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Freaky Friday: Dullahan the Irish Headless Horseman

Most of us are familiar with the headless horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but Ireland has their own headless horseman in folklore the Dullahan.

I included the Dullahan in the first book of The Kelly Society as a challenge for Vivien Kelly's psychic student Shawn. And what a challenge it was! If a human looks into the eyes of the Dullahan they will die, but strangely the Dullahan is afraid of gold.

Here is part of that scene:

Bay of Darkness

A smoky haze gathered in the center of the mirror. Thudding hooves of a galloping horse reverberated around the room. Squinting hard, she could just glimpse a black horse and rider—only the rider held his head under one arm. The flesh looked like moldy cheese, and the mouth held a hideous grin, but the eyes remained closed.

Vivien raced through the living room, and found Andy on the floor.

He shot up. “It’s got Shawn!”

“Don’t look in his eyes! Can you hear me? Nod your head if you can!” Vivien screamed, leaning into the bedroom as far as possible.

The Dullahan’s eyes began to open.

Quickly, Shawn looked away and nodded.

“Don’t give in to fear. I’m going to get you out of there!” Turning back, she grabbed John’s arm. “Give me your gold ring.”


“Give me your gold ring!”

He shoved his ring into Vivien’s palm. “Oh my God! It is him?”

“Yes, it’s the Dullahan. If Shawn looks in his eyes, she’s dead.”

Page 204-205

Have a great weekend and keep your head on!

S.K. Andrews

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