Tag Vandren: the Roof Walker

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Area(s) Reported: Scandinavia
Date(s) Reported: ca. 2012

On December 9, 2012, a Danish user in the DeviantArt website called 'Humon,' who had previously shown a great interest in creatures from folklore around the world, shared an urban myth that she claimed was going around in Scandinavia; she had yet to see anything regarding it on the internet, so decided to share what she had run across.

        Humon had heard stories about a creature known variously as 'Tag Vandren' ("Roof Walker"), 'Tag Kavleren' ("Roof Crawler"), and/or 'Tag Hopper' ("Roof Jumper")... and, as you may have gathered, it is mostly seen on the rooftops of buildings. In fact, one of the creature's most notable traits is a genuine reluctance to touch the ground at all, instead jumping between rooftops, trees, cars, fences, big rocks, and so on; anything reasonably higher than ground level. This of course implies the second most notable trait of this creature: an ability to leap great distances. Past this, the Roof Walker is described as looking like a human male but with glowing orange dog eyes, claws instead of hands, and either wearing entirely black clothes or having ink-black skin.

        Humon stated that the first time the creature was seen was by a man in an apartment who was staying up late one night. This man saw what looked like a man walking on the roof of the building across from his. The figure seemed odd somehow, so the man kept watching until it suddenly became clear that the figure was now looking back. The man, embarrassed, turned away to pretend he wasn't staring; but curiosity made him glance back one more time...

The Leap.

...just as the strange figure leaped across from the opposite rooftop and landed on the border of the window with a loud bang! The creature, now just outside the window, glared at the man with its strange orange eyes, and the man ran for shelter, locking himself in the nearest room with no windows he could find. This particular person never saw the creature again.

        Other stories Human had heard of the creature claimed that it would chase people who were out alone at night, jumping from roof to street lamp, or running along fence lines. A group of teenagers who were being chased ran into the middle of a football field to escape the creature... but the Roof Walker launched itself across ten meters -- about 30 feet -- and landed on one of the teens, a boy, breaking his back. The creature immediately leaped to another teen, knocking him over, and then off him into the dark to disappear. It's also been said that the Roof Walker will grab a person if they are next to a window and pull them out; even if the window is too small. The creature had also been blamed for the deaths of some construction workers who fell to their doom.

Is It a Legend?

        It's been many years since Humon first reported the Roof Walker; and though the 'Tag Vandren' can now be found in all sorts of internet websites about monsters and legends, they all only repeat what Humon first published (ignoring various fictional fan stories). So if the Tag Vandren is a real legend, then Humon is not only the first person to publish about it... she's also the only person to publish about it, which is a possible warning sign.

        Another problem that's been bothering me are the proposed names for the creature -- 'Tag Vandren' ("Roof Walker"), 'Tag Kavleren' ("Roof Crawler"), and/or 'Tag Hopper' ("Roof Jumper"). A search for just these foreign names only brings up newer, English language websites repeating Humon's legend... and a check against Google Translate failed to turn up useful information about them. Luckily I received a note from Katrine Kristensen who has working knowledge of the languages involved.

        Kristensen explained that in the languages common to Scandinavia the names Humon uses would normally be presented as single compounded words, so 'Tag Vandren' would normally be presented as 'Tagvandren.' It also appears that Humon misspelled one of the names in her English language post, as in Danish the word 'Tagvandren' would more likely be 'Tagvandreren' which does indeed translate to "the roof wanderer/walker"... but unfortunately, even with these vaguaries hammered out, the new names don't bring up any further information on the creature than was first presented by Humon in 2012.

        Humon herself has never returned to the topic. At this point, it would seem that either she invented the legend or it really was just a local story that never got bigger... and in both cases, the tale has gone on to be repeated as if it is a going story largely because of Humon's art on the creature, which displayed multiple possible appearances for the Roof Walker. I highly suspect Humon's composite image of the creature is the primary reason that the legend was picked up and spread so readily by English language websites! Humon never responded to my request to display her image (hence why I produced my own for this page), but if you would like to view her original listing and image of the Roof Walker, Click Here.

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Sources

  • "Roof Walker," by user Humon, page in the Deviant Art website, posted ca. 12-9-2012, viewed 6-6-2015. Online: Click Here!
  • Facebook message from Katrine Kristensen, recieved 5-30-2018, regarding the translations of the names.

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