Myth and Folklore Wiki

A Red Cap or Redcap (also known as a powrie or dunter) is a type of malevolent murderous dwarf in English and Scottish Folklore.

They are said to inhabit ruined castles found along the border between England and Scotland.

Myths & Legends[]

Redcaps are said to murder travellers who stray into their homes and dye their hats with their victims' blood (from which they get their name).

Redcaps must kill regularly, for if the blood staining their hats dries out, they die. Redcaps are very fast in spite of the heavy iron pikes they wield and the iron-shod boots they wear. Outrunning a redcap is supposedly impossible.


Redcap is depicted as "a short, thickset old man with long prominent teeth, skinny fingers armed with talons like eagles, large eyes of a fiery red colour, grisly hair streaming down his shoulders, iron boots, a pikestaff in his left hand, and a red cap on his head".

Grantully Castle[]

There is a tale of one in Perthshire which is more benign; living in a room in Grantully Castle, he bestows good fortune on those who see or hear him.

Dutch Variation[]

The Kabouter, or redcaps of Dutch folklore, are very different, and more akin to brownies.