With Halloween nearly upon us its time to explore the Top 5 Irish Celtic Ghostly myths. Celtic mythology has always been renowned for its spirituality, its myths, and its legends. Our ancient ancestors would have feared the unknown and had countless myths and folk-tales that would have spread around their communities like wildfire.
For us, some of these myths and legends may seem bizarre and somewhat ridiculous but for the ancient celts these monsters and myths would have been a very real thing. The Celts would have lived and breathed these stories. The tales would have provided people with a way of understanding a very brutal, cruel and dark world.
Many of the Celtic “monsters and ghosts” that would have been created over time where eventually indoctrinated into Christian customs. For example, Halloween itself was originally a pagan celebration that was eventually converted into a Christian celebration. The Irish word for demon is “deamhan” and it is one word that would be well used throughout Celtic history.
1. The Irish Vampire “Dearg-due”.
Irishman, Bram Stoker created the iconic character known as Dracula. A blood sucking vampire who strikes his victims in the dead of night. But what many people don’t know is that Ireland’s association with Vampires goes way back beyond the time of Bram Stoker.
Celtic mythology has had their own Vampire, the “Dearg -due”, which translates into the “red blood sucker”.
This particular vampire, legend has it, is a female demon that seduces men into her grip and then she proceeds to drain the men of their blood. Maybe in more realistic terms, some females could be known for draining a mans wallet rather than his blood!
Anyways, how the legend goes is that there was an extremely beautiful celtic woman who fell in love with a very poor local peasant. Her father disapproved of the match and he forbid her to marry the local peasant and instead he forced her to marry another man who treated her terribly.
Eventually because of the horrific treatment she was forced to endure the celtic beauty committed suicide. The woman was supposedly buried beside Stongbows Tree in Waterford and that one cold dark night the lady in question arose from the dead in an attempt to get revenge on her father and the husband who had treated her so badly.
How she got revenge was that she went to houses and sucked their blood dry during the dead of the night. Known as the Dearg-due, local legend has it that once every year that she rises from her grave and uses her beauty to lure men into her embrace where she proceeds to suck their blood dry. Celtic fable has it that the only way to stop the Dearg-due from rising from her grave is to build a large pile of stones on top of her grave. The grave in Waterford is purportedly covered with a number of heavy stone boulders.
2. The Irish Headless Horseman
The headless horseman is a myth that is associated with many different cultures including Irish and Celtic culture. In Irish mythology the headless horseman is referred to as the Dullahan which basically translates into “dark man.” Not only is the Irish headless horseman headless but his horse is also supposed to be headless as well.
The Dullahan is alleged to have flaming red eyes, like the fires of hell, and he carries his head under one arm. Legend has it that if the Dullahan rides past you that you will live, but if he stops then you will die.
There are a number of horrifying tales associated with this creature one is that he throws buckets of blood at people that he encounters on the road and another tale has is that if the Dullahan calls out your name well then that’s it, you can wave bye bye to your existence.
But as is often the case with many of these creatures the Dullahan has an Achilles heel and that is his weakness for gold.
Unlike, most greedy people these days, the Dullahan is scared of the substance and once you flash it at him he will supposedly run a mile. So anyone who intends to be out trick or treating this Halloween perhaps they would be well advised to take some gold with them in case the encounter the legendary and terrifying Dullahan.
3. The Banshee
One of the most famous and widely recognised irish mythology creatures is the Banshee. Legend has it that if you hear the wail of a Banshee than this will foretell death. But the Banshee is only said to follow certain irish celtic families.
One legend has it that the Dullahan and the Banshee work together with the feared ghost riding alongside the Dullahan in a black cart drawn by six jet black horses. Not only are the two terrifying creatures said to work together the duo are said to whip their horses with the spinal cords of humans.
Whilst the deadly pair are even more terrifying as a combination most legends have it that the Banshee operates alone. Descriptions vary as to what the Banshee actually looks like with some describing her as an ugly old witch and others describing her as a beautiful young lady.
But one aspect that all stories seems to agree upon is that the Banshee has blood curdling cry that will be heard three times before someone dies. Relax though, perhaps, if you hear a scream in the dead of the night it is more likely will be cat rather than the notorious banshee.
In Celtic mythology Balor is known as the god of death. Balor comes equipped with one evil eye and a huge single grotesque looking leg. It is said that Balor lives in the dark depths of lakes, ponds, swamps, and rivers. Fisherman should be careful that they don’t catch more than they expect.
One of the most terrifying features of Balor is that the monster can allegedly kill with the single look of an eye. The eye is said to be so horrifying that people fall dead right on the spot.
Because of the power of his eye he keeps it closed the majority of the time in order to prevent himself from killing so many people that he would be tripping over their dead bodies.
These monsters prey on people near water so perhaps coming up to Halloween it might be a good idea to stay away from water least this mythical creature might catch you in his horrifying gaze.
According to Irish mythology the Slaugh is a dead sinner who comes back from the dead in the form of malicious spirits in an attempt to spread all kinds of carnage.
Legend has it that there spirits come in the form of birds and that they try and enter a house in an attempt to take away someones soul.
Some families are known to keep their windows and doors shut at all times in an attempt to keep out the notorious Slaugh.