Pookas are vague, evil Irish spirits. They usually appear as wild, dark horses with yellow eyes and chains. They are known to harm travellers. They will also damage farms--if a farmer wakes in the morning to find his fences broken, his crops trampled, and his livestock frightened, his hens eggless and his cows to scared to give milk, he knows he has been visited by a pooka. They can also appear in the form of small goblins. Many Irish farmers leave a portion of their crops in the field to placate pookas.

Now, if you have seen the movie Harvey, you are probably thinking "Wait a minute, pookas are 6-foot tall white rabbits who are invisible but very nice!" Well, when I began my research, I was just as shocked as you to find the above definition. I'm working on sorting this out--I have found about five different descriptions of pookas on the internet (see the links below to find some of them), but the definition I gave above is the only one that seems to be backed up by traditional folklore. I'm still doing research to find out why there are so many vastly different stories--hopefully I'll have it all cleared up soon.


Hopefully I can find some pooka stories soon--there is a good one about how Brian Boru tamed a pooka, but I need to find a source for it.


Kneightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Avenel Books, 1978.

A Field Guide to Irish Fairies

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The Dream Burrow

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