Pwwca (pronounced roughly as "Phooka" or "Pooka") is a Celtic spirit or shapechanging faerie. It was best known for taking the form of a horse and then bring its rider to death by running over a cliff (and then changing into a bird) or into water (which makes it similar to the kelpie). It's from this word that Shakespear came up with the name "Puck" from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." (It's also from this name that I got my dog's name. What better name for a dog than a creature that lures travellers to their deaths.) It's also known as being a 6' tall rabbit from the movie, play, and book "Harvey."

There were other spirits called bwca. (I've also seen bwwca, so I'm not sure which is more correct.) The bwca were less mischievious, more helpful, so it is possible that they were an entirely different creature. These spirits later became known as "brownies" and were the basis of the childrens story "The Elves and the Shoemaker." But, the similarity in names is most likely not a coincidence. Many stories had these mischievious pooka suddenly playing similar roles to the otherwise helpful bwca.

Some say the foundations for the legends of the pooka and bwca came from a central European god named "Boga," which was a nature god (similar to the god Pan). From his name we also get Bog and boogie man. The Slavic word "Bog" actually meant "Almighty," and I've seen some places say that's where we derived the English word "God" in the first place.

The Ooolong Man tells me that Pooka/Pwwca is also a where we derive the word "pixie."

The Irish 'Boogie Man'

The "phooka" (singular form and plural) were phantoms which were believed to cause injury to or carry off belated travellers, wayward children and other unlucky citizens. The myth of this particular phantom was active in Southern Ireland up to as recently as the late 19th century.

The Irish phooka would most often take the shape of a horse, which would then induce children or lost travellers to mount him. After sucessfully luring his prey, the phooka would then dart off into the horizon, or plunge over a precipice, dissipating during the fall causing great injury to the unlucky passenger alone.

The phooka were very numerous in times long ago. The peasantry of Southern Ireland would usually ascribe accidental falls and late guests to the agency of the phooka. Often otherwise innocent dark coloured horses riding at dusk near a small hamlet or village would be chased after by the locals, as to warn the phooka that the villagers would not be fooled by the its evil overtures.

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