Monster Monday: Redcap

We all know about vampires and werewolves, or at least we think we do. The legends and myths that inspired these monsters are sometimes surprisingly different, but no less chilling. In this series of posts, Monster Monday, we’ll investigate the monsters that have informed our modern notions, as well as some lesser known monsters. Today, we talk about the Redcap.

Hermitage Castle in 1814
Hermitage Castle in 1814

A redcap is a bloodthirsty goblin or faerie from the folklore of the border region between Scotland and England. The redcap resides and ruined castles. He captures and murders wayward travelers and catches their blood in his cap, dying it red, hence the name. According to the legend, if the blood ever dries out, the redcap will die, and therefore it must keep killing.

A redcap looks like  a small old man with a long white beard, large red eyes, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and long fingers that end in sharp claws. He wears iron boots and caries an iron pike.

In some legends, the redcap kills his victims by throwing boulders off the castle tower. In others, he kills with his teeth and claws or with his pike. He moves incredibly fast, and no one can outrun him. The only hope of escaping a redcap is to recite a Bible verse, which will cause him to shriek and disappear.

A famous redcap reportedly tormented the countryside around Hermitage Castle in Roxburghshire, Scotland.


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