The Church Grim
A sacrificial animal buried alive beside the foundation stone or under the alter of a new Christian church, one of many Pagan traditions carried on by Christians. Often or perhaps always the animals are sacrificed to the Old Gods rather than to the Christian God.
Different animals serve different purposes, for example a lamb ensures that the church will not be torn down and a black dog acts as a guardian for the dead protecting them from the Devil and other demons that would harm them.
The spirits of the these sacrificial animals may be seen within the church, on the grounds, in the cemetery, at funerals, or even some distance away, and they are most likely to be seen when the weather is dark and stormy.
Viewing a Church grim signals a great change or an important event, usually but not necessarily unfavorable. In the shape of a black dog it may signal a death. A little lamb with only three legs, a Church Lamb, signals the death of a child. For the minister of the church viewing the grim is common and signals nothing.
They like the sound of church bells and often cause them to ring, they ring them during funerals to signal that the soul is departing, and they ring them at midnight to signal that a death will soon occur.
May be related to the Kirkonwaki, or Church Folk of Finland, which are tiny misshapen beings that live under church alters. Christian woman are able to ease the labor of Kirkonwaki females by laying their hands upon them, for performing this service they receive a gift of gold or silver.
Also known as Kirkegrim, Kirk-grim, and Kyrkogrim.
See Also: Creatures by Type » Harbingers
Craigie, William Alexander. Scandinavian Folk-lore. London: Alexander Gardner, 1896.
Grimm, Jacob & Stallybrass, James Steven. Teutonic Mythology. London: George Bell & Sons, 1883.
Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins. New York: Norton, 1998.