Madainn mhath my red berry kittens! Today, I have a very interesting topic to discuss with you!
Folklore, myths and legends.
When researching for two of my stories (Mudblood and The Outsiders), I found some very familiar creatures and objects. The Philosopher's Stone, a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals (lead, for example) into gold or silver, existed long before it appeared in the Harry Potter series. This is the main reason that I disagree with the title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone; as well as not being the original name, calling it this is almost like trying to re-write history. It was always the Philosopher's Stone and should always be the Philosopher's Stone.
You may recognize the name Basilisk? It was said to be - in legends - the kind of serpents and can cause death with a single glance.
You have, of course, heard of the Werewolf elsewhere - but have you heard of the others? The Brollachan, for instance, is Gaelic for shapless thing and is believed to be a creature of the night. This could perhaps be a Boggart. Also, there is The Black Angus - known as the Cu Sith (Faery Dog) in Scotland - a large black dog with yellow eyes that roams the Scottish moors, showing itself to those who will die in a fortnight. You will probably recognize this one as the Grim (or Sirius Black's animagus), for that is what it appears as in the Harry Potter series.
There are probably many more, but these are the most interesting that I have come across so far.
Selkies - a selkie (which is the Scottish word for seal) is a mythological shape-shifting creature that most commonly appears in Scottish and Irish folklore. A popular theory to the origin of the belief is that selkies were based on the occasional sightings around the Scottish cost of nomadic (migratory) Sami from North Norway, clad in sealskins and travelling in kayaks.
So by now, you're probably wondering what I have called you here for? Well, I need some help deciding! Here are some magical beings and substances that I would like to choose between;
These creatures are said to be able to become a human by shedding their seal skin, and can return to their original form by putting the skin back on. They are generally most likely to appear in tragic romances - for instance, a human will not know that their lover is a selkie and will wake to find them gone. Selkies can only make contact one human for a short period of time.
Selkies can be of both genders (male selkies supposedly being incredibly handsome in human form). If a fisherman takes a selkies skin, then a female will have to stay in human form forever and is forced into marriage with the stealer of her skins. If a female human wants to make contact with a male selkie, she must travel down to the shore and shed several tears into the water.
Ashrays - These faeries live in water. They are both male and female and have the appearance of a 20 year old human, but they are very ancient. They have whitish, almost translucent skin. They are most active at night and they cannot live on land. If they are touched by sunlight they melt into a rainbow pool of water.
They are very rarely seen today and if they are seen at all it is underwater. Their magical and ritual help is unknown and approach with caution if in their underwater world because their intent towards humans is unknown.
Baobhan Sith - Baobhan Sith (pronounced baa-van shee), meaning spirit-woman, are also known as "The White Women of the Scottish Highlands", are a type of Scottish vampire. One a year, they will rise from their grave and take the form of a beautiful woman in a green dress, often said to have deer hooves which they keep hidden underneath.
The Baobhan Sith will work in groups, luring their prey - in this case, you night travellers - into a secluded, natural area. They will ask the men to come and dance with them before drinking their blood. Unlike vampires however, they do not do so by piercing their neck with sharp fangs; they will draw blood by using their claw-like fingernails.
Like vampires, they cannot tolerate daylight.
Cait Sith - Cait Sith or Cait Sidhe (pronounced caught shee) is a Celtic mythological fairy creature. The word "cait" means cat in both Scots and Irish Gaelic, so naturally, this folklore being is a large black cat with a white spot on its breast. The Cait Sith is supposedly as big as a dog and haunts the highland region.
There a few different stories about the Cait Sith. Some say they were actually witches who could transform into a cat nine times (possibly where the nine lives myth came from) but on the nine transformation, they were forced to take the form of a cat forever. Others thought that if this cat passed over a corpse, then it would steal the soul of this dead body before the Gods could claim it.
Kelpies - The mythical kelpie is a supernatural water horse that was said to haunt Scotland’s lochs and lonely rivers. The kelpie would appear to victims as a lost dark grey or white pony but could be identified by its constantly dripping mane. It would entice people to ride on its back, before taking them down to a watery grave.
So, what do you think would be the best magical creature for a story? Any ones that you can think up? And yes, I know that these are all Scottish, but Hogwarts is in Scotland (yes! I have an excuse other than the fact that I myself am Scottish!)!