Happy (belated) St. Patrick's day! I wanted to get this done yesterday, but between dinner and watch parties and needing to go to bed at a reasonable time because of it being a work night...well. Ya know.
Today we are going to talk about...Leprechauns! I admittedly didn't know anything about leprechauns except that they liked gold, and apparently sugary cereal. However, since there are is a horror movie series that have leprechauns as its primary antagonist, I thought I'd do some research.
This is by no means an exhaustive essay - but rather an introduction to these jolly green....(non)giants. Most of my research was done via Wikipedia and references found there.
Their name comes from the word meaning "small body" (insert self-deprecating short joke here) and they actually belong in the "fairy world", living in trees or underground caves. They get their iconic pots of gold through the honest work of shoemaking. They also weren't originally known for wearing green, originally leprechauns were known to wear red. However, due to the general popularity of the color green throughout Ireland, these red wearing fae folk have evolved into the green wearing guys we know today. Also, according to legend...there are no female leprechauns! How do they multiply? Nobody knows.
Writer and amateur folklorist William Butler Yeats actually had quite a lot to say on the matter of the leprechauns. He was greatly influential in calling attention to the leprechaun in the late 19th century. One thing he stressed was that the leprechaun being solitary is one distinguishing characteristic, but also that the leprechaun is thought to engage in pranks. These pranks are only mischief level - not the more menacing acts of other Fae (like stealing children for example). Author David Russell McAnally claimed that the leprechaun is t he son of an evil spirit and is not wholly good nor wholly evil.
So leprechauns seem sort of...neutral. So why have they shown up in the horror sphere?
Well...I couldn't really find an answer. I know - not a satisfying answer.
Looking at the lore, it seemed like leprechauns, while tricksters, were mostly around to annoy rather than harm, and wouldn't bother you if you left them alone. But as with a lot of mythical tricksters - it doesn't take much of a leap to take them from their mostly innocent form to full on villain...or as much of a villain as you can have in a movie called Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood.
Have you seen any of the Leprechaun horror movies, or do you prefer your leprechauns in sugary cereal form? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,