Episode 24: Wretched Rider in the Thorn

🎃 Welcome to a special Halloween episode of, The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast.

This tremendous Otherworldly experience took place in the county of Somerset (UK), in around 2003. The south west of England has a long and rich history of fairy folklore, but this is a particularly unsettling face-to-face encounter with a fascinating creature, astride a ghostly horse. 

The episode kicks off with a UFO experience and goes on to cover occult practices, ghost experiences and some gorily-detailed folklore. This episode isn’t for the feint-hearted – you have been warned! 👻

If like me, you’re right at home with all things wyrd, you’ll enjoy the bonus chat available on Patreon. Our guest shares a spectacularly creepy ouija board experience, some spooky ritual happenings and his friend’s ghost or possibly time slip incident along with folklore from his local area.

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Warning: These are not fairytales. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for listeners 16 years and older.This episode is particularly unsettling and is unsuitable for children or anyone who might be sensitive to creepy content. Trigger warnings: discussion around occult practices, gory details featuring blood (folklore), ghosts.


Fairy Riders

Danse de Lune

Fairies on horseback feature from time to time in British folklore, particularly in South West, England. In William Crossing’s, Tales of the Dartmoor Pixies (1890) farmer’s horses regularly found to be exhausted come the dawn, were said to have “been ridden hard during the night” by the pixies. Though it was also said such rumours were put about by smugglers who had used the horses to run contraband in from the coast overnight.

The following nineteenth century account mentioned in, The Old Red Sandstone (Miller, 1859) has a similar feel to our guest’s encounter, especially the initial description of the creatures themselves, “….the riders stunted, misgrown, ugly creatures”.

It appears to have taken place at Black Isle, between Ross and Cromarty near Inverness, Scotland. Interestingly, there’s still a place nearby named ‘Fairy Glen’. Thank you to Dr Simon Young for sharing this story in a most timely manner this very week!

On a Sabbath morning, nearly sixty years ago, the inmates of this little hamlet had all gone to church, all except a herd-boy and a little girl, his sister, who were lounging beside one of the cottages; when, just as the shadow of the garden dial had fallen on the line of noon, they saw a long cavalcade ascending out of the ravine through the wooded hollow. It winded among the knolls and bushes, and, turning round the northern gable of the cottage beside which the sole spectators of the scene were stationed, began to ascend the eminence towards the south. The horses were shaggy diminutive things, speckled dun and gray; the riders stunted, misgrown, ugly creatures, attired in antique jerkins of plaid, long gray cloaks, and little red caps, from under which their wild, uncombed locks shot out over their cheeks and foreheads. The boy and his sister stood gazing in utter dismay and astonishment, as rider after rider, each one more uncouth and dwarfish than the one that had preceded it, passed the cottage and disappeared among the brushwood, which at that period covered the hill, until at length the entire rout, except the last rider, who lingered a few yards behind the others, had gone by. “What are ye, little mannie? And where are ye going?” inquired the boy, his curiousity getting the better of his fears and his prudence. “Not of the race of Adam,” said the creature, turning for a moment in his saddle; “the People of Peace shall never more be seen in Scotland.”

Miller, H. (1859) The Old Red Sandstone (Boston: Gould and Lincoln)

Similar sounding fairy beings

The following two modern encounters were collected as part of Dr Simon Young’s Fairy Census and possess similar descriptions to the creature seen by our guest:

Comus Arthur Rackham

§343) US (North Carolina). Female; 2010s; 31-40
‘I was on a rock in the river reading while my husband fished on up river. I was across from a park, people walking with kids and dogs. There were two young boys walking on the trail with their dad. They began moving down towards the water, when it started coming up the river moving through the water towards them. It was pale-skinned water-logged looking with black hair and sharp serrated teeth showing in a smile. It paid me no attention, but was focused on the boys. They were pointing at it with sticks and could absolutely see it. The dad finally ushered them away from the edge of river seemingly unaware of it being feet from his kids. It watched them move up the trail away with a creepy look on its face and then moved on up river out of sight. Did not look friendly to me.’

Young, S. (2018) The Fairy Investigation Society’s Census (2014-2017)
Louis Rhead Illustrations. Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Stories and Tales of Elves, Goblins and Fairies.

§12) England (Cambridgeshire). Male; 21-30; 2010s; ‘It was a very brief encounter late one evening. My partner and I had been watching television, and had since switched the TV off and [we] were talking for some time. At one point I glanced towards the area where the television is only fleetingly as one would do while not paying any particular attention, and caught a glimpse of a small gnome-like man. Immediately I looked again but the entity had gone. From the brief glimpse I had I could see it was almost a cross between the classical description of brownies and a gnome. It can’t have been more than six inches tall judging by the furniture I glimpsed it on. It had a scruffy dark brown or black beard which seemed to be spiky and covered most of its face. No brightly coloured clothes that I remember, they were all brown/dark. It was hard to make out details. I do recall it had a pointed hat or head which was also dark in colour. There were a number of rocks that we had collected on our travels on the furniture it had been sighted on, perhaps it was drawn to them in some way. It left a feeling of being watched, but wasn’t malevolent. It’s just a shame the sighting was so fleeting. It does feel like I’ve glimpsed something that didn’t want to be seen.’

Young, S. (2018) The Fairy Investigation Society’s Census (2014-2017)

Episode Discussion References

Lights in the Sky documentary (2020) Dir. Krista Alexander

Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld (2003) Patrick Harpur

West Country Witches (2010) Michael Howard

Wild Marjoram Tea (2021) Sylvia Littlegood-Briggs

Book of Ceremonial Magic (2007, first published 1911) Arthur Edward Waite

Subscribe, Rate and Share the Wonder

If you enjoy the show, please consider sharing your favourite episodes with friends. Don't forget to rate and subscribe wherever you listen, and if you can, please support by joining The Curious Crew on Patreon ❤️
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Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Modern Fairy Sightings Green Man Artwork: Peter Hall Studios
Main Image: Edmund Joseph Sullivan (1907) Once more he began his impious praises of Gabriella's beauty (an homage to Albrecht Dürer's, The Knight, Death and the Devil).

Episode 23: Consciousness and Playing with Other Realities

In this episode I share two experiences which instigated an interest in exploring alternate realities. I feel these events may also have opened me to the fairy encounter which happened about a year after experiencing a deep shift in my life.

The episode also includes an interview with Martin Brofman, creator of The Body Mirror System of Healing. It’s one of a series of interviews you’ll find links to below.

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Note: The information I share here and on the episode including ideas, suggestions, techniques, methods, resources, and other materials is educational in nature and is not intended to provide you with any specific health or well-being advice.  For medical advice please consult a licensed health care professional.

Martin Brofman and The Body Mirror System

Martin Brofman (PhD) a former Wall Street computer expert and a student of psychology and comparative religion, was a renowned healer and founder of the Brofman Foundation for the Advancement of Healing. He developed a special healing approach, the Body Mirror System, after he releasing himself of a terminal illness which traditional medicine had considered hopeless – untreatable.

Martin Brofman

During his own healing process, he learned much about the Body Mind Interface, the relationship between the body and the consciousness, and how it works. He then developed a model in order to clarify these ideas for himself, as well as to provide a vehicle for teaching them easily and quickly to others. He helped many people over his more than 30 years in practice. 

Martin was a warm, funny and wise friend and I’m just so grateful to him for opening me and many others to new ways of seeing and experiencing the world. I highly recommend his book, ‘Anything Can Be Healed’.

Here is a free meditation called Love and Energy. It’s the B side of that tape/cd that my friend initially gave me. It’s a lovely one to fall asleep to!

And in the following video, Martin shares his thoughts on the nature of consciousness.

What do YOU think about these ideas? Perhaps it’s the first time you’ve heard of these sort of explorations. Maybe it’s a big jump to even imagine them? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so get in touch.

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Episode 22: The Gentry and a Visitor

In this episode we hear from a woman living in Wales who had a visit from a green man while gardening. Later, after some ‘goings on’ in the house, she had to ask him to leave. She also describes how she watched The Gentry ride by near her home one day. We discuss these and some other extraordinary experiences.

It amazes me how many people have had something strange and inexplicable take place in their life. It seems like the majority of people can report at least one such happening. The world is a mysterious place! Let’s not forget that. There appears to be much more going on here than we generally take for granted.

Warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. Some episodes may contain details which some may find unsettling or frightening. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for listeners 16 years and older.

Join The Curious Crew and receive bonus material when you support The Modern Fairy Sightings Project:

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Fairy Paths and Spirit Roads: An Exploration of Otherworldly Routes by Paul Devereux’ – this is a fabulous book which covers corpse roads, fairy paths and Australian aboriginal ‘Dreamtime’ routes among others. It includes a ‘sampler’ section of the routes themselves for those curious and intrepid explorers who feel drawn to tread these paths.

The Middle Kingdom: The Faerie World of Ireland‘, by Dermot Mac Manus. A friend of Yeates, Mac Manus provides a fascinating insight into the customs and beliefs present in Ireland when it was written in the 1950s. Many of the memories shared stretch back to the 19th century in places and it’s really a great read. There’s a whole chapter on fairy paths.

‘Greening the Paranormal: Exploring the Ecology of Extraordinary Experience’, by Dr Jack Hunter. This great book covers Animism and the idea of ‘personhood’ encompassing natural formations such as rocks and rivers. Essays explore how themes of ecology intersect with the paranormal, from different perspectives.

If you enjoy the show, please consider sharing your favourite episodes with friends. Don't forget to rate and subscribe wherever you listen, and if you can, please support by joining The Curious Crew on Patreon ❤️
Become a Patron!
Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Main image: ‘Då och då tog tomten tag i tyglarna’ (Every now and then santa grabbed the reins) by John Bauer.