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Episode 8: The Good, The Bad and The Tickly

In Episode 8 of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, Jo speaks to a British woman who had three very different experiences with fairies.  All encounters took place in her bedroom but were miles apart, in terms of her emotional experience in each case. In one incident, our guest summoned the courage to stand up to a nasty goblin-looking character. In another scene, she is set upon by a troop of tickling fairies and in the third encounter, a tree fairy provides much needed solace.

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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Scary goblins with poltergeist tendencies

Traditional folklore is full of nightmarish encounters with goblins of seemingly ill-intent. The story of Rumpelstiltskin is a well-known example, of German origin. In terms of sightings, recorded encounters with seemingly malicious fae are infrequent. However they are reported from time to time. The guest in this episode reported a nasty looking goblin that appeared on her curtain rail and seemed to be linked to some dark energies in her flat. In once instance, her bed is shaken and raised off the ground by a foot or so. Interestingly, the German name, Rumpelstilzchen translates to ‘little rattle stilt’ and was used to describe a little goblin who would rattle a stilt or post. Similarly, rumpelgeist is a mischievous noisy spirit that moves household objects. So, in German folklore at least, this sort of malicious goblin is linked with poltergeist tendencies.

Our guest found this image to most resemble the crouching goblin on her curtain rail

The following modern encounter describes a goblin of similar malevolent behaviour and appearance, which also related to poltergeist activity in a house. It was collected as part of The Fairy Investigation Society’s Census (2014-2017). It’s a very disturbing account that took place in the 1980s. It was witnessed by a child, though they are reporting it now as an adult:

§173) Scotland (Perthshire). Female; 1980s; age 0-10; ‘Within the week previous to seeing a fairy, I had taken part in a ouija board which was not shut down properly. Afterwards I was told by my friends that something appeared on the wall behind me and I didn’t believe them. A few days later, a Sunday, one of the boys where I was staying took back a stuffed eagle from Sunday school. I remember it well because it was my turn to set the dining room up for supper and the eagle had been left on the dining table. I looked at it and it felt as though it was flashing in and out at me, almost like a flashing experience. I knew something wasn’t right and when I went into the adjacent crockery room for the cutlery to set the table, I opened the drawer and cupboard at the same time. This is when I saw the contents of both shaking and leaping around. Obviously I was hysterical and ran screaming down the corridor to get others. I wasn’t believed. Unfortunately, my bedroom was on the ground floor and to get to it, the dining room (which was on the corner of the building) had to be passed. Because of the scary experience I had, an adult had to stand at the corner so I could go by to get to my room. This went on for a few more days and they decided to move me to the bedroom directly above the one I was in. So I moved to my new room, sharing with two other girls, but still really drought [distraught?] about what I saw in the crockery room. Then one night I woke up with a start and felt someone else was in the room. The hall light was on so I wasn’t in complete darkness and I guess it was between midnight and 3 am. I looked at the bottom of my bed – cheesy I know but very true – and I saw a little man about the size of a baby sitting at the bottom of my bed. He looked old – maybe about sixty if I had to equate it to a human. He was small and skinny and had human features and body but wasn’t human. He was sitting on the edge of my bed swinging his legs like he was on a swing and his head was turned to the left, looking at me. He was grinning and I could see his sharp, pointed, black shelled teeth. He had pointed, chiseled features and olive-coloured skin. What was memorable about him was his pointed ears and dirty furrowed forehead. I’m unsure how long he sat there before moving. I couldn’t scream out because I was frozen with fear but I know I was wide awake. I remember him leaping off my bed but I didn’t see him take physical steps up to me – it was more like he drifted up to me. He grinned at me, pointed a finger at me (the pigment of the pointed nail was black, it wasn’t dirt), then disappeared into my bedside cabinet. I’m unsure whether my experience with the ouija board had anything to do with it because I didn’t know what a ouija was when I did it, so it wasn’t the power of suggestion that made me see the little man. To this day, some thirty-four years later, I am adamant that I saw these things. Five years ago, some twenty-nine years after this happened, I went back to the house that this happened in. It’s since been converted to a hunting lodge and I was chatting to the lady owner. I happened to tell her about my experience and she turned to her husband and said that she knew the place was haunted. But I think that the little man I saw was a fairy, even though I had always imagined them to look like the fairies in the ‘Flower Fairies’ books, prior to my sighting of him.’

An extremely disturbing folkloric account of the “most unpleasant hobgoblin” is described in R. L. Tongue’s ‘Somerset Folklore’. Preying upon children, he “...lived in a dark cupboard, usually under the stairs. If you were heroic enough to peep through a crack you would get a glimpse of the dreadful crouching creature, with blood running down his face, seated waiting on a pile of raw bones that had belonged to children who told lies or said bad words. If you peeped through the keyhole, he got you anyway.

Troops of Fairies / Tickling Fairies

Traditional folklore is full to the brim with stories of trooping fairies, both out in nature and inside houses (particularly children’s nurseries). I haven’t heard of tickling fairies before, so please get in touch if you have. There’s a an old Scottish Folktale, The Brazen Brogues (Douglas, 1900), that features five maidens (with fae-like qualities), tickling the hero of the story. There’s also the 17th century account of ‘pinching’ fairies, offered by John Aubrey in Katharine Brigg’s Dictionary of Fairies, whereby a Mr Harte is set upon by:

“an innumerable quantitie of pygmies or very small people dancing rounde and rounde, and singing…(who) pinch’d him all over, and made a sorte of quick humming noyse all the time…”

Images resembling the troop of tickling fairies in the bedroom

It’s hard to find images that exactly recreate what you have seen. I’ve often thought how wonderful it must be to have artistic skill and be able to do so. Our guest provided the following images that were most like the troop of fairies in her bedroom in terms of stance, age and appearance:

Flower and Tree Fairies

This image of a woman in traditional Welsh costume, was provided by our guest as most resembling the crab apple fairy in appearance.

There’s a lovely account in the Fairy Investigation Society Census (2014-2017) that bears some resemblance to the crab apple fairy’s manifestation in the bedroom:

The Crab Apple Fairy, by Cicely Mary Barker

§13) England (Cheshire). Female; 1970s; 0-10; ‘I was four to five years old. I was in my bedroom one evening. I noticed a twinkling light in my window. I watched the light fly down towards my neck region. As the light came closer I noticed it had a human face and a dark outfit. It was around two-inches tall. I asked who are you and it replied that it was a fairy. It was flying in a side-to-side motion as it spoke. I heard a noise and put the covers over the fairy and my head. The space I had made was then illuminated. The fairy said that all will be ok and talked to me. But I don’t remember any of the conversation. I pulled back the covers and the fairy kept on talking and flying towards the window. All the time reassuring me everything would be ok. I had to ask what it was because I didn’t know what a fairy was. I then fell asleep.’

And here’s a beautiful flower fairy account from Marjorie T. Johnson’s Seeing Fairies:

When Mrs Martha C. Smith was ordained, the altar was beautiful with flowers, including one large bouquet of white gladioli. Just as she rose to go to the altar to take her vows, she saw a nature spirit sitting on one of the white flowers. The lady standing beside her, when asked if she had noticed anything, replied that all she saw was a movement among the flowers, as though a large insect was crawling on them. When Mrs Smith told the Rev. B, her teacher about the fairy, he said he wasn’t surprised as he too had been conscious of something there. “The little creature was truly beautiful with the tiny wings and lovely colouring, ” wrote Mrs Smith. I couldn’t see clearly what she was holding in her hand, but it looked like a small wand with a light shining from it, and the fairy herself was surrounded by a bluish-white aura. The vision lasted for about one minute, but oh what a minute!”

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References

Briggs, K. (1976) A Dictionary of Fairies, London: Penguin Books, pp. 12-13

Douglas, Sir G. (1900) ‘The Brazen Brogues’ Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales, New York: Bart, pp. 243-268. accessed online at: https://archive.org/stream/scottishfairyfol00doug/scottishfairyfol00doug#page/242/mode/1up 11th February 2021

Johnson, M.T. (2014) Seeing Fairies: From the Lost Archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, Authentic Reports of Fairies in Modern Times. San Antonio: Anomalist, pp. 163.

R.L Tongue (1965) ‘Somerset Folklore: County Series VIII’, The Folklore Society in, Briggs, K. (1967) The Fairies in Tradition and Literature London: Routledge, pp. 68.

Young, S. (Ed.) (2018) The Fairy Investigation Society Census (2014-2017) accessed online at Fairyist.com http://www.fairyist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/The-Fairy-Census-2014-2017-1.pdf

Episode 7: Twilight Zone

In Episode 7 of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast our guest describes a series of events which took place in an ancient wooded area in the north of the Netherlands. They include child-sized and two dimensional beings who appear and disappear, apparitions at the roadside and what sound like time slip incidents.

In this particular episode, the encounters are particularly unnerving and it is not recommended for anyone who may be upset by creepy content.

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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Witte Wieven

Witte Wieven (Image: Isabella’s Art)

Dutch folktales feature these ‘white women’ as translated, or ‘wise women’ in meaning, who appeared in the mist and were said to resemble white, ghost-like witches. One of their habits was said to be kidnapping young mothers to (presumably breast)feed their dogs. It’s interesting that our guest was alone in the car with her son when she saw the apparition.

Once captured, it was said that the women had to stay with the Witte Wieven for seven years, which bears resemblance to much fairy folklore. Being taken away for a period of time (sometimes to wet nurse fairy babies) and then returned.

Here’s a great blog post about these figures . Thanks to Isabella’s Art for the image – chosen by our guest as most representative of what she saw.

No Birdsong / Birds suddenly going quiet

This is an aspect of supernatural experience that I’ve heard people mention a number of times now. One person described to me, a pixy-led encounter: Walking in a fairly busy natural reserve one weekend, she told me that she and her friend left the path to inspect an unusual flower when complete silence fell upon them. No birdsong to be heard and none of the previous sounds of children and families enjoying the day. It was at this point that the realised they could no longer find their way back to the path. So ensued a rather frightening experience.

Here are some other examples from The Fairy Investigation Society’s, ‘Fairy Census’ 2014-2017:

§162) Isle of Man
‘It was on a track near ***, to *** mountain, the walk with a friend stopped under woodland path blocked with a pool, a fairy ring stood next to it! The area was quiet. No birdsong and had a long reputation of strangeness!

§217) US (Arkansas)
When I looked up to see what had the dog so worked up, I saw a woman. She was wearing a long, white dress and was walking toward us but there was no noise of crunching leaves or anything. It was completely silent and still. The birds and wind didn’t even make a sound.

§272) US (Illinois)
The temperature suddenly dropped, and everything I’d been hearing in the summer woods – tree frogs, birds, crickets, the hum of bees, the faraway yipping of coyotes, the hooting of owls – suddenly went silent.

§483) New Zealand (Gisborne)
Next minute this sparkle of glistening light with blue edges flew from the tree directly at me and then turned and flew over the vineyard zig zagging and doing twirls. The air went quiet and very still. And the birds flew off and didn’t cause anymore annoyance.” [The birds had previously been eating the interviewee’s vines].

An ongoing silence in a forest as our guest described does seem very eerie. The lack of birds and birdsong felt noticeable to her as soon as she arrived in the area. It was something that bothered her. I will continue looking into this aspect of fairy encounters and locations where this phenomenon occurs.

Skinwalker Ranch

Skinwalker Ranch is a well known centre of paranormal activity in Utah, United States. A series of reports began in mid 1990s describing a multitude of incidents, including a large unidentified beast with red glowing eyes that was not repelled by bullets, huge invisible objects emitting magnetic forces and cases of missing and mutilated cattle stretching back to the 1970s. Numerous, sightings of strange lights and reports of UFOs had also troubled the area. No definitive scientific proof was ever established but the Ranch garnered a great deal of interest from the UFO community.

Time-slips

Time-slips are a reported phenomenon where people will suddenly find their surroundings change and they appear to be experiencing another era of history.

Charlotte Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain

The Moberly-Jourdain Incident is a well known time-slip claim made by two women after a trip to the grounds of the Palace of Versailles in 1901. They had lost their path somewhat when they both experienced a feeling of dreariness and oppression and from that point encountered people wearing odd costume dress. Ushered by palace gardeners they stepped into another area of the grounds. At this point Jourdain described seeing a cottage which looked more like a tableau than a real scene, Moberly, who did not see the cottage also remarked that the atmosphere changed:

“Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees seemed to become flat and lifeless, like wood worked in tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade, and no wind stirred the trees.

There are a number of further, more recent cases of time slips in Bold St, Liverpool, England as told in this great Mysterious Universe article. Interestingly, in almost all cases at Bold St, people report going back to the 1950s or 1960s.

References

Castle, Terry (1995), The Female Thermometer: Eighteenth-century Culture and the Invention of the Uncanny, Oxford University Press, pp. 194

Isabella’s Art (2010) ‘Witte Wieven: A Dutch Folktale’, in Down on Penny’s Farm accessed online at: http://isabellasart.blogspot.com/2010/10/witte-wieven-dutch-folktale.html

Swancer, B. (2019) ‘Mysterious Time Slips on a Liverpool Street’, Mysterious Universe accessed online at https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2019/11/mysterious-time-slips-on-a-liverpool-street/

Young, S. (ed) (2018) The Fairy Census 2014 – 2017 accessed online at The Fairy Investigation Society

Episode 6: Teatime Interrupted

In Episode 6 of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast our guest relates an encounter that she and her sister witnessed simultaneously, on an ordinary afternoon.

In the aftermath of the incident, the decidedly rational approach they chose to take, to process their experience, is particularly interesting. As with Episode 4 (Mysterious Illuminations), when the encounter is shared with another witness, it can deepen the experience and help to remove any nagging doubt about what took place.

This experience was also told to fellow fairy folklorist Kitty, over at Encounters with the Good People and you can read her article (and many more!) here.

Warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. This episode describes a wonderful experience but 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.

The following two images shared by our guest, roughly show the placement, size and direction of the being that appeared in the corridor/door frame.

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Fairies, horses and stables

During the conversation in this episode, my guest revealed that the location she had seen the being appear was in a part of the old house which used to house the stables. I found this particularly interesting, as there is a great deal of traditional folklore regarding fairies and horses.

The collected folklore of Evans-Wentz recounts many descriptions of fairies riding horses and even ‘fairy horses’, Renowned Katharine Briggs renowned British folklorist shares a memorable tale about The Farmer of Houghton, who was on friendly terms with the pixies. They would regularly thrash his corn until his wife made them some clothes (which one should never do!) at which point they were no longer seen around. They did however meet the farmer some time later. As they were planning to move away they asked a favour of him.

Wilt give us a lend of thy plough and tackle? (pack-horses and
their crooks)”

The farmer agreed and when his old hardworking horses returned, they were magically transformed into fine young horses once more.

John Bauer ‘Då och då tog tomten tag i tyglarna’

Fairies riding horses is a well known folklore motif (366.2 in Stith Thompson’s Motif-Index of Folk Literature) and this potential hazard of pixies’ presence was always of concern for locals in rural communities. Here, a native Manx Islander describes to 18th Century folklore collector, George Waldron.

They say that nothing is more common, than to find these poor Beasts in a Morning, all over in a Sweat and Foam, and tired almost to death, when their Owners have believed they have never been out of the Stable.

This Gentleman had reason to be concerned, as he told Waldron, he’d had “…Three or Four of his best horses killed with these nocturnal Journies.

References

Briggs, K.M. (1961) ‘Some Late Accounts of the Fairies’ Folklore Vol. 72, pp 510.

Evans-Wentz, W.Y. (1911) The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, London: Oxford University Press. Accessed online at Project Gutenburg https://www.gutenberg.org/files/34853/34853-h/34853-h.htm

Waldron, G. (1731) ‘A Description of the Isle of Man’ The Compleat Works in Verse and Pros, ed Theodosia Waldron. London, 91-191; in Miller S. (20118) ‘George Waldron and the Good People’, in Young, S. & Houlbrook, C. (ed.) Magical Folk: British & Irish Fairies 500AD to the Present. London: Gibson Square, pp. 171.

Featured Image: by Retrogasm on Flickr

Episode 5: Crossing Paths

In Episode 5 of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, our guest relates a late night encounter as she drove home in rural Canada. The Being made his presence fully known and left her with many unanswered questions. What was it? Was the location significant? And why her?

Warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. This episode describes a wonderful experience but 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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Crossroads Folklore

Brian Froud’s image mentioned in this Episode.

The fact that this encounter took place near a three-way crossroads could be significant. Fairies and other supernatural creatures such as the jinn, vampires and witches have long been associated with these locations. (MacCulloch, 1981).

Crossroads have had sinister associations as the traditional scene of executions in many cultures over millennia, including Greece and nineteenth century England. They were often the scene of burials for those denied a Christian burial, such as criminals (usually murderers) and those who had committed suicide.

Aside from executions, crossroads roused a general sense of fear for travellers, mindful of what may befall them if they took a wrong turn. John Arnott MacCulloch, a eminent early 20th century Celtic Scholar noted, “Men always fear demons and spirits which they believe lurk on the edge of the forest path or rude roadway, ready to pounce upon the belated traveler, and in many cases roads are believed to be infested by them. . . Hence they would be regarded as lurking at the intersection of roads, especially by night, when wayfarers were uncertain of the direction in which they ought to go”.

Corn Creatures

There is some (mostly German) folklore on corn creatures, which can take either human or animal form (see Bechstein, also Mannhardt). In many of the tales, the creatures are bloodthirsty carnivores but these creatures do not seem to resemble the Being described in this episode.

Pooka, Púca, Pookha

Brian Froud’s image of a ‘Phooka’

There’s a great deal of folklore on the shape-shifting Pooka – a Celtic entity. Here’s a good general article on them by Eric Edwards. They are often described as taking the form of a large dog or a small horse, though many more describe them as being a small dwarf or a goblin type which bears no resemblance to the Being witnessed crossing the road. However, there is this mention of a Puca which was recorded in the 1930’s by the Irish Folklore Commission. It describes a late night encounter on the road which, given the circumstances in this episode, I can’t resist sharing:

“A man and his wife lived three miles from the nearest town where they went to market regularly. One night their clock stopped but they got up, thinking it must be late, and set off in their horse-drawn cart. On the way they saw a priest walking the road. They stopped, and asked him the time. He told them it was only midnight. Then they heard a great clatter of chains and the priest told them to get out of the way of what was coming. ‘Pull in your cart off the road as quickly as possible for there are more devils coming than you can count!’ Soon after in a great commotion the host of devils passed by. The woman wanted to repay the priest, who asked her to go to his brother, to get him to give offerings for two unsaid Masses so that he (the priest) might go to Heaven.”

Wendigos

Wendigos are said to be malevolent devourers of mankind. I’ll provide more information about them here as I find it but, as we discuss in the Episode, they don’t bear any relation to the encounter here.

In the meantime, Ancient Origins have an article about Wendigos which offers further information.

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

References

Ancient Origins, The Wendigo: A Terrifying Beast With an Insatiable Hunger for Human Flesh, Available at: https://www.ancient-origins.net/unexplained-phenomena/be-wary-wendigo-terrifying-beast-native-american-legend-insatiable-hunger (Accessed 3rd January 2021)

Archives of the Folklore Department of University College Dublin, MS S-820, p. 11. Cited in Breatnach, D. (1993) ‘The Púca: A Multi-Functional Irish Supernatural Entity’, Folklore, Vol. 104, No. 1/2, pp. 105-110

Bechstein, L. (1930) Deutsches Sagenbuch. F. W. Leipzig: Hendel Verlag

Edwards, E.W. ‘Pookas, Pucas, and Pucks’, Eric Edwards Collected Works, available at: https://ericwedwards.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/pookas-pcas-and-pucks/ (Accessed 1st January 2021).

Icy Sedgewick, What 4 weird things you might find at an English crossroads? Available at: https://www.icysedgwick.com/3-weird-things-at-crossroads/ (Accessed 3rd January 2021)

MacCulloch, J.A. (1981) “Cross-roads” in Hastings, J. (ed) Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Reprint, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, New York: Scribners. p332. Cited in: Garry, J. & El-Shamy, H.M. (2004) Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature : A Handbook, Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 333-341

Mannhardt, W. (2014) Die Korndämonen: Beitrag zur germanischen Sittenkunde. Bremen: Bremen University Press. 

Episode 4: Mysterious Illuminations

In this Winter Solstice bumper episode, our guest describes two encounters, both featuring the most enchanting light shows. One took place inside his home and the other was encountered in an ancient wood nearby. The sighting is quite amazing and throws to light a form of fairy being which has been reported to me previously and interestingly, always witnessed by two or more people.

Warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. This episode describes a wonderful experience but 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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Will o’ the Wisp

Will o’ the Wisp, also known as Jack the Lantern. This ‘Lantern Man’ was first mentioned in Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584) as ‘Kit with the Cansticke’. Interestingly, the idea of a lantern-carrying being fits in more with the forest encounter. Here’s a nice article by Mysterious Britain about these beings.

Pixy-Led and stealing humans

Our guest mentioned a fleeting feeling that he’d like to follow the being into the Otherworld. The idea of being ‘pixy-led’ is found throughout fairy folklore, see myself and Mark Norman’s chapter in Simon Young’s Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies. 500AD to the present to read about being “piskie-led” in Devon, An Encyclopedia of Fairies by Katharine Briggs, or Jeremy Harte’s Explore Fairy Traditions for more info.

Here’s a good intro article on the subject, ‘Why do Fairies Steal People Away?’

Featured Image: ‘Tree Man’ by 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.

Episode 3: The Honey Bandit

In our third episode of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, Jo chats with a woman who came across a fairy in her ivy and then another in her kitchen. She talks about her relationship towards these encounters and how she felt about sharing them with her children and best friend. 



Warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. This episode describes a wonderful experience but 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. 

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.

Episode 2: A Call to the Otherworld

In the second episode of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast Our guest describes an truly beautiful experience whilst immersed in nature.  The meeting itself was perhaps induced by her heartfelt song to the wilds. The response she received was truly breathtaking.

Here’s a link to an example of kulning (cattle herd calling).

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If you’d prefer to support the Modern Fairy Sightings with a one off donation, you can ‘buy me a coffee’ and I’d be very grateful 🙂
https://www.buymeacoffee.com/modfairysight

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

Episode 1: A Remote Encounter

In the first episode of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, Jo speaks to a man who crossed paths with a being from an Otherworld while walking in a remote area of Scotland. This was something he had never considered a possibility. He candidly describes his experience.



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

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. 

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PlayPlay

Big exciting news! The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast launches 8th November 2020 at 8pm (GMT)

The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast will launch at 8pm (GMT) on Sunday 8th November 2020. Listeners will hear first hand accounts of fairy sightings – a rare opportunity in these modern times. This is a project close to my heart. It’s so important to me, that people get a chance to share their fairy experiences in their own words.

Hear the Podcast here.

The Modern Fairy Sightings community began in 2016, when folklorist, Mark Norman and I began research for Dr Simon Young’s book, Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies 500 AD to the Present. During our research, we spoke to people who had encountered fairies, though weren’t discussing it openly.

Eager to find out more about this continuing taboo around fairy sightings, I started the Modern Fairy Sightings Facebook Group, a place where people could openly discuss their sightings and exchange experiences.

Many people have had encounters but are reluctant to talk about them for fear of ridicule. While we, as a western society, more commonly accept the existence of ghosts and UFOs, fairies are often a step too far for most people to acknowledge.

As evolved as we are, it’s sometimes tough to admit that we humans still know so little about this Universe and all its mysteries.

So lets learn together. Suspend your judgment, take that trip into the unknown…and always remain curious about this universe.

Images: created by Peter Hall Comics, from a description of a fairy sighting in 2008. https://www.facebook.com/peterhallcomics/

Virtual Dawn Chorus: Mass Participation

For the last few years I’ve organised a birdsong identification workshop, taught by the brilliant Peter Holden MBE, renowned ornithologist and author of the RSPB handbook. After a day of learning, we meet the following morning to experience the dawn chorus together, and test our recognition of birdsong.

It’s always a wonderful experience, but as we’re all following social distancing measures, we won’t be meeting in person this year.

 

Instead, on National Dawn Chorus Day Sunday 3rd May at 5am, let’s each audio record our local dawn chorus, wherever we are.  Whether you’re recording in your garden, from out of an apartment window, or in the midst of a forest.

In these extraordinary times, we can draw strength from the exquisite nature which surrounds us. The birds’ enchanting expression of spring is particularly powerful and our sharing of this experience, reminds us that we are – and always will be – connected.


What is a dawn chorus?
It’s when the birds begin to sing at the break of a new day.  In springtime their song is particularly potent, as it’s all about defending territory and finding new mates. The magic happens when the silence is broken by the first song, which builds to a magnificent chorus. 

When will it happen?
National Dawn Chorus Day, Sunday 3rd May.  Sunrise is around 5:30am, so we advise that you  prepare to record from around 4:45am to 5:00am, at the latest.

How will it work?
Use the recording device on your phone and send the mp3 file to scarlettofthefae@gmail.com clearly noting your permission to share the audio, a name if you want us to include it, and most importantly, remember to tell us where you are recording from. I’ll upload it to Soundcloud

How large should the audio file be?

The chorus builds from one song to many over around half an hour, but a large file will be difficult to send and upload.  Please send me a short clip of no more than 1 minute – maybe your favourite highlight! You may, if you wish, within the end of the minute describe your experience in just a few words.

Can anyone take part?

Yes!  Anyone and everyone is welcome to take part, wherever you live and wherever you are recording from.

Will the audio be sharable and accessible to the public?

Yes, all the audio you share will be open to the public and you’ll be able to share each recording, or the whole collection if you like!

Do I need to give permission to share the audio?

Yes, because it’s going to be open to the public. When you email us with your recording, please do remember to state in writing that you give your full permission for the recording to be uploaded and made public.

What sort of audio file do I need to send?
Please send an MP3 file if you can but here’s some other types which SoundCloud supports:  WAV, FLAC, AIFF, or ALAC, OGG, MP2, AAC, AMR, and WMA. But do ensure that it is no more than one minute long.

Will the recordings be bought or sold?
No, the recordings will remain freely available for everyone’s enjoyment.

I want to have a go at identifying the birdsong.  Are there any helpful links?
Yes indeed!  The Guardian recently published a helpful guide to common birdsong, with links to the RSPB app Giving Nature a Home (which is highly recommended and was also developed by Peter Holden MBE). And here’s a link to RSPB’s free birdsong radio.

Will you hold face-to-face workshops again?
Yes, we really hope so, as it’s always good fun and we learn so much from Peter, whether we’re beginners or experts! If you’d like to take part in the next workshop in Bristol, please contact me and I’ll add you to the mailing list.


Contact me for more details: