THE WILD HUNT
Also known as the Furious Horde, the Devil's Hunt, WŁtischend Heer, Chasse Artu, Wilde Jagd, and the Mesnie Sauvage, the Wild Hunt was a frightening flight of witches, demons, and the souls of the prematurely dead. This group would pass through the air and the streets at night while inhabitants barricaded their doors for protection. To be caught by the Wild Hunt was to become part of the Hunt. A plethora of gods and goddesses were believed to lead the Hunt. These include: Diana, Harlequin, Satan, Herne the Hunter, Odin, Woden and others.
My favorite story of the Wild Hunt was that of the Host or the Sluagh (sloo-ah). Some say they are fallen angels. Others claim that they are the Unforgiven Dead, unable to continue to the Spirit World for their sins or the sins committed upon them. I prefer to think that they are of the Unseelie Court of the Fey. Among the Host are the stuff of nightmares and whispers, but also the darker faeries and the great god Cernunnos, who later became Herne.
The Wild Hunt is usually proceeded by the sound of the Hunt, baying, barking, the horns of the hunt. Then the riders would appear, thundering on the very air, a host of strange spirits following after. It most often travels in the midnight hour and it searches for anything that is unfortunate enough to be in its path. Most often it is said that the Hunt goes after evildoers, or that those caught in the path were brought to the land of the Death. but there are some that say that it was a form of faerie raid where the Unseelie Court took unsuspecting mortals to become part of their own world.
Those who see the Wild Hunt are in danger, not of just becoming part of the Hunt or captured by it, but they are also in grave danger. Not only was it bad luck, but some say that it caused madness even death.