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The Irish Redcap

In nearly every book of vampire folklore I have ever read, each mentions the Irish goblin the Redcap. While the redcap isn’t exactly a vampire, many like to call it the vampire’s “cousin” due to its need for blood in order to survive, like a vampire.

A redcap is a sickly thin goblin found in Ireland and Scotland with a leathery body and little or no hair. It carries a sharp wooden scythe or an iron pike, which he uses to destroy anyone dumb enough to invade the area he has decided to guard. The red cap he wears, and for which he was named, is said to made of dried human skin that has been died in blood. Nice huh? The legends also say that the redcap is incredibly quick in spite of the heavy iron pike and the iron-shod boots he wears.

A redcap must kill on a regular basis, for if the blood staining their hat dries out, they die. Their favorite blood choice was that from travelers that strayed into their homes. They liked to kill them by pushing boulders off of cliffs and right on to the poor victim. This killing method left big ol’ puddles of blood for the redcap to dip its hat in.

If someone was unfortunate enough to cross paths with a redcap, they’re screwed. Outrunning the little goblins is practically impossible, because as I said, they’re very fast. The only chance of survival is to know the landscape better than the redcap, that way you can find some hidden path to escape on. But, the redcap knows its area very very well, so that plan doesn’t exactly have a high success rate.

If a traveler’s plan is to simply avoid a redcap’s area, the once again, they’re screwed. A redcap moves from place to place on a whim, which makes them difficult to track and steer clear of. They’re favorite spots are old castle ruins, ruins in which they will guard with their life. So a traveler’s best chance of survival was to stay away from ruins. Easier said than done in a land full of castles.

– Moonlight

goblinIrelandIrish folktaleIrish vampireRedcapScotlandvampire lorevampire myth

Moonlight • May 8, 2010


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