Blauwe Gerrit was the most famous (but not notorious) tormentor from the Netherlands, also known as "Blaauw Garrit" or "Blauwbroek". He was known all across the Veluwe in the province of Gelderland, mainly Voorst, Bussloo, Elspeet, Elburg, Gietelo, Heelsum, Hulshorst and Staverden. Several different claims were made about his appearance, but they all had the color blue in common ("blauw" is Dutch for blue). It is rumored Gerrit was not human and never had been, but rather was a demon of sorts, and others say he looked somewhat like a monkey. He's famous for wearing a translucent blue cloak that gives off a faint glow in the dark. Able to change his weight and turn invisible, he also appeared as a blue haze, at which point he would resemble a wandering light. In this orb form he would move about wildly in the middle of the greenery which some folk ascribed to the act of dancing. Blauwe Gerrit had his eye out for injustice, and prevented these things from happening by pulling one of his pranks. While it seems there is good in the prankster, people have claimed he's the devil himself. Blauwe Gerrit had very little power in the vicinity of civilisation but most of his pranks were harmless anyway.
Pranks by Blauwe Gerrit
One trick by Blauwe Gerrit was to change his weight to whatever he desired. As such, a common prank was to make objects very heavy by sitting on top of them. Most of the time people could not see him, but his weight and laughter gave away his presence. Many farmers would find themselves immobilized, with their horses being unable to pull a cart. Instead of objects, Blauwe Gerrit would sometimes inconvenience animals or people. They'd have to carry the weight until he decides to stop being a burden. People were also likely to be pushed by Blauwe Gerrit whenever they walked in cart tracks, this was especially the case at an intersection.
A story about a Miller
One saga tells of a greedy miller who wanted to keep a big portion of flour to himself. But upon shoveling the flour, his shovel became much too heavy for him to lift. After what seemed like an hour of trying to recover his shovel from the bag, the miller heard Blauwe Gerrit's laughter and realized what was going on. He then decided to claim a modest amount instead.
A Story From Voorst
Another well known saga speaks of an esquire of Bussloo, whose hunt in Voorst had been rather unfruitful. That is until he spotted the beautiful poor 17-year old girl known as Hanna. Her mother had fallen ill during the winter and in search of firewood she stumbled upon the hunter, whose bad reputation made her wary of his actions. It was to no avail however, as she was all alone. He took her upon his horse and tried to console her with his words, claiming that a poor lifestyle did not befit such a pretty face, and that she should come live in his castle. But all this sweet talk was no use; Hanna wanted to go home to her mother.
Somewhere along the way to the esquire's castle, Blauwe Gerrit crossed their path. Some stories claim they had actually seen him stand in the middle of the road, his eyes glowing like coals and his blue cloak waving translucently in the wind. He proceeded to sit on the horse along with them, which stopped it right in its tracks. Some say the esquire laid eyes on the Tormentor before trying to stab him with a dagger. But as soon as he noticed the ethereal appearance of Blauwe Gerrit could not be harmed, he got scared and jumped off his horse, leaving the poor Hanna to fend for herself. Other versions don't have him abandon Hanna, as he felt inconvenienced by his horse and decided to walk Hanna to his castle instead. As soon as he got off the horse though, Blauwe Gerrit jumped on his shoulders, forcing him to carry his weight.
Some versions have the esquire inquire Hanna to visit the pastor in Gietel, who'd been able to free him with his book of spells. Hannah ignored this plea however. Instead, she made her way back home to her worried mother. Both thanked God for her safety. The following day, the esquire returned home covered in icicles, looking at least 30 years older. When Hanna returned the horse to his castle she was well compensated for it, allowing for her marriage within the same year. The esquire however dared not answer how he managed to lose his horse in the first place.
- Uitgeverij Bert Bakker: Verhalen van Stad en Streek (Sagen en Legenden in Nederland)