Mare (folklore)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A mare or nightmare is an evil spirit or goblin in Germanic folklore which rides on people's chests while they sleep, bringing on bad dreams (or "nightmares"). The mare is attested as early as in the Norse Ynglinga saga from the 13th century, but the belief itself is likely to be considerably older. As in English, the name appears in the word for "nightmare" in the Nordic languages (e.g. the Swedish word "mardröm" literally meaning mara-dream, the Norwegian word "mareritt" and the Danish "Mareridt", both meaning Mare-ride or the Icelandic word "martröð" meaning mara-dreaming repeatedly). The mare is often similar to the mythical creatures succubus and incubus, and was likely inspired by sleep paralysis.

It is famously depicted in The Nightmare by Fuseli.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mare (folklore)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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