Irish Mythology: The Legend of The Sluagh, The Unforgiven Dead: A Tale of Ghostly Spirits and Haunting Evil

The Slaugh

Sluagh: The Lost Dead
Sluagh: The Lost Dead

The Sluagh: A well known name among the old lands of Celtic Ireland and Celtic Scotland. A name that brought terror into the hearts of dying souls as they lay on their deathbed. Praying that all the doors and windows were tightly bound against the fierce and dreaded Sluagh. Praying that their death would come swiftly; that their frail soul might escape the evil clutches of The Unforgiven Dead.

Evil Demons

Stories of The Sluagh and exactly who or what they really were, date back to thousands of years ago. Stories handed down from father to son; from mother to daughter. Tales differ slightly, but the core of the story is spine chilling. After reading this tale, a shadow will never be just a shadow ever again...

Long ago in a time when witches and demons were rampant. Fairies and Druids dwelled among the living. Magic and potions were the practiced medicines of the people. The Gods were feared and death was but another life. A time when the world was new. Everything and anything was possible.

Tales of The Sluagh, describe them as the souls of the dead. Souls of the darkest sinners. Souls so evil that not even hell would burn them. The eternal flame of the underworld spat their rotten souls from it's amber tongue. Souls so black from mortal sin that the earth rejected their very presence. The evil souls were destined to soar like a flock of mangled birds together for eternity. Never to set foot nor claw upon the ground.

The Sluagh; a Celtic word meaning host; continued to practice their wicked ways even in death. It is told The Sluagh would watch over dwellings where a dying person resided, in the hope of steeling their soul. The demonic spirits would drift on a westerly wind. Should a door or window be left slightly ajar, the evil souls would loom like dark shadows over the dying. Eerie whispers filling the room whilst the demons sucked the weakening soul from the dying body. The stolen spirit; captured within the flock. Terrified screams would echo through the shadows long into the night. Engulfed by The Unforgiven Dead. Forever to roam the night skies. Eternally dammed. Innocent or evil; any soul would do.

Satanic Spirits

The satanic spirits turned their wicked ways toward the living; when short of a dying soul. Hunting a living soul was much more difficult than steeling a dying soul. The living souls were stronger, moved quicker and took more time and energy from the demonic spirits. A hunt, often ended with the living escaping to hide behind closed doors. Shrieking to all surrounding folk to run for their lives. The gathering of more souls to their flock was easiest among the weak and dying.

To roam lonely lands without any sight of shelter at night, was sure death by The Sluagh. A lifeless body found in the woods, fields or rivers was often the prey of The Sluagh. Snatched cruelly from the earth. Drained of it's soul. Discarded in the night; abandoned to the skies only to plummet, a dead body to the earth. A horrid, horrid death.

The Sluagh were said to be bird like. Great ugly dark shadows with long thin fingers, webbed with leathery skin. Cape like wings; that swirled and flapped in the night. Long gnarled claws protruded from deformed spinally legs. Rasping sucking sounds belching from gaping toothless pits. A stench of rotten meat clung to the satanic flock. A dark scattering of shadows and the sound of beating wings; alerted the nighttime traveller; The Sluagh were in descent. A terrifying sound.

As dusk settled each night The Sluagh took to hunt. Doors and windows were locked. Should a knock on the door be heard it was ignored. A nail tapping on the window, sent chills throughout the room. No fire could take the chill away. When nighttime came; it often brought death. It always brought shadows.

More Ancient Legends And Irish Myths

Modern Day

Stories are often laughed at; fables shrugged off; tales of old, no more than just tales. Legends and myths nothing more than bedtime reading. Night time stories told over generations, sending children to sleep before the Sandman spreads his dust or the Boogieman comes to get them.

But, just think! Have you ever laid in bed, watching shadows dance across your room, yet no light feeds them? Have you heard distant shrieks, blamed a cat, knowing deep inside; no cat wails like that? And sometimes when you wake from a deep sleep... a feeling; an eery feeling that someone or something was watching you?

That feeling of falling, and you jolt awake. The mornings when you rise exhausted, your limbs sore and your head aches. That strange feeling of floating. You think it's simply a dream; well of course, that's the way it seemed. Perhaps The Sluagh came for you; the shadows on your ceiling, but hearing of a weaker soul, they went steeling through the night; left you sleeping...

but still, they hear you breathing...

and they'll be back... they always come back, stealing...



Fairy Tale And Fairy Folklore

© 2011 Gabriel Wilson

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Comments 11 comments

Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 20 months ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

No worries, glad to help. Good luck and all the best :)


ang 20 months ago

Thank you very much! Those are good tips and leads.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 20 months ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Hi ang. I research, research and research. I read, read and read. That's the only way other than paying someone else to it, and then you have to be sure it's accurate. However, if you do a separate search for Queen Mab and Queen Titania you will find information that will help you search for more information. Start with Wikipedia. I would also suggest you read numerous works where both Fairy Queens had roles: there a numerous plays, poems and artworks featuring these two ladies and not just by Shakespeare.

For Queen Mab (I believe her name was Mable) you have Ben Jonson, J.M. Barrie and Jim Butcher but to name only three. For Titania (so called after the Titans, I believe) you have Lord Tennyson, Edmund Spencer and Johann Wolfgang to name but three. In fact there's quite a bit out there.

Regarding taking humans with abilities: I believe it's a simple case of taking their strenght and/or removing them as competition in the world. If you consume strenght you will be stronger, it's like the comic books. You should read up on the old super heroes and the villains they fight.

Here's a tip I'll give you: it's very important to know you character inside out and you must make them yours too. You need to dream, sleep, eat and walk with them.

Best of luck to you and well done :)


ang 20 months ago

Im doing research for a book. This has helped a lot in character and plot development. Where do you get your information and can you give me more information like this? Anything fae, its kind of seelie vs unseelie, with titania and mab who are actually hard to find real info on besides Shakespeare references. Also I have 2 special humans thrown in the mix. So anything about why they take humans with abilities.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 2 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

There's no reason they just can and they just do, they're evil dead things that can't rest, so I suppose you could interpet that they don't want other souls being able to rest either... Use your imagination :) that's what stories and legends are all about...


Amanda 2 years ago

It was never explained why they s

Steal** souls in the first place.


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 5 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

Thanks Eiddwen; Go steady


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A great read that you really did bring to life.I now look forward to reading much more of your work.

Thanks for sharing and take care,

Eiddwen.


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

LOL - God does it for me ;)


Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson 5 years ago from Madeira, Portugal Author

A night light does it for me;


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

I've never heard of these things ... kinda wish I never had... just kidding. You really made this come to life - very intense and scary!

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