This week the boys have special guest @CardinalAdventures joining them for Part 1 of the latest impromptu suite Deathcember!
“...the old mare had reduced her canter to a trot at the bottom of Kilcummer Hill. Charley’s eye fell on the old walls that belonged, in former times, to the Templars: but the silent gloom of the ruin was broken only by the heavy rain which splashed and pattered on the grave-stones. He then looked up at the sky, to see if there was, among the clouds, any hopes for mercy on his new snaffle reins; and no sooner were his eyes lowered, than his attention was arrested by an object so extraordinary as almost led him to doubt the evidence of his senses. The head, apparently, of a white horse, with short cropped ears, large open nostrils and immense eyes, seemed rapidly to follow him. No connexion with body, legs, or rider, could possibly be traced—the head advanced—Charley’s old mare, too, was moved at this unnatural sight, and snorting violently, increased her trot up the hill. The head moved forward, and passed on: Charley, pursuing it with astonished gaze, and wondering by what means, and for what purpose, this detached head thus proceeded through the air, did not perceive the corresponding body until he was suddenly startled by finding it close at his side. Charley turned to examine what was thus so sociably jogging on with him, when a most unexampled apparition presented itself to his view. A figure, whose height (judging as well as the obscurity of the night would permit him) he computed to be at least eight feet, was seated on the body and legs of a white horse full eighteen hands and a half high. In this measurement Charley could not be mistaken, for his own mare was exactly fifteen hands, and the body that thus jogged alongside he could at once determine, from his practice in horseflesh, was at least three hands and a half higher.
After the first feeling of astonishment, which found vent in the exclamation “I’m sold now for ever!” was over, the attention of Charley, being a keen sportsman, was naturally directed to this extraordinary body; and having examined it with the eye of a connoisseur, he proceeded to reconnoitre the figure so unusually mounted, who had hitherto remained perfectly mute. Wishing to see whether his companion’s silence proceeded from bad temper, want of conversational powers, or from a distaste to water, and the fear that the opening of his mouth might subject him to have it filled by the rain, which was then drifting in violent gusts against them, Charley endeavoured to catch a sight of his companion’s face, in order to form an opinion on that point. But his vision failed in carrying him farther than the top of the collar of the figure’s coat, which was a scarlet single-breasted hunting frock, having a waist of a very old-fashioned cut reaching to the saddle, with two huge shining buttons at about a yard distance behind. “I ought to see farther than this, too,” thought Charley, “although he is mounted on his high horse, like my cousin Darby, who was made barony constable last week, unless ’tis Con’s whiskey that has blinded me entirely.” However, see farther he could not, and after straining his eyes for a considerable time to no purpose, he exclaimed, with pure vexation, “By the big bridge of Mallow, it is no head at all he has!”
- excerpt from “Headless Horseman” by Thomas Crofton Croker
Freeman: The Night Stalker
Liam: The Hessian AKA Cardinal Adventures (Hargraves IV)
Source: Bestiary 1 pg. 140
Pathfinder Lore (Liam)
A dullahan typically appears as a headless horseman dressed in the same garb from where it hailed or where it died. It is usually seen wielding the head of its most recent victim in one of its hands.
A dullahan is a result of a decapitated warrior who refuses to pass onto the afterlife, bent on getting revenge on the creature that decapitated them in life. They are most often spotted in their former homelands.
An interesting side note, more than anything, the dullahan wants its own head back more than anything else so that its soul can be put to rest. However, warriors who believe that a duel ending in decapitation could cause the creation of a dullahan will often hide the head knowing that the dullahan must serve it until its master returns its head to it.
In Pathfinder First Edition, dullahans had the Death’s Calling ability which if transferred to Second Edition to a creature below 10th level would be too powerful of an ability. Death’s Calling allowed the dullahan to designate a victim which made it harder for them to save against dying and easier to score critical hits.
The most interesting part about them, which I am surprised they didn’t bring over to the Second Edition dullahan was its ability to become deadlier if the dullahan knew its victim’s name.
Mythology and Folklore (James)
AKA Gan Ceann [gahn key-yawn] - “Without a head”
refers to a hobgoblin, or is used as a generic term for evil fey, or the unseelie
Dulachan Durracha are alternate words for both Dullahan and Hobogoblin
suggesting “dorr/durr” means anger an “durrach” means malice/fear
now means dark, malicious being
common lexicon to mean a dark & sullen person
headless rider on a black horse who carries their own head under their arm
“It looked like a large cream cheese hung round with black puddings: no speck of colour enlivened the ashy paleness of the depressed features; the skin lay stretched over the unearthly surface almost like the parchment head of a drum. Two fiery eyes of prodigious circumference, with a strange and irregular motion, flashed like meteors.
According to Mayo Folk Talkes by Tony Locke (2014), Dullahan’s mouth is full of razor-sharp teeth and massive eyes that “...constantly dart about like flies” and flesh has acquired the “...smell, colour & consistency of mouldy cheese” and they have the ability to see with the eyes of the severed head
said that when they stop riding a death occurs
all the Dullahan has to do is call out a name and that person dies immediately
Thomas Crofton Croker
Fairy Legends & Traditions of the South of Ireland (1828) contains a section on the Dullahan
considered to be the definitive writing of the folklore w/ 5 chapters devoted to headless beings
can be depicted as a headless horseman, but legends also concern the Headless Coach or the Coach-a-Bower which is presumed to be driven by the Dullahan
rumors of its appearance usually develop near a graveyard where an evil aristocrat is said to be buried
includes the tales “The Good Woman”, “Headless Horseman” and “The Death Coach”
The Good Woman
a peasant called Larry Dodd was the most skilled horse breaker around
he travelled West where be bought a nag (old and shitty horse) in Cashel intending to sell it at a fair
as he rode home he offered a ride to a cloaked woman who came upon him while he had stopped at a church to mend his shoe
he attempted to steal a kiss from her as “payment” for the ride (read: sexually assulted)
and he discovered she didn’t have a head
he fainted like a punk
after regaining consciousness he discovered the church had a breaking wheel
AKA Wheel of Catherine was used for public execution by breaking the bones of the criminal
was just a coach wheel, sometimes with an iron rim
a person was USUALLY tied to a stage and the wheel was turned to break their bones or neck depending on the severity of the crime
Act 1: executioner would drop the wheel on the shins to break those bones, then move up to the arms, sometimes they were instructed to drop the wheel on the neck or heart to attempt to kill the person
Act 2: if they survived act 1 they would be “...braided into another wooden spoked wheel (only possible due to the previously broken limbs) and raised like a crucifixion AFTER they were raised the executioner could decapitate or garrotte if they were still alive, OR sometimes they’d just light a fire below.
St. Catherine of Alexandria (Patron of philosophers, preachers and students, particularly women) was sentenced to death this way after refusing to relinquish her Christian god and is now sometimes depicted with a wheel
and this created several Dullahans, of all genders, races, and social classes
Larry was offered a drink to help calm his nerves but this drunk cut off his head mid-sentence
though when he came around his head was back as it belonged but his horse was stolen by the Dullahans
Arts & Crafts
Use a human spine (extracted from a corpse) as a whip
in Croker’s tale “The Harvest Dinner” the Dullahan lashes the horses so furiously he almost blinded a witness just being near the crack
Also plays a part in one of Croker’s other poems “The Death Coach” but that’ll have to wait for another day
· golden objects can force the Dullahan to disappear
AKA Crum Dubh, Dark Crom
meaning “dark cooked one”
said to be lord of the Dullahan
12th century Irish figure based on the god Crom Cruach [kru-ach]
Crom Cruach was a pre-Chrisitan pagan deity who according to Christian writers had their worship ended by Saint Patrick
one legend says Crom Dubh’s soul was apparently saved by a Saint Patrick and a host of angels from demons
another suggest that he was a wood gather for a Saint Patrick
The Supernatural Revamped: From Timeworn Legends to Twenty-First-Century Chic informs us that Dullahan has come to be the a common name for all headless warriors, specifically in Japanese culture and has lost its ties to original Irish folklore
Sir Gawain & The Green Knight story & recent movie (art)
The Adventures of Icahbod & Mr. Toad (1949) has a short called The Legend of Sleepy Hollow narrated by Bing Crosby
Abraham Van Brunt AKA Horseman of Death - 2013 Sleepy Hollow TV Show played by Jeremy Owens
1975 Kolchack: The Night Stalker S1 E15 - Chopper features a headless motor bike rider who wields a sword and attempts to track down a rival gang over bikers that beheaded him - whole eps are not available to stream on the NBC website, link in the reading list on the website
Video Games: AC, Skyrim, Castlevania Rondo of blood & WoW
Sleepy Hollow (1999) w/ Johnny Depp & Christina Ricci & lots, lots more but has Christopher Walken as the Hessian Horseman & many many more that begin to risk getting into Jack’O’Lantern territory