Jenny Greenteeth

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Jenny Greenteeth is a figure in English folklore. A river hag, similar to Peg Powler or a grindylow, she would pull children or the elderly into the water and drown them. She was often described as green-skinned, with long hair, and sharp teeth. She is called Jinny Greenteeth in Lancashire, but in Cheshire and Shropshire she is called Ginny Greenteeth, Jeannie Greenteeth, Wicked Jenny, or Peg o' Nell.

She is likely to have been an invention to frighten children from dangerous waters similar to the Slavic Rusalka, the Kappa in Japanese mythology, or Australia's Bunyip, but other folklorists have seen her as a memory of sacrificial practices.[1]

A similar figure in Jamaican folklore is called the River Mumma (River Mother). She is said to live at the fountainhead of large rivers in Jamaica sitting on top of a rock, combing her long black hair with a gold comb. She usually appears at midday and she disappears if she observes anyone approaching. However, if an intruder sees her first and their eyes meet, terrible things will happen to the intruder.

The name is also used to describe pondweed or duckweed, which can form a continuous mat over the surface of a small body of water, making it misleading and potentially treacherous, especially to unwary children. With this meaning the name is common around Liverpool and south west Lancashire.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

Jenny Greenteeth inspired the lake monster (Meg Mucklebones) in the 1985 Ridley Scott fantasy film Legend.[3]

Jenny Greenteeth appears in the book Faeries, by Brian Froud and Alan Lee.

Jenny Green Teeth (note the words are separated) is the title character in a book of short stories, Jenny Green Teeth and Other Short Stories (Palmerston North: Totem Press, 2003. ISBN 0-9582446-3-4), by New Zealand-born English writer and Scholar Joel Hayward.[4]

Jenny Green Teeth is also the main subject of a poem, "Welsh Maiden," by Joel Hayward in his collection, Lifeblood: A Book of Poems (Palmerston North: Totem Press, 2003. ISBN 0-9582446-1-8).[5]

Jenny Greenteeth was mentioned in the book The Land of the Silver Apples, by Nancy Farmer.

Jenny Greenteeth made an appearance in the Hellboy short story Hellboy: The Corpse.

She also made an appearance in English novelist Terry Pratchett's 2003 The Wee Free Men as well as Christopher Golden's 2006 The Myth Hunters.

Jenny Greenteeth is one of the leading characters in London Falling, a short story in 2000AD.

The English comedian Dave Spikey mentions Jenny Greenteeth in his stand up act though he was told she would come up through the cracks in the pavement and suck out their bone marrow if you stayed out after dark.

Jenny Greenteeth makes an appearance in the fictional children's story "Nellie Longarms will get you if you don't watch out".[6]

Jenny Greenteeth features as one of the mythical animated creatures in 'Rumpus Mansion', a haunted house attraction at the Isle of Wight theme park, Blackgang Chine.

In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, Jenny Greenteeth appears in the form of a beautiful young woman, the handmaiden of Maeve, Winter Lady and youngest of the Unseelie Queens of Faerie.

The first issue of the comic book anthology PopGun contains a story called "Jenny Greenteeth" by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix.[7]

Jenny Greenteeth is Monster in My Pocket No. 108.

Jenny Greenteeth is referred to in the Torchwood novel "Something in the Water" by Trevor Baxendale (BBC Books / Ebury Press) along with other ideas about the Water Hags.

Jenny Greenteeth appears as a character in Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr. She is part of the Dark Faery Court.

Ginny Greenteeth and Jenny Greenteeth are words for persons in Scribblenauts one can spawn.

Ginny Greenteeth, also known as 'The Witch', is a character in Gerald Brom's The Child Thief.

Ginny Greenteeth is also the dark ambient cassette collage recording project of New Jersey musician Mike Bruno, known for his acoustic folk ventures.[8]

Greenteeth is a basis for the song by Noel Street.

Jenny Green Teeth is also a song by a band named The Mustard Men.

In the novelette "Water Babies" by Simon Brown, Jenny Greenteeth is mentioned as being one of many names for a child-snatching water-demon. In the novella, an Australian police officer investigates a series of drownings that turn out to be predatory attacks by a seal-like creature.

'Jenny Greenteeth' was the name of a band in the early 1990s featuring legends of the Vancouver music scene: Ivan Drury (vocals), Happy Kreter (guitars, bass, vocals – formerly of Gob) and 'Space Jeff' Johnston (drums – formerly of the Super Chevy Novas)

Jinny Greenteeth was the name of a fictional character in DC comics 2011 crossover title Flashpoint, working alongside characters such as Godiva and Etrigan the Demon to free the British Isles from Amazonian occupation.

Rona Greenteeth, from the MMO World of Warcraft, has a camp in the forest of Darkmoon Island and sells food made from humans as well as other playable races.

Jenny Greenteeth is a character in the novel "Witchfinder" by Vanessa Knipe. Publishing, ISBN 978-1-60215-089-8.


  1. ^ Carole B. Silver, Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness, p 155-6 ISBN 0-19-512199-6
  2. ^ [1] JSTOR Roy Vickery, Lemna Minor and Jenny Greenteeth in FolkloreVol. 94, No. 2 (1983), pp. 247–250. Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Nellie Longarms
  7. ^ Comic Book Resources – CBR News: "POPGUN" – The Ultimate Comics Mixtape
  8. ^