The Dullahan

The Dullahan (pronounced DOOL-a-HAN) – also referred to as the Headless Horseman – is a type of Fae originating from Irish folklore. This sinister being appears as a man or a woman riding upon a black horse, but the rider has no head upon their shoulders. Typically, the Dullahan carries its head under its arm; the head appears dead and rotten (sometimes compared to having flesh resembling old cheese) with a demonic grin spread across its face from ear to ear.

The Dullahan carries a whip made from a human’s spine. Sometimes pulls wagon which is adorned with funeral objects (e.g., candles in skulls to light the way, the spokes of the wheels are made from thigh bones, the wagon’s covering made from a worm-chewed pall or dried human skin). When the Dullahan stops riding, that is where a person is due to die and when a Dullahan calls out the person’s name, the person immediately perishes.

There is no way to bar the road against a Dullahan—all locks and gates open to them when they approach. They do not appreciate being watched while on their errands, throwing a basin of blood on those who dare to do so (often a mark that they are among the next to die), or even lashing out the watchers’ eyes with their whips. They are however frightened of gold, and even a single gold pin can drive a Dullahan away.

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