Discover the Red Caps, goblins who dyed their hats in the blood of their victims, making them one of the most feared figures in Scottish folklore.
What are Red Caps?
Red Caps are a type of malevolent goblin found in Scottish folklore, known for their bloodthirsty nature and gruesome practice of dyeing their hats in the blood of their victims.
They are said to inhabit abandoned castles and towers along the English-Scottish border, particularly those that were the scenes of tyranny or wicked deeds, and are often depicted as short, thickset old elves with long teeth and talon-like fingers.
The Red Cap is also known as Powrie, and is said to be unaffected by human strength, pursuing their victims relentlessly until they are caught and killed.
The distinctive red hat of the Red Cap is often cited as a symbol of their malevolence, indicating their delight in causing pain and suffering.
The Red Cap is impervious to most forms of attack and can only be driven away by the brandishing of a crucifix or the reciting of scripture, which causes them to vanish in flames.
In some variations of the Red Cap myth, such as in Perthshire, they are depicted as more benign creatures that bestow good fortune on those who see or hear them, rather than as malevolent goblins.
In the Harry Potter series, Red Caps are mentioned in the book “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” where they are described as “extremely dangerous” goblins that reside in deserted places and feed on human flesh.
Some of the most famous stories about Red Caps involve travellers who stumble upon an abandoned tower or castle and are met with a Red Cap waiting for them inside.
Sir Robert Spottiswood and the Red Cap
One of the most famous stories about Red Caps involves a man named Sir Robert Spottiswood, who was travelling through the Scottish Borders when he came across an abandoned tower.
Inside the tower, he found a Red Cap waiting for him. Sir Robert managed to outsmart the Red Cap by offering it his cloak, which the creature proceeded to tear apart in its rage. Sir Robert was then able to escape while the Red Cap was distracted.