Monster Monday: Lidérc

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 Lidérc.

Artist's rendition of a will-o'-the-wisp
Artist’s rendition of a will-o’-the-wisp

A Lidérc is a demonic creature in Hungarian folklore. There are several different versions of the lidérc, but one of them is very similar to a vampire. In this version, the lidérc is a type of demon lover, like an incubus or a succubus, that visits in the night and drains the life from its human victim, sometimes actually drinking the person’s blood. If it is not stopped, its victim will eventually waste away and die.

It can fly, and while it flies it appears a flickering light similar to a will-o’-the-wisp. On the ground, however, it can take the form of a human, and may appear to its victim as a dead relative or lover. It tends to prefer women whose husbands are dead or have been absent for a long time. It’s footprints resemble that of a horse or a goose. It enters a house through the chimney or a keyhole.

It cam be prevented from entering by burning birch or incense. If it is already in the house it can be made to leave by hiding its boots. In some legends, it lingers around cemeteries and must disappear at the first cockcrow at dawn.

 

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