R is for Redcap

R is for Redcap

No, it’s not a baseball team 🙂


“A Redap or Red Cap, also known as a powrie or dunter, is a type of malevolent murderous dwarfgoblinelf or fairy found in English and Scottish Folklore. They are said to inhabit ruined castles found along the border between England and Scotland. Redcaps are said to murder travellers who stray into their homes and dye their hats with their victims’ blood (from which they get their name).[1] Redcaps must kill regularly, for if the blood staining their hats dries out, they die. Redcaps are very fast in spite of the heavy iron pikes they wield and the iron-shod boots they wear. Outrunning a redcap is supposedly impossible.

They are depicted as sturdy old men with red eyes, taloned hands, and large teeth, wearing a red cap and bearing a pikestaff in the left hand.[2]

The tale of one in Perthshire has him as more benign; living in a room in Grantully Castle, he bestows good fortune on those who see or hear him.[2]

The Kabouter, or redcaps of Dutch folklore, are very different, and more akin to brownies.[2]“3

If you see a Redcap, I guess you could offer it red food dye – that stuff doesn’t come out of anything. Ask anyone who has used food coloring for Halloween in their hair.


  1.  Briggs, Katherine M. (1967). The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature. London: University of Chicago Press. p. 57. OCLC 712523.
  2.  Briggs, Katherine M. (1976). A Dictionary of Fairies. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin. p. 339. ISBN 0-14-004753-0.
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redcap

Image: Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/pin/423619908671669803/

4 responses to “R is for Redcap”

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