Episode 12: Experiencing Fairies: Interview with Dr Neil Rushton

In the last episode of series one, I chat with Dr Neil Rushton, author of two fairy-related novels and fairy experience investigator.

We discuss my various musings during this series and Neil shares his own fairy experiences. He also offers his perspective on why and how people see fairies and how this differs to the reductionist, materialist worldview on the matter. Neil’s blog site, deadbutdreaming.wordpress.com is an excellent resource. His articles cover fairy associated folklore as well as deeper digs into the connection between encounters and altered states.

His two novels, Dead But Dreaming and Set The Controls for the Heart of the Sun, feature fairy encounters and explore the role of altered states in perceiving fairies.

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 Reading

Neil’s blog, deadbutdreaming.wordpress.com explores fairy beings, folklore and altered states.

Anthony Peake’s The Hidden Universe, explores much of what we talked about during our conversation and has a very easy-reading explanation of how quantum physics may help explain non-human intelligent entity contact

For more information on Charles Bonnet Syndrome see also Peake above.

Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality and Graham Hancock Supernatural are also absolute essential reading for discussions around fairies, aliens and altered states.

Dr Simon Young’s Fairy Census 2014-2017 is a wonderful resource of around 500 detailed contemporary fairy encounters. They were collected from around the world via online survey. Simon runs the Fairy Investigation Society.

Rudolf Steiner’s Nature Spirits – for the best assessment of the early 20th-century Theosophist ideas on nature spirits.

Dr Jack Hunter’s Greening The Paranormal examines how connecting with the supernatural may re-connect us with nature.

David Bohm’s Wholeness and the Implicate Order, incorporates much thinking on quantum physics (Bohm was a quantum physicist) within a philosophical framework. 

Aldous Huxley’s classic, The Doors of Perception which examines altered states.

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.

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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. Michael O’Mara Books: London. pp. 17

Briggs, K.M. (2002) The Fairies in Tradition and Literature, 2nd Ed. Routledge: London. 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. Anomalist Books: San Antonio, pp. 169

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

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.

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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 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 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.

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/