Mythology Monday: Scottish Murder Horses


Today, I’ve decided to talk about one of Scotland’s more peculiar mythological beasts: horses that can kill you.

But Katie, I hear you say, can’t regular horses kill you, by kicking you in the head or whatnot? Well, yes, but that’s not really this critter’s MO. So sit back while I tell you about kelpies, also known as water horses.

Kelpies are shape-shifitng beasties that, as mentioned before, like to murder people. As their secondary name implies, they usually take the form of horses, but have also been known to turn into beautiful women to lure men to their deaths. I’m going to focus more on their horse form, though, since that’s the one that most people are familiar with.

Anyway, they like to hang out near rivers or other bodies of water, and wait for people to come up and try and ride them. As an aside, most of the people that end up trying to ride them are children, so there’s that. Once the person touches the kelpie, however, they very quickly find that they can’t untouch it, since it’s hide is ludicriously sticky. At this point, the kelpie drags their victim into the water, where they promptly drown and are eaten.

They aren’t invincible, though, and can be subdued if someone manages to get a halter with a cross etched into it on one. It can then be used to perform certain tasks, like any other horse. Once captured you can’t really let it go, though, since they hold grudges like no one’s business. One very unfortuante Scottish lord, the Laird of Morphies, found this out when a kelpie cursed him and ended his bloodline.

Kelpie aren’t very prevelant in popular culture that I’ve found, but if you’re a fan of Atlus’s Shin Megami Tensei or Persona games, you’ve probably seen the image I used to illustrate the concept. There’s also a breed of herding dog called the Autraslian kelpie, but these creatures are more likely to snuggle you than drown you.

1583093063880_australian kelpie

So remember kids: if you see a random horse on the banks of a nearby river, whatever you do, don’t try and ride it.


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