Monster Monday: Nixie

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 Nixie.

Theodor Kittelsen, Nøkken (1904)
Theodor Kittelsen, Nøkken (1904)

Nixies are fairy-like water spirits in Northern European folklore. They live in rivers and lakes. They often appear as attractive naked women or men, though they can sometimes appear as animals, especially horses or fish, and in some stories they have fishtails similar to mermaids.

They are able to make beautiful music that enchants people, especially women and children, causing them to enter the water and drown. Some tales depict a nixie playing a violin. In some stories, though, the nixies are not malevolent. They are simply lonely and want company. If a person brings a nixie an appropriate gift, such as alcohol, then the nixie might be persuaded to teach the person how make its enchanting music.

If someone finds themselves being carried underwater by a nixie, they can defeat it by saying its name or by warding it off with a piece of steel.

Sometimes nixies also predict deaths, especially drownings, by screaming where the death will occur.



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