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The Dullahan is a headless rider on a black horse carrying carries his own head under one arm. Usually, the Dullahan is male, but there are some female versions.

The mouth of the head has a rictus grin and the eyes move constantly. The Dullahan also has the power to see across the countryside even during the darkest nights. The flesh of the head is said to have the color and consistency of moldy cheese.

A spine is used as a whip and the Dullahan only stops riding when a person is due to die. The Dullahan calls out the doomed person’s name and at this point they immediately perish.

There is no way to bar access against the Dullahan with all locks and gates opening at the approach. Apparently, any who observe their work are doused in blood – marking them among the next to die. Occasionally, the spine whip is used to lash out their eyes. A piece of folklore says the Dullahan are frightened away by gold- no matter how small a brooch or pin.

After sunset on certain festivals and feast days, the Dullahan rides his magnificent black stallion across the country side. And wherever he stops, a mortal dies.

Unlike the Banshee, which is known to warn of an imminent death in certain families, the Dullahan does not come to warn. He is a harbinger of death and there is no defence against him – except perhaps, an object made of gold.

A story from Galway says that a man was walking his way home when he heard the sound of horse’s hooves pounding along the road behind him. He turned around to look and to see the Dullahan bearing down on him. He began to run but nothing can outrun the harbinger of death. The man remembered he might be able to outsmart the uncanny being. He dropped a gold coin in the middle of the road. High above him there was a loud road, and when he turned to look back at the road, the Dullahan was gone.