Guess this is one demon you can check off your list of scary creatures to worry about this Halloween.
7. Kelpie – the Celtic sea monster
The kelpie is a monster right out of Celtic myth. 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 was a kelpie was if that “man” had kelp in its hair.
Ladies, take note – meet a guy with seaweed on his head on Halloween night, don’t go home with him!
8. Caorthannach – the Celtic fire-spitter
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.
The evil fire-spitter drowned in the ocean, leaving a swell behind that created the famous Hawk’s Well.
9. Leanan Sidhe – 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 was said to give inspiration to poets and musicians – but at the price of their lives.
She would make the artist her lover, sharing with them her intelligence, creativity and magic, but when she left, the men would be so depressed, they'd die.
Leanan Sidhe would then take her dead lovers back to her lair.
Rather than directly suck the blood of her victims, Leanan Sidhe got creative, and collected their blood in a giant red cauldron, which was 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.
A tip to artists: perhaps you should look elsewhere for inspiration, rather than risking falling into the evil hands of the Leanan Sidhe!
10. Questing Beast – the Celtic hybrid monster
Another snake-like evil Celtic creature is the Questing Beast, a monster with the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, the backside of a lion and the hooves of a deer.
The beast’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.
This is one scary creature you don’t have to worry about this Halloween – unless you dress up as a knight.
*Originally published in January 2014