Monday, May 4, 2015

The Granderie Witches, Nyx, Goddess of Night, Old Hob & Lunantishee Fairies

The Granderie Witches

Granderie was a power of sorcery that the Orkney Scottish witches were supposed to wield.  It was said to be a special command of the heathenrie or the pagan folk, deeply frowned upon by the Christian church and witch inquisitors. It was believed that granderie was brought to Scotland by Finnish witches. The Finns were so deeply entrenched in their magical and shamanic traditions that being called a “Finn” in Scotland was the same as being called a witch. It was basically the demonization of wise-women’s crafts. During the witch prosecutions, it was believed the further north a region was the closer to hell, therefore, the northern regions of Scotland was very suspect when it came to witches and the practice of witchcraft.


Nyx, Goddess of Night

Nyx is the Greek goddess of night. All of the mysteries belong to her. With her dark veil shimmering with stars, she also represents the underworld, which is a river that ebbs and flows beneath earthly consciousness—the consciousness of being awake. But there is another consciousness of those who sleep and that is what Nyx rules over. Nyx was born from Chaos and Eros, and later bred the darkness with the light. She favors mischief and duplicity, hiding thieves and fugitives in her dark cloak of night. Nyx is also tied to the muses who are said to sing to her from the dark. She often inspires both poetry and song, though such poetry and song tends to be melancholy.

Old Hob

Hob was once claimed to be the witches name for the Horned God. In truth, the name Hob is related to the French “Robert” and the English “Robin” and is associated with Robin Goodfellow (also called Puck) a woodland spirit later demonized by the Christian Church. Hob is an old English word related to the word for hearth. Interestingly, ‘hearth’ is derived from the word for ‘heart,’ a name which meant at the center of the home.  Hob, as the name for his elven self, is known to help with housework in the house and associated with Scottish brownies and the German Knecht Ruprecht, which was alternate name for Santa Claus, another kind of elf.


Lantern Man

"Lantern Man” was the East Anglia name for a type of “willow-o-the-wisp” but this ghost was considered extremely fierce and dangerous. They were believed to lure lonely travelers into marshes causing the travelers to become disoriented and drown. It was once suggested that one should not whistle after dark as this will entice the Lantern man to locate you and perhaps even kill you. It was also thought that if one encountered the Lantern Man in the evening or late at night as a protection, you should lie down as flat as possible on the ground, so he can pass over your body, not suspecting that you are there.

(Interestingly, warding off the Lantern Man is exactly the same as escaping the Bhuta ghost in India. It is claimed when encountering a Bhuta ghost one should lie down flat against the ground so the ghost can glide over without harming or possessing you.) 

Lantern ghosts have always been reported along railroads and tunnels, sometimes leading the lost through passageways or by swinging lanterns as a warning to train engineers of obstacles along the paths, therefore, preventing train wrecks and other accidents.

Lunantishee Fairies

Lunantishee are a host of fairies in Celtic lands that are said to guard blackthorn bushes, considered in the British Isles to be ancient fairy trees. In legend, the Lunantishee do not like the blackthorn to be cut on Beltane or before “Samhain” (Halloween). Should a person ignore this fairy law, he or she will be subjected to serious misfortune until some penance is paid, either by leaving bowls of sugar and milk at the back door, under tree or by planting another blackthorn bush.

What Is a Portent?

A “portent” is an omen of early or unexpected death, usually experienced in the form of an animal appearing suddenly or by some other natural event. Birds, for instance, that enter a home, such as flying down the chimney or through an open doorway were once thought to mean that there was to be a death in the family, or at least one associated with the household. An example of a portent is one recalled by a woman friend of the 19th century American poet Edgar Allan Poe.

 In late September of 1849, Poe was leaving for Baltimore when he paid a call to a lady friend whom had earlier proposed marriage to. After a pleasant visit, she followed the poet into the foyer and then walked him out on the front porch.

As Poe turned to leave, he paused for a moment and then stared back at his friend. An unusually bright shooting star dazzled the night sky over the poet’s shoulder.

The woman then realized she would never see Edgar Poe again. He later died in Baltimore after being found delirious in an alley a week or so later. He lingered for two days and expired at the age of thirty- nine. The cause of Poe’s death has never been entirely determined.

by Susan A Sheppard


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Strange Beings From the Half-Lit World

Although we are all familiar with the creatures of the sun lit world, there are beings which have never stood in the full light, seemingly hovering between this dimension and another. Perhaps doorways slip open when the conditions are right and it easier for them to step through. Ancient people gave these creatures different names. Modern humans may call them something entirely different. We do know this, since humans became conscious we have been aware of these beings from a half-lit world. Here are just a few to ponder.

The Foreboding Far Dorocha

Far Dorocha, or the “Dark Man,” is an Irish ghost that rides a black horse throughout the countryside to kidnap the mortal human beings that the Fairy Queen desires. At the request of the Fairy Queen, Far Dorocha will capture a human for her. He never speaks directly. But his commands are understood in such a way that most people surrender to his will and mount the black horse behind him.  If the human being is released from Fairyland and gives out fairy secrets, Far Dorocha will pluck out that person’s eyes to take away their fairy sight or makes his or her arm or leg wither, as a penance for betraying the fairies.

Glastig, or Goat-Footed Women

In the Scottish Highlands, there are stories of goat-footed women who feeds upon the life blood of the men they tempt.  Glastigs are vampirical fairies that drink the blood of lonely farmers and shepherds left alone at twilight in the fields. They often appear at nightfall when beings are most able to slip through the dimensions. Glastigs are said to wear long, flowing, green gowns to cover up their goat parts so no human will be able to recognize them as anything other than a normal human being.

The Glastig is a seductress of sorts. She lures men to dance with her in the mist covered fields and woods. Through her dancing, as the man swoon from tiredness, the Glastig will pounce and feast on his blood. Even though the Glastig is generally considered to be a rather wicked fairy she is known to herd cattle for farmers and tend to old people or children when they are sick. 

Deathly Dullahan

The Dullhan is an especially unnerving Irish fairy more akin to a ghoul, with some relationship to the banshee. From the Gaelic word Gan Ceann, meaning “headless” the Dullhan is rather wicked and is one of the unseelie fairies. This scary fairy appears riding a black horse while carrying his rotting head under his arm. He uses the spine of a corpse as his whip and if he drives a wagon it will be made of funereal objects or parts of other dead bodies he has collected from the graveyard. The moldy flesh on the Duhllan’s head is like cheese. Corpse flies buzz about his body. His eyes bulge and he shows a hideous grin that is more like a slash in face which extends from ear to ear.  Whereever the Dullhan stops a person is said to die. When calling out the name of the doomed individual, the Dullhan then vanishes into nothingness.

Deer Women

A shape-shifter with the body of a deer and the face of a woman, Deer women appear in Native American mythology in North America and Mexico. The Deer woman can be a young maiden and sometimes an elderly woman. At times she is described as a beautiful human female, but with the hooves and large dark eyes of a deer. In some legends, the upper torso is human while the lower body is a white tailed deer. Deer women are sirens who lure men off their trails, sometimes hiding behind a shrub while calling the men to follow after them.
Once the Deer women attract the men to the area where they are  hiding, it is said they sometimes stomp men to death. Other legends claim that if you see a Deer woman, she comes with a warning. Usually, the warning is about a calamity or almost tragedy. During dances, Deer women will sometimes join the group  of people and only leave when the drums have ceases. As she runs away, the dancers may notice her white tail and hooves while she retreats from the crowd.
Since strange beings are usually feared, the Ojibwe use tobacco and chanting to banish her from areas. It is recommended if one encounters a Deer woman, you should stare down at her feet, which will sometimes break the spell and she will vanish.

In Scotland, there is another creature who is a type of vampire with the lower body of a goat. In India, there is another female creature who will seek out travelers to journey alongside them. Much to the traveler’s surprise, when they look down they will notice the women to have the hooves of a cow.

These part-bovine (cattle, goats) and part-cervine (deer) women are often associated with fertility and birthing. Deer women are said to sometimes help women in childbirth. However, Deer women are shy and not often seen.

Clootie the friendly Demon

Clootie is a Scottish name for the Devil or some other diabolical imp that is intent upon pestering human beings. Clootie simply means “cleft-footed” alluding to the Devil’s hoof.  Also called “Auld Hornie” it is likely Clootie is a remnant of the older god Pan or other pagan gods denigrated by the church as fallen angels or demons.  However, the Scottish believed Clootie was the Devil himself.

Interestingly, “clootie” is also the name of prayer rags tied to Hawthorn trees near holy wells in Ireland and Scotland. It is theorized the clootie rag is derived from the old Scottish word for cloth, however, in common folklore God and the Devil as actual beings that are never very far apart.  The cloven-footed god Pan was the one who tended flocks and sheep in early mythology. With his horns and pointed beard, the one who peacefully herded sheep, just like Christ, otherwise known as Clootie, or Pan in the Mediterranean world, came to be a symbol for the Christian Devil.

The “Clootie Croft” in Scotland is an untilled area of land that is left over as a gift to the Devil to occupy him so he won’t cause trouble for humans.



A changeling child is a questionable fairy, one that is switched for a human child shortly after birth, typically by elves or goblins who wish to introduce new, human blood into their fairy race. After the human baby is stolen away, a changeling or a fairy which looks like a child is left in its place. Often the changeling turns into a type of monster within a few hours, sucking greedily at its mother’s breast. Afterwards, the changeling is capable of stretching so tall that within a few short days that its head reaches the rafters.

Martin Luther, as a man influenced by the superstitions of this time, believed in changelings, but thought them to be soulless children of Lucifer, sent to offended and disrupt the lives of pious Christians. Populations in Muslim countries also had a belief in a type of changeling children, but considered them as offspring of the jinn or genies, so feared them. In reality, changelings are not really fairy children, but they are old fairy souls, some howling and dangerous just like any force of nature can be.

According to superstition the only way to truly get rid of a changeling is to boil eggshells and hold the changeling baby over the steam. This is supposed to fill the fairy imposter with peals of laughter that he won’t be able to control. If the changeling laughs, his true nature will be revealed and the fairies will be forced to return and retrieve their changelings, leaving their original human child in its place.  The British Isles, Scandinavian countries and Germany are filled with such accounts of these strange, scary fairies that pose as human babies.

Etheric Revenants

Etheric Revenant is a term made popular in John Greer’s book “Monsters,” referring to creatures of darkness that exist simultaneously in the physical world as in the ethereal realm. They are part-spirit, part-physical beings that are able to slip through dimensions.  This would explain vampires, as well as other tales of ghouls, and creatures like banshees. According to Greer, Etheric Revenants are, at times, completely ethereal, but manage to take shape in some physical way, able to feed upon the living for vitality or energy.
In one West Virginia banshee tale, a small girl in the early part of the 20th century reported that when the banshee visited her grandmother’s farmhouse on a white horse during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic she stood so close to the banshee’s horse that she could feel the animal’s hot breath on her face. When the banshee made the proclamation that one member of the family would die that same night, the banshee wailed and she and her horse instantly vanished.

With appearances of ghosts, there is sometimes a material component such as the overwhelming smell of roses in the morgue of the abandoned Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Louisville, Kentucky. Some “etheric” beings can even touch or scratch. An Etheric Revenant may explain this type of encounter.
In some Celtic lore, the banshee is associated with vampires and lamias. She is also tied to clans, her fairy powers passed down through the blood and “blood ties.” The West Virginia Mothman, clearly a physical entity when he appeared, might also be partly explained by Greer’s theory of Etheric Revenant.

Herne the Hunter

 Herne the Hunter is a mythic English character that is alternately a ghost and a pagan god. Herne is often associated with Cernunnos, an early Celtic divinity often depicted with the horns of a stag, and the “Green Man” just one other aspect of this nature figure. In folklore, Herne the Hunter, much like Robin Hood, was believed to have been an actual person. He served the king (sometimes written as Richard II or Henry VII) as a royal huntsman but died under unhappy circumstances.  Before dying, Herne was said to have saved the king from an attacking stag.
After killing the stag Herne took the antlers and placed them on his head. Herne recovered for a short while and appeared to be infused by the spirit of the slain stag. 

Afterwards, Herne fell out of favor with the king and in his dejection, was said to have hung himself from an oak tree in Windsor Great Park near Windsor Castle. Later Herne the Hunter became a type of a wandering spirit. His ghost is seen there at Windsor Park wearing the horns of the great stag. Sightings of Herne the Hunter have been reported even into current times. It takes no theoretical leap to realize Herne the Hunter serves as a modern aspect of the much earlier Celtic/Druid mythologies of divinities borne out of much more ancient times.   

Men in Black
Sinister beings, in human form, who typically appear as two or three men dressed entirely in black. They often show up to intimidate witnesses who have had encounters with UFOs or aliens. Often the MIBs (Men in Black) will issue subtle threats to anyone who talks in public about the “saucers” or other alien encounters.
            Over the years, some have theorized the Men in Black work for the U.S. government, hence, the entirely inaccurate Hollywood movies “Men in Black. Others who have actually encountered the M1Bs describe them as something entirely different, something alien, if you will. Most Men in Black speak with a strange robotic pitch to their voices and what they express, aside from the vague threats about “saucers,” is typically nonsense. Witnesses have described the MIBs as at first seeming incredibly stupid, even about the simplest of matters.
            During the famous 1966 Mothman sightings in West Virginia, two MIBs were seen in a local restaurant in Point Pleasant attempting to drink the plastic cups of Jello that came with their meals. The strange men acted entirely confused over what to do with the silverware but were fascinated by ballpoint pens. At another time, one MIB was witnessed “chirping” and singing to the birds in the trees overhead.
            Mysteriously, some of the “nonsense” uttered by the Men in Black often turns out to be prophetic. For instance, they may speak off-handedly of certain surgeries, specific operations or hospitals. Later, the person threatened by the MIBs may have the very same surgeries, quite unexpected, months later. Witnesses describe meeting the MIBs in completely unexpected ways, such as encountering one in an elevator, or passing another in a car, and generally being stalked by them.
            Typically dressed entirely in black, or dark tones, MIBs are deeply tanned, or the opposite, extremely pale. They wear unusual hairstyles with parts of their
heads shaved in odd places. They will have almond-shaped dark eyes or watery blue ones. Interestingly, their first appearances coincided with the exodus of the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1948. The Tibetans are said to have their own name for the Men in Black.             Albert Bender, a UFO researcher and author, first encountered the Men in Black in 1953. He later stopped writing about the MIBs warning others to do the same. Apparently, Bender suffered excruciating headaches as well as further threats in the form of phone calls from his encounters with the MIBs.
            West Virginia UFO contactee Woodrow Derenberger of Mineral Wells believed the Men in Black who visited his farm were “Mafia types” and was frightened of them.     Derenberger had earlier reported being stopped by a tall, dark-haired man named “Indrid Cold” (many recognize as a typical “Man in Black”) who stepped out of a spaceship near the intersection of I-77 and route 47 in West Virginia to interview him for about fifteen minutes in early November of 1966.
 Author John Keel received reports of MIBs being seen with “Gypsies” or dark- skinned people around Manhattan. If this sounds like pure science fiction or a Lovecraftian horror tale, characters similar to the Men in Black have been reported and written about throughout history.
In the Middle Ages MIBs were thought to be demons or even the Devil, himself. Often met at the Crossroads in the Middle Ages, as Woodrow Derenberger met Indrid Cold at the Crossroads of Route 47 and I-77 in Novemer of 1966 this devil in black will bargain for your very soul. Woodrow Derenberger surely found this out for himself. Strangely enough, the strange, alienated men have never disappeared from folklore. MIB encounters occur to this very day throughout different parts of the world.
--by Susan A Sheppard