One of my favorite stories of all time is by one of my favored writers too, Washington Irving. Irving went on to make a name for himself with his story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It's about a specter named the headless horseman.
One of the coolest facts about this story is that it is partially true. I told you the best stories are based on non-fiction and are later re-written as fictional. The story took place in Sleepy Hollow New York, NY. And there indeed exists a place today. Not far from this location, Irving himself grew-up, and made this area his final resting ground.
But what about the fabled story, Dullahan: "The Irish Headless Horseman?" What is this all about?
The Dullahan is one of the most spectacular creatures in the Irish fairy realm, and one which is particularly active in the more remote parts of counties.
Around midnight, on certain Irish festivals or feast days, this wild and black-robed horseman may be observed riding a dark and grunting horse across the countryside. W. J. Fitzpatrick, a storyteller from the Mourne Mountains in County Down, recounts:
"I saw the Dullahan myself, stopping on the brow of the hill between Bryansford and Moneyscalp late one evening, just as the sun was setting. It was completely headless but it held up its head in its hand, and I heard it call out a name. I put my hand across my ears if the name was my own, so I couldn't hear what it said. When I looked again, it was gone. But shortly afterward, there was a bad car accident on that very hill, and a young man was killed. It had been his name that the Dullahan was calling."
Dullahan's are headless. Although the Dullahan has no head upon its shoulders, he carries it with him, either on the seat temple of his pony or upraised in his right hand. The head is the shading and surface of stale batter or rotten cheddar, and very smooth. A frightful, nitwit smile parts the face from ear to ear, and the eyes, which are tiny and dark, dart about like dangerous flies. The whole head shines with the phosphorescence of rotting matter, and the animal may utilize it as a light to direct its way along the obscured laneways of the Irish open country. Any place the Dullahan stops, a human dies.
The Dullahan is equipped with powerful sight. By holding his cut off head high up, he can see for huge separations over the open country, even on the darkest night. Utilizing this force, he can see the place of a perishing individual, regardless of where it lies. The individuals who watch from their windows to see him pass are remunerated for their agonies by having a bowl of blood tossed in their countenances, or by being struck visually impaired in one eye.
The Dullahan is normally mounted on a dark horse, which roars as nighttime proceeds. He utilizes a human spine as a whip. The pony conveys, starts, and flares from its noses, as it charges forward.
In certain pieces of the nation, for example, County Tyrone, the Dullahan drives with a dark mentor, known as the mentor a-thicket (from the Irish Coiste bodhar, signifying 'hard of hearing or quiet mentor'). This is drawn by six dark ponies, and ventures so quick that the grating made by its development frequently sets ablaze the hedges at the edges of the street. All doors fly open to let rider and mentor through, regardless of how immovably they are bolted, so nobody is genuinely sheltered from the considerations of this pixie.
This pixie has a restricted intensity of discourse. Its free head is allowed to talk only once on each excursion it embraces and afterward has just the capacity to consider the name of the individual whose death it envoys.
A Dullahan will stop its grunting horse before the entryway of a house, and yell the name of the individual going to bite the dust - drawing forward the spirit at the call. He may likewise, stop at the very spot where an individual will pass on.
On evenings of Irish blowout days, it is prudent to remain at home with the drapes drawn; especially around the finish of August or early September, when the celebration of Crom Dubh supposedly occurred. On the off chance that you must be abroad as of now, make certain to keep some gold article near hand.
The roots of the Dullahan are not known for certain, however, he is believed to be the epitome of an old Celtic God, Crom Dubh, or Black Crom. Crom Dubh was adored by the ancient ruler, Tighermas, who served in Ireland around fifteen hundred years back, and who legitimized human penance to pagan icons. Being a fruitfulness God, Crom Dubh requested human lives every year, the most preferred technique for penance, being execution.
The love of Crom proceeded in Ireland until the 6th century when Christian preachers showed up from Scotland. They reviled all such love, and under their impact, the old conciliatory religions of Ireland started to lose favor. Regardless, Crom Dubh was not to be prevented from his yearly standard of securing spirits and will take on a physical structure which became known as the Dullahan or far do Rocha (which means dim man), the substantial encapsulation of death.
In contrast to the banshee, the Dullahan doesn't seek after explicit families, and its call is a bringing of the spirit of a withering individual, as opposed to a demise notice. There is no genuine protection against the Dullahan because he is a demise's messenger. Notwithstanding, an antique made of gold may scare him away, for Dullahan's seem to have a nonsensical dread of this valuable metal. Indeed, even a modest quantity of gold may do the trick to drive them off, as the accompanying record from County Galway relates:
"A man was on his way home one night between Roundstone and Ballyconneely. It was just getting dark and, all of a sudden, he heard the sound of horse's hooves pounding along the road behind him. Looking around, he saw the Dullahan on his charger, hurtling towards him at a fair speed. With a loud shout, he went running, but the thing came on after him, gaining on him all the time. In truth, it would have overtaken him and carried him away, had he not dropped a gold-headed pin from the folds of his shirt on the road behind him. There was a roar in the air, and when he looked again, the Dullahan was gone."