Will O The Wisp Folklore - Fire Fairy and Ghost Lights

While for me, Will-o’-the-Wisp (Willo the Wisp) will always be the storyteller from the much loved eighties cartoon of the same name, featuring the fat fairy ‘Mavis Cruet’, and ‘Arthur’, the Caterpillar. Will-o’-the-Wisp, the paranormal creatures of folklore, are far more nefarious in their activities.

Believed to be native to Britain (though having also been reported in other countries) these flickering candle-like entities are believed to inhabit marshes, woodlands, bogs, and the like. And Will-o’-the-Wisp, like the seductive Mermaid of Maritime legend, use their enchanting lights to lead weary travellers away from the safety of well-worn paths, luring them into the dangers held within the dark.

Malevolent spirits, Will-o’-the-Wisp, (also sometimes known as, ‘Ignus Fatuus’ - foolish fire), are believed by some to be related to fairies, and pixies, due to their mischievous nature. While others believe the Will-o-the Wisp to be unhappy spirits of the dead - forced to forever walk the Earth in limbo, to pay for crimes committed while still alive.

Thought by some to be formed of methane gas, Will-o’-the-Wisp, while most well-known for their acts of drawing travellers to their deaths, also feature in tales in which they lead those who chance upon them to the locations of buried treasure, and other rewards. Making their behaviour a little harder to predict.

In Argentina the Phenomenon is known as ‘Luz Mala’ (or ‘Evil Light’), where it is believed that should the entity be white in color upon encounter, a prayer should be said for the lost soul. While if the Wisp is red in color, you should flee immediately, or die soon after. So, should you find yourself confronted by these mysterious beings while out wandering through forests, or marshes, late at night. Take the advice given by the Gollum, to Frodo, and Samwise, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic ‘Lord of the Rings’, and that was to ‘not follow the lights’, or forever ‘keep the dead company and have little candles of their own’.


  1. Where can I find Will o Wisp?? I want to catch him. :D

  2. The ones in Disney Brave look really cute! I wanted to know more about them, thanx. x