- Wild Hunt
- A retinue of the ghostly restless dead, who ride through the sky on their phantom horses, accompanied by their spectral DEMON hounds (see BLACK DOGS), shrieking and making wild noises. The hounds and horses are black, with hideous eyes. The Wild Hunt is prominent in Celtic and Germanic folklore. The retinue flies through the skies on pagan holidays associated with evil by Christianity, such as Walpurgisnacht (Beltane, April 30–May 1) and Samhain (Halloween, October 31– November 2).There are different versions of the Wild Hunt. Witches join the phantoms, and the ghostly train is led by demonized pagan goddesses such as Diana, Holde, Herodias, Hecate, and Berchta. (See CHTHONIC DEITIES.) Diana’s night train punished the lazy and wicked but were generous on occasion: If a peasant left out food for them, they ate it and magically replenished it before they left. In Cornish lore, the Wild Hunt is led by Devil’s Dandy Dogs, who hunt the countryside for human souls. The Sluagh, or the Host of Celtic lore, is a band of the unforgiven dead of the Highland FAIRY folk.
Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. Rosemary Ellen Guiley. 2009.