A Kelpie is a shape-shifting water spirit that lives in the lochs and pools of Scotland. While the shape is generally described as a Black Horse, it has also been known to shift into human form as well. The Kelpies inhabit rivers and streams, while the Each-Uisge of Ireland tends to inhabit seas and lakes.
Many a weary traveler has mounted the tame and welcoming pony, only to become fastened tight to its coat and dragged beneath the surface of the water never to be seen from again. It is said that the Kelpie then tears their victim apart and eats them leaving only the liver or entrails along the shores where they were taken from.
The Kelpie can be distinguished from other horses, by a quick look at its mane which will reveal dripping tendrils tangled with seaweed. The Kelpie’s tail, while entering the water, is said to sound like the clap of thunder, and that often an unearthly wailing or howling will warn of an impending storm. A Kelpie’s hooves are backward as compared to a regular horse and when they change into a human form their hooves remain. It is for this reason they are seen as a malefic entity, able to cause harm by supernatural means.
If a Kelpie is in human form, they will most likely to be male, and often described as rough or shaggy, although they have also been described as handsome young men. More than likely they show their best side when they are looking for a human mate, although I’m not quite sure how they handle working around the hooves for feet. Perhaps they are extremely charismatic and the ladies don’t look down, but there are only a few stories where a relationship with one of these creatures ends happily. There are mentions of Kelpies morphing into female form as well, described as a tall scowling woman dressed in green. Not sure with that description that any men will have to worry about getting caught up in her charms, but I suppose there is someone out there for everyone.
A Kelpie can be captured, but only by using a halter stamped with the sign of the cross, and it is said that they have the strength of ten horses. But if you ever lose control of the bridle, watch out! Kelpies have a wicked temper and have been known to put curses on the families that held them captive and had put them to work. Bottom line is, if you see a dripping wet horse near a stream or river, I don’t care how tired you are… keep walking. Better safe than horse food! And don’t date anyone with seaweed in their hair or hooves for feet, you may never be seen from again!
Happy Writing! XO
P.S. While researching this post, I came across the coolest thing! There is a Kelpie Sculpture in Falkirk and it looks amazing! I may or may not have just added this to my bucket list, and would love to hear if anyone has made the trip there and seen it in person! For anyone interested in checking it out, you can link to their site here: