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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. 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/modfairysight)

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:

In this time…

Mother Earth needs to heal herself.  She’s tried to tell us in so many ways, but to no avail. Finally, she has sent us to our rooms.

She is such a good nurturing Mother and we can trust her love. She’ll nurture us, no matter what.

While we’re shut off from our usual routines, we may find time to rediscover the things that make our hearts sing. And we might decide to keep them close or share them with the world. For some, they’ll find that it’s helping others that makes them shine. For others it will be crochet that brings peace…or singing that makes them feel alive. Great experiments with cooking, a depth to your meditation, discovering new ways to code, excelling at journal writing, the fulfilment of yoga, devouring literature, finding ever more enjoyable ways to make love, playing video games…whatever it is, absorb yourself in this beautiful self-spun cocoon.

All the while, we’re sharing this experience with whomever we live with. Maybe we’ve had no choice about who we live with, or perhaps we’re living alone. Either way, we might now feel the urge to reach out to family and loved ones, because we’ve had time and space to remember how much we care.

Some will have the opportunity to straighten out misunderstandings or even decide that their differences aren’t really that important after all. Or they may realise, how much someone means to them, now that seeing them is not so easy.

Whatever the situation, feel the love between you all.

In this time, you may realise that the work you’re doing just isn’t really what you love doing. Perhaps you now have time to explore other options? Maybe the activity that makes your heart sing is what you’ll choose to pursue as your daily job.

When we do emerge from our cocoons into the world again, Mother Earth will be transformed. And each of us will also have changed forever.

Earthly Mortals, Approach the Portals!

A new decade and a new era for Scarlett of the Fae and Modern Fairy Sightings. Our family was blessed with the coming of a tiny new human in November 2018, which has kept us very busy.  Modern Fairy Sightings (an FB group dedicated to the discussion and sharing of personal fairy experiences) remains a place where people can openly discuss their experiences without fear of being ridiculed. We continue to learn from each other and some members are happy to discuss their encounters with me as part of my ongoing research. While my own contributions to the page have been minimal during the last year or so, I’ve noted with great interest the increasing requests to join and share within this group.

Fairies and magic have popped up in other popular media. There are now a great many podcasts dedicated to fairies and if anyone watched the new BBC TV adaptation of Worzel Gummidge, they will have been treated to a sense of real magic.  TV and film rarely get it right, but the first episode’s portrayal of ritual Earth magic was spot on. It captured a genuine essence of enchantment and Fae energy.

It seems that portals are opening all around us.  My feeling is that human hearts are opening and that this marks a shift in our evolution.  Our love and connection with the land and our beautiful, nurturing, Earth is being rekindled. These are hard times for many people – that is certainly recognised. Many humans and creatures are suffering. The transition to open heartedness is also proving difficult for those who depend on the negative qualities of the old Solar Plexus consciousness: power, ego, “I am more…you are less…”, the drawing of boundaries and ownership over land and over people. Many of us can recognise or instinctively sense that humanity is progressing to Heart consciousness: love, acceptance, “I am you, you are me, we are one”.  Around the world we see many examples of toxic leadership, power grabs, ego-driven behaviours.  Yet we also see open-hearted, emotionally intelligent, honest leaders emerging and being recognised as progressive.

I sense that we’re seeing the last gasps of the unbalanced Solar Plexus consciousness before it gives birth to Heart consciousness*, or the Age of Aquarius as it’s also known. But it’s proving to be a difficult birth. We’re witnessing struggles between these two energy polarities everywhere. Rich and poor (the gap has never been wider in Britain), left and right politics, men and women (#metoo, attacks on feminism, abortion rights stripped away by groups of old rich white male politicians, calling out on toxic masculinity) young and old (views on environment-related issues and politics are particularly polarised between young and old), Brexit vs Remain. Love vs fear is apparent to me in the way that ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees and poor people are demonised.  So many souls have lost their lives in all the upheaval. We’re experiencing great change and it’s traumatic to witness. Destruction is ravaged upon the environment: pollution, forest clearance, global-warming-related bushfires and flooding, all of which are being fuelled by right-wing egocentric political leaders.

But take another look. We are being called by nature itself and so many of us have responded.  At the micro level, from foraging, growing our own produce and clearing rubbish from local parks, to the mass emergence of Extinction Rebellion and leaders like Greta Thunberg, environmental consciousness is ascending.  Similarly, we’re seeing support for fellow humanity in the rise of volunteer-run community groups and generously crowdfunded social projects, mass demonstrations to protect people’s freedoms and rights. Even platforms like Facebook and other social media sites, though they have their own issues, provide a space to join together, support and advise each other through all sorts of difficulties.  We’re doing this every day in every part of the world.  People are birthing it themselves. Heart consciousness is emerging through us.

Though it looks like recent events and movements appear to be pushing us down dangerous paths we’ve been down before, I feel certain that those forces will not succeed this time.  I see that too many of us are awake and ready to fight back with love. Our hearts and souls are open and our connection to the All and to each other is stronger than any attempts driven by those peddling fear with weak, fragile egos. Their ‘way of being’ is dying out.

In this time of great change, as our hearts continue to open, many of us are experiencing nature spirits, fairies or other elemental spirits in lucid flashes of lightheartedness and love for the land.  I feel certain these experiences are increasing everywhere and indicate that humanity is moving in the right direction but we need to keep listening and taking positive action in any way we can.

Winter Solstice 2019 at Stanton Drew (160 people in attendance and the nos. grow each year).

I’m looking forward to spending this year, talking to many who have encountered the Fae and piecing together their experiences in order to understand a little more about how and why some of us can sometimes see beyond the veil. My hope for this decade is that we witness real change…that the balance finally tips into widespread heart consciousness: the energy that I feel connects us with nature and the Fair Folk.

Main image credit: Daria Hlazatova

*For more information about the energies of different chakras and how the global consciousness is evolving through these energies, see Martin Brofman’s book, Anything Can Be Healed.