a snake-like beast with the head of snake, the body of leopard, the backside of a lion and the hooves of a deer. The monsters's constant cry was said to sound like the bark of 30 dogs. The Questing Beast, known to be quick, was hunted down by many a knight, and in Celtic myth was chased by King Pellinore, an Arthurian character. This beast appears not only in the legends of King Arhtur, but also in Edmund Spenser's epic tale “The Faerie Queene,” which in part, tackles the troubled relationship between England and Ireland in the 16th century. [1]

In conclusion, I want to say that Celtic mythology has a great influence on modern culture. It is an amazing source for many writers and film-makers. For example, “Dracula” of an Irishman Bram Stoker was written during Ireland's great “Celtic Revival” and had a great success. The famous movie “Sleepy Hollow”, by Tim Burton, also incudes in its plot a legend about Dullahan. The young adult novel “Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale”, by Holly Black, shows a kelpie. The popular TV-show “Teen Wolf” has two Banshees, Druids and a Darack - a dark druid. And of course, children all over the world are still afraid of a bogeyman existing in all cultures. [5] And who knows, maybe all these stories are not just fairytales and myths if we still believe in them?

References (Источники фактического материала и словари)

1. The Top Ten Scariest Monsters and Demons from Celtic Mythology. [Электронный ресурс]. URL: (дата обращения: 08.04.2014).

2. Creatures of Scottish Folklore. [Электронный ресурс]. URL: (дата обращения: 08. 04.2014).

3. Night Terrors and Lovers. [Электронный ресурс]. URL: (дата обращения: 08.04.2014).

4. Creepy Irish Creatures. [Электронный ресурс]. URL: (дата обращения: 08.04.2014).

5. Celtic mythology in popular culture. [Электронный ресурс]. URL: (дата обращения: 08.04.2014).

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