Monster Monday: Iannic-ann-ôd

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 Iannic-ann-ôd.

Illustration of a Pirate Ghost, Howard Pyle, 1902
Illustration of a Pirate Ghost, Howard Pyle, 1902

In Breton folklore the Iannic-ann-ôd is the spirit of a person who has drowned at sea. Iannic-ann-ôd means “Johnny of the coast” in Breton. As someone drowned at sea whose body has never been recovered and given a proper burial on sacred ground, the Iannic-ann-ôd is doomed to wander and can be heard at night near the coast plaintively calling, “Iou! Iou!”

A person should never answer back, however, because the first time the Iannic-ann-ôd will come closer and cry louder. The second time a person answers back, the Iannic-ann-ôd will come even closer and cry even louder. The third time, the Iannic-ann-ôd will strangle the person to death.

Oak wood serves as a magical charm against the Iannic-ann-ôd, however, and in several stories, a person is able to escape a Iannic-ann-ôd either by using a boat made of oak or hiding behind a door made of oak.



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