Episode 6: Teatime Interrupted

In Episode 6 of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast our guest relates an encounter that she and her sister witnessed simultaneously, on an ordinary afternoon.

In the aftermath of the incident, the decidedly rational approach they chose to take, to process their experience, is particularly interesting. As with Episode 4 (Mysterious Illuminations), when the encounter is shared with another witness, it can deepen the experience and help to remove any nagging doubt about what took place.

This experience was also told to fellow fairy folklorist Kitty, over at Encounters with the Good People and you can read her article (and many more!) here.

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

The following two images shared by our guest, roughly show the placement, size and direction of the being that appeared in the corridor/door frame.

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Fairies, horses and stables

During the conversation in this episode, my guest revealed that the location she had seen the being appear was in a part of the old house which used to house the stables. I found this particularly interesting, as there is a great deal of traditional folklore regarding fairies and horses.

The collected folklore of Evans-Wentz recounts many descriptions of fairies riding horses and even ‘fairy horses’, Renowned Katharine Briggs renowned British folklorist shares a memorable tale about The Farmer of Houghton, who was on friendly terms with the pixies. They would regularly thrash his corn until his wife made them some clothes (which one should never do!) at which point they were no longer seen around. They did however meet the farmer some time later. As they were planning to move away they asked a favour of him.

Wilt give us a lend of thy plough and tackle? (pack-horses and
their crooks)”

The farmer agreed and when his old hardworking horses returned, they were magically transformed into fine young horses once more.

John Bauer ‘Då och då tog tomten tag i tyglarna’

Fairies riding horses is a well known folklore motif (366.2 in Stith Thompson’s Motif-Index of Folk Literature) and this potential hazard of pixies’ presence was always of concern for locals in rural communities. Here, a native Manx Islander describes to 18th Century folklore collector, George Waldron.

They say that nothing is more common, than to find these poor Beasts in a Morning, all over in a Sweat and Foam, and tired almost to death, when their Owners have believed they have never been out of the Stable.

This Gentleman had reason to be concerned, as he told Waldron, he’d had “…Three or Four of his best horses killed with these nocturnal Journies.

References

Briggs, K.M. (1961) ‘Some Late Accounts of the Fairies’ Folklore Vol. 72, pp 510.

Evans-Wentz, W.Y. (1911) The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, London: Oxford University Press. Accessed online at Project Gutenburg https://www.gutenberg.org/files/34853/34853-h/34853-h.htm

Waldron, G. (1731) ‘A Description of the Isle of Man’ The Compleat Works in Verse and Pros, ed Theodosia Waldron. London, 91-191; in Miller S. (20118) ‘George Waldron and the Good People’, in Young, S. & Houlbrook, C. (ed.) Magical Folk: British & Irish Fairies 500AD to the Present. London: Gibson Square, pp. 171.

Featured Image: by Retrogasm on Flickr

Episode 5: Crossing Paths

In Episode 5 of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, our guest relates a late night encounter as she drove home in rural Canada. The Being made his presence fully known and left her with many unanswered questions. What was it? Was the location significant? And why her?

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

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Crossroads Folklore

Brian Froud’s image mentioned in this Episode.

The fact that this encounter took place near a three-way crossroads could be significant. Fairies and other supernatural creatures such as the jinn, vampires and witches have long been associated with these locations. (MacCulloch, 1981).

Crossroads have had sinister associations as the traditional scene of executions in many cultures over millennia, including Greece and nineteenth century England. They were often the scene of burials for those denied a Christian burial, such as criminals (usually murderers) and those who had committed suicide.

Aside from executions, crossroads roused a general sense of fear for travellers, mindful of what may befall them if they took a wrong turn. John Arnott MacCulloch, a eminent early 20th century Celtic Scholar noted, “Men always fear demons and spirits which they believe lurk on the edge of the forest path or rude roadway, ready to pounce upon the belated traveler, and in many cases roads are believed to be infested by them. . . Hence they would be regarded as lurking at the intersection of roads, especially by night, when wayfarers were uncertain of the direction in which they ought to go”.

Corn Creatures

There is some (mostly German) folklore on corn creatures, which can take either human or animal form (see Bechstein, also Mannhardt). In many of the tales, the creatures are bloodthirsty carnivores but these creatures do not seem to resemble the Being described in this episode.

Pooka, Púca, Pookha

Brian Froud’s image of a ‘Phooka’

There’s a great deal of folklore on the shape-shifting Pooka – a Celtic entity. Here’s a good general article on them by Eric Edwards. They are often described as taking the form of a large dog or a small horse, though many more describe them as being a small dwarf or a goblin type which bears no resemblance to the Being witnessed crossing the road. However, there is this mention of a Puca which was recorded in the 1930’s by the Irish Folklore Commission. It describes a late night encounter on the road which, given the circumstances in this episode, I can’t resist sharing:

“A man and his wife lived three miles from the nearest town where they went to market regularly. One night their clock stopped but they got up, thinking it must be late, and set off in their horse-drawn cart. On the way they saw a priest walking the road. They stopped, and asked him the time. He told them it was only midnight. Then they heard a great clatter of chains and the priest told them to get out of the way of what was coming. ‘Pull in your cart off the road as quickly as possible for there are more devils coming than you can count!’ Soon after in a great commotion the host of devils passed by. The woman wanted to repay the priest, who asked her to go to his brother, to get him to give offerings for two unsaid Masses so that he (the priest) might go to Heaven.”

Wendigos

Wendigos are said to be malevolent devourers of mankind. I’ll provide more information about them here as I find it but, as we discuss in the Episode, they don’t bear any relation to the encounter here.

In the meantime, Ancient Origins have an article about Wendigos which offers further information.

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

References

Ancient Origins, The Wendigo: A Terrifying Beast With an Insatiable Hunger for Human Flesh, Available at: https://www.ancient-origins.net/unexplained-phenomena/be-wary-wendigo-terrifying-beast-native-american-legend-insatiable-hunger (Accessed 3rd January 2021)

Archives of the Folklore Department of University College Dublin, MS S-820, p. 11. Cited in Breatnach, D. (1993) ‘The Púca: A Multi-Functional Irish Supernatural Entity’, Folklore, Vol. 104, No. 1/2, pp. 105-110

Bechstein, L. (1930) Deutsches Sagenbuch. F. W. Leipzig: Hendel Verlag

Edwards, E.W. ‘Pookas, Pucas, and Pucks’, Eric Edwards Collected Works, available at: https://ericwedwards.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/pookas-pcas-and-pucks/ (Accessed 1st January 2021).

Icy Sedgewick, What 4 weird things you might find at an English crossroads? Available at: https://www.icysedgwick.com/3-weird-things-at-crossroads/ (Accessed 3rd January 2021)

MacCulloch, J.A. (1981) “Cross-roads” in Hastings, J. (ed) Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Reprint, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, New York: Scribners. p332. Cited in: Garry, J. & El-Shamy, H.M. (2004) Archetypes and Motifs in Folklore and Literature : A Handbook, Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 333-341

Mannhardt, W. (2014) Die Korndämonen: Beitrag zur germanischen Sittenkunde. Bremen: Bremen University Press. 

Episode 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.