Dullahan

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The Irish dullahan (also Gan Ceann, meaning "without a head" in Irish) is a type of unseelie fairie.

Mythology[edit]

The dullahan is a headless rider, usually on a black horse who carries his or her own head under one arm. The head's eyes are small, black, and constantly dart about like flies, while the mouth is constantly in a hideous grin that touches both sides of the head. The flesh of the head is said to have the color and consistency of moldy cheese. The dullahan uses the spine of a human corpse for a whip, and their wagon is adorned with funereal objects (e.g. candles in skulls to light the way, the spokes of the wheels are made from thigh bones, the wagon's covering made from a worm-chewed pall) or dried human skin. When the dullahan stops riding, that is where a person is due to die. The dullahan calls out their name, at which point they immediately perish.

There is no way to bar the road against a dullahan – all locks and gates open to them when they approach. They do not appreciate being watched while on their errands, throwing a basin of blood on those who dare to do so (often a mark that they are among the next to die), or even lashing out the watchers' eyes with their whips. They are frightened of gold, and even a single gold pin can drive a dullahan away.

Popular culture[edit]

  • 19 September 2010 the second episode of Lost Girl titled "Where There's a Will, There's a Fae," a Dullahan mercenary is present.

Anime, light novels and manga[edit]

  • April 2004 in the Durarara!! light novel, manga and anime, a Dullahan named Celty Sturluson is featured as a main character.
  • February 2013 in the The Devil is a Part-Timer! (Hataraku Maou-sama!) light novel, manga and anime, Devil King Sadao's mundane bicycle is referred to as 'The Dullahan'.

Books[edit]

  • 1820 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow introduced its incarnation of the headless horseman type character linked to the Dullahan
  • 1981 Cathedral by Nelson DeMille, in chapter 54, refers to the Dullahan in the following passages: "You're from the north, and you've heard the caoine-the funeral cry of the peasants. It's meant to imitate the wail of a chorus of banshees." "...We'll I've heard the actual banshees' wail, Father, whistling through the louvers all night..." "...And I've seen the coach-a-bower. Immense it was and black-polished, riding over these rooftops, a red coffin mounted atop it, and a headless Dullahan madly whipping a team of headless horses...and the coach drew past this window, Father, and the coachman threw in my face a basin of cold blood."
  • 2 July 1998 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets introduced "The Headless Hunt", a group of headless ghosts who hunt, similar to the Dullahan
  • 2 September 2010 in the book Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil by Derek Landy, A Dullahan appears to take Stephanie to Dr. Nye so she can have him seal her true name.

Films[edit]

Music[edit]

Games[edit]

  • Several Castlevania games feature the Dullahan figure, although as undead rather than faeries:
  • Beginning with 1990's Final Fantasy III, The Dullahan makes several appearances as an enemy in the Final Fantasy series of games.
  • In the 1992 game Shining Force (Sega Genesis), he is an enemy known as "Durahan". Players may be fooled at first by a large face but that is only a decoration on his armour for upon closer inspection, you will see that he has no head.
  • First introduced in the February 1999 game Monster Rancher 2, one of the recurring creature types in the Monster Rancher franchise is the Durahan, named using a Romanization of the Japanese pronunciation of the word "dullahan." Although typically appearing as a spectral suit of armour, the flavour text of the creature references the dullahan myths.
  • In the December 1999 game Strider 2, for the original PlayStation, a Dullahan appears as a Stage Boss.
  • In the 2000 Vagrant Story video game, the Dullahan is a boss that the protagonist, Ashley Riot, encounters early on.
  • In the 2001 Golden Sun franchise, Dullahan appears as a powerful boss monster and ally that can be called by the Necromage class.
  • In the 2002 Ragnarok Online MMORPG, there is a Dullahan named creature who removes its helmet when attacking to reveal it has no head.
  • In the 2006 Blue Dragon video game, the Dullahan is a robotic headless centaur who is the mini-boss on the Road to Jibral.
  • In the 2007 Dokapon Kingdom video game, the Dullahan appears as a random enemy.
  • In the 2007 MMORPG Elsword, the first boss in the Feita area is a headless giant called the Durahan Knight, the spelling changed slightly due to language differences.
  • In the 2013 game "Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character", the character Sekibanki is referenced as a Dullahan in her theme's name, "Dullahan Under the Willows".[1]
  • In the 2014 video game Dark Souls II, the merchant and summonable NPC Vengarl is inspired by the Dullahan myth.[2]
  • In the Yu-gi-oh trading card game, they released a set of cards in 2013, called Shadow Specters, including a new archetype of cards called "Ghostrick". Within this archetype was the "Ghostrick Dullahan".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]