Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course: Lesson Fifteen – Nightmare Faeries

Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course

Lesson Fifteen

Nightmare Faeries


A Charm to Control the Night-Mare


S. George, S. George, our ladies knight,

He walkt by daie, so did he by night.

Untill such time as he her found,

He hir beat and he hir bound,

Untill hir troth she to him plight,

She would not come to him that night.


A nightmare is a dream of particular intensity and with content that the dreamer finds disturbing. They are usually associated with rapid eye movement (REM) periods of sleep, and may be accompanied by physical movements. Until as late as the eighteenth century, nightmares were widely considered to be the work of demons, which were thought to sit on the chests of sleepers. Various forms of magic and spiritual possession were also advanced as causes. A mareinduced bad dream is called a nightmare in English, martröð (mare-ride) in Anglo-Saxon and Icelandic, mareridt (mare-ride) in Danish, mareritt (mare-ride) in Norwegian, and Alpdruck (alp-pressure) or Alptraum (alp-dream) in German.

It is said that by stopping up the keyhole, and then placing one’s shoes with the toes facing the door, and then getting into bed backwards one can protect oneself against nightmares or “Mortriden” (mare rides).


Mortriden (Mare Ridden) – This is the Germanic term for nightmares and is thought to be caused by an evil elf sitting on the chest of one sleeping.

Old Hag: This is what the nightmare faery is called in Newfoundland. It is thought that when an Old Hag is about, it feels as if someone is pressing you down. If one does not awaken they pass in their sleep from the Old Hag. The term “I was hagged last night” refers to those who have had an encounter with the Old Hag.

Murraue – the Murraue is said to slip up on a sleeping body, from below. At first one feels her weight on their feet, then the stomach and lastly on the chest. It’s thought that if you say her name she will retreat for the night. This particular faery is known to cause temporary paralysis in a sleeper. One should be careful not to stand beneath a pine limb when it starts raining. For if the water from the tangled pine needles, drip on you, a Murraue will be visiting in the night. It is thought that Murraue can be either female or male and is generally someone who is born on a Sunday.

Polunocnica – Polunocnica (lady midnight) a “demon” said to torment children in the middle of the night. This is a Slavonic nightmare faery.

Rittmeije (Forced Ride) – On the island of Baltrum the male mare is called “wålrüder” and the female mare is called “rittmeije.” Baltrum is a German island.

Stendel – in the deep of the night the Toggeli seeks out his victims, sits on their chests and steals their breath away.

Toggeli – This type of nightmare faery is found in the Southern European countries.

Waldruder – This is the male version of the nightmare faery found on the German island of Baltrum. He presses on the chest of the one sleeping in order to induce nightmares.

Cauchemar – The Cauchemar is the French version of a nightmare faery that sits on the chest of one sleeping and rides them through their dreams.

Le Rudge-Pula – Le Rudge-Pula is a type of nightmare faery who enters and escapes through a keyhole in the bedroom.



1. The Murraue is said to slip up on a sleeping body, from _______.

2. Toggeli is a type of nightmare faery is found in the ________ European countries.

3. A mare-induced bad dream is called a nightmare in _________.

4. One can protect oneself against nightmares by placing one’s shoes with the toes facing the _____.

5. _________ is called “Lady Midnight”.

6. The Cauchemar is the _______ version of a nightmare faery.

7. The Stendel steals the ________ away



Whispering Woods Faery Lore course