Updated: Mar 10
My Fellow Cryptozoologists,
I was wandering along Scotland’s southern border in search of the ghost purported to be one of the sources of the Headless Horseman legend when I learned of the creature known as the Red Cap. Some folks believe every tower and castle in the region was assigned a redcap as a guardian, while others believe that the redcaps were born of bloodshed, and appeared after fighting began in the area. Either way, the small, iron-booted creatures have decidedly made the ruins their homes.
The redcap is typically described as a cross between a dwarf and a goblin and is often mistaken as such until their bloodthirsty nature comes to light. Resembling very short, stocky old men with lengthy beards, the redcap also possesses long teeth, red eyes, and extended fingers ending in talons. Recognizable by their heavy iron boots, long pikes, and signature blood-red hat, you might think they’d be easy to avoid. Unfortunately for their victims, redcaps are extremely dextrous and also prefer to launch their attacks in dark, enclosed spaces where they can ambush their prey. It is widely hypothesized that redcaps will die if their blood-covered hats ever completely dry out.
In my singular experience with them, I was extremely lucky to escape with my life. My guide, James, was not so lucky as I. We had stopped at a set of ruins for the evening, hoping to get a glimpse of the ghost for which we had been searching for weeks. The night was peaceful, but in the pre-dawn light, we took a walk along the battlements and finished with an exploration of the site.
As we were returning to camp, I heard a loud shout, and coming out of the ruined keep were two or three small men with bright red hats on their heads, brandishing spears and stomping about rather too quietly for my liking in what looked to be heavy iron boots. I grabbed my backpack and fled as if my life depended on it. As a longtime student of the magical and mythical, I know better than to stick around when a magical creature perceives you trespassing on their land. I ran the whole of the day until I reached a village and not once did I have the courage to look back.
It wasn’t until that evening in the local tavern that I asked the bartender if he’d ever seen such a thing and he told me all about the creature’s known as Red Caps.
I hope to God that I never set eyes on one of those again.
Dr. Clark Cook,
~Excerpt from Cook's Compendium Vol. XII
~Image Courtesy of Elti Meshau via Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/@elti-meshau-107925