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Not to be confused with Am Bodach.

A bodach (Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [ˈpɔt̪əx]; plural bodaich), as borrowed into English, is a mythical spirit or creature, rather like the bogeyman.[1] In Modern Scottish Gaelic the word simply means "old man", colloquially often used affectionately. Historically its meaning is "mature person", from bod "penis" and the suffix -ach, literally "someone who has a penis".[2]

In folklore[edit]

The bodach is a type of Scottish bugbear or evil spirit that comes down the chimney to fetch naughty children, used as a cautionary tale or bogeyman figure to frighten children into good behaviour.[3]

A related being known as the Bodach Glas, or the Dark Grey Man, is considered an omen of death.[3]

In regions of Wales and Scotland, a bodach is a term for an imp or a faery, often one of the shapeshifting, mischievous variety. This term, though derogatory in nature, was often used with affection, translating closest to "scoundrel" or "rascal".

In literature[edit]

"A bodach is a mythical beast of the British Isles, a sly thing that comes down chimneys during the night to carry away naughty children." - Dean Koontz, Forever Odd

"Bodachs are ink-black, fluid in shape, with no more substance than shadows. Soundless, as big as an average man, they frequently slink like cats, low to the ground." - Dean Koontz, Brother Odd

In movies[edit]

The movie The Eye starring Jessica Alba shows shadowy, otherworld creatures that escort the dead away, matching the idea of bodach. Like in Odd Thomas novels, the bodach in The Eye also become numerous just before a tragic incident where many people will die.

In music[edit]

Na'Bodach [sic] is a band located in the United States of America, specializing in Celtic music with two releases: "An Intelagent Design" (2006) and "Knickers Down, Bottoms Up", (2003).[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leslie Dunkling. A dictionary of epithets and terms of address Routledge, UK 1ST edition (June 27, 1990) ISBN 978-0-415-00761-0 (hardback) 978-0-203-19195-8 (electronic)
  2. ^ MacBain, A. An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language Gairm 1896 (reprint 1982) ISBN 0-901771-68-6
  3. ^ a b Briggs, Katharine (1976). An Encyclopedia of Fairies. Pantheon Books. pp. 29, 52. ISBN 0394409183.