Episode 9: The Tall Folk and The Little People

This episode features the sort of experience that we might visualise from 19th century collections of Irish folklore. The encounter took place in Ireland, but was experienced just a few years ago, by a young Australian man as he toured around in his camper van. It’s a pretty epic story and he feels very lucky to have experienced this first hand. A whole host of apparitions popped up and each brought their own vibe to the events which unfolded.

Some listeners may find parts of the content in this episode frightening.

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.

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Fairies dancing in circles

Fairy folklore is full of little folk dancing in circles. In most cases, humans are tempted to enter the circle or even to dance and are sometimes lost forever. In other cases, the abductee can re-appear hours or even years later, though they’d swear they’d only been away for a few minutes. They may be bestowed with unusual powers or destined to sicken and die early.

There’s a brilliant article on the subject of, ‘The Fairie Dance’ by Dr Neil Rushton at Dead But Dreaming.

And here’s an excerpt from Dr Simon Young’s Fairy Census 2014-2017 which describes a similar encounter in Ireland:

§151A) Ireland (Co. Limerick). Female, 1940s; 11-20
‘When my mother was a young girl, her father sent her to fetch a bucket of water many fields away from where they lived. On the way back with the water, she stopped at the top of a low lying hill to rest. Looking back down over the fields, she saw a large group of ‘people’ all dancing around in a circle in one of the many local ‘faery forts’. (faery circles) She described their collective dress as comprising of similar colours: red, green and blue. The people were also wearing hats or caps. My mother knew that the area in which she lived at the time of the sighting was sparsely populated, with only a few neighbours close by and those who lived there were not rich or rich enough to have that many people partaking in that type of merriment. Even if they were, it was very early in the day to be doing so and the faery fort was several fields away from the nearest road. It dawned on her that these people were no ordinary people and could sense that she was not supposed to be looking at this ‘dance’. She took off running, back to her father’s house, spilling most of the water on the way and in doing so, upon her return, got a ‘good telling off’! She relayed this story to me many years ago only after listening to a local radio station documentary on Irish folklore and legends. A caller phoned in and told a story, which was very similar to hers: a group of people, dancing around in a circle in a faery fort, wearing similarly coloured clothes. This caller’s story would have taken place in the same decade that my mother had hers. My mother kept this story to herself for many decades! I suppose from a combination of ridicule, growing up in Catholic Ireland and the fact that one was to be careful when speaking about ‘the Little People’! The particular faery fort in question still exists and is located behind ***, ***, Limerick. Though now, it is completely overgrown with trees and undergrowth. It is now mainly used by some of the local people who throw their grass cuttings in over the ditch.’


Orb image: Joanne Ehling Harper, Pinterest

There are differing ideas about what orbs are exactly but from my own experience, I believe they are condensed manifestations of energy, be it spirit, thoughts, fae or otherwise. They appear as translucent globes or circles of light. They can be different colours but they’re often white and some people report that they’ve changed in size as they’ve been viewing them.

Here is another great excerpt from The Fairy Census 2014-2017, which describes an encounter with orbs:

§242) US (Carolina). Female; 1990s; 11-20; in woodland.
‘My friend invited me to go out into the woods to look for fairy rings. We took wine from her parents’ pantry as a friendship offering. We left at sunset, having been given permission to go camping. We walked a little way out into the woods, maybe fifty yards, stopping in a clearing among cedar trees. We each took a small sip of wine, toasting the good health of any spirits who happened to be about, left some in a sea shell which we had brought for that purpose, and poured the rest out on the ground. We then lit a small fire from deadwood since it was getting cold. When we got tired, we poured water on the embers and stirred them to make sure it was all out. We then wrapped ourselves in blankets and lay down to wait. What felt like hours past, and then, when the night was very dark, and my friend was talking about the dark spirits I had seen previously in another forest, there was suddenly a wild presence, a sense of something entirely outside the normal, safe, civilized world. And where we had left the wine we saw small, colorful lights hovering in a circle about a foot or two above the ground. They went round for a while as we stared in mute amazement (I don’t think either of us expected anything to actually show up) and then just as abruptly they vanished. We decided it might not be best to spend the whole night there and rushed back to her house, or at least tried to rush since the path which had been clear on the way seemed to lead us in circles and we were forced to cut through deep underbrush before reaching her back door all out of breath. My friend’s mother was at the back door and said she had been calling for us for the last hour, thinking it was too cold to stay out, but we never heard her.’

9 thoughts on “Episode 9: The Tall Folk and The Little People”

  1. I LOVE this podcast and just started it yesterday.

    Was anyone else thinking they were enticing him out of the van with the dancing? “Come play for us so we can dance!” Listening when he was telling about the dancing fae all I could think was “don’t get our of the van, you’re safe in the van!” And then when the dancing didn’t work they sent the girl, “if he won’t come for us maybe he’ll come to see her” and if he had they would have grabbed him? My first thought was her fear was if he came he would end up like her, trapped forever.

    Just my two cents…

    1. Thanks Mary 🙂 I’m delighted to hear you’re enjoying the Podcast. I think this is one of my favourite episodes (though I love them all!) but yes it did feel like they were showing him their joy or appreciation for his music. The girl at the back was so terrifying though. So sad and a sense of desolation. I wondered if it was to do with the place itself? That whatever draws the fairies there, drew her there too. And was she a girl or something else? The Black Eyed Children have been mentioned in the two latest episodes (18 and 19) and now I’m wondering whether it was something like that? or..as our guest in Episode 9 suggested, she was something to do with his family’s ancestry (as it turned out they were connected with that area – though he didn’t have any clue about this until much later after he’d returned to Australia). Thanks for your support and keep listening ❤️

    2. yes Mary and everyone, I too wondered if her sadness was longing to be back with humanity and hoping he could help? This has begun to trouble me lately. I have such a fascination, having had magical lovely things happen to/for/with me. Both my husband and I saw a translucent white orb, ~ 6″ round, with denser white planes within it slowly float about 6″ above the wood floor of our hall in a very sweet old house I lovingly repaired. I feel longing for thet magic to return- but why? What do we/I really know about the strangeness of Faerie? Perhaps I’m better off here, focused on this reality, even while honoring theirs and the beautiful earth we together share.

      1. Thank you very much for your comment Jennifer. Yes that is one potential explanation. Because it was within his own sphere of experience, I would add the suggestion that it was somehow connected with his own consciousness too. But again that’s just a guess as we just don’t know. I’d always ask the person, what they think it meant. He did consider that it was to do with his own ancestry – another possibility.

        That’s very interesting about the orb. What sense did you get from it? Have you tried to connect with it at all? Nice that you experienced it with your husband too! Yes, go with your own sense of what feels right in terms of choosing the focus of your reality. Especially at this time of transition 🙏🏻💚

  2. I was interested to read the orb story on this page. When I was five or six years old (1965-6), I saw an orb in my bedroom. The room was very small and shared by my brother with two single beds. Unfortunately, he was not in bed at the time as he was older and stayed up longer than me, so he did not see the orb. I had just gone to bed and was laying down fully awake. Suddenly a small orb of intense white light about 2 inches across came up beside my bed on the right and passed over me. It was not fully white, as it sparkled with very fine blue and red light too. As it went over me I was amazed and wondered what it was. I remember instantly thinking ‘ its a fairy’ although I don’t know where that thought came from. The orb continued its ‘flight’ and went down over the left hand side of the bed. I looked down and it was gone. It made me feel very happy afterwards.
    It was one of many strange experiences I had in that house (which was actually new in the 50’s) However, there was a large ancient heathland behind our house and I now believe that the things I experienced were connected with that wild natural landscape and the house was just acting as a conduit. When I was about 14, I took a picture inside the house with the night garden in the background. I saw nothing at the time, but when the photo was developed there was a clear light gold orb in the darkness of the garden. Weirdly, it looked like a classic flying saucer shape! The experiences in the house (orbs, a timeslip, spiritual people and animals etc) gave me a deep lifelong interest in the fae, spiritual experiences and folklore. I have had other experiences since, some of which I definitely believe were fae related.

      1. Hello again Jo! – in reply, no, I don’t know if any other children had orb experiences locally, but I know that my neighbour also had spiritual disturbance in their house – a figure walking through their top hall being one of them. We also had exactly the same phenomenon in our top hall although their house was a good three feet lower than ours. The houses were built into the side of the hill, so its possible that the original edge of the old hill was roughly where our hall line would have been – maybe it was an old hilltop sentry! The ancient history of the heath is somewhat obscure, but I found several man made raised straight ridges (about 3 feet high) that I am told were iron age field boundaries but I was never totally convinced by that. They traversed huge distances literally straight across both hills and valleys. The scale and the placing of these raised ridges seemed wrong for fields to me. I believe there are about 5 round and one disc barrow as well, although I never found them. I spent so much time on the heath as a child and always ‘felt’ the presence of other beings there, but despite great efforts to do so, never made contact on the heath itself.

        1. Oh that is fantastic Nick. Thank you. I can just imagine this, being an old hilltop sentry. Is there any way to find out. I imagine all sorts of wonderful things turn up when you are digging int he gardens? Do let me know if you find the barrows. Many of them are ploughed out and lost but somewhere, underneath the soil, those secrets remain. And sorry for the delay in replying – this year has been bonkers for family illness.

    1. Also, the latest episode involves a little girl who saw an orb in her bedroom that she “just knew” was a fairy

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