Once more from the obscurity of my strange mind comes a weird (yet informative) article on a creature which most people probably think doesn’t exist. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Galwegian Haggis Wraith either? Well you’re in the right place for an enthralling crash course education! Written on the 31st January 2017.
“The Galwegian Haggis Wraith“
In Galwegian folklore (not to be confused with Glaswegian folklore), a haggis wraith is a supernatural entity that appears as a deformed and/or ferocious-looking lump of fur. Haggis wraiths are the ancestral spirits of long dead haggises, and are regularly seen flying around graveyards, forests and beaches at night in a whirlwind of pure, undiluted Scottishness. The fact that they fly at all is quite interesting, as living haggises and their forefathers (such as the woolly haggis, sabre-toothed haggis and iron age hamster) were never capable of flight. The earliest cave paintings depicting their ancestors reveal that the closest they ever got to air propulsion was when Galwegian cavemen threw them at each other in lieu of snowballs. It is believed that their new-found ability to whiz through the air like hairy frisbees is due to either as-yet discovered paranormal reasoning, or possibly the ignition of methane from their characteristically long, drawn out expulsions of wind.
Haggis wraiths are usually described as “hairier than sin” (according to Hangman’s Bestiary, the authoritative scholarly text on wonderful creatures that may or may not have existed). Their hue can range from the most vibrant of ginger to the inkiest of black and includes many shades of grey, white and the occasional patterned variant, much like the common household cat. It has four legs, though they are so tiny they could be considered inverted and are therefore not worth considering at all. From a distance they could be mistaken for large, mouldy sausages or black puddings which have been left outside in the rain too long, and from up close they are regularly mistaken for dishevelled hedgehogs that got into a fight with a bag of wool.
The creatures are known across Galloway for being supremely ferocious and many herds of the famed belted Galloway cattle have been reduced to mere bones by their ilk. They also have a propensity to gnaw at the ankles of fishermen if they fall asleep at the rod after dusk. In 1678 such an incident occurred to attest to their ferocity that the creature was subsequently placed on the National Register of Heathenish Entities, that being when the entire population of the village of Broadstone was wiped out by an infestation of haggis wraiths when a local clergyman discovered a nest in the church’s bell tower and poked it with a bible.
The haggis wraith is an exceptionally patriotic creature of legend, and as such will only yield in its attack (especially if it is swarming with other members of its hive) if the person or animal being set upon cries for leniency in a decidedly Galloway-Irish accent. This behaviour goes some way to explain why infinitely more foreign people die of haggis wraith attacks in the region than locals. Currently, the ratio stands at ten to one, with only one Galwegian dying from an attack for every ten outsiders that fall victim to their infamous rage. According to Archibald McLean’s Scots Folklore Bible, haggis wraiths sometimes carry a rare strain of malaria. Though this is merely conjecture (allegedly an attempt to keep highlanders out of the lowlands), a lot of people believe it to be fact and as such the Tourist Information Board of Scotland has had to inject huge resources into an awareness campaign to inform potential visitors that malaria in Scotland died out with the kelp bears in the late seventeenth century.
Ebenezer Hangman identifies haggis wraiths as “one of the most memorable and distinctive figures in Scottish folklore that look like hairy, spectral sausages”, and observes that they are “strikingly fluffy” and often exhibit “borderline genocidal tendencies”. Hangman also speculated that if provoked enough, a haggis wraith is capable of spontaneous combustion as a last resort defence mechanism, though as yet no fatalities have been recorded regarding this extreme behaviour. Despite this, it must be noted that a farm near Leswalt was once blown up by something that the insurance policy holder insisted was a free-floating haggis of indeterminate origin and disposition.
The haggis wraith’s influence stretches far and wide. Romanticised depictions of it have appeared in many novels and poems, with the first reference to it in literature occurring in 1412 in John J. Harg’s Horror of Clayhole. In this groundbreaking historical novel, Harg mentions the haggis wraith many times and makes note of it being both the “scourge of the Rhins” and the “matted beastie of St. John’s Chapel”. The haggis wraith has also been portrayed in other forms of media, most notably in Touching Cloth Pictures’ 1972 film noir classic, The Teased Bishop.
In summation, the haggis wraith of legend is an entity to be both feared and respected. If the tales are to be believed then it is the cause of more than thirty thousand untimely deaths, the wiping out of eleven villages and the destruction of more farmland and forests than the bubonic porridge louse during the Lowlands Renaissance. A creature of almost stoic mysticism, it will remain an icon of Scottish lore for as long as there are tartan tongues to speak of it, dancing and flitting in the evening gloaming between the ancient tombstones and pines of the majestic Galloway hills.