Monster Monday: Dearg-Dul

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 Dearg-Dul.

Edvard Munch, Vampire in the Forest (1916-18)
Edvard Munch, Vampire in the Forest (1916-18)

A Dearg-Dul is a vampire-like spirit in Irish folklore. Dearg is Irish Gaelic for “red,” and the name possibly comes from the fact that it drinks the red blood of its victims. In some stories, it is a revenant, the animated corpse of a dead person. In others it is an evil fairy. In both cases, however, it must retreat underground during the day.

Male or female, a Dearg-Dul is generally regarded as extremely attractive, lending itself to the idea that the spirit is actually a fairy. It uses its looks and magic to enchant hapless travelers, luring them to remote places and then draining them of their blood. It is also very strong and can hold down a human easily while it feeds.

The only way to defeat a Dearg-Dul is to locate its daytime resting place and pile stones on top to keep it from rising. Sprigs of holly may also be placed between the stones to drain its strength. However, if the stones are removed, the Dearg-Dul will rise again.


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