ⓘ Death Coach

Death Coach

ⓘ Death Coach

The death coach is part of the folklore of north western Europe. It is particularly strong in Ireland but is also found in British and American culture. In Irish folklore, it is known as the Coiste Bodhar Irish pronunciation, meaning deaf or silent coach, and it is said that the sight or sound of the coach is the harbinger of death. It warns of imminent death to either oneself or to a close relative. In Ireland in particular the Death Coach is seen as a signifier of the inevitability of death, as the belief goes once it has come to Earth it can never return empty. Thus, once the death of an individual has been decided by a greater power, mortals may do nothing to prevent it.

The driver of the Coiste Bodhar is said to be a headless horseman, called the Dullahan.

The Coiste Bodhar is mentioned by W. B. Yeats in his collection Folk tales of Ireland.

In Scottish folklore, a death coach is said to be seen at times on the Royal Mile of Edinburgh, where it collects the souls of the dead. Also in Scotland a "hell wain" can supposedly be seen in the night sky.

The Coiste Bodhar has been portrayed in the film Darby OGill and the Little People.

The Coiste Bodhar also appeared in Strange along with the Banshee who is able to summon the Coach.

The Coiste Bodhar has also been featured in the Japanese light novel series Durarara!!. It serves as the steed of the Dullahan Celty Sturluson and it can shapeshift into anything ranging from a headless horse to a motorcycle.

At the end of Stephen Kings novel Needful Things, the storys antagonist, shop owner Leland in some printings "Leeland" Gaunt, reveals himself to be a diabolical figure and departs the town of Castle Rock in an automobile that transforms into a death coach emblazoned with the motto Caveat emptor "May the buyer beware".

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