Episode 32: Guardians of the Stones

My conversation continues with our guest from the last episode, Arrival of the Fairy Host who experienced trooping fairies in her bedroom as a child. Now, as an adult she visits an ancient ring of standing stones and along with her party, encounters the guardians of that place.

The episode involves experiencing a Beltane fire, warping of time and tall Otherworldly beings who made themselves known.

On a bonus episode available for members of The Curious Crew on Patreon, our guest describes a traumatic situation that forced Otherworldly beings from their location and eventually also resulted in her family relocating.

Main image: Thomas Cohoon: Callanish Stones under the stars, Isle of Lewis, Scotland

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

Shownotes

The conversation mentions the tall Guardians who have also been mentioned in these two episodes. If you have had experience of these beings I would love to hear from you.

In The Tall Folk and The Little People, a previous guest describes his fascinating series of encounters at a dolmen atop a mountain in Ireland, late at night.

A Maelstrom of Fairies also features these tall Guardians and you’ll find more information on the shownotes there.

Please do subscribe, rate and share this episode and support the podcast by joining Patreon if you can. Thank you ❤️

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


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Episode 31: Arrival of the Fairy Host

This episode is a truly spectacular personal experience.  A young child has a visitation from a host of fairies, which begins a whole series of events. Many of us have memories of extraordinary encounters as young children and hearing these particular experiences resonated very deeply with me, as it will for many listeners. 

The repeated visitations and later UFO event suggest the house was on a ‘fairy path’. See notes below.

This forms the first of a two part conversation and a further experience is discussed in the next episode.

We’ll be exploring this theme of childhood experiences further as the year goes on.

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

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Warning: These are not fairytales. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for listeners 16 years and older.This episode is particularly unsettling and is unsuitable for children or anyone who might be sensitive to creepy content. Trigger warnings: discussion around occult practices, gory details featuring blood (folklore), ghosts.

Shownotes

Fairy Paths

It is possible that the house was built on a fairy path – or the fairies’ pass. These are routes of strong energy used by the fairies as they go about their business. There are many different cultural practices which understand and work with lines of energy within buildings and landscapes eg. Chinese geomancy and Feng Shui. The concept of ley lines, as named by early 20th century archaeologist Alfred Watkins are now well known as lines which cross the globe, like rivers of energy intersecting with sacred monuments. 

As Paul Devereux describes in his book, Spirit Roads: An Exploration of Otherworldly Routes, fairies also had their own routes through the landscape which you’d be well advised to steer clear of. Even in the early 20th century in Ireland, people were still very careful about to fairy paths wherever homes or extensions were built. Obstructing these paths could result in bad luck or illness for the family and sometimes even poltergeist energy in the home.

There were various methods of putting this right as advised by local wise women, such as filling up two side doors and opening alternatives or ensuring that windows remained open at night, to permit the onward journey of the fairies. To avoid antagonising fairies in the first place, tradition held that you should place stones or sticks at the four corners of the intended building spot overnight and see if they remained there in the morning. If they had been clouted over by protesting fairies then you’d be wise to pick another spot.

Fairies Visiting at Bedtime

Simon Young’s Fairy Census (2014-2017) is an excellent resource for anybody interested in contemporary fairy encounters.

The following two accounts were mentioned in the podcast episode as bearing similarities to our guest’s experience. Both feature ongoing night visitations. The first involves a conversation with a ‘leader of the group’ and the second describes flying over rooftops, being in control of the flying and the sense of ‘exchange that occurred’.

§167) Scotland (Glasgow). Male; 1950s; 0-10; ‘I was about seven years old (1953). I had been sharing a bedroom with my elder brother, who was about eighteen at the time, but he left to join the army. So, I was left on my own in the room. I went to sleep as normal, but woke after a time to find a group of the little people dancing around on the floor at the head of my bed. I know I had a conversation with what appeared to be the leader of the group, but at this distance of time, I couldn’t say what it was about. This went on for some months on a more or less nightly basis, but gradually the interval between appearances became longer and longer until it stopped altogether.’

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

§338) US (New York State). Female; 1960s; 0-10; ‘Not sure when it began as a child but I know it ended on my tenth birthday because I recall the disappointment and correlate that year. They came to me in my sleep, very often and the purpose was always the same. To take me to fly above the rooftops and tree tops throughout my neighborhood as a very exciting treat. I thought for years it was just an odd recurring dream but the details of the things I saw from that bird’s eye view would be impossible to have been a dream. In latter years I was able to understand and recall more emotional details. I don’t recall the first or last time they came but I know no actual words were spoken. They were fluid like beings that were dressed in material that barely covered and was white and thin  and always flowing as they too never touched the ground although [they] had legs and feet. I went willingly and trusting as I knew it was under my control where I was to fly and when I was to return. I now feel there was an exchange that occurred. I feel they (as many as five or six) absorbed the excitement from me. Never draining although I slept deeper and always briefly awoke at the point of being back in my bed. They oddly had no identifiable age but male/female was apparent and not concealed.’

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

In 1951, Dr Purcell, a lecturer from Cambridge, wrote to Marjorie Johnson of the Fairy Investigation Society. He describes seeing trooping fairy soldiers cross his bedcovers some fifty years before, as a five year old child :

In the year 1900-1901, during the /south African War, when I was about five years of age, I lived in Gillingham, Kent. Every night for some months, after my mother had kissed me goodnight and shut my bedroom door, there was a short interval, and then I would begin to hear distant, massed Lilliputian bands playing. The music grew louder and louder as it came nearer and nearer. There was a night light burning on the mantelpiece, and by the light of this I saw column after column of tiny soldiers marching up from the right of my bed over my eiderdown (I remember its pattern and colour clearly) and across to the other side where they disappeared over the bedside. Each soldier was about nine inches high and wore a red coat. There was battalion after battalion of them, and each was headed by a brass band. As these passed, they played minute martial music, far more exciting than any music I had ever heard in the daytime. The march-past lasted for a few minutes, and then I fell asleep. The direction was always from right to left. I never tried to touch the soldiers, but they were completely real. I actually did see them, and I should be prepared to state this on oath, if necessary, in any Court of Law’

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

This last account from 1656 describes a host of fairies arriving into a bedroom late at night. It’s reported in a letter by John Lewis of Cardiganshire, Wales who was an acquaintance of the man experiencing the encounter.

A man and his family being all in bed, about after midnight, awake in bed, he could perceive a light entring a little room, where he lay, and one after another of some a dozen in the shape of men, and two or three women, with small children in their arms, entring in, and they seemed to dance, and the room to be far lighter and wider than formerly: they did seem to eat bread and cheese all about a kind of a tick upon the ground; they offered him meat, and would smile upon him: he could perceive no voice, but he once calling to God to bless him, he could perceive the whisper of a voice in Welch, bidding him hold his peace, being about four hours thus, he did what he could to wake his wife and could not: they went out into another room and after some dancing departed, and then he arose; yet being but a very small room he could not find the door, nor the way into bed, until crying out, his wife and family awaked. Being within about two miles of me, I sent for the man, who is an honest poor husbandman, and of good report: and I made him believe I would put him to his oath for the truth of this relation, who was very ready to take it.

William E.Al Axon, LL.D. (1908) Welsh Folk-Lore of the Seventeenth Century’, Y Cymmrodor, Vol.XXI p. 116 in Bord, J. (1997) Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People, Michael O’Mara Books: London

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Episode 29: A Maelstrom of Fairies

In this episode we hear the second part of an interview with a British woman, who has had many extraordinary experiences in her life.

Having previously described communing with an intelligent blue light in Episode 28, we now hear of a fascinating encounter which took place two years later. This time our guest came face-to-face with what we describe as tall Guardian folk in an ancient wood. A transformative fairy experience took place that very night.

Main Image: ‘Sleeping Beauty’ by Brian Froud

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

Tall Hooded Guardians

Tall Dark Hooded Guardian

The tall beings described sound very similar to the ‘Guardian’ type beings in Episode 9: The Tall Folk and the Little People. We don’t know what their function truly is but they seem to guard certain landscapes and ward people away or at the very least come and take a good look at them. A soon-to-be-released episode will also feature these Otherworldly beings.

Have you seen one? Get in touch at scarlettofthefae@gmail.com.

Please do subscribe, rate and share this episode and support the podcast by joining Patreon if you can. Thank you ❤️

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


Modern Fairy Sightings Green Man Artwork: Peter Hall Studios




Episode 25: Chat with Dr Jack Hunter

Anthropological researcher and lecturer, Jack chats to me about his own fairy experience and his sister’s childhood encounter in the Tanat Valley, Wales. We talk ‘boggle thresholds’, the Occult Revival and anthropological theories around some of the encounters shared on the Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast this series.

Jack lectures at the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is the author of ten books on the subject of anthropology and the paranormal.

I’ve referred to his books in a number of episodes, notably: Greening the Paranormal – exploring parallels between the paranormal and ecology, Manifesting Spirits – an anthropological exploration of mediumship based on Jack’s research with Bristol Spirit Lodge and, Spirits, Gods and Magic – an introduction to the anthropology of the supernatural.

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

Online Lectures

The Fairy Folklore of the Tanat Valley
Jack introduces the fairy folklore of the valley in North Wales where he lives. He discusses the physical locale, the psychical element, the folklore of the area including giants, the Wild Hunt, UFOs and the contemporary scene.

Deep Weird: High Strangeness, Boggle Thresholds and Damned Data in Extraordinary Experience Research
Jack’s Sophia Centre Alumni Association Lecture around ‘deep weird’ which is also the title of his forthcoming book.

Here’s a video of our chat and you can also find the audio version for the Podcast below

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Episode 22: The Gentry and a Visitor

In this episode we hear from a woman living in Wales who had a visit from a green man while gardening. Later, after some ‘goings on’ in the house, she had to ask him to leave. She also describes how she watched The Gentry ride by near her home one day. We discuss these and some other extraordinary experiences.

It amazes me how many people have had something strange and inexplicable take place in their life. It seems like the majority of people can report at least one such happening. The world is a mysterious place! Let’s not forget that. There appears to be much more going on here than we generally take for granted.

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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Shownotes

Fairy Paths and Spirit Roads: An Exploration of Otherworldly Routes by Paul Devereux’ – this is a fabulous book which covers corpse roads, fairy paths and Australian aboriginal ‘Dreamtime’ routes among others. It includes a ‘sampler’ section of the routes themselves for those curious and intrepid explorers who feel drawn to tread these paths.

The Middle Kingdom: The Faerie World of Ireland‘, by Dermot Mac Manus. A friend of Yeates, Mac Manus provides a fascinating insight into the customs and beliefs present in Ireland when it was written in the 1950s. Many of the memories shared stretch back to the 19th century in places and it’s really a great read. There’s a whole chapter on fairy paths.

‘Greening the Paranormal: Exploring the Ecology of Extraordinary Experience’, by Dr Jack Hunter. This great book covers Animism and the idea of ‘personhood’ encompassing natural formations such as rocks and rivers. Essays explore how themes of ecology intersect with the paranormal, from different perspectives.

If you enjoy the show, please consider sharing your favourite episodes with friends. Don't forget to rate and subscribe wherever you listen, and if you can, please support by joining The Curious Crew on Patreon ❤️
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Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Main image: ‘Då och då tog tomten tag i tyglarna’ (Every now and then santa grabbed the reins) by John Bauer.

Bonus Episode 13: Jo’s Fairy Encounter

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 11: Make Haste for Midsummer

In this episode we hear about an encounter which took place en route to a Wiccan ritual in a large park in England. It’s a lovely share, as the experience was so gloriously matter-of-fact. Are fairies simply an aspect of Nature that we don’t currently understand? Do they pop up unpredictably or are there circumstances which make it more likely? We touch on these ideas in this episode.

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 at Midsummer

‘Midsummer Eve’ by Robert Edward Hughes

We’ve all heard of Midsummer Night’s Dream and so the connection between this time of the year and fairies is already embedded in our psyche. Our guest made the point that maybe Shakespeare knew a thing or two.

Perhaps he did. It’s a very interesting point which people have mused on and it’s one worth returning to. Particularly so when you bear in mind that Shakespeare, drawing on folkloric depictions of the fae at the time, was doing so against the backdrop of religious Reformation. His playwriting took place between the time of Reginald Scot’s 1584 anti-superstitious literature, ‘Discoverie of Witchcraft’ and King James’s ‘Daemonologie‘ of 1597, in which fairies were portrayed as demons. I plan to look at Shakespeare’s fairies in a future article.

In the meantime, there are some fantastic midsummer encounters collected by The Fairy Investigation Society’s Fairy Census 2014-2017. The following reported encounter took place in Wollaton and if you haven’t already heard of the Wollaton gnomes then here’s a great piece by The Faery Folklorist.

§104C) England (Nottinghamshire). ‘I was bought up in Wollaton and back then a lot of the area was woods fields old dried up canals, ponds, slag heaps of coal etc where we used to play as children we were probably about half a mile from Wollaton Park main gates and back then you could almost walk to Wollaton Park without going out of the woods and fields I am fifty now so I am going back to the late 1970s. One evening in summer me and a friend were stood on the side of an old dried out canal it was midsummer, maybe 9 o’clock at night, just going dark but you could still see quite well and I looked across the other side of the canal and directly opposite us was a small shiny white humanoid creature about eighteen inches high you couldn’t see its face because it was too bright and shiny glowing white like a light bulb but shaped like a small person I just felt it was looking at us and standing still. my friend was really scared he had really short hair but I can remember what bit of hair he had was sticking up on his head. I wasn’t so scared and climbed into the dried up canal with the intention of climbing up the other side to get a better look my friend followed, the creature then bolted into a small wooded area then out onto the big field we chased it but it bolted too fast so we just stood there and watched it get further across the field until it disappeared out of sight. It never bothered me but it really affected my friend he was scared of dolls and ventriloquist dummies, action man toys, anything like that after. He often discussed it with me for years after and told me he could never watch a Chucky movie because dolls terrify him. Not too long after maybe even only a few months we heard about the kids who saw the gnomes on Wollaton Park we even went there looking for them but found nothing.

Here’s another Fairy Census midsummer experience from the US:

§328) US (New Jersey). Female; 2010s; ‘It was at twilight on Midsummer. My husband and I had friends over. We had done a ritual earlier and were finishing up our meal. Suddenly, a green light, much larger than a firefly, emerged in the field in our backyard. It flew intelligently. The being flew toward us at the table, hovered, then circled us a couple of times. It then hovered again and took off very quickly. Most of us saw it, but didn’t say a word until it disappeared. Comparing notes we all saw the same thing. It was not an insect, and definitely acted with interest and intelligence. I have seen this being several times on
my own, but this was the first time others were with me.’

Main image by Tin Can Forest

References

The Fairy Folklorist (2017) ‘The Wollaton Park Gnomes’. Accessed online at: http://faeryfolklorist.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-wollaton-park-gnomes.html

King James I and VI (1587) ‘Dæmonologie, in forme of a dialogue, divided into three Bookes’. Edinburgh.

Scott, R. (1584) ‘The discoverie of witchcraft, Wherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notablie detected’. 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 

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 little folk dancing in circles. In most cases, humans are tempted to enter the circle or even to dance and are sometimes lost forever. In other cases, 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 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