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Celtic mythology in popular culture: Wikis


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Elements from Celtic mythology have appeared many times in popular culture.


Bloody Bones

Bloody Bones is Monster in My Pocket #68.

Clive Barker's Rawhide Rex is derived from the mythological figure.

Rawhead-and-Bloody Bones is one of the main villainous figures in the Courtney Crumrin comics (and the only villain so far to live), presented as a nigh-unkillable being immune to all curses, who enjoys slaughter and whose lair contains the still-living skulls of his victims. He was summoned to do the dirty work of a warlock; Courtney Crumrin eventually retaliated by doing the same thing and having Rawhead kill him.

A version of Bloody Bones appears in the Anita Blake novel Bloody Bones.

Tommy Rawhead appears in the 2000AD comic strip London Falling by Simon Spurrier, appearing to be a bearded homeless man in London; when he takes his hat off, he is revealed as having no skin on his scalp (in effect, a raw head).

Rawhead and Bloodybones is described in a song of the same name on the Siouxsie and the Banshees album Peepshow (1988). Here's Rawhead and Bloodybones Reaching from dark cupboard Crouching under stair, Lurking in chimney, Pond or well We're down here, Held here Dragged here And drowned here by Rawhead and Bloodybones.

In Supernatural episode 1.12 "Faith," the monster Sam and Dean are fighting in the beginning is referred to as a Rawhead.

Rawhead and Bloodybones, as either one or two entities, appear in the novel The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding. He stalks his victims invisibly from behind. The victim is only vulnerable if they look over their shoulder three times.

Rawhead and Bloody Bones appears briefly in The Dresden Files comic book "Welcome to the Jungle #1." It's described there as "something formed from the leftovers at a slaughterhouse" and resembles a flayed minotaur with lots of shark-like teeth.

Rawhead and Bloody Bones appears briefly at the end of the first comic book mini-series Courtney Crumrin & the Night Things by writer/illustrator Ted Naifeh.

The following rhyme originated in Yorkshire/Lancashire:

Rawhead and Bloody Bones
Steals naughty children from their homes,
Takes them to his dirty den,
And they are never seen again.


"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 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".

The movie The Eye (2002 film) 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.

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

Cat Sìth

  • Final Fantasy VII - Cait Sith is a side character who aids the main characters by helping them avoid traps laid out by the evil ShinRa corporation, however, he rather appears as a Maneki Neko
  • Aria - Cait Sith is a character whose role is akin to being the lord or god of the cats on both earth (called Man-home in the Aria setting) and Aqua (Mars). As well as having great supernatural powers, he acts as a guardian character for the main character Akari.
  • MegaTen - Many of the games in the MegaTen series feature a demon that goes by the name of Cait Sith, though this creature has more in common with the titular feline of "Puss in Boots (fairy tale)."
  • In the Disgaea games, Cait Sith is the 2nd level form of the KitCat monster character class.
  • Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas - Specter Cait Sith Cheshire

Crom Dubh

Crom Dubh has been featured in Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles in The Winter King and Enemy of God. Here Crom Dubh is described as an evil and malevolent God who is an Irish God brought to Post-Roman Britain by King Dyrnwych. Crom Dubh was described as a crippled and dark God.


  • In the Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People, a dullahan makes an appearance as the coachman of the Cóiste Bodhar (death coach - pronounced "Coashta Bower"). Upon the arrival of the Death Coach, the dullahan calls out Darby's name and orders him to board the coach. Darby reluctantly complies, and is borne into the heavens on the way to the afterlife. But his life is saved by his friend, the wily Leprechaun King Brian Connors. King Brian tricks him into wishing a fourth wish, negating the previous three wishes (the third of which was to die in his daughter Katie's place), and causing Darby to be ejected from the coach.
  • In the Castlevania series, the Dullahan is typically one of the game's earlier bosses, carrying its head and attacking the hero with a lance. In later games, he's a headless knight, carrying a demonic shield inscribed with a face which acts as its head, or, he is a headless horseman riding the front end of an undead horse back and forth, while wielding a sword or spear. He is also in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness as a boss near the end of the game. The name is frequently mistranslated to transliterations or corruptions such as "Dhuron".
  • In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Dullahan is an incredibly difficult optional boss, appearing as a headless knight in purple armour with a large sword who guard's the game's most powerful summon. Generally considered the most difficult boss in the game, due to his use of exceedingly powerful attacks, one of which has a chance to instantly kill most of your party. He also features in an attack by one of the game's classes, though only for the duration of the attack.
  • This mythological creature also appears as an enemy in Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, however in the English version its name got mistranslated into Jurahan.
  • In Vagrant Story Dullahan is a type of animated armor, always without a helmet, and appears mostly in the Undercity section of Lea Mondé after you defeat him in the Wine Cellars.
  • In Ragnarok Online, Dullahan are heavily armored monsters who remove their heads to use as a weapon against players. They are fairly difficult and appear in the fields of Niflheim, as well as in the town itself.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, the Dullahans are like the ones in Castlevania, headless armors with a somewhat expressive face on their shield and wielding a flail. They appear as the enemies Dark Dullahan, Dullahan, and Hell's Gatekeeper. The Dullahan version is also an obtainable monster in the spin-off Dragon Quest Monsters, specifically the Joker version.
  • In Shining Force, sword-wielding creatures who serve once as a boss and afterwards as minions bearing the aforementioned resemblance also appear, but are more in purple color and fully centaur. They do not have obvious magical powers though they can put allies to sleep, poison them and carry the dreaded Doom Blade which can kill the foe instantly. Strangely they are absent from Shining Force II.
  • In the Monster Rancher series, there exists a monster named Durahan that's a hollow suit of armor specializing in strong attack and defense.
  • The Dullahan is an enemy in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. It is a hovering suit of armor whose only weak point is a crystal on its backside.
  • In Capcom's cult classic Gotcha Force, there are both Ghost Knights and an Elemental Knights that can be fought and/or used by players. Both of them are hollow, ghostly suits of armors (missing several pieces, so one can easily see that they're empty) that float around, and are completely without heads. The gigantic swords that they wield have their heads near the bottom of the blade and merged into the pommel.
  • In Squaresoft fighting game, Tobal No.1 for PS1, Dullahan appears as a possessed headless suit of armor in the game's dungeon mode. He has a very low life bar which allows the player to defeat him quickly but he also possesses a very high offense rate which also requires for the player to exercise caution when fighting him.
  • In Disgaea Dullahans are the third level of the Dark Knight monster class.
  • In the arcade game Ghouls'n'Ghosts, Dullahan is the first end of level boss. He appears as a large statue which sheds its stone skin as the player approaches. He then lifts his head from his shoulders, and carries it above and in front on his body as it spits fire at the player.
  • In Saint Seiya, one of Hades' 108 Spectres wears the Surplice (armor) of Dullahan.
  • In Shadow Man: 2econd Coming for PlayStation 2, the Grigori Sephiroth member Farduroth is heavily suggested to be Dullahan's true form. He is headless and wields a massive flaming sword made of a material called "nephilim".
  • In Sega's Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention, once the party has reached "Prompt", durahans appear as regular enemies, appearing as headless centaurs in armor with a face on their stomachs.
  • In Valkyrie Profile, Dullahans are common enemies found on dungeons, they are represented by a headless animated suit of heavy armor.
  • Dullahan appears in a short story written by Diane Duane entitled "Herself", which can be found in a collection of Irish fantasy short stories, Emerald Magic (ISBN 0765344238)
  • In Cabal Online, Dullahans are re-named as "Durahan". They are demons which can be found within The Frozen Tower Of The Dead (B2F). These demons appeared as headless caped knights wielding a single hand sword and a shield on the other hand. Players often visit to kill them as a requirement to fulfill a part of their Level 140 Rank Up test.
  • In Gargoyle of the Yoshinoyas, there is a hovering robot with a silhouette that makes it resemble a headless knight, named Dullahan (or Durahan).
  • In World of Warcraft, it appears in the scarlet monastery in the graveyard part as a boss for the in-game holiday Hallows end as the headless horseman who after receiving enough damage loses its head and is forced to chase it around.
  • In Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times, during one of the mysteries, the player needs to help the head of a Dullahan make amends with its body.
  • In Durarara!!, Certy Sturluson, one of the main characters, is a Dullahan.


Fachen is Monster in My Pocket #114.

Ghillie Dhu


The film Into the West features a kelpie. Ossie, the younger of the two brothers, has a kelpie come to him so as to unite the broken family of himself, his brother and father. Ossie imagines that the kelpie is his mother's soul. The kelpie is a white mare, who true to her nature can jump amazing lengths and heights. Also true to her nature, she nearly lures Ossie to a watery grave, recalling the kelpie legend as well as the legend of Ossian's Ride. However Ossie is saved by the ghost of his mother, and the love of his brother and father.


  • A British TV channel broadcast a children's TV show in the 1980s called The Knockers.[citation needed]
  • There is a Colorado brewery named Tommyknocker's [2].
  • The video game Darklands featured knockers as enemies later in the game.
  • "Tommyknocker" is one of the clix available in the Horror Clix (the "Nightmare" series).


Korrigans are characters in the Book of the Stars trilogy by Erik L'Homme. In the books they are described as wizened dwarf-like creatures with cats' paws fond of playing pranks on humans.


  • The trading card game Magic: The Gathering has a block named Lorwyn which is heavily based on European folklore. Merrow are a new version of Merfolk. Merrow Commerce
  • Merrow appear in a short story written by Diane Duane entitled "Herself", which can be found in a collection of Irish fantasy short stories, Emerald Magic (ISBN 0765344238)

Merrow is a mob on Red Stone: The Lunatic Story in certain areas of the world known as Prandel


Pech is used as a pejorative term for the halfling-like race in the 1988 film Willow by George Lucas - it might be assumed the idea comes from this myth (although it could also be the word peck, which like hobbit is a small unit of measure).

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, Pech are elemental creatures from the Inner Plane of Earth that are based on this myth. They are humanoid earth elementals who are related to gnomes. They sometimes leave their plane to mine in the deepest parts of the Prime Material Plane. Pech prefer enclosed dark spaces to open spaces, are generally peaceful, and many travel to the Prime Material Plane to escape the hostile Elemental Plane of Earth. Pech can communicate with stone.


  • In the classic Mary Chase play Harvey, the title character Harvey is a pooka, in the form of a very tall humanoid white rabbit. This play has been adapted for film several times, the most famous version starring Jimmy Stewart. There is a humorous scene in which Mr. Wilson, the asylum orderly, reads the definition of pooka in the encyclopedia:
"Pooka: From old Celtic mythology, a fairy spirit in animal form. Always very large. The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one at his own caprice. A wise but mischievous creature. Very fond of rum-pots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?"[1]
This introduces the notion that Harvey is real.
  • R.A. MacAvoy's 1987 fantasy novel The Grey Horse involves a horse púca in nineteenth-century Ireland.
  • In Chynna Clugston's Blue Monday comic, heroine Blue encounters her pooka, Seamus: a giant, gaseous, kilt-bearing otter who often causes more mischief than anything else.
  • In the 1959 Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Darby's horse turns into a pookah. The first time the horse transforms, it frightens Darby into falling down a well, where he first encounters King Brian and the land of the leprechauns. The second time, the horse causes Darby's daughter Katie to fall and be injured, which leads to Darby's final deal with King Brian and the ultimate "happily ever after" resolution.
  • In the 2001 movie Donnie Darko, the main character, Donnie, is inspired by a large rabbit character who convinces him to carry out several evil deeds. These acts lead to positive and negative outcomes for people around him.
  • In the 1985 book Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn, the 8th Xanth novel by Piers Anthony, a pooka befriends the main character. He is a smart, helpful ghost horse with rattling chains and ends up being named "Pook".
  • In one episode of American Dragon: Jake Long, a pooka, in the form of a television puppet, influences Haley Long's dark side with a song.
  • In the final song of Final Fantasy's album, He Poos Clouds ("The pooka Sings") the pooka is depicted as a sort of anti-muse, declaiming the composer (Owen Pallett) for writing about things which he doesn't believe and which "don't exist". At the conclusion of the song, the Pooka flies away, and Owen Pallett puts down his violin; "I leave it down, never again!".
  • The Magic: The Gathering trading card game, features three cards based on púca.
    • The first, 'Cemetery Puca', is a shape shifter that can mimic dead creatures. In keeping with folklore it is depicted as a ghostly black horse.
    • The second, 'Puca's Mischief', is a magic spell which grants the ability to rearrange control of creatures and objects.
    • The third card, 'Crag Puca', is a shape changer whose powers are displayed by its ability to switch from a defensive card to a more aggressive card. This card also follows the black horse origin, but shows the puca is a more humanoid creature than the previous depictions.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's The Rowan, a mechanical device is called a pukha. It is a therapeutic surrogate issued to troubled children in the guise of a stuffed animal, and provides companionship and comfort. The orphaned Rowan child grows very attached to her pukha, dubbing it "Purza", and personifies it to a degree as a sort of alter ego.
  • In the 2000 Jonathan Glazer film Sexy Beast, a malicious "Harvey"-style filmic pooka haunts the protagonist, Gal, in his dreams and waking life. This pooka becomes synonymous with both the title and the antagonist, Don Logan, replacing Don in the latter portion of the movie as Gal's tormentor.
  • In Odin Sphere, a 2007 game for the PS2, one of the main characters is Cornelius, The Pooka Prince, who is transformed into a pooka, and finds a city of other pookas who all are trying to lift the curse and become human. They take the form of an anthropomorphized rabbit.
  • Kenneth C. Flint's Sidhe Series of books have a recurring character called "Shaglan" and his Finn MacCumhal books occasionally have pooka encounters.
  • In White Wolf's original World of Darkness role playing game Changeling: The Dreaming, mischievous pooka are available as player characters.
  • In Laurell K. Hamiliton's Meredith Gentry series, the character Doyle/The Queen's Darkness' father was a Phouka.


  1. ^ page 33 of the play "Harvey", published by Dramatists Play Service Inc.


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