15 Facts About The Kelpie, Water Horses Who Can Shape-Shift Into Human Men

If you visit Scotland, watch out for the Kelpie.

The Kelpie, explained.

[*] Kelpies are also referred to as water kelpies because they live most of their lives in the water. The name originated in Scotland to describe the shape-shifting water spirit inhabiting the lochs, rivers, and streams in their land.

[*] Kelpies commonly appear looking like a powerful black horse, but they can also take on the form of a human. Sometimes those forms combine to create a human with hooves for feet, which is why people have compared Kelpies to the devil.

[*] Parents in Scotland tell their children horror stories about Kelpies in order to convince them to stay away from dangerous bodies of water. The stories also serve as a warning to teenage girls to be careful around handsome men that might be hiding something.

[*] Almost every body of water in Scotland has a story associated with Kelpies. However, the most reported sightings take place in Loch Ness, where many other mystical spirits and monsters like Nessie have been sighted.

[*] Although some people believe Kelpies are only looking for human companionship, most believe they lure their victims into the water, devour them, and then throw their entrails onto land for everyone to find. Whenever there is an unexplained drowning reported, they believe Kelpies are the culprit.

[*] Kelpies have the ability to shapeshift into human males (and very rarely, females). However, when they appear as humans, they are given away by the water weeds stuck in their hair.

[*] Kelpies can be captured by using a halter stamped with the sign of a cross. After one has been captured, its superhuman strength can be harnessed and used for tasks like transporting heavy materials.

[*] Some Kelpies have been seen wearing bridles and saddles when they take the form of horses. However, if someone tries to ride them, the Kelpies will run back toward the water to drown their riders.

[*] Kelpies can only be killed when shot with a silver bullet. After its death, it appears as a soft mass like a jelly-fish.

[*] When a Kelpie enters the water, the sound of its tail splashing resembles thunder.

[*] Kelpies are able to use their powers to summon a flood and sweep travelers away — or to drown humans beneath the waves.

[*] Kelpies have a mane that is always dripping wet, even when on land. When you touch it, or any other piece of a Kelpie, then your flesh will become stuck to theirs.

[*] The word Kelpie comes from the Scottish Gaelic words ‘cailpeach’ or ‘colpach’, which means heifer or colt.

[*] Folklorists who do not believe in the existence of Kelpies assume the stories originated because of human sacrifices that took place in the past to appease the gods of water.

[*] Even though most people believe Kelpies are evil monsters that should be avoided at all costs, there are some people who view Kelpies in a positive light. They believe the water horses actually save children from drowning. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

January Nelson

January Nelson

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.