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Ellylldan


A Welsh spirit similar to the English Will o' the Wisp, it appears as a light and misleads travellers from their path.

Along with black dogs, tales of fairy lights are common throughout Britain, with a different name given to a similar phenomena. In general they are seen as malevolent, guiding lone travellers into treacherous bogs.

The belief may arise from the natural production and combustion of methane in boggy areas.

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Ian Topham
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Re: Ellylldan

According to British Goblins (1881) by Wirt Sykes; 'The Ellylldan is a species of elf exactly corresponding to the English Will-o'-wisp, the Scandinavian Lyktgubhe, and the Breton Sand Yan y Tad. The Welsh word dan means fire; dan also means a lure; the compound word suggests a luring elf-fire. The Breton Sand Yan y Tad (St. John and Father) is a double ignis fatuus fairy, carrying at its finger-ends five lights, which spin round like a wheel. The negroes of the southern seaboard states of America invest this goblin with an exaggeration of the horrible peculiarly their own. They call it Jack-muh-lantern, and describe it as a hideous creature five feet in height, with goggle-eyes and huge mouth, its body covered with long hair, and which goes leaping and bounding through the air like a gigantic grasshopper. This frightful apparition is stronger than any man, and swifter than any horse, and compels its victims to follow it into the swamp, where it leaves them to die. Like all goblins of this class, the Ellylldan was, of course, seen dancing about in marshy grounds, into which it led the belated wanderer ; but, as a distinguished resident in Wales has wittily said, the poor elf is now starved to death, and his. breath is taken from him; his light is quenched for ever by the improving farmer, who has drained the bog; and, instead of the rank decaying vegetation of the autumn, where bitterns and snipes delighted to secrete themselves, crops of corn and potatoes are grown.'



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