17 Facts About The Nuckelavee, The Creepiest ‘Animal’ You’ve Never Heard Of

A Nuckelavee is the worst of all demons on Scotland’s Northern Isles. It’s disfigured half human, half horse body is feared. It is considered a malevolent being who kills crops and livestock with its breath.

[*] A Nuckelavee is a demonic sea creature in Scottish and Norse mythology. It is described as looking like a horse with a human rider fused to it. The “human” arms are so long they can reach the ground. It’s head is three feet around and it has sometimes been reported to have two heads. There is another head on the “horse” area of the body which a very large mouth and one large eye.

[*] The Nuckelavee has no skin. Black blood is visible circulating through it’s veins.

[*] The Nuckelavee takes a different form when it is in the sea, but no surviving tales account for what that form looks like.

[*] Of all the folklore and urban legends of Scotland’s Northern Isles, the Nuckelavee is considered the very worst of all creatures.

[*] The prefix “nuck” may be derived from the word for the devil. The name as a whole means “devil of the sea”.

James Torrance

[*] The reason people fear the Nuckelavee (besides its horrific appearance) is that its breath will wilt and destroy crops and kill or cause illness to cattle. When it appears on land it causes destruction, even being responsible for droughts, crop failures, and epidemics.

[*] Because it is a sea creature, the only known way to escape from a Nuckelavee is to cross or enter into a body of fresh water, which the animal is unable to tolerate.

[*] Also because of it’s inability to tolerate freshwater, a Nuckelavee is confined to the sea when it is raining.

[*] The Nuckelavee is often compared to it’s freshwater equivalent, the Kelpie — the the Kelpie is shape-shifting so it can look like anything.

A Kelpie, by Herbert James Draper

[*] Both the Kelpie and the Nuckelavee are malevolent, possibly Satanic.

[*] The Nuckelavee is considered so demonic that early inhabitants of Scotland’s Northern Isles would not even say the word “Nuckelavee” without immediately following it with a prayer.

[*] One thing that is known to anger the Nuckelavee is the smell of burning seaweed, which was a practice done to create fertilizer for crops.

[*] There are no “good” qualities attributed to the Nuckelavee.

[*] One reason stories about the Nuckelavee persisted, is because it helped primative humans understand the “cause” of misfortune like crop failures or accidents at sea, especially in the treacherous areas where the stories originated:

Nuckelavee habitat, by Colin Park

[*] Are Nuckelavee real? No. They are a product of Orcadian and Norse mythology and are not considered real. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

If I could have any super power I would be able to talk to animals.

Keep up with Chrissy on Instagram