Ep 37: Paolo Sammut: Gnomes and Fetches in the Home

My guest, Paolo Sammut is a paranormalist and a magician based in the south west of England. Paolo has had many supernatural experiences over the years, some of which we would recognise as fairy encounters. He chats to me about the time he was awoken by a very angry fairy, possibly a hobgoblin. On other occasions, he and other family members saw beings in the house that looked like other members of the family who were not present at the time. These sound like doppelgangers but in folklore, particularly Irish folklore they are known as fetches.

Paolo will be providing the Patreon group with an exclusive talk about ghost hunting in the coming weeks.

The image above is of Paolo and I at Goblin Coombe, Bristol at the beginning of May 2022. We had a delightful picnic and did not spot any fairies. 😊

You can contact Paolo at Secret Lines of London Facebook Group

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Warning: These are not fairytales. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for viewers and listeners 16 years and older.This episode is particularly unsettling and is unsuitable for children or anyone who might be sensitive to creepy content.

Shownotes

Here’s a great account of an angry fairy shared in Marjorie T. Johnson’s, Seeing Fairies:

After the death of her husband, Mrs. Oliver went to live in a very beautiful house in Cornwall, which was not expensive because it was reputed to be haunted. She was alone, with no electricity in the house, and one night when she needed another log for her fire, she went from the library without a lamp and passed through the kitchen to the washhouse where the logs were kept. “I got down on my knees on the tiled floor,” she said, “and reached under the wash-tub to dislodge a log, when I heard a noise like a scolding squirrel—‘Chit-chat, chit-chat’—and there, on top of the logs and surrounded by a green light, stood a furious little man who looked like an artichoke but was only as big as my thumb. His face was ugly and frog-like, and he was shaking his fists at me, ordering me off his property. I grabbed a log and tore back to my fire, which I banked with coal. I was terrified.” After this incident, Mrs. Oliver met the owner of the property and a previous tenant, both of whom told her that there were “pixies” in the house, and they laughed when she told them about the little man who had been so angry and rude to her. A few weeks later, when the weather turned very cold, Mrs. Oliver left that house and went to France, never to return to Cornwall.

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. pp. 35

Paolo also mentioned some sort of Otherworldly being who appeared to have taken the form of a member of his family. A similar story was told by our guest from Episode 36: Rescued by an Orb and Other Strange Stories in the Patron-only bonus episode on Patreon. In that case, she saw a malevolent being stood at the end of her bed that looked like her husband but in a trance. However, at the time her husband was asleep in bed beside her.

BEASTIARIUM #4 Doppelganger Dark by Ars Corvinus

These beings are more commonly known as doppelgangers but particularly in Irish folklore they are known as fetches and could be some kind of fairy or spirit that manifests in the form of a person who is familiar and often emotionally close to the seer.

The appearance of a fetch is said to indicate the forthcoming death of the person who’s likeness appears but that was not the case in either of these experiences.

Icy Sedgewick of the Fabulous Folklore Podcast has written an interesting article on ‘fetches’ here: https://www.icysedgwick.com/fetch-folklore/

References

Briggs, K. (1976) An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies and Other Supernatural Creatures. New York: Pantheon Books.

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 Books.

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Want to report a sighting?

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Defekt_Maschine from Pixabay and MixKit DarkShadows 64

Episode 34: Chat with Lucy Brydon of the ‘One Scot One Not’ Podcast

Lucy and Karen Campbell present Celtic myth, legends and folklore in their informative yet humorous show, which is always uplifting.  They’re on Instagram if you’d like to follow them.

In our chat, Lucy shares a number of her own extraordinary experiences including a visitation from a female being, while in the early stages of pregnancy and a strange case of a call to a fairy ring which was narrowly avoided.  

Beautiful and practical! A journal from Lucy’s collection available on Etsy

Lucy also creates beautiful art, check out her personal Instagram! She has an Etsy shop and teaches online art classes.

Lucy Brydon’s vibrant artwork available on her Etsy shop


If you’d like to hear more of the conversation you can head to Patreon where there is a bonus episode treat just waiting for you! 

As with many of my chats with other researchers, I will release a video version of our interview in the coming months. Enjoy!

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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

Pregnancy is a liminal state of being, along with other transitional life experiences such as birth, puberty and death. In the Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast Episode 11: Make Haste for Midsummer, our guest was pregnant at the time of the fairy encounter and the time of year – being the summer solstice at the threshold between the light and darkness – is also a liminal space.

Mother Nature by Urban Threads



Here is another example of an extraordinary experience whilst pregnant. Similarly to Lucy, the person was only a few weeks into her pregnancy at the time:

§358) US (Oregon). Female; 2000s; 21-30; ‘It was around 10 or 11 am in the early summer of 2002, and I was in the bathroom, just starting my bath. It was so warm and bright that I had the small window open, and the breeze was coming right in from the backyard. (There was never a screen on that window because it was a little high up, and too small for a person). I shrugged off my robe, and sat down on the tub edge, waiting for the tub to fill. Quite suddenly, a flickering cloud of little lights came right in through the window and, as though attracted to me, flew close, almost touching, around my head and shoulders. I was so shocked that my brain just froze! There was a tickle in my nose, and something in my understanding just clicked. I said out loud, and I mean, LOUD, (though as a twenty-nine-year-old woman such a thing had never occurred to me as being within the realms of possibility or even reality) ‘Hey! Faeries! Go away!’ And I tossed my head and flicked my wrist. The cloud of little lights zoomed off a little bit away from me, then gathered close together, for just a second, and I almost heard a sound, but it wasn’t quite a sound, really, more of an impression that there was communication between them that I could very nearly hear, like a buzz or a high frequency whine or bells shimmering like when they bless the Host in Mass – and then they flew as one, right out the window again! I was so surprised that I jumped up, naked as a jaybird, shut the window, and yelled out to my husband to come to the bathroom. My knees were too wobbly to support me just then. Whew! Never thought I’d get a chance to tell that to someone who didn’t think I was NUTS!!! Hmm… Let’s see. I don’t think there is anything else. This was nearly fifteen years ago. Oh, and I was a few weeks pregnant at the time, just about to find out, in fact. My backyard at the time was overgrown with blackberry thickets, dandelions and bluebells, and our part of Portland is in the Southwest portion, in a place called *, which we are very privileged to still keep very green and lush. There is a lot of ivy, oak and holly here, and the Wildwood and *, one of the largest urban parks in America, are just a few miles away. The Wildwood Trail is beautiful and over thirty miles long, and * covers five thousand one hundred and fifty seven acres.’

Simon Young’s ‘Fairy Census 2014 – 2017’ The Fairy Investigation Society

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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 ❤️

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Modern Fairy Sightings Green Man Artwork: Peter Hall Studios

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 ❤️

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Episode 28: Illumined Communion

A woman in the UK describes an extended ‘conversation’ with an intelligent blue light form which appeared in her home. The experience featured lost/altered time and a sense of innate familiarity.

Just what did this Otherworldly being of consciousness come to tell her? And were previous geometric light visitors connected in some way?

In part two, (Episode 29) this conversation continues and the same woman shares a powerful fairy experience, which had a very different feel.

Have you had similar experiences with intelligent light forms? Please do contact me and let me know your thoughts on all of this.

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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.

Blue lights and Otherworldly Beings

The following share collected as part of Simon Young’s (Fairy Investigation Society) Fairy Census (2014-2017) is most intriguing. The encounter features communication and a shift in visual form:

§339) US (New York State). Female; 1990s; 31-40; in a city; on my own
‘I was walking my dog late at night on *** [New York street]. We did a once-round the parking lot as always, and a large figure stepped out of a dark corner. He said some very personal things to me, but not unkind, more advice-like, then laughed and turned and vanished, leaving a point of light blue light about the size of a lightbulb, then that winked out.’ ‘Dressed like a ‘homeless’ person, dark skinned but I couldn’t
see any features, he had a hood or something around his head.’ ‘After I’d left the city I mentioned it to two ex-NYers, who said they had also had strange encounters with beings that looked like homeless people who dispensed advice and encouragement and vanished.’

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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 ❤️
Become a Patron!
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.

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

Fairies in Childhood

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

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

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

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

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

§13) England (Cheshire) 1970s. I was in my bedroom one evening. I noticed a twinkling light in my window. I watched the light fly down towards my neck region. As the light came closer I noticed it had a human face and a dark outfit. It was around two-inches tall. I asked who are you and it replied that it was a fairy. It was flying in a side-to-side motion as it spoke. I heard a noise and put the covers over the fairy and my head. The space I had made was then illuminated. The fairy said that all will be ok and talked to me. But I don’t remember any of the conversation. I pulled back the covers and the fairy kept on talking and flying towards the window. All the time reassuring me everything would be ok. I had to ask what it was because I didn’t know what a fairy was. I then fell asleep.’ (Young, 2018, pp 32)

Fairies in Houses

Image: A Brownie by Arthur Rackham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 9: The Tall Folk and The Little People

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

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

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

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Fairies dancing in circles

Fairy folklore is full of 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 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 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

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

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