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This section contains information about phenomena that are generally believed to have a supernatural, mystical nature, and the very existence of which is currently in doubt.Phenomena Hierarchy

Wild hunting

Added Mon, 15/01/2024
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United Kingdom
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A group of ghostly hunter riders with a pack of dogs.

In Norse mythology, a group of ghostly hunter riders with a pack of dogs.

In the Middle Ages, the myth of Wild Hunting was spread mainly in Germany. In a later period, the myth of Wild Hunting was also recorded in Ireland, Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Echoes of the legend were recorded in England in the 1950s. It is believed that the myth spread "in the footsteps" of Christianity, although most researchers agree that the myth of Wild Hunting has a pre-Christian origin, and the figure of the leader of the Hunt is directly or indirectly the image of a pagan deity.

A wild hunt is a group of ghosts or supernatural creatures that have gone out on a hunting run. Hunters, according to different versions, can be either elves, fairies, or the dead, and the leader of the hunt is often a named figure associated with Odin, or one or another legendary or historical figure.

According to the Scandinavian version of the legend, God Alone with his retinue rushes around the earth, collecting the souls of people. If anyone meets them, they will end up in another world, and if they speak, they may die. In Britain, where the myth of Wild Hunting was also widespread, there is a version that the hunt is led by the king or queen of the elves. According to British legends, they could kidnap children and young people who met, who became servants of the elves. Later, the myth was modified, and the belief began to assert that they could only kidnap an unbaptized person.

Ghosts, according to some versions of the legend, punish the vicious and lazy. If you leave food in front of the doors, the ghosts will eat it, but the food will reappear before the cavalcade of spirits moves on. It was believed that the unbaptized dead, especially children, became fun for Wild Hunting dogs that drove them to hell.

  • In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the retinue of the Wild Hunt included witches and they were led by Hecate, the goddess of the dark side of the moon, patronizing witches.
  • The documents of the XII century indicate that the number of riders is 20-30 and that they are riding black deer, or black horses, with scary black dogs.
  • According to other sources, the Wild Hunt is led by Francis Drake, who was seen accompanied by headless dogs and demons in the open spaces from Tewistock to Plymouth. The ghost of the national English hero was in a carriage or on a hearse.
  • In the Cornish version of the legend, the Wild Hunt is a pack of dogs of the Devil's Dandy.
  • The American version of Wild Hunting is considered to be the cowboy legend of Ghost Riders, described in the song Riders in the Sky.

It was assumed that the vision of Wild Hunting foreshadowed some kind of catastrophe, such as war or plague, or, at best, "just" the death of someone who witnessed it. People meeting the Hunt can also be abducted to the underworld or to the fairy kingdom. In some cases, it was also believed that the spirits of people could be taken away during sleep to join the cavalcade of Wild Hunting. That's what they said about those who died in their sleep.

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