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What is a nuckelavee in Outlander?

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Jemmy says that he’s feeding the nuckelavee in Outlander. What is this creature, and what’s really going on?

Caution: This post includes spoilers from Outlander Season 7, Episode 4.

When Brianna realizes that a lot of food is missing, she turns to Roger and the children. Jemmy shares that there’s a nuckelavee that he’s been feeding. He admitted that the pixie story was false—he broke the clock radio to see how it worked—but this nuckelavee is real.

Roger’s face dropped a little when he heard that. He thought about all the legends that Jemmy would likely hear from others in the local area. The story of the nuckelavee doesn’t make a lot of sense. Bree hadn’t even ever heard of the creature.

So, what is it, and what’s really going on around Lallybroch?

What is a nuckelavee?

The nuckelavee is one of the “nastiest” demos from the Northern Isles of Scotland. It was a horse-like demon that brought wilted crops and made livestock sick. This was believed to be responsible for epidemics and droughts, even on land. It makes sense that it’s an island lore when you consider how close the islands would have been to the sea compared to somewhere like Lallybroch.

It isn’t supposed to like fresh water, so it can’t cross streams. Of course, if it’s supposed to be a sea creature, why does it need to eat biscuits (cookies!) and crisps (chips!)?

What’s going on in Outlander?

I think we can all agree that this isn’t a horse-like demon from the sea. However, Jemmy wouldn’t have heard the legend from any local kids. This isn’t something like pixies, which does make sense for the area. So, who has he heard it from? Who would want biscuits and crisps?

It’s clearly a person. We’ll leave you to figure out who that person is and whether they’re friend or foe. Of course, if you’ve read the books, you know.

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Outlander* airs Fridays on STARZ in the U.S. and on Sundays on the W Network in Canada.