Episode 20: Occurence at the Creek

This episode offers a very gentle conversation with an Australian woman who encountered an orb during a very beautiful and intimate event, whilst in nature. The experience drew her ever closer to nature and into environmentalism. We discuss her relationship with the Fae and how that connection was originally initiated through visiting her grandmother’s magical garden with her siblings, as a child. 

There is an accompanying FREE PATHWORKING MEDITATION on Patreon which is available to anyone. It’s a gentle guide to recentring yourself and it’s particularly aimed that those who need a bit of help during this difficult time to let go of anxieties and focus on what’s meaningful. You can find it by searching for ‘free meditation’ or ‘recentring’ on Patreon.

Main image: Will-o-the-Wisp by Brett Manning Art.

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


Many people believe orbs to be physical manifestations of energy. If we work with that idea and see ourselves as energy beings we can understand that it might be the same with Otherworldly beings. Perhaps orbs are the densest manifestation of the being that we’re able to see. Orbs are round and can be different sizes and colours, but they’re usually partially opaque, sometimes with swirling movement inside. People often report seeing orbs with the naked eye but sometimes they can also turn up in photographs.

In this case, our guest saw an orb in nature and felt it was some kind of energy manifestation of a fairy. She observed a sense of fluttering from within the orb, but it was more the feeling of awe that she experienced from the event which led her to feel it was a fairy experience.

Here’s an orb fairy experience which took place in Australia from Simon Young’s excellent ‘Fairy Census’ 2014-2017::

§82) England (London). Female; 1980s* [‘1990s’]; 21-30; in woodland;…The second time I saw the fae I was living in my old house in Melbourne. I lived in a dark alleyway, off the Main Street. I was sitting in my living room one night and I saw a little ball of light whizz past the window. Then there were several other little orbs of glowing light. They were around the size of tennis balls, and on closer inspection you could see the outline of spindly little bodies glowing. This sighting went on for a few hours. Since my fae sightings I have become fascinated by the wee folk. I collect little sculptures of them, books, faerie tarot cards, I paint them and I am fascinated by them. Not obsessed honest. I have also been in some very wild places around the world and I have felt their presence. Feeling these presences have made me want to stay in places where they live. They are always like personifications of the spirit of places.’ ‘(They) were like orbs of light darting around, you could see light bursting from their bodies. The made a kind of whirring fluttering sound as they moved, like a cross between birds flapping their wings and paper fluttering.’ ‘They’re very mischievous little buggers who like to poke fun at humans.’ ‘I have only told a small handful of people about my fae experiences, most folk would think I’m nuts, and I’m definitely quite sane, well educated, thoughtful and quite open minded. I’ve never been on any psyche drugs ever or seen any doctor for mental health conditions. On both nights where I saw the fae they were very real and tangible. I have felt their presence at other times.

Young S. (2018) The Fairy Census 2014-2017,

Here’s another share about a photo of an orb, also from Simon Young’s ‘Fairy Census’ 2014-2017:

§41) England (Devon). Female; 2010s; 61-70;
‘I have a friend who does photography. She took pictures of a flower and water and put them together to look as though the flower was growing out of the water. She emailed me the picture. I didn’t see anything at first, but after I enlarged the picture I saw a pink faerie rise out of the flower, with what looked like several orbs each side of the flower with elves in them. They all rose up together. The faerie was pink. I was surprised, especially as not only did I see her ‘live’ in a picture, but the picture was ‘second hand’ so to speak.’ ‘She had a pink dress on with pink wings.’

Young S. (2018) The Fairy Census 2014-2017,

The Paranormal and Ecology

eFor more information about extraordinary experiences and environmentalism, I’d highly recommend reading Dr Jack Hunter‘s book, Greening the Paranormal.

The collection of essays explores the parallels between all aspects of paranormal experience and the study of living systems and offers a fresh perspective on our relationship with our living planet, Earth.

Here’s a great podcast interview with Jack, where he discusses these themes and more.

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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.

Episode 19: The Longing

In this episode, my guest shares an experience which invoked a sense of indescribable longing. There are many stories in folklore of those who visited Fairyland never to return and those that did, often pined for Fairyland ever after (see ‘The Fairy Dwelling on Selena Moor’ on Episode 18 show notes). Some stories speak of a deep sense of yearning that draws folk to the precipice of no-return before something snaps them out of a trance. In many cases they are drawn in by a strange Otherworldly music and it was this form of enchantment that our guest experienced during lockdown last year.

There’s a bonus episode available on Patreon, where our guest shares another couple of strange occurrences and I offer her some advice in relation to her main experience of feeling enchanted.

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

Strange Otherworldly music

In Evans-Wentz’s ethnographic collection of fairy encounters from the early twentieth century, a local man tells of a strange occurrence that took place while he was driving along the Ben Bulbin road. I find it particularly interesting that the informant describes the sound thus, “All sorts of music seemed to be playing...”. This seems similar to the way our Podcast guest likened the experience to being “at a festival and you hear music in the distance…being carried by echoes”. It was impossible for her to be able to recognise the type of music that she heard.

 “…Michael said to his companion in the caret with us, William Barber, “You tell how you heard the music”’ and this followed: – “one dark night, about one o’clock myself and another young man were passing along the road up there round Ben Bulbin, when we heard the finest kind of music. All sorts of music seemed to be playing. We could see nothing at all, though we thought we heard voices like children’s. It was the music of the gentry we heard.”

Under the Shadow of Ben Bulbin and Ben Waskin‘ in, Evans-Wentz, W. Y. (1911) The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, London: H. Frowde, 1911

Yet, in modern times, people are still reporting hearing mysterious music which they cannot place, or which appears related to fairy encounters. Dr Simon Young’s Fairy Census, (2014-2017) provides further examples:

Musical ‘Christmas gnomes’, Alfred Jacobsen (1898)

§73) England (Lancashire). Male; 2000s; 21-30; in woodland; with several other people, some of whom shared my experience* [‘3 of us heard music’]; 9 pm-12 am; ten minutes to an hour; joyful; occasional supernatural experiences; no special state reported; unusually vivid memories of the experience. “Three friends in the woods late one night we all heard this funny music, the other two tried to dismiss it as some people playing fiddles or whatever it was in the woods at night! I am a musician and what I heard was not like any music I’ve come across before. I would say it was similar to traditional Irish music but really different, hard to describe.”

Simon Young, The Fairy Investigation Society, ‘Fairy Census’ 2014-2017:

§117) England (Somerset). Female; 31-40; 2000s; inside a private house; on my own; 12 am-3 am; less than a minute; “I awoke from my sleep hearing music and remember thinking how unusual it was for the neighbours to play music at all let alone this late and loud enough for me to hear through the wall. Just then a ball of light floated in through the bedroom door and hovered right in front of me. I did all the usual eye rubbing in disbelief etc. It was still there so I said ‘who are you?’ The reply was ‘my name is Effeny and I am very yellow.’ This is all I remember of this one particular visitation.”

Dr Simon Young, The Fairy Investigation Society, ‘Fairy Census’ 2014-2017:

Enticed towards the Unknown

The following entry in Simon Young’s ‘Fairy Census’ 2014-2017 describes the sense of being “compelled” to the window and a “feeling of longing” to go outside and join the coloured lights:

§323) US (New Hampshire). Female; 2010s; 41-50; on or near water, in woodland, on a country road; on my own; 3 am-6 am; ten minutes to an hour; “I was staying at my parents’ home on a small island in New Hampshire (USA). I woke up at about 4 AM, and this was not notable because I have very irregular sleep patterns. What was different this time, was an inner ‘pull’ and ‘compulsion’ to raise the shade and look out the bathroom window. I hate having the shades up when it is dark outside – it is a strange picadillo – but I hate feeling like I am exposed to the outside world in a display case, I I looked out into the dark, and across the country road, a fair distance away there were multi colored lights varying in size, and they were dancing. They were making circles in the pitch black night, dancing high over the trees and low and they were beautiful and compelling, and mesmerizing. Still, there was something sinister that gave me pause, and I cannot explain this because there was nothing inherently frightening in their display. I started to feel compelled and drawn outdoors, a feeling of longing came over me and I wanted so badly to be close to the lights, and there was a feeling of almost apathy for my personal safety. The sun came up and the lights slowly dissipated and faded. On a side note, there is a strange belief on my mother’s Irish side of the family, that there is sidhe in our blood. I do not think this has any currency.” 

As mentioned on the episode, there’s a story of collected tales in Lady Wilde and William Robert Wilde’s, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, Vol 1 (1887). We’re told that some people had a power of enchantment over others, known as the ‘Evil Eye’. One young man in Limerick around 1790 was said to have had, “this power in a singular and unusual degree“, which would cause him to be, “loved and followed by any girl (he) liked” We are told that, while travelling away from home he stops at a farmhouse and is refused entry by the farmer’s young daughter who is at home alone:

Arthur Rackham

“The young poet fixed his eyes earnestly on her for some time in silence, then slowly turning round left the house, and walked towards a small grove of trees just opposite. There he stood for a few moments resting against a tree, and facing the house as if to take one last vengeful or admiring glance, then went on his way without once turning round.

The young girl had been watching him from the windows, and the moment he moved she passed out of the door like one in a dream, and followed him slowly, step by step, down the avenue. The maids grew alarmed, and called to her father, who ran out and shouted loudly for her to stop, but she never turned or seemed to heed. The young man, however, looked round, and seeing the whole family in pursuit quickened his pace, first glancing fixedly at the girl for a moment. Immediately she sprang towards him, and they were both almost out of sight, when one of the maids epsied a piece of paper tied to a branch of the tree where the poet had rested. From curiousity she took it down, and the moment the knot was untied, the farmer’s daughter suddenly stopped, became quite still, and when her father came up she allowed him to lead her back to the house without resistance. When questioned she said that she felt herself drawn by an invisible force to follow the young stranger wherever he might lead, and that she would have followed him through the world, for her life seemed to be bound up in his; she had no will to resist, and was conscious of nothing else but his presence. Suddenly, however, the spell was broken, and then she heard her father’s voice, and knew how strangely she had acted. At the same time the power of the young man over her vanished, and the impulse to follow him was no longer in her heart.”

Wilde, L. (2013). Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland Volume 1. Memphis: TheClassics
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Episode 18: Chat with Thomas Freese, Researcher of the Strange

Thomas’s childhood book about the unexplained

In this episode I speak to a fellow researcher, Thomas Freese. Thomas is also an author, a storyteller and an artist. To date, he’s written 11 books and 200 articles. Much of his research is focused on people’s extraordinary encounters with ghosts, nature spirits, angels, fairies, and multidimensional beings.

In his storytelling role, Thomas visits schools and finds that children often want to tell him about their own strange experiences.  We discuss this and some of the many Otherworldly encounters that he has collected over the years.  

In a bonus episode for The Curious Crew on Patreon, Thomas describes his own fairy experiences. He also shares some unnerving encounters with paranormal creatures known as ‘black-eyed children’. These beings are known for appearing at people’s homes or vehicles and asking to be let inside.

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

Tree Spirits and Wood Wisdom includes encounters with fairies and nature beings
Ghosts Spirits and Angels: True Tales from Kentucky and Beyond includes the story of the protective spirit dog.

Forbidden Fairy Food

Thomas tells us about a woman’s childhood memory of venturing into fairyland via an enchanted tree door, where she is invited to stay for a meal. Throughout folklore we are warned against eating fairy food…for if you do, you may never return from fairyland. Here’s a great article from Morgan Daimler on the subject.

‘The Fairy Dwelling on Selena Moor’ is a well known folktale, various versions of which were collected by Katharine Briggs and Lady Wilde:

“When Mr. Noy, a local farmer, loses his way and wanders into a fairy realm, he finds that he is very thirsty and asks for a drink. But he is signalled by a young maiden dressed in white whom he recognises as a former sweetheart, thought to have died some three or four years earlier. Though she carries ale, she denies him a drink and warns him against eating a fruit or plucking a flower if he wished ever to reach his home again. “Eating a tempting plum in this enchanted orchard was my undoing,” she warns him. The fruit that enslaved her dissolved into “bitter water” in her mouth. Like all else in fairyland, fairy food is a snare and delusion: “What appear like ruddy apples and other delicious fruit are only sloes, hoggins [haws] and blackberries.” Mr. Noy did escape, but, we are told, like other visitors to Fairyland, he pined and lost his thirst for normal life after his adventure.” – The Fairy Dwelling on Selena Moor

Briggs, K.M. 1977. A Dictionary of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures. Harmondsworth: Penguin. (pp 142-143)

Fairies in houses

In Episode 10: Stay or Go we heard of an encounter which took place in a house – to be specific, a little boy’s bedroom. Some might be surprised to learn that fairies turn up in houses as well as nature locations. The show notes on Episode 10 include further examples of house brownies, including Colin Parson’s example which I referred to on this episode with Thomas Freese.

Here is ‘ The Silkie of Denton Hall’, collected by Katharine Briggs:

“You must beware of offending your brownie or he may turn into a boggart, and then woe betide you! I heard of such a case the other day. It was told me by a friend rather older than myself who passed her girlhood in Northumberland. When she was still a girl-this would be in the nineties of the last century-her mother used to take her to call on some old ladies who lived at Denton Hall near Newcastle. These old ladies would often tell them of the silkie they had in the house. The silkie is the Northumbrian brownie. The old ladies were very fond of their silkie. It is true that she made it rather difficult to keep servants, but if they were in a strait whe would do all sorts of kind things to help them, particularly cleaning grates and laying fires ready to light. They often said that they did not know how they would manage without her. There was something too about flowers, the details of which my informant does not quite remember. She thinks it was that the silkie left little bunches of flowers for them on the staircase. She dressed in grey silk, and they often met her, or were aware of her, on the stairs. My friend left the place and the old ladies died. In the last war, however, she returned to Northumberland and found Denton Hall owned by another family of her acquaintance. They were not, she says, the kind of people to get on with fairies. At any rate they did not see the silkie, but the son of the house was so persecuted by intolerable bangings in his room that they did not stay in the place for long. It is plain that the brownie had become a boggart.”

Briggs, K. (1957). The English Fairies. Folklore, 68(1), 270-287.

Protective Dog Spirits

In this episode, I mentioned Howard Hughes’ Podcast Unexplained which is excellent. The Beasts of Britain, episode with author Andrew McGrath features multiple sightings of huge supernatural dogs, in the UK and further afield…

…and if you’re interested in protective dog/wolf spirits then check out Episode 14: Guardian of the Mountain of this podcast which is pretty mind blowing!

Stick/Tree Men

In the podcast I mention my own sighting of a stick/tree man. It’s rather similar to the description in Episode 4: Mysterious Illuminations given by a man in the UK. I’ve also spoken with a man in Brazil who saw a tree man – again in the company of another person who saw it too. I think it’s interesting that all the stick man encounters I’ve heard about so far, appear to be multiple-witness sightings.

Have you seen one of these? Get in touch if so. I’d love to hear more about these beings. They seem to be particularly eccentric – even for fairies!

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Episode 17: Red Winged Warrior

I speak to an Australian lady who recalls her first fairy encounter as a child. She had experienced deep trauma and found herself in some dreadfully sad situations.

Trigger Warning: Some of the content may upset people so please be aware of background themes of drug abuse and child neglect.

As a listener of this Podcast, she very much wanted to share her story. It’s an incredibly powerful and magical experience. We discuss how people feel about sharing these encounters and how important it is for those to be received with respect, sensitivity and an open mind.

A bonus episode available on Patreon features extra material from the conversation and a further encounter.

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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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Please subscribe, rate and review on whichever app you listen on. Or become a patron on Patreon and join The Curious Crew!


NB: This episode releases at 8pm (GMT) on Sunday, 25th July

Artwork: Peter Hall Studios

Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Winged Fairies

I start each episode of my show by saying “...these are not winged Tinkerbells” and yet, in some cases people do see small winged fairies. They feature in previous episodes of this podcast: Ep 3, The Honey Bandit and Ep 8, The Good The Bad and The Tickly

There are some excellent examples in Dr Simon Young’s, Fairy Investigation Society Census (2014-2017). Interesting that many of them are seen by young children! It makes me return to the idea that we perceive them in a way that feels right for us. Or is it that we attract the kind of fairy that we, ourselves are open to and we truly are perceiving them as they are. Please get in touch with your thoughts. I will be expanding on these ideas in the coming months and weeks.

§76) England (Lincolnshire). Female; 1960s; 0-10; in a garden; on my own; 3 pm-6 pm* [the author wrote said 3 am-6 am, but this is probably a mistake as the child saw the fairy in ‘full light’]; ‘I was in at the bottom of our garden, it was quiet there, I was half way up an apple tree and a small winged person flew slowly by I can remember being thrilled about it and ran in to tell my parents.’ ‘She was a tiny little delicate little thing with wings.’ ‘I think fairies are People from another dimension a dimension which is near to our world.’ ‘I think I saw a fairy because I was a child and children can see other worldly beings easier than adults.’ ‘I have often seen lights orbs and mists while watching TV or listening to music.’

§121) England (Staffordshire). Female; 2000s; 11-20; on or near water, in woodland; on my own; 12 pm-3 pm; two to ten minutes; friendly, ‘serene’; regular supernatural experiences; no special state reported; loss of sense of time, hair prickling or tingling before or during the experience, a sense that the experience was a display put on specially for you, unusually vivid memories of the experience, a sense that the experience marked a turning point in your life. ‘I was on a swing bridge awaiting a friend’s arrival and I saw something small from the corner of my eye. I looked up and there were a small number of them, all winged. Some sitting on branches some hovering. The wings were like butterfly wings. They watched me as intently as I watched them. We stayed that way for a few minutes. They smiled at me and I felt calm. I looked away and then they were gone.’ ‘Like small beautiful people with butterfly wings’

§46) England (Essex). Female; 1980s; 0-10; in a garden; on my own; 12 pm-3 pm; less than a minute; no fairy mood reported; never or almost never has supernatural experiences; no special state reported; no special phenomena to report connected with the incident. ‘Saw something humanoid, winged, greenish, about four- to six-inches tall, it climbed between the thin branches of a weeping ash tree that stood in the corner of the communal green area where I grew up.’

§62A) England (Kent). Female (third person); still in touch with witness; friend; 2010s; 21- 30; on a country road; with one other person who shared the experience; no time given; one to two minutes; no fairy mood given; no special state reported; no special state reported. ‘Creature flew onto windscreen of car both driver and passenger in front saw it! Both said ‘Omg that was a fu****g fairy!’ Tiny but clear to see humanoid winged creature [as?] it flew off! Told to me by friend’s mom reliable witness both educated and articulate level headed people not prone to exaggerated story telling!!’ ‘Apparently it looked like the classical winged image you see in books.’

Episode 16: The Green Lady and the Nacht Mare

Jo talks to a Dutch folklore storyteller who experienced two contrastingly different encounters during his twenties. The first epitomises the very essence of a beautiful nature spot and the second, the stuff of nightmares. They explore how each event played out and the potential meanings behind them.

A bonus episode available on Patreon features extra material from the conversation and further explores possibilities.

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. 

Support Modern Fairy Sightings

Please subscribe, rate and review on whichever app you listen on. Or become a Patron on Patreon and join The Curious Crew! Thanks 🙂

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Artwork: Peter Hall Studios

Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


We commonly refer to nightmares as terrifying subconscious sleep journeys. But in times past, the nightmare was said to be caused by visitations from Otherworldly beings. These spectres would sneak into bedchambers, lie on a victim’s chest and give them bad dreams, or worse, suffocate them.

Henry Fuseli (1781)

The older Germanic “Nachtmahr” relates to the word “nightmare” in Old English maere, or mara in Anglo Saxon. It is thought that, in English this word, rather than meaning a horse, referred to an incubus or succubus – a mythical demonic creature who would ride the chest of the sleeper, rendering them powerless to their disturbing vivid dreams and imposing a sense of breathlessness.

Here’s a really great article on the subject for further reading.

In Dutch folklore, it’s suggested that Nacht Mare or Nachtmerries were people rather than phantoms, and always women (or werewolves!).

Here’s a helpful chant (translated from Dutch), to ward off nightmares:

Oh, you ugly beast, do not come here this night.
You shall blow all the waters,
You shall blow all the trees,
You shall count all the muscles of barley,
Do not come to torment me this night. ” (Unknown)

Goya Image

The sleep of reason produces monsters

The sketch I referred to in the episode is Francisco Goya’s (1746-1828) The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. It’s number 43 of a series of 80 aquatint etchings entitled, Los Caprichos. Published in 1799, they feature his response to the political, religious and social atrocities of the time.

Interestingly, our guest contacted me afterwards and told me that the one he had in mind was the image featured below. Plate 72: A bat-like creature sucking at the chest of a corpse, from Disasters of War (c.1810-12).

A bat-like creature sucking at the chest of a corpse

Orbs, Vapours and Energy Bodies

From my own experiences and that of others, I believe that orbs and vapours are a dense form of energy or ‘spirit’. Not quite dense enough to become manifest physically, as we are but enough to form and be perceived. Some people are able to see these forms more easily than others. It’s possible to practice by attempting to see the aura (energy body) of another person.

Allow your eyes to become relaxed and out of focus and then just observe their outline. If that person can be seated with a white background (hung up sheet or white wall) then all the better. Watch to see any colours or shapes that manifest around them. What you are perceiving are that person’s energy bodies.

We are all beings of energy and our physical body is simply our densest form – how we usually perceive each other. But the next most dense is our emotional body, followed by the mental body and then the astral, etheric, Buddhic and causal bodies.

One possibility is that the energetic manifestations of spirits, fairies or other Otherworldly beings are also made of energy, as is the entire Universe. From this point of view perhaps they are perceived by us while we are observing from that corresponding level of consciousness or energy body.

We can move through these bubbles of perception in various altered states, caused by meditation, relaxation, the use of psychedelics or even during states of passion.

Martin Brofman’s Map of the Body Mirror Healing System

Personally, I’ve been working with these ideas since the mid-nineties and in 2005 I trained in The Body Mirror System with Martin Brofman. I offer one-to-one healings in person or remote healing appointments. If you’re interested in learning more about these, please see here.

I will be releasing further episodes featuring orbs. Please subscribe to this blog to receive alerts about forthcoming episodes.

Featured image:
by Mapc7Hunter

Episode 15: The Books of Dreams and Visions

This episode includes excerpts from The B.O.D.A.V.’s (The Books of Dreams and Visions). It’s a personal collection of fairy encounters and vivid dreams, experienced by a young man from the age of 11 to his late teens, provoked by night time forest walks with his father.

Having had some awareness and interest in the Otherworlds himself, his father had encouraged him to journal these experiences.  Some of these drawings are pictured below.

It’s rare that a child or young person is encouraged to explore these realities with such depth by a parent and for that reason, I feel the collection is rare and of great importance to helping us understand our nature of being as humans. I believe that these states of deeper perception with nature are innate within us and socialised out of us from a young age.

Our guest, now in his mid-twenties and undertaking a Master’s in biological science, was able to spend lockdown reunited with his father. This provided an opportunity to re-read the journals and attempt to categorise some of the beings and events that took place.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this beautiful share.

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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Recommended further reading:

Martin Brofman’s Anything Can Be Healed is an excellent book for describing how to shift into other realities and see the world from alternative perspectives, notably healing the body, mind and anything that is not working for you, in your life. (Note: I trained with Martin from 2005 until 2014 and his healing system completely changed my life…I will get round to talking about this someday. Let me know if you’d like to hear about it!)

Mike Clelland’s The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity and the UFO Abductee. I would recommend this to anyone interested in reading about people’s extraordinary experiences and how dreams often tie into encounters. I’m reading this at the moment and I find it fascinating. (Note: yes it does involve UFO encounters rather than fairies but there are many similarities and if you haven’t already explored these ideas, then this is an excellent start).

Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality argues that the human psyche extends beyond the confines of the physical human body, and that it may in fact be a part of our reality. It’s a core text for understanding these encounters.

Dr Jack Hunter’s Greening The Paranormal is a collection of essays on humankind’s relationship with earth and what we have come to term as ‘extraordinary experience’. 

Neil Rushton’s blog, Dead But Dreaminghas a world of information about fairies, experiences and folklore. This particular article, Visioning the Fairies: Magical Ointments and Seeing the Unseen provides some excellent references to folklore in this regard, as touched upon in the podcast.

Episode 14: Guardian of the Mountain

In this first episode of series two 🎉 I chat with a guest who encounters an Otherworldly creature that we are quite familiar with in folklore. His response to the experience is admirable and most interesting. It’s a great example of how faith, and spiritual connection (of any kind!) can aid us in our most challenging moments.

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.

Please Support Modern Fairy Sightings

Become a Patron!

Black Dog Folklore

Black Dog sightings abound in folklore collections, and sightings continue to be reported, particularly in the UK but all over the world. Many of us are familiar with the image of the Hound of the Baskervilles, but these supernatural beasts appear in a great number of forms and are known by various names in the UK depending on the location: ‘Barguest’, ‘Black Shuck’, ‘Capelthwaite’, ‘Freyburg’, to name but a few.

Folklore author, Mark Norman’s book, Black Dog Folklore is an excellent study of the subject and features a multitude of sightings and traditions in the UK.

Here’s an interesting snippet. A letter from one mid-century Devonshire-based folklorist to another, about a trackway sighting:

“The Black Dog who guards the ancient trackway from West Quantoxhead towards Crowcombe was sighted rushing down the steep sides of the Deer Park one late autumn evening. It was seen by a motor-cyclist who could not make out what animal it was: ‘about the size of a large pig – and what puzzled me was its coat looked like ruffled feathers. It was black and something like a dog, it moved like one but I have never met anything like it before or since.’ This was an unusual extension of the Dog’s known patrol.” (Ruth L. Tongue in personal correspondence to Theo Brown, 19th September 1960) (Norman, 2015, pp. 37).

Simon Young’s ‘Fairy Census’ (2014-2017) also contains a number of references to contemporary black dog sightings. Here’s one from Britain that appears to be connected with a house and another from the US, which preceded the respondent’s own pet dog’s death:

§191) (Wales, Female; 1990s).A friend and I were home one evening relaxing, my dog was out the front garden, it was late autumn, we had candles lit, listening to music, discussing spirituality/religion etc as was our passion at that time. We heard my dog a spaniel scratching the front door to come in, my friend went into the hall leaving the lounge door open to open the front door for the dog. I was sitting in my chair and could clearly see two metres or so out into the hall. I heard a commotion, like an animal’s feet running and looked out into the hall expecting to see Ben my spaniel come running into the room. I saw a man-sized ‘animal like’ creature run past and up the stairs, and heard the heavy sound of it running up on all fours, as it shot up the stairs. It was, I’d say, if standing, five foot five inches maybe more, it was sort of human crossed with an animal, I could see brownish leathery tough skin with coarse black hair sporadically growing out of its body, its head had a large flattened snout, crinkled and wrinkled like someone had forced its nose into its face, and upward protruding teeth. My friend heard it, but curiously did not see it. The dog had not come in and was still out in the garden. Over a period of a few years, I and visitors to the house would see red lights, like eyes, at night up on the landing and stairs and a few occasions hear the running up the stairs, like a very large dog. I am convinced it was a faery, a pooka, or some other thing. The house got renovated in later years and all occurrences stopped.’ ‘A large black dog, crossed with human characteristics and some other beast. Red eyes. Upward big fangs from bottom jaw. Flat large squashed in snout giving the face an ugly quite fierce expression.’ ‘Heard its running up the stairs on many occasions.’ ‘It was an old house, we held seances there, groups of friends into the paranormal would gather here over a few years, it was quite a hotspot of activity until its renovation.’ ‘It seemed like an elemental it seemed connected to the land the area the house. After renovation it stopped, it was definitely connected to the old untouched energy, before modernisation. We tried to use candles and hardly watched TV, preferring soft music at our groups of spiritual exploration there. There were a lot of experiences, by myself and others at that time.’

§273) (US (Illinois). Male; 1990s) ‘I distinctly remember this happening to me during January at 2:06 am when I was fifteen. I was lying in bed with the blinds closed and my bedroom door closed and locked. I had been asleep, but something prompted me to wake up immediately. I looked towards my bedroom door and saw a Black Dog with glowing green eyes and its tongue hanging out running from that side of my bedroom to the other side, near the foot of my bed. As the dog reached the foot of my bed, it disappeared into the shadows and never returned. I stayed awake for a few more minutes to record the time on my alarm clock and think about what happened. Then I went back to sleep. While the Black Dog was running, it made no noise whatsoever, not even the sound of its nails hitting the floor. I think it may have been running on the air rather than the actual floorboards. It didn’t seem to notice me despite my staring directly at it. I’m not sure how I could see its shape or its eyes glow when there were no lights on anywhere. How it got into and left my room is also a mystery. Its body shape was similar to my own dog at the time – labrador retriever with a slightly pointed nose and skinnier legs. To this day I’m not sure if it was a fairy dog or my dog’s doppelganger, since she died a couple months later.’

There are also a number of really great blog posts on the subject here and here

And if you’re into Gothic horror fiction Icy Sedgwick’s book, Black Dog & Other Gothic Tales, comes recommended.

References and recommended further reading/listening:

Howard Hughes’ Unexplained Podcast, Episode 351 Beasts of Britain

McGrath A.M.L. (2017) Beasts of Britain, independently published

Norman, M. (2015) Black Dog Folklore, London: Troy Books

Young, S. (ed) (2018) The Fairy Census 2014-2017. Accessed online at: on 13/06/2021


Virtual Birdsong Identification Workshop with Peter Holden MBE

The annual bird workshop and dawn chorus event with Peter Holden MBE, author of the RSPB Handbook has been one of our favourites dates in the calendar. Due to COVID restrictions, we have been unable to hold the workshop the last two years.

Last year, we ran the Virtual Dawn Chorus event, where members of the public were invited to submit their dawn chorus experience recorded in their gardens, out of their apartment windows or in local parks.

This year, Peter was kind enough to offer an online version of the workshop, free to all previous attendees. This meant a chance to see each other, share stories and of course, brush up on our bird song identification and bird behaviour knowledge.

Tor Purrett’s hand-weaved, hand-dyed bird inspired shawls

During lockdown, a number of our attendees had been moved to create some incredibly beautiful artworks. Tor Purrett shared her amazing hand spun shawls (pictured above). Each one inspired by a different bird, she creates natural dyes from woods and plants to transform the fleece.

Coo Geller presented her beautifully delicate representations of egg shells which were exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy.

Coo Geller’s ‘Eggshell Blends’
Alex Dommett’s ‘Nightjar’

Alex Dommett, shared her powerful drawing of a nightjar that she had managed to spot on holiday.

Lastly, Sarah reminded us all of our most marvellous 2018 workshop in which we spotted a very rare golden oriole on our dawn chorus walk.

Inspired by that story, Sarah’s friend painted her a picture of the beautiful bird which we eventually located with binoculars, singing at the top of a tall tree in the early morning light. If you’d like to read more about that incredible sighting, you can read Hayley Coristine’s beautiful blog post.

Sarah presents her friend’s golden oriole painting

Signed copies of the RSPB handbook are available from Peter for £10 incl. p&p

We hope to resume our much-loved workshop next year! If you’d like to subscribe to events please contact me.

Series Two begins 13th June 2021

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With three weeks to go before the second series of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, things are busy at Chez Hickey-Hall.

I’m humbled by the truly wonderful response that series one received. Many listeners wrote to tell me how much it meant to hear others talking of their experiences. Some remarked that it helped to make sense of their own extraordinary encounters and gave them hope and courage that they may be able to discuss their own experiences.

“I do love your podcast, it brings me much joy!

“I just wanted to thank you for all your stories! I have been seeing and interacting with the Faeries since I was very small. Its wonderful to hear all these other experiences. Thank you so much!”

“I love your podcast.”

“Thank you again for such a great podcast. It’s really good to know that there are people out there who are willing to discuss topics such as this one, however strange and bizarre it may seem to others.”  

“So happy to have stumbled across your podcast.”

“Thank you for being brave and sharing your experience with such integrity and honesty. So beautiful and truly curious!” 

It’s been a huge adventure for me too. At all times it’s felt as if I’m simply moving within the flow of this project’s own great momentum. For me personally, being able to chat with people and exchange experiences has been immensely helpful in validating my own curious encounters and providing a little more insight. Most importantly, if people feel more able to talk about their experiences as a result of this project, then it is serving its purpose.

Although we’re only weeks away, the second series is still forming. It’s a leap of trust for me and I feel led by the conversations which arise within interviews and the paths of exploration which they inspire, in this reimagining of the Podcast.

I look forward to joining with you all again on 13th June at 8pm (BST). Please subscribe and rate on Apple, Spotify Google, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

If you’d like to join The Curious Crew on Patreon, supporting the show, taking part in discussions and forming the new content, you can find more info here.

Much love,

Jo x

Main image: I went for a walk today and we happened upon this tranquil field carpeted with clover, buttercups and dandelion clocks. When the heavens opened we headed under the trees and found an ancient trackway which we followed until we got a bit lost! But that's always the fun bit :) before we got rained on, my dear friend managed to paint the scene as part of her daily painting practice: "One Tiny Thing" you can find it here on her Instagram.

Bonus Episode 13: Jo’s Fairy Encounter

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I began the Modern Fairy Sightings project in 2016, along with ‘Black Dog’ folklorist, Mark Norman while researching for Simon Young and Ceri Houlbrook’s book, ‘Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies: 500AD to the Present. Since that time, I have spoken to many others who have shared their encounters, for the purpose of research. In 2020, I created The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast and my guests have shared their stories. I feel it’s now time to share my own encounter.

Experiences shared on the Podcast are usually kept anonymous, so this is a very personal and important decision for me.

I hope it goes some way to break the taboo around speaking about extraordinary encounters of this kind and that it helps others who have had similar experiences and perhaps feel alone with it. I feel it’s important that we acknowledge that there are ‘Otherworlds’ that appear to weave with our own in a way that we don’t currently understand. Even if we cannot find answers, we can find meaning by sharing our experiences and exploring these mysterious universal realities, together.

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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Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.