The Church Grim
Kirk Grimm / Kyrkogrim (Swedish) / Kirkonväki (Finnish)
The church grim is a spirit with roots in Scandinavian and British folklore. The grim are helpful spirits that lurk about a church or graveyard. They are said to ringing the church bells when a soul has passed, or someone will soon die. If anyone besides the priest sees the grim, it is considered a portent of great change, but it does not always signal tragedy. The grim are most commonly associated with black dogs, but are sometimes described as other animals or pale-skinned ghosts.
The grim are tied to the practice of burying a live animal beneath the foundation stone of a new church. The first creature to die in the church or graveyard is said to roam eternally in the place where it died, and so animals were chosen instead of humans. This was a pagan tradition that carried over to Christianity. The choice of sacrificed animal has significance. A black dog was said to protect the dead, but other animals were sometimes used. A lamb, for example, would ensure the church would never be torn down.
- The Church Grim
- They Bite: Endless Cravings of Supernatural Predators
- Dogs in Myth and Folklore: The Grim
Related Creatures: hell hound, black dog
Region of Origin: Europe, Britain, Sweden, Finland
I’m noticing a theme here, do you? It seems that many of these creature legends are tied to religion, change over time, and as they spread regionally.