NightMARE? - Page 2

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        04-17-2013, 12:28 PM
    My guess is, whoever came up with the word owned a mare lol :P
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        04-17-2013, 12:45 PM
    The word was used in writing before 1300, and probably orally much earlier. "Mare" has nothing to do with a female horse, but goes back to an old word that exists in many languages related to the precursor of German, and which was a word for an evil demon which might visit you in your dreams.

    It was once spelled several different ways, but once the spelling settled on "mare", people started to visualize something to do with a horse, and "riding the night mare" came out of this. The process of people imagining a word origin that is not actually correct is called "folk etymology", and is quite common.
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        04-17-2013, 01:29 PM
    This is the definition that I've always known it by.

    Also known as: Night-Mares, Mara, Mera, Mares, Crushers, Drudes, Mare-Demons, Hagges, Haints, Entities, Mallt y Nos, Night-Fiends, Cauchemar, Night-Elves.
    Sometimes people who suffered from wasting diseases such as Tuberculosis Consumption were said to look ‘Haggard’ or ‘Hag-Ridden’. This refers to the belief that, as they slept, a Night-Hag had entered their bedchambers and either sat upon their chests crushing them (but not to the point of fatality) and perhaps sucked away at their breath, or their vitality, or alternatively had actually ridden their victims entirely into the air and sometimes over distance. Either way, their human victims were left exhausted and often diseased. The alternative name of Mara and its similar derivatives is said to have meant Crusher in Old-English, and it is from this word that the term Night-Mare originated - initially meaning not a bad dream but an actual external terror. The term Hag-Riding has also been applied when horses who had been left resting have been found to be exhausted and covered in sweat in the morning. Again it was considered that the Night-Hags had been riding the horses around in circles to the point of collapse during the hours of darkness. In some locations it was thought that these fiends on horseback delivered bad dreams to households, thus giving an additional meaning to Night-Mare. An alternatively used term to Hag-Riding is to be Owl-Blasted, which refers to the belief that Night-hags would sometimes take the form of these nocturnal birds.

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