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A grindylow or grundylow is a folkloric creature that originated from folktales in the English counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire.[1] The name is thought to be connected to Grendel,[1][2] a name or term used in Beowulf and in many Old English charters where it is seen in connection with meres, bogs and lakes.[3]

Grindylows are said to grab little children with their long sinewy arms and drown them if they come too close to the water's edge.[4] Grindylows have been seen as a bogeyman used as a ploy to frighten children away from pools, marshes or ponds where they could drown.[5]

Peg Powler and Jenny Greenteeth are similar water spirits.[4][5]

Popular culture[edit]

Grindylows appear in the Harry Potter books and films where they live in the lake near Hogwarts. They appear as small, light green humanoid creatures with eight octopus like tentacles below the waist, large heads and big yellow eyes.[5]

An unfriendly race called grindylows appears in The Scar, a novel by China Miéville. They are described as humanoid with grey-green mottled skin, large dark eyes, foot-long teeth and a single eel-like tail below the waist.

Evil aquatic monsters called grindylows appear in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.[6]


  1. ^ a b The Nineteenth century and after, Volume 68, Leonard Scott Pub. Co., 1910. Page. 556
  2. ^ A Grammar of the Dialect of Oldham by Karl Georg Schilling, 1906. Page. 17.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Lancashire Folk-lore by John Harland, F. Warne and Co., 1867. Page. 53.
  5. ^ a b c David Colbert, The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter, p 111, ISBN 0-9708442-0-4
  6. ^ Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 2. Paizo Publishing they resemble their appearance in the Harry Potter films, thought tend to be depicted as blue. December 2010. ISBN 978-1-60125-268-5.