Dutch Folklore Wikia
Also Known As Griepke, Oeschaart, Oessaart, Oschaert, Osgaard, Osschaart
Province Zeeland, Gelderland
Natural Habitat Water

Ossaert (also known as Oessaart, Oschaert, Osgaard, Osschaart, Oeschaart and Griepke) was once an ordinary dog that belonged to his owner: Bornes (Henricus Bornius, 1617-1675).[1] His owner was an infamous man, known for his cruelty. He found no peace in the afterlife, and neither did Ossaert. Both of them remained to haunt their residence in Kloosterzande, until the building was demolished in 1856.[2] Ever since, Ossaert became a notorious water demon, both in Zeeland, Gelderland and parts of Belgium. Most prominently, he appears in the form of a black dog with firey eyes. It is said he also takes the shape of a rabbit, horse or donkey, and that he can expand in size. Again others say he appears as a bull with a human head, always pulling heavy chains where he goes. Some people even described him as a blue light.[3][4]


In Zeeland, Ossaert is said to be a water demon from the Hulst region. According to the stories[5], he's the pet of Bornes (although others believed Ossaert and Bornes to be the very same entity). Fishermen had an understanding with Ossaert, and each time they went out fishing, they offered him the first fish they caught. This prevented Ossaert from ruining their next haul. Ossaert is also a terrible Tormentor with a tendency to ambush people late at night.[6] Pushing drunk people in the water was one of his signature acts. The fiend would also lay in wait for a late night encounter. He'd then jump on the back of unsuspecting passersby and laugh as he forced them to their knees. His victim would have to endure this until the break of dawn. If for whatever reason a person wanted to provoke Ossaert, he could be summoned by wording the verse:

"Griepke, griepke, grauw, zonder tand en zonder mouw."

Or alternatively:

"Griepke, griepke, grauw, zonder tand en met een mouw."

Blommart and the Ossaert[]

Fisherman Blommaert was a smuggler who once encountered the Ossaert after fishing in his area. He went home, baked a couple of fish in the fireplace and went to bed. The following morning he found that half of his fish were gone and something had left a wet mark in the shape of a big claw in the ashes. Blommaert remembered the old verse but wasn't fazed by it. He thought of a way to outsmart Ossaert. That night the weather was stormy, and Blommaert left the fireplace smoldering. Again Ossaert's claw reached through the chimney for a free meal. However, when the Ossaert retracted his claw, the fish were all deviled. Blommaert anticipated that the big claws of the Ossaert would be rooting through the ashes, so he decided to hide horse turds at the bottom of the hearth. The Ossaert did not expect this and was caught by surprise. The big waterdemon lost his balance and plunged into the water. Blommaert deemed himself victorious and went out to fish the very next day. He threw out his nets and could not believe his luck when he pulled them back in. They were heavier than ever before! After a lot of pain and effort the nets almost surfaced. But when Blommaert laid eyes on his catch, he was so surprised, the rope slipped from his hands. He didn't catch fish at all; they were horse turds! The Ossaert's laugh was heard all over the waters.[7]


The Ossaert from Gelderland wasn't that much different. The water demon was especially known on the Veluwe, where he was said to live in Uddelermeer. A monk once banned him to the forest on a place called Hoge Duvel, where he would not leave for 99 years. Again, summoning the demon was done with a verse, which was slightly different:

"Griepke, griepke, grauw, a'j me griepen wilt, griep me dan gauw."

Werewolves from the Veluwe as depicted by Gust van de Wall Perné (1877-1911).

The Demon from Hoge Duvel[]

A tale from the Veluwe speaks of a farmer from Nunspeet who traveled to Wiesel for his firewood. But as soon as his cart was loaded, he noticed his poor horse had become sick. The man had no other choice but to get his horse looked after. He visited a farmer and asked if there was a chance he could deliver the firewood to Nunspeet. The farmer called out his servant who saddled a black horse and went in his stead. It was night when the servant headed home through the area of Hoge Duvel. He recalled tales of a water demon who used to live in Uddelermeer. The beast was known to terrorize the area, until a holy monk drove him back to Hoge Duvel, where he was sealed for 99 years. People claimed they had seen him, but the servant didn't believe any of it. His neighbor supposedly provoked the demon, which is how the heavy monster had jumped on his back. He would not let go and the man thought he might die, but managed to carry the weight outside of Hoge Duvel, where the Ossaert could not follow. The servant was not impressed by this tale. He opened his mouth and spoke those dreaded words:

"Griepke, griepke, grauw, a'j me griepen wilt, griep me dan gauw."

A flame rose from the ground with a loud boom. His horse pranced and the servant almost fell. There, in the distance, he could see the demon come their way with incredible speed. Quickly the servant moved his horse into gear and managed to get outside of Hoge Duvel before Ossaert could catch up with him. Upon noticing Ossaert could no longer follow, the young man turned his horse and laughed in his face. Ossaert retaliated with a loud roar which summoned green-eyed werewolves from the Roode Heggen. The servant was done laughing and feared for his life. It was still a long way to Wiesel and the wolves were on his tail all the way there. Upon arrival, he immediately barred the door. Inside the barn he took notice of how much his poor horse was sweating. It looked like it had just come out of the water. Before going off to bed, the servant thanked his horse and tended to his needs. A mounted horse head hung from the barn. This in order to keep nightmares out. It was no use however. By morning, the innocent horse was dead. When the servant told the farmer what happened, he was fired immediately. The farmer was furious![8]


In Flanders[9], the Ossaert does many the same things and looks much the same way. Similar to the tale from Gelderland, a monk banned him to a restricted area for 99 years, although in this case it was to the sea. Ossaert was likewise to be summoned with a verse:

"Grijpte, grijpte, grauw, wilde mij grijpen, grijp mij nau."

It wasn't easy to shake the Ossaert once he got on someone's back. One way to get him off was by moving out of his restricted area. A different trick from Belgium was to pray a lot, stop at every chapel along the way and turn right at every turn. An old nursery rhyme about the Ossaert goes something like this:

"Osschaert, Osschaert mag ik voorbij het kapelleken gaan?
Is mijnheer Osschaert niet thuis?"
List Of Dutch Monsters (edit)
Ghosts Haunted Locations Aamsveen · Folperd van der Leede · Huis De Griffioen · Goddeloas Tolhûs · Goddeloaze Singel · Pelgrim van der Leede · Skilige Pypke · Solse Gat · Urnenveld · Witte Wievenkuil

Border Ghosts

Dove Waander · Laakmannetje · Venrayse Schepenen · Vurige Landmeter
Unsorted Assepoesters · Barende Vrouwe · Barneman · Beeldwit · Budde · Bornes · Elf-rib · Folperd van der Leede · Ijzeren Veulen · Jager van het Meer · Klopgeest · Ossaert · Spinwijf · Spookuur · Trije Wiif · Vliegende Hollander · Wederganger · Witte Wieven · Zwarte Juffer
Child Terrors Bietebauw · Bloedkoets · Bloedpater · Boeman · Boezehappert · Bornes · Bullebak · Duivel · Elf-rib · Griet Met De Lange Armen · Haarhand · Heintje Faar · Heintje Pik · Ijzeren Veulen · Kladdegat · Loekenbeer · Lorrenboer · Man Met De Haak · Nikker · Pikkepoot · Roggemoeder · Sint Nicolaas · Spinwijf · Takkenman · Tongesnaier · Waterwolf · Zwarte Piet
Hellhounds Belleman · Börries · Den Dier · Elf-rib · Flodder · Kardoes · Kladdegat · Kludde · Korenwolf · Loeder · Nikker · Ossaert · Schuimert · Stoep · Stommelstaart · Waterwolf · Weerwolven
Witches Alruin · Bloedende Wind · Danskring · Heggemoeder · Nachtmerries · Olde Marolde · Tante Cor · Trije Wiif · Vaar-Köbke · Varende Vrouwen · Wanne Thekla · Weerwolven · Witte Wieven · Witte Wievenkuil
Tormentors Belleman · Blauwe Gerrit · Den Dier · Flodder · Gloeiige · Hémänneken · Kludde · Korenwolf · Lange Wapper · Loeder · Opwippen · Ossaert · Schuimert · Stoep · Weerwolven
Dragons And Serpents Basilisk · Draak van Gelre · Draak van Rodeklif · Hazelworm
Other Lange Man