Looking a little more deeply into this mystery?
The things to say are so multiple and difficult to organize, hopefully you will forgive me if I just take on the sub-topics one by one as they arise. So the following will be a little disorganized, but you can put it together as you will.
A. Sub-topic one: Does the phenomenon change over the years? I think that people would like me to say "yes" to this, but I don't find that. For me, the encounters seem pretty traditional, despite what certain speculators seem pushing. Across these 400 or so years, I DON'T see the fairy experience taking on more modern or time-coincident trappings. Wollaton gnomes may have jumped into little colorful play cars and levitated and zoomed about like reveling kids, but even there those cars are caricatures of modern autos and way less "technological" seeming than the "more-so" UFO spacecraft for instance. Plus, those gnomes are essentially unique in my reading concerning anything that is relatively "mechanical" or self-motivating. The fairy cases continue to be very "nature-based" and very "engine-abhorrent." The technology shows almost no evolution of any significance for centuries.
B. Sub-topic two: traditional creature types other than dwarfish folk. Are there any?
What about Wings?
I have 15 cases pictured, but I'd probably trust the fauns more than the wings. Let me note a few worries. The great majority of these things show up in modern times, usually VERY modern times. The earliest case in the "preferred incidents list" is from the 1950s, and only three encounters are claimed before the late 1980s. Sure the winged creatures appear in older literature, but none of those claims have felt good enough in the credibility area to include in Leprecat. I'll be happy to be wrong about this. But I'm still waiting for the credible good winged fairy case.
The question that really presses on you as you read the wings cases is: How much of this is excited romantic wannabee-ism? I can't defend that statement to you; it comes, I believe automatically, if you sit down and read the internet fairy encounter sites and drench yourself with all the anonymous (sometimes with first names) "Wow! I saw a Fairy!" claimants. The words "childish gushing" can't be blocked from my mind. Maybe it's all true, but claim after claim sounds like "I saw this light moving in my room; and I know it wasn't an insect." Or, "it went by real fast and my Dad didn't see it, but I know it was a fairy." Or, "I didn't get to see it well enough, but it had wings like a dragonfly." etc etc etc followed by " It made me feel so good to have finally seen one!"
Maybe a read-out of the sizes of the above 15 pictures will help a little.
A. The top row left to right: 1 foot; 6 inches; 1 or 2 inches; "8"? inches; 7 FEET!!!
B. The middle row: less than a foot; 1 foot; 1 inch; 6 inches; 3 foot.
C. The bottom row: 1 foot; 6-8 inches; 1 to 2 foot; 1 inch; 1 foot.
There's no sense trying to make sense of those numbers. Almost everything is small, maybe even ridiculously small. There are two sizable winged fairy claimants: a three footer and a seven footer.
None of these cases made the 50+ credible investigation/interview category. So on to the weaker question: could I read any of these narratives (and remember that these were all narratives that had "something" to recommend them enough so that I bothered to make an illustration) without shaking my head or not getting excessively uncomfortable? (I am, in my foolishness, just now going to hit "save" and go back to the original narratives and ask myself this specific question.) [Just like nodding off, you won't notice the delay, but my own CNS will pay for it, I'm sure. :=} ]
.... well, that was another wasted hour that I'll never get back. Most of these winged fairy cases were from the Fairy Census but just about two-thirds. Re-reading them reminded me that I had sluffed off a bit when it came to cases with winged entities. I did that because I knew that I'd come into this business being somewhat prejudiced against them, so I eased up so that some of this sort would be included.
A majority of these cases happened in association with just waking or just drowsing or lounging quietly somewhere (i.e. in danger of the hypnogogic and the hypnopompic states.) Many cases are claimed by very young kids. So ... tough to get comfortable. I am therefore reduced to just "feeling" something from the narrative. Admitting that: the best feeling that I get while reading a narrative was the one from Eliot, ME in the 1950s. This was a report from Alternative Perceptions (on-line) Magazine of September 2007.
The report was from two witnesses (a parent and a young child.) The child was one who had "Invisible Playmates" as a very young kid. In this case, the child called the parent to a window to look at several entities mounted on the snow-covered limbs of a spruce tree in the front yard.
"Imagine an angel with gossamer wings and wearing velvet dresses. There were six or seven of them, as I remember. Dresses were deep red, rich blue, and a deep purple and one pink. Several of them wore red dresses. About twelve inches tall."
The adult told of several family members who had an anomalous experience here and there (a mother, an aunt, a granddaughter.) It is slightly more comfortable to the researcher if narratives don't involve a lot of other claims, but that is a prejudice and there were not other claims made by the primary witness. ... not the greatest "strongest case" but it is what we have.
OK. What about the Giant blonde-haired, pink-skinned, seven foot tall winged fairy? What can I say? Huge personage floating across the floor, scattering pink glitter fairy dust around. The witness was very sad before the vision, felt that the atmosphere of the place changed just before the appearance, and that this interaction made her very happy and even changed her life.
... And the other Giants?
A real bunch of Oddballs. Maybe five tree-like entities, the Big Blonde, three Black Cloaked menacers, and six other unique characters. The heights of the alleged entities are:
We humans have a love/hate feeling about giants. Fascinating, awesome, dangerous. Some of these cases have stronger credibility than some of those just previously discussed. Two of those seven footers are parts of Moyra Doorly's Arran experiences. The "Ents" surprisingly have better narratives than you would expect. I wasn't expecting to come out of this with much confidence that interactions with truly large beings happen. But Ms. Doorly and the "Ent" cases are getting to me --- still, this is not like the classic Little People in the 2-4 foot range, which have several dozen decent claims.
This is the moment, I believe, to make a point: There is almost no organized approach to collecting Faery folklore encounter reports, but what there is --- The Fairy Census plus the anonymous fairy report sites --- might be asking for the wrong responses. They tend to (very simplistically) ask people to report "fairy" encounters. How do potential reporters take that? How do they interpret "fairy?' I know that many persons do NOT interpret this in a way that I would like them to. I have read the occasional apologetic report saying "You probably don't want this sort of thing" or "this is not a fairy, but ... " and then mention a faun or a boggart or even a dwarf. I believe that LOTS of people think that the collectors want "fairies" (little winged Tinkerbell creatures) so that particularly things like Giants aren't being asked for. In the future it would be nicer to collect a wider class of entities by making the original asking more descriptive of the variety of entities of interest.
... I can feel the years a bit just now, so I'll retire until next time. My brilliant plan (Ha!) will be to say something about the following:
1. What did the Olde Culture think that these things were, and were not? and relatedly,
2. How do Faery cases and Apparitions relate?
3. Finally: Are Fairies and UFO occupants the same thing?
Beyond these, there feels to be a need to say something about Balls of Light, Certain other cryptids, Tricksters and Poltergeists, Stray Sod and parallel realities, and, doubtlessly, incredibly stupid speculations by me.