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. 

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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.


Nightmares

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 https://www.fondation-brofman.org/?lang=en



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: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/509751251574108632/
by Mapc7Hunter mapc7hunter.tumblr.com

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.

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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: http://www.fairyist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/The-Fairy-Census-2014-2017-1.pdf on 13/06/2021

Blogs:
https://www.davidcastleton.net/black-dog-legends-england-britain-ghosts-hellhounds/

http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/bdogfl.htm

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.

Support The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast

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

Episode 10: Stay or Go?

In this episode we hear from a guest who shares his childhood experience of meeting a fairy. The encounter took place in his bedroom one morning while he was reading alone. He finds it hard to access a clear memory of the entire event but the parts he does remember are of great significance to him. In this case, our guest regrets how the experience was borne out and this has formed the basis of a decision to try and reconnect with the being. We discuss this sense of regret and how the memories began to piece together for him later, to become more meaningful in adulthood.

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

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(https://www.patreon.com/themodernfairysightingspodcast)

Fairies in Childhood

Many people report having memories of seeing fairies in childhood. Often they say that they’re not sure whether they imagined it, though some are absolutely certain of what they saw.

Image: Engh Ward(?) The Graphic Story Reader – 1890’s

There are lots of excellent accounts in Marjorie T. Johnson’s, Seeing Fairies, which I find a very useful source of modern sightings. During the 1950s, Marjorie reached out to members of the general public for their accounts of fairy sightings via various publications, including the BBC magazine of the time The Listener. This particular account is so similar to our guest’s experience. It’s from a teacher, Mrs Enid H. Paul.

This is a perfectly accurate account of what happened on the only occasion I ever saw a fairy. I do not often speak of it for fear of ridicule. It was in 1930, when I was nine years old. I had just gone up to bed, but had not yet lain down. I sat with my knees drawn up and my chin resting on them, looking towards my open bedroom door, when a small man appeared in the doorway. He was dressed in dark green, with a brown buckled belt, and short brown boots. His trousers were the breeches type, buttoned down the sides. I was filled with terror and dived under the bedclothes, hardly believing my eyes. After several minutes I plucked up courage and looked out. He then stood at the foot of my bed with arms akimbo leaning on the bedrail. More scared than ever, I plunged under the bedclothes again and stayed there for a long, long time. When I finally looked out he had disappeared, and I never saw him again. I have often wished that ‘d had the courage to speak to him. The incident had, however, no significance for me then, or since, so far as I know. (pp. 169, Marjorie T. Johnson, Seeing Fairies: From the Lost Archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, Authentic Reports of Fairies in Modern Times.)

Here’s a really lovely account from the Fairy Investigation Society’s Fairy Census 2014-2017.

§13) England (Cheshire) 1970s. 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.’ (Young, 2018, pp 32)

Fairies in Houses

Image: A Brownie by Arthur Rackham

There are many reports of fairies in houses in both collected folklore and more modern accounts of fairy encounters. They’re often called Brownies, Hobgoblins or even Boggarts if they become malevolent! Here’s an excerpt from Katharine Briggs’ The Fairies in Tradition and Literature about a helpful ‘Silkie’ at Lemington Hall, near Newcastle in the late 19th, early 20th century. The ‘Silkie’, which was described as being a “one of the white ladies…halfway between ghosts and fairies”, later turned into a troublesome ‘boggart’ under new ownership of the house.

A lady who now lives in Oxfordshire was brought up at Lemington Hall, five miles from Newcastle, and as a girl Marjorie Sowerby, as she then was, used often to visit the last remaining Hoyles of Denton, two old ladies who were quite willing to speak to intimate friends about Silkie’s kindness to them. The house was too big for them, and they really did not know how they would manage without her. She used to clean out the hearth and lay fires, and there was something too about bunches of flowers left on the staircase,. In 1902 or so, Marjorie Sowerby left the neighbourhood, and did not make any long stay in it until the Second World War. By that time the old ladies were long dead, and the house was occupied by another old acquaintance of hers. The was not the kind of person to get on with fairies and there was no talk of Silkie’s kindness now; in fact, the new tenant was so much disturbed by banging and noises and poltergeist jokes that he was finally obliged to leave the house. The Brownie had turned into a Boggart, as has often happened before. (Briggs, 2002, pp. 33)

Here’s another great description of a fairy encounter inside a house from the Fairy Investigation Society’s Fairy Census 2014-2017. It happens in a very matter of fact way in modern times, like the encounter in this podcast episode:

§370) US (Tennessee) 2000s. ‘Once when I was about seventeen years old, I was crossing the hall from my bedroom to the bathroom, and just as I was crossing the threshold I saw something out of the corner of my eye down near the floor up against the outer-facing door-frame of the bathroom in the hallway. I immediately stepped backward into the hall to do a double-take. What I had seen appeared to be a very small older man, maybe a foot high. He had nutmeg colored skin, very squat body shape, his clothes were non-descript but in shades of deep browns and mossy greens. He had a hat of some sort on, I believe. But he had his head tilted back as he was peering up at me, just watching. Never said a word or even moved. Just stood there. When I had stepped back into the hall for the double-take, he was gone. This was the impression I had gotten of him in the brief moment it took me to cross the threshold into the bathroom from the hallway and I seemed to only glimpse him just as I was stepping into the bathroom, not while approaching. This happened during the day, mid-day, though I don’t recall exactly what time. The hallway was only lit by the large window in my bedroom behind me as well as, the smaller window in the bathroom in front of me, and whatever natural light was coming in from the dining room French doors at the end of the hall to the right of me. Not terribly dark, but not well-lit. This was the first and only time I’d seen this figure or anything else like it. I did not feel scared, just surprised, curious, and a bit bewildered. I initially did question what I had seen and if it had been real, but it’s now been roughly fifteen years since I saw it and it’s never left my mind and I still remember the incident very clearly, though his image, unfortunately, seems to be fading in my memory. But I believe that what I saw was very real, especially because that memory has never left me. My mother claims she has seen him once, too, in that same house but couldn’t remember how or when. Seems to have been around the same period of time. While our house was in a suburban area, we lived next to a large field that has a lot of trees around it and very nearby to a running creek which empties into a lake. I periodically would also see small balls of glowing golden or white light fly past me in my bedroom out of the corners of my eyes and once heard what sounded like a woman sighing once or twice just outside of my one-story bedroom window. At that time I was in my later teens and very much interested in Faery lore, though I had grown up always having an interest in Fairy Tales and had been reading them since I was a small child. I was also getting my feet wet in my growing interest in Paganism, though I did not, yet, practice. I don’t know if the creature I saw was a gnome or house brownie, or what. But I do believe he was of Faery and that he meant no harm.’ (Young, 2018, pp. 290)

Another account of a troublesome brownie appears in the same edition of Briggs. It comes from an encounter collected by Colin Parsons in his Encounters with the Unknown (1990, pp. 69-71) and takes place some time in the 1980s. A couple had moved into a house whose previous occupants had informed them was also home to a helpful brownies who aided with work in the garden and inside the house. Upon moving in they found:

Dishes would be washed while they were out at work, the washing-machine would be operated and the clothes transferred to the tumble-drier. At first Jenny Bolton was convinced that she must be doing these things herself and forgetting them, and she visited her doctor. He found her perfectly well and prescribed a course of mild tranquillisers. The odd events continued, however, and now began to involve Peter Bolton. He would find the garden shed tidied or his clothes put in the wash or hung up in the wardrobes. (Bord, 1997, pp. 17)

After one incident concerning a misplaced item, Jenny became irritated with her helpers. From this point on, they were on the receiving end of some serious mischief and disturbance. “Soap powder had been tipped all over the vegetables, taps had been turned on and plugs put in, furniture had been knocked over and jam rubbed into her Persian carpet.” The couple felt they had no choice but to move from their home.

References

Bord, J. (1997) Real Encounters with Little People. London: Michael O’Mara Books, pp. 17

Briggs, K.M. (2002) The Fairies in Tradition and Literature, 2nd Ed. London: Routledge, pp. 33

Johnson, Marjorie T. (2014) Young, S. (Eds) Seeing Fairies: From the Lost Archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, Authentic Reports of Fairies in Modern Times. San Antonio: Anomalist Books, pp. 169

Parson, C. (1990) Encounters with the Unknown. London: Robert Hale Ltd.

Young, S. (ed) (2018) The Fairy Census 2014-2017. Accessed online at: http://www.fairyist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/The-Fairy-Census-2014-2017-1.pdf on 14/03/2021

Episode 9: The Tall Folk and The Little People

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

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

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

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Fairies dancing in circles

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

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

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

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

Orbs

Orb image: Joanne Ehling Harper, Pinterest

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

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

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

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.

Please Support Modern Fairy Sightings

(https://www.patreon.com/themodernfairysightingspodcast)

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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 a group of child-sized fairies and two dimensional beings who appear and disappear, apparitions at the roadside and what sound like time slip incidents.

In this 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 resembled 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 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.

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/