Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology

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(SHEE-lah na GIG)
Variations: An Chailleach Beara ("the OldWoman of Beara"), Black Annis, Clotha, Hag, Old Hag, Sheelagh na Gig, Sila na Gig
In the Celtic lore of Ireland, Sile na Gig wasa type of vampiric earth spirit or mother goddess from which all life came forth. Hideously ugly with an extended vulva, pot belly, twisted face, and withered breasts, her image was commonly found even after it was outlawed by the Church. It is possible that Sile na Gig was in fact originally a little-known Celtic goddess by the name of Clotha. She was the embodiment of battle and the weaver of soldiers' burial shrouds. The goddess had similar traits to the BANSHEE and washed bloody shrouds at the riverbank much like the WASHERWOMEN OF THE NIGHT.
Source: Barfoot, Ritual Remembering, 185; Mercier, Irish Comic Tradition, 54 ­55; O'Driscoll, Hidden Extras, 36 ­37

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