According to the 1875 volume of The Origin and History of Irish Names and Places by historian Patrick Weston Joyce, the abhartach (or avartagh) is not to be taken lightly. This truly terrifying dwarf is a cruel tyrant whose magical powers allow him to rise from the grave and wreak havoc as an undead being. The only way to subdue his powers is to kill him, then bury him upside down!
In alternate iterations of the abhartach myth, this creature drinks the blood of his subjects. Some academics believe that this monster inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which in turn has influenced the modern-day concept of vampires.
Fear gorta literally means “man of hunger” in Irish. This supernatural being roams the earth in the form of an emaciated man during times of famine. He begs for food, and gives good fortune to those who help him.
Fear gorta can also refer to a weedy grass that, when stepped on, is believed to make men unnaturally hungry.
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