A horde of evil spirits who are after the souls of people on their deathbeds. Sometimes they were seen as sinners, or generally evil people who were welcome in neither heaven nor hell, nor in the Pagan Otherworld, who had also been rejected by the Pagan deities and the earth itself. Whichever the underlying belief, they are almost always depicted as troublesome and destructive. They were seen to fly in groups like flocks of birds, coming from the west, and were known to try to enter the house of a dying person in an effort to carry the soul away with them. West-facing windows were sometimes kept closed to keep them out. Some consider the Sluagh to also carry with them the souls of innocent people who were kidnapped by these destructive spirits.
Origin in Ireland
In Irish folklore, Sluagh were the spirits of dead sinners; sometimes the spirits of Pagan ancestors; usually troublesome and destructive.
They flew in groups like flocks of birds, coming from the west, and tried to enter a house where someone is dying to take the soul away with them. West-facing windows were sometimes kept closed to keep them out.
The Sluagh are considered to be an Irish manifestation of the Wild Hunt.
Origin in Scotland
- In Scottish folklore the Sluagh were originally part of the Seelie Court, then they turned to sinners, and became a part of the malevolent Unseelie Court, doomed to fly across the skies at midnight to kidnap travelers out late at night.
The Sluagh , also known as the Fairy Host were said to fly West in order to catch the soul of a dying man before it was shriven. This is the reason why at the beginning of the Twentieth Century in Scotland people began to close windows and doors overlooking the west side.
- In the Legacy of Kain series of video games, Sluagh are a soul-devouring enemy encountered in the spectral/spirit realm.
- The Sluagh appear as a playable character race in the roleplaying game Changeling: The Dreaming.
- Bran and Sgeolan, Fionn Mac Cumhal’s hounds in Celtic lore;
- Cwn Annwn, or Hounds of Hell, and Annwn, their Underworld;
- Cusith, the fairy dog;
- Devil's Dandy Dogs, or Dando Dogs;
- Gabriel Hounds or Gabble Retchets
- Hounds of the Hills;
- Norse Wild Hunt;
- Wild Hunt;
- Wandering Jew