Ghosts And Spirits
Descriptions of ghosts and spirits throughout the world.

Ghosts And Spirits Index






They are short, usually bearded and appear to be very old.  Their aged appearance seems to be caused by the fact that they reach maturity at age three.  They exist mainly in the mountains of Scandinavia and in mines in Germany.  They are sensitive about showing their feet since they are usually deformed in some way.  If you are curious of their feet, the only way to get an idea is to put flour, ash, or something of that sort in their path and to look at their footprints.  Dwarves can't be above ground during the day since sunlight turns them to stone.  Some say they exist as toads during the day and assume their familiar dwarfish form at night.

The Finns only believe in a branch of this class of little folk, who seem to be, like Gnomes, spirits of the earth. The main difference between them is that while gnomes have no obvious physical defects, dwarfs have twisted bodies, big heads and gnarled faces. Although they usually live underground, they may emerge to the surface for special occasions. If they choose to celebrate these in men's homes, then the householder and his family are always welcome to join in the festivities, and a rejection of one of their invitations will be taken as an insult and will bring ill fortune upon the family. Dwarfs are particularly skilful at mining, metallurgy and metalworking. They will sometimes trade their crafts for human goods, or help miners locate ore, and have a strong ability to foretell the future, although they do not usually use this to help mankind. In Finland, they sometimes invite mortals to their magnificent underground kingdom, where they are sumptuously entertained and given plenty of brandy, tobacco, and suchlike things.

There is a branch of the dwarf family that lives on the Isle of Rügen, and it is divided into the White, the Brown and the Black dwarfs. White dwarfs are delicate and beautiful, and have innocent and gentle dispositions. During winter, they stay in their homes in the hills making works of gold and silver too delicate for mortals to discern, although they remain above ground for the rest of the year, in the sunshine and starlight enjoying uninterrupted revelry. Sometimes they just sit and gaze at budding or blossoming, plants, sometimes they dance to sweet and delicate music in the grass, the hills, the brooks and the springs, bewildering travelers unable to see them. When humans can see them, they are usually in the forms of parti colored birds, butterflies, or snow white doves. Brown dwarfs, less than eighteen inches high, wear little brown coats, jackets and caps, their caps with a silver bell on the top. Their shoes are black with red strings, although they wear glass ones to dance. They are very handsome, with clear, light colored eyes and small, beautiful hands and feet, and are cheerful and good natured, though at times roguish. They are also skilful with gold and silver. At night, they may come out and dance by the light of the moon and stars, and may come into houses, invisible (except to others wearing similar caps) and shifting their shape to slip through the keyholes. They may leave presents behind for the children, but have a habit of capturing children in their cradles and forcing them to work for them for fifty years. They may also plague lazy servants with nightmares, biting them like fleas and scratching and tearing at them like cats or dogs. They also frighten people at night in the shapes of owls, thieves or their lovers, and will lead them astray in bogs and marshes, sometimes even leading them to the people they are running from. The black dwarves are ugly with weeping eyes, and wear black jackets and caps. They excel at working steel, which they shape into swords and shields which they may sell to humans. Interested buyers should sit beneath an elder tree in the summer, as they often linger here. They are mischievous, malicious and unsociable, keeping mostly to their homes in the hills and never wandering far from them in the daytime. They have no music or dancing, only howling and whimpering, causing the strange noises in the forests that humans hear.