Graveyard Shift These Celtic Spirits Steal Your Soul Before You Die, And Are So Evil They're Banned From Hell  

Hugh Landman
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Be careful when night falls – that's when the Sluagh come out. These Celtic soul-stealing spirits go out to hunt in various forms; maybe they'll appear as emaciated beasts, or perhaps they'll swarm like a flock of ravens. Whatever guise they adopt, they have one terrible purpose: to devour your soul.

True, these spirits are often said to target the weak, preying on those who are sick or dying. But the Sluagh also stalks the seemingly healthy. Nothing calls them quite like the pain of a sorrowful heart. How can you avoid their horrific clutches? Keep the windows and doors shut tight, and to stay inside after dark. Oh, and avoid saying their name.

You'll still find people who believe in the Sluagh myth today. According to folklore, in the days when witches and fairies walked the Earth, there were also evil phantoms who would steal the souls of man. Once the Celtic people converted to Christianity, the Sluagh adapted with the times. The fearsome demonic spirits became the souls of the dead, who were so evil that they were even rejected from Hell itself.

They Are Too Evil To Stay In Hell


They Are Too Evil To Stay In H... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Celtic Spirits Steal Your Soul Before You Die, And Are So Evil They're Banned From Hell
Photo: John Martin/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The lore of the Sluagh paints a portrait of an ancient Earth crawling with inhuman creatures. Demons, witches, and faeries lived alongside mortals. As for the Sluagh themselves, they were evil souls – souls so dark that they had been barred from Hell. They were cursed to wander as something not quite living, not quite dead.

They Take The Form Of Demonic Birds


They Take The Form Of Demonic ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Celtic Spirits Steal Your Soul Before You Die, And Are So Evil They're Banned From Hell
Photo: Ivan Bilibin/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The Sluagh's appearance is the stuff of nightmares. The spirits supposedly resemble gigantic black birds, but with leathery wings and disfigured legs. Even their smell is vile, like rotting flesh.

When the horrible creatures find their prey, they let out a bloodcurdling screech. It's the last thing their victims hear before their souls are ripped away.

They Steal The Souls Of The Dying


They Steal The Souls Of The Dy... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Celtic Spirits Steal Your Soul Before You Die, And Are So Evil They're Banned From Hell
Photo: Gustave Doré/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The Sluagh feasts on a particular prey: the souls of the dying. The creatures stalk people as they take their final breaths. Then, just as the unfortunate victim is about to perish, they suck their weakened soul and disappear.

As for the soul, it is doomed to fly forever within the dark flock of the Sluagh.

They Hunt In A Flock


They Hunt In A Flock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Celtic Spirits Steal Your Soul Before You Die, And Are So Evil They're Banned From Hell
Photo: spDuchamp/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

In Irish, "Sluagh" means "host." The name refers to how these creatures prefer to hunt: in a gigantic flock that blots out the sky. They overwhelm their prey with sheer numbers as well as deadly determination.