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[Ir. dubh, dark; cf. Ir. lucharachán, pigmy, puny creature; Ir. lachan, reed; ScG lachan, hearty laugh].

Headless phantom, on horseback or in horse-drawn coach, in Irish folklore. The dullahan rides a headless horse or may ride in a coach drawn by headless horses. His face is the colour and texture of mouldy cheese; his eyes make a bridge from ear to ear; his huge eyes dart like flies. But the dullahan can put on or take off this hideous head at will, or play ghoulish ball-games with it. His black horse has a head with flaming eyes and short-cropped ears that outdistances its body by six yards or more. His whip will flick out the eyes of those who watch him. Those opening their doors to hear the dullahan rumbling by will have basins of blood thrown in their faces. It is an omen of death to the houses where he pauses. Classed as a solitary fairy. See also ANGAU; ANKOU; DEATH COACH; FAR DOROCHA; GAN CEANN.

Subjects: Religion

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