Small, destructive sprites with a love of airplanes, Gremlins are yet another reason those of you who hate flying will want to take the train.

Just The Facts

  1. Gremlins were blamed for countless acts of sabotage on planes during WWII.
  2. First appeared in British Folklore in Malta, the Middle East and India
  3. May possibly now work for Microsoft as software designers
  4. Gremlins have an intergalactic Cousin

Gremlins and Fifinella

Gremlins are small, destructive creatures that were first reported by British airmen, who claimed to be seeing small creatures meddling with their planes on high altitude flights just before malfunctions occurred.The females of the species are known as Fifinella, named by Roald Dahl in his book "The Gremlins" and were adopted as the official mascot of the WASPS (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in WW2.

Warner Bros Gremlin

 Little is known about their origins, species or genus, since no one has ever managed to capture one for study.  What is known as that these troublesome members of the fairy tribe seem to enjoy nothing better than to fiddle with gadgets and gizmos until something goes terribly, horribly wrong.

Non-believers will point out that the pilots that made these first reports were flying in a low oxygen environment for extended periods and were suffering from sleep deprivation at the time of the sightings. They claim that what the pilots saw were actually hallucinations. 



We here at Cracked would point out that is just what these vile creatures would want us to think! Lulling us into a false sense of security while preparing to tear open the fuselage of our plane as can be seen in Twilight Zone’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”       

Twillight Zone Gremlin

 I bet he sailed right through the security check points too.   


TV shows such as The Simpsons and the Gremlins movie franchise that started in 1984 have taken further liberties with the folklore of gremlins, and today they are not often thought of as fairies at all, but demons or monsters of a very different type. 

Simpsons Gremlin        Movie Gremlin                 Fifinella

           Nope,  not a gremlin                                               Neither is that                                   That's a Fifinella,  close enough


Over time, the gremlin has become less particular as to what sort of machinery it infects, expanding its domain to include all sorts of vehicles. No doubt they were encouraged by the brilliant marketing team at AMC, who in 1970 actually chose to name one of their cars after a malicious sprite that caused mechanical failures.

 gremlin car

"Gremlin" was the best their marketing department could do? Really?

A Poem published in the RAF (Royal Air Force) Journal


This is the tale of the Gremlins
Told by the P.R.U.
The incredible tale of the Gremlins
But believe me, you slobs, it's true.

When you're seven miles up in the heavens,
(That's a hell of a lonely spot)
And it's fifty degrees below zero
Which isn't exactly hot.

When you're frozen blue like your Spitfire
And you're scared a Mosquito pink,
When you're thousands of miles from nowhere
And there's nothing below but the drink

It's then you will see the Gremlins,
Green and gamboge and gold,
Male and female and neuter
Gremlins both young and old.

It's no good trying to dodge them,
The lessons you learned on the Link
Won't help you evade a Gremlin,
Though you boost and you dive and you fink.

White ones will wiggle your wingtips,
Male ones will muddle your maps,
Green ones will guzzle your Glycol,
Females will flutter your flaps.

Pink ones will perch on your perspex,
And dance pirouettes on your prop;
There's a spherical, middle-aged Gremlin
who'll spin on your stick like a top.

They'll freeze up your camera shutters,
They'll bite through your aileron wires,
They'll bend and they'll break and they'll batter,
They'll insert toasting forks in your tyres.

That is the tale of the Gremlins,
Told by the P.R.U.,
(P)retty (R)uddy (U)nlikely to many
But fact, none the less, to the few."

The Great Galactic Ghoul


The Great Galactic Ghoul

Do you see it? The terrible, vacant eyes and gaping maw of probe devouring doom!


The gremlin appears to have an intergalactic cousin, The Great Galactic Ghoul. This ghoul is known to the rocket scientists at NASA as a space monster that consumes Mars probes. No, really, it is. It has been described as being a huge, amorphous blob of blue and pink with a vast mouth. How exactly anyone knows this is beyond us, since no manned craft has ever been out that far. Or at least none they are admitting to.

 Its existence was detected due to the high failure rate of probes sent to that planet; of approximately thirty probes, two thirds have failed. The Galactic Ghoul seems to particularly enjoy the taste of Soviet and Russian probes; apparently the damn thing has interfered with fourteen missions to Mars between 1970 and 1990. In each case the entire probe vanished.

References vary on whether the term was coined by the NASA or Soviet scientists, but when rocket scientist report there is a giant, probe eating monster in space? We are willing to believe them, being that well, you know, they are in fact rocket scientists.