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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Dutch folktales feature these ‘white women’ as translated, or ‘wise women’ in meaning, who appear in the mist and resemble white, ghost-like witches. One of their habits was said to be kidnapping young mothers to (presumably breast)feed their dogs. It’s interesting that our guest was alone in the car with her young son when she saw the apparition.
Once captured, it was said that women must stay with the Witte Wieven for seven years, this time period is well known in fairy folklore. Some tales involve women 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
The silence in the forest that our guest described evokes a very eerie atmosphere. The lack of birds and birdsong felt noticeable to her as soon as she arrived in the area. It was something which immediately unsettled her.
This is an aspect of supernatural experience that I’ve heard first hand from many informants. 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. Suddenly, there was no birdsong to be heard and the sound of children and families which previously filled the air, had disappeared. It was at this point they realised they could no longer find their way back to the path. A frightening experience ensued which they eventually escaped from, only to find that they’d lost an hour or two of time. They both felt unable to speak of the event for many years afterwards.
Here are some other examples of unsettling silence 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].
Skinwalker Ranch is a well publicised centre of paranormal activity in Utah, United States. A series of reports which began in the mid 1990s, included 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 multiple incidents of cattle mutilation, which had been a particular problem since 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 still garners a great deal of interest from the UFO community.
Time-slips are a reported phenomenon where people will suddenly find their surroundings change and they appear to be experiencing another era of history.
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.
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