Washerwomen of the Night

Washerwomen of the Night

Variation: Clotha, Kannerez-Noz, Les Lavandieres de la Nuit, Midnight Washerwomen

In England and France there is a type of vampiric ghost that has come to be known as the Washerwomen of the Night. Having been in life women who neglected their religious obligations or were otherwise evil, the washerwomen are always to be found near an isolated source of running water. In England the washerwomen are ghostlike, but in France they have a skeletal appearance; either way, they are considered to be a death omen in both countries.
Very late at night, if a lone traveler comes across them, he must wring out their laundry for them or else the washerwomen will turn and break his arms and legs and throw him in the water. If the washerwomen capture a victim, they will make him wash his own burial cloth. If he does everything they tell him to do, he will survive the experience, otherwise, they will kill him on the spot.

The washerwomen are forever bound to wash the burial shrouds of the unbaptized children unless they can find someone who is willing to take their place.


  • Curran, Vampires, 108­10;
  • The Gentleman’s Magazine, 150­51;
  • Paulist Fathers, The Catholic World, 781;
  • Summers, Vampire in Lore and Legend, 2


Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology Written by :Theresa Bane ©2010 Theresa Bane. All rights reserved