Thursday Myths & Legends 101: Redcap

Hermitage Castle: a castle with a bloody, violent history, rumored redcap stomping ground

Everyone has heard of haunted castles. Legend has it that places that old and wrought with history boast a ghost or two. But did you know that certain castle ruins near the English/Scottish border lay claim to a murderous (yes, you read that right, I said murderous) evil, little bugger they call a redcap?

Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, the castles have their very own nightwatchman, and this one does not take kindly to trespassers. In fact, it is said that they murder those who wander into the castles uninvited and then use their blood to dye their pretty little hats, hence the name, redcaps.

And though it might seem like these creatures are doing this out of some sort of loyalty or fondness for the building, the truth is that if they don’t kill, and their bloody hats dry, they die, and so killing is really paramount for their survival.

Interestingly enough, I found no specific creature/monster mentioned as a redcap, since the myths often depict it as a small magical creature, be it goblin or elf or fairy. It’s supernaturally fast and carries around iron weapons of choice. It isn’t meant to be pretty by any means, the way some fae can be, rather it’s got red eyes, large teeth, and taloned hands.

Its like my friend Holly says: “Don’t mess with the redcaps. Their caps are red for a reason.” I agree, Holly. Wholeheartedly.

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About Isabelle

Isabelle is a multi-published author who dabbles in 1950s romance, speculative science fiction, and more recently fantasy and YA. A twenty something dreamer who loves chocolate, romance novels, and heart wrenching movies, Isabelle is most comfortable on stage behind a microphone belting out her favorite karaoke tunes, or curled up in bed with a book and a cup of cocoa on a rainy night. View all posts by Isabelle

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