The Dullahan is a ghost from Irish mythology. He is a headless rider on a headless horse. Sometimes he drives a black carriage pulled by six black horses. The Headless Horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was based on this old Irish legend. He is also known as “An Fear Dorcha” (The Dark Man), “Gan Ceann” (Without Head).
The Dullahan is a terrifying ghost that stalks the lonely country roads of rural Ireland. When the moon is shining brightly, he enters the mortal world to summon the souls of the dead.
He appears in the form of a hideous, decapitated corpse, dressed in black robes and seated on a black horse. In one hand, he clutches a whip made from a dead man’s spine. Under his other arm, he carries his severed head which glows with an eerie light. He uses it as a lantern to light his way along the darkened roads of the Irish countryside. By holding his head up high, he can see great distances, even on the darkest night.
The Dullahan’s massive severed head is covered in rotting flesh and smells like moldy cheese. His eyes constantly dart back and forth, searching for fresh victims, while his mouth is twisted into a hideous, toothy grin that stretches from ear to ear.
Sometimes he is seen riding a headless black horse that gallops through the night, spreading terror in its wake. At other times, he appears on a carriage drawn by six black horses. It is lit with candles and made from coffins, tomb stones and human bones. It travels so fast that the friction from the horses’ hooves is said to set fire to the hedges along the sides of the road.
When the Dullahan is on the loose, nobody in Ireland dares to leave their home for fear of running into him. Nothing can stop him and all gates, door and locks open of their own accord when he approaches.
When the Dullahan stops riding, it means that someone is destined to die at that spot. If you hear the Dullahan calling out your name, it is a sure sign that you will be the next to die.
He does not like to be seen and if he catches you watching him, he will blind you by lashing out your eyeballs with his whip or throwing a basin of blood in your face.
The Dullahan’s only weakness is that he has an irrational fear of gold. Even a single gold pin can be enough to frighten him off and send him galloping into the darkness.
One night, a man in Galway was on his way home when all of a sudden he heard the sound of a horse’s hooves pounding along the road behind him. He turned around and when he saw what emerged from the darkness, all he could do was stare in dread. It was the Dullahan. The man tried to run, but it was no use. Nothing can outrun the Dullahan. Desperate to escape, the man searched his pockets and found his gold wedding ring. He tossed it into the road and ran. There was a loud roar that split the silence of the night and when he glanced back over his shoulder, he saw that the Dullahan was gone.