The Dullahan on its nightly run
The Dullahan (also Durahan, Gan Ceann) is a headless spirit that wanders around Ireland, often with its head tucked beneath its arm.
The Dullahan is headless, usually seen riding a headless black horse and carrying his head under one arm.
Sometimes he drives a black coach drawn by headless horses.
The Dullahan's face is the color and texture of molding cheese; his head has a large mouth and huge eyes that dart around like flies. And in some of the stories his horse has a head too. Its head is longer than its body by 6 yards and has flaming eyes and short ears.
The Dullahan knocks at doors of cottages, and if the door is opened then he hurls a bucket of blood into the poor resident's face. This is a portent of death.
In other legends he sides with the legendary ghost, the Banshee, and they drive a black cart (called the Coiste Bodhar) drawn by six black horses and whips them with his whip made of a human spinal cord .
Some people believe that the Dullahan is the embodied spirit of a celtic god, Crom Dubh, who demanded human sacrifices each year. The worship of Crom Dubh continued in Ireland until the sixth century, when Christian missionaries arrived from Scotland. But Crom Dubh still wanting souls became the Dullahan or far dorocha (Which translates into Dark Man.)
The myth may have inspired The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. When he stops riding, a mortal dies. The only fear it has is gold, which any lonely traveler at night would be wise to have to ward off him off.
W. J. Fitzpatrick, a famous storyteller claims to have seen a Dullahan. He recounts:
I seen the dullahan myself, stopping on the brow of the hill between Bryansford and Moneyscalp late one evening, just as the sun was setting. It was completely headless but it held up its own head in its hand and I heard it call out a name. I put my hand across my ears in case the name was my own, so I couldn't hear what it said. When I looked again, it was gone. But shortly afterwards, there was a bad car accident on that very hill and a young man was killed. It had been his name that the dullahan was calling.
- The Dullahan is portrayed in fantasy fiction and video games as a beheaded knight who carries his severed head under one arm while viciously attacking interlopers in the place that is haunted by the Dullahan. They also have some magic in their bodies, giving them magical swords or the ability to breathe fire from the severed head. Alternately, the Dullahan may be an animated suit of armor.
- A Dulahan is a character of the Brains Based anime producer "Durarara!!", she is called Selty Strulson and is a Dulahan who missed her head - the one she was carrying - and has gone to Japan to search for her head. There she lives in Ikebukuro (a famosu Tokyo district) with a unlicensed physician and work as a messenger of the "underworld". The character designer is Suzuhito Yasuda - creator of another sobrenatural anime/manga series "Yozakura Quartet".
- In the Castlevania series, the Dullahan is headless, carrying a demonic shield inscribed with a face which acts as its head, or, he is a headless horseman riding the front end of an undead horse back and forth, while wielding a sword or spear. He is also in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness as a boss near the end of the game. The name is frequently mistranslated to transliterations or corruptions such as "Dhuron" or "Durahan."
- In Golden Sun|Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Dullahan is an incredibly difficult optional boss, appearing as a headless knight with a rather large sword - generally considered the most difficult in the game - and guards a powerful summon.
- This mythological creature also appears as an enemy in Lufia 2, however in the English version its name got mistranslated into Jurahan.
- The Dullahan appears as a boss character in the videogame Shadowman: 2econd Coming. In the game, he is the alternate form of a demon named Farduroth, and appears as an enormous knight whose head detaches and flies above the arena.
- In Vagrant Story dullahan is a type of animated armor, always without a helmet, and appears mostly in the Undercity section of Vagrant Story|Lea Mondé after you defeat him in the Wine Cellars.
- In Ragnarok Online, Dullahans are heavily armored monsters who remove their heads to use as a weapon against players. They are fairly difficult and appear in the fields of Niflheim, as well as in the town itself.
- Dullahan is a mini-boss in the game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest atop Mt. Gale. He also appears in Final Fantasy VI as the boss in Daryl's Tomb.
- In Dragon Quest VIII, the Dullahans are like the ones in Castlevania. They appear as the enemies Dark Dullahan, Dullahan, and Hell's Gatekeeper.
- In Shining Force, sword-wielding creatures who serve once as a boss and afterwards as minions bearing the aforementioned resemblance also appear, but are more in purple color and fully centaur. They do not have obvious magical powers though they can put allies to sleep, poison them and carry the dreaded Doom Blade which can kill the foe instantly. Strangely they are absent from Shining force II.
- In the Monster Rancher series, there exists a monster named Durahan that's a hollow suit of armor specializing in strong attack and defense.
- The Dullahan is an enemy in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening. It is a hovering suit of armor whose only weak point is its backside.
- In Capcom's cult classic Gotcha Force, there are both Ghost Knights and an Elemental Knights that can be fought and/or used by players. Both of them are hollow, ghostly suits of armors (missing several pieces, so one can easily see that they're empty) that float around, and are completely without heads. The gigantic swords that they wield have their heads near the bottom of the blade and merged into the pommel.
- In the Squaresoft fighting game, Tobal No.1 for the Playstation 1, Dullahan appears as a possessed headless suit of armor in the game's dungeon mode. He has a very low life bar which allows the player to defeat him quickly but he also possesses a very high offense rate which also requires for the player to exercise caution when fighting him.
- Dullahan appears in several Final Fantasy games as a boss monster.
- In Disgaea Dullahans are the third level of the Dark Knight monster class.
- Charles Welsh. Irish Fairy and Folk Tales. In Irish Literature, ed by Justin McCarthy. Volume III, pg 19.