Resource: The Grey Man – possible story idea?

16 July, 2007 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Some very kind person (thanks so, so much, you’re great.) sent me the following as a little cheer-up because I had to cancel my Ireland-holidays.

Ireland

The little book is fantastic, and the illustration are amazing. Beside the mandatory chapters on leprechauns and banshees, there are many fairies listed that I’ve never heard of. Very interesting read, I can only recommend it!

Now, one of the chapters caught my attention, and I thought: hm. That could make for a good story.

Grey Man

“No other being in the Irish fairy world is more mysterious or sinister than the Grey Man. The origins are uncertain, but he is known by a variety of names. In the most westerly parts of Ireland, in Galway, Sligo and Kerry, he is known by the anglicised name of Old Boneless.

In Waterford and Wexford, he is regarded as little more than a hazy and ragged shadow, moving against the sun and trailing mist in his wake. In Kerry and Clare, he is a being of man-size proportions wrapped in a grey cloak made out of wreathing og which he continually swirls about him. In Antrim and Down, he is a cloudy, cowled giant, robed like a monk in misty garments and glimpsed far out at sea or above distant mountains.

Being a creature of mist and fog, the Grey Man sustains himself on the smoke from the chimney of houses. For this reason, he is one of the few fairies that will venture close to large towns or cities, where he can be just as troublesome as in the country or the scattered communities along the seashore. You know when he passes, for his cloak smells musty and unpleasant, heavy with the smell of woodsmoke and peat, and he leaves a cold, clammy air in his wake.

The Grey man delights in the loss of human life and may use his misty cloak to deadly effect. For example, he may obscure rocks along the coast so that passing ships will smash into them; or he may obscure a road so that a traveller becomes lost or plunges to his death over a dangerous precipice.

This fairy lacks the gift of speech and ignores the supplications of lost mariners and wayfarers. However, the phrase “God bless you!” appears to exert some power over him and may drive him away, at least for a while. A crucifix or holy medal, especially one which has been blessed by a bishop, may have a similar effect, but it should be remembered that such artefacts will not hold him at bay for very long. After this he will return, more virulent than ever.

This did not prevent mariners long ago from setting medals into the prows of their boats, or country folk from leaving crucifixes among their turf piles to ward away evil. These were common practices until quite recently in certain rural areas.”

This might be of special interest for those of you who write Irish!Gillette. 🙂
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Resource: late 18th/early 19th century medical services Resource: Captain Hugh "Seafoam" McDuck

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