In 2021, OSP Red from the Overly Sarcastic Productions youtube channel (a mythology/history focused channel for those not aware) made a video on the Wild Hunt.

In that video she mentioned that "several stories describe the hunt being lead by a dead nobleman named Hackleburg or Hacklebaran, which seems to be derived from the old norse word Hekla, meaning armored or cloaked one". This can be seen 6 minutes and 10 seconds into the video

The problem is that I can't find a single reference to the name "Hacklebaran" from before the video was uploaded, and the only references to "Hackleburg" are the unrelated town in Alabama (which is named after the "Hackles" dropped by the hackberry trees in the region).

I've found two references to the name "Hackleburg" and "Hacklebaran" in regards to the Wild Hunt, but they are both fan-created characters that were uploaded after the video was, and seem to be referencing the video.

Additionally, there's a reference on the wikipedia page for Wild Hunt that references a nobleman named "Hackelburg" who was slain by a boar tusk, but it is missing a citation and I can't find anything else about this

1 Answer 1


The historical character they seem to be referencing is Hanns von Hackelberg [German Wikipedia page], a 16th century master hunter in service of Duke Julius of Brunswick-Lüneburg.

The legend says that he was indeed killed by a boar tusk which fell on his foot, giving him an injury which got infected.

It seems really hard to find sources which are not written in German (see for example the above Wikipedia page, and this page, which Wikipedia uses as a source). I could only find this page in English, which provides a version of the legend, and cites the 19th century book Harzsagen zum Teil in der Mundart der Gebirgsbewohner by Heinrich Pröhle (again, in German) as a source.


The specific source used by OSP Red in the video you posted is almost certainly the third volume of Jacob Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, translated by James Steven Stallybrass. At pages 920-921 it says:

In Lower Saxony and Westphalia this Wild Hunter is identified with a particular person, a certain semi-historic master of a hunt. The accounts of him vary. Westphalian traditions call him Hackelbärend, Hackelbernd, Hackelberg, Hackelblock. This Hackelbärend was a huntsman who went a hunting even on Sundays, for which desecration he was after death (like the man in the moon, p. 717) banished into the air, and there with his hound he must hunt night and day, and never rest [...]

It then goes on to describe various variants of the legends surrounding this character. At page 923, concerning the etymology of the name, it says:

I am disposed to pronounce the Westph. form Hackelberend the most ancient and genuine. An OHG. hahhul [Goth. hakuls], ON. hökull m. and hekla f., AS. hacele f., means garment, cloak, cowl, armour; hence hakolberand is OS. for a man in armour [...]


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