Name(s): White Worm, lindworm, lindwyrm
Origin: County Durham in North East England
Appearance: An eel like humongous worm with the head of a salamander and nine holes along the sides of its head.
Lore: The Lambton worm was made famous (or infamous) by Bram Stokers’ Story “Lair of the White Worm” which was later adapted into a movie of the same name in 1988.
As legend has it, John Lambton (where the creatures name comes from) caught a large eel like fish in the river and is told to return it. Instead he just drops it down a nearby well (stupid). Later, he goes off on the crusades and while he is gone the worm has grown to epic proportions and terrorizes the countryside (poisoning the well too). His son placates it while he is gone by giving it an offering of milk (twenty gallons at a time, according to some stories). Meanwhile, it has coiled itself around a local hill and dispatches anyone who tries to come after it. This includes some of the farmers and even a number of knights.
Fast forward to the return of John Lambton when he is told what is going on and that he needs to deal with the problem. He goes to a local witch and she tells him that he must kill the creature and then kill the next living thing he sees or his family will suffer a curse that will last for 9 generations. Well, he arranges for his son to release a hound upon his victory over the worm and goes off to fight the beast. Long story short, he wins but his son forgets to release the hound in his elation. His son rushes out to him and John refuses to kill his son (the next living thing he sees). So the curse befalls the Lambton family. Yes, before you ask, there really was/is a Lambton family and yes some of the generations did seem to suffer from the curse.
This post was originally supposed to be about lindworms, which is a type of mythical creature. Unfortunately lindworm legends are scattered all over Northern Europe and not limited to one country. Lindworms vary in appearance from one place to another. Sometimes they have two limbs, other times they have two limbs and wings, and in the case of the Lambton worm, no limbs at all. Lindworms are considered a type of dragon in many places and often bear a strong resemblance to the Wyverns of ancient Britannia (Albion). Rather than attempt to write about white worms in general, I decided to write about a famous one with possible factual origins. Have you ever seen an oarfish? Or maybe you should think about how often large serpentine or wormlike creatures get mentioned in lore from the British Isles (can you say Nessie?).