Origins of the Leprechaun
by Charles Spratley, Haunted OC
The Leprechaun, when we think of this playful spirit, we think of Darby O’ Gill and the Little People. Or perhaps we think of a box of Lucky Charms cereal. Or we may even be thinking of a horrible movie franchise that is so bad it’s good…almost. But the origins of these Fae are both ancient as well as mysterious.
First off, there are many different spellings for the creature used in Ireland as well as completely different variations on the name depending on the region. These names include luchorpán, Logheryman, Lurigadawne, Luricawne and Cluricawne. The one thing the sources all agree on is that he is a type of elf, roughly three feet tall in a jacket and knee breeches. Traditionally the jacket was red but over the years, the color of the jacket was portrayed as green. In some sources, they are shown wearing an Elizabethans styled ruffled collar. The clothing also changes slightly by the region.
The Leprechaun is complicated in nature and cannot be considered good nor completely evil. They are told too perhaps help a lost traveler or find a long-forgotten family item or lead the person astray. They are truly a trickster spirit in nature and simply cannot help themselves in the making of mischief. Most of his pranks though are harmless in nature but a Leprechaun with a mean streak in him are also told. Misfortunes, such as drownings and stolen children can be attributed to these small creatures. Rotten tricks played by these mischievous Fae has led to the ruin of both man and woman and sometimes even ends in their death. Known also for their hidden wealth, there are many stories of people trying to catch a Wee Folk, only to wind up a prisoner in a forgotten forest, left to rot in chains. The Leprechaun, like the Emerald Isle itself, has a story with many sides. Some are beautiful, some poetic, and some…just plain deadly.