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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 big yellow eyes, clawed hands and eight octopus-like tentacles below the waist.[5]

An hostile 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.