Monday, March 30, 2020

More Old Critters

New Old Critters? A Scattered Smattering without Patterning

 GAIRLOCH, SCOTLAND throughout the mid-18th century. 

This story is unusual in that it portrays an entity which persisted in its locale for several years, being seen by many people, many times. Its name was "The Gille Dubhe of Loch a Druing." Some of that name is decipherable: Gille Dubhe means a Black-haired Lad. Sometimes that is expanded to include "servant" and even nature servant. Not a bad name for a nature gnome. The Loch a Druing would seem to hold promise, but it seems only to mean the Lake of Druing (which is probably a Norse-Viking word.) We'll make life simple and just call this fellow Gille. 

Gille was a (generally) friendly sort of nature spirit who was dressed entirely in clothes made of leaves and moss "sewn together" somehow. He had black hair and a ruddy complexion. His height is not given, but the tales seem to indicate the height of a child, and it was children that he preferred to interact with. In fact, though seen by many, the only person that he would converse with was a little girl. 

This little girl had been lost in the woods as a very young child, and Gille had rescued her and led her home. When she grew up, she married a member of the Mackenzie clan. In a mental state which can only be classified by me as utter insanity, this clan decided that Gille was some sort of local menace (NO such information adheres to the story as to why) and set up a family expedition to kill him. (Another of humanity's endless list of "finer moments.") FIVE chieftains marched to the Loch with guns ready to blaze away. 

We don't have much on the end of the story. The "Lords" (inject the words "Human Garbage" ... sorry, I just can't abide this sort of crap) after satiating their bellies with a feast, strode to the Loch. The Gille Dubhe was not found, and never again seen. (With any luck, maybe they got frustrated about their waste of time and began firing upon themselves ...but that is too much to hope for, I suppose.) 


nr. Paris France, c. 1860. 
This story comes from a different type of source than most of these: THE REPORT ON SPIRITUALISM by the London Dialectical Society (1873). Maybe that has something to do with its different nature (in my opinion) or maybe not. 

The tale is told from the perspective of a witness who lived alone (though with a servant) in a small house and garden near Paris.  One day, the reporter saw in the garden what appeared to be a very small (4-foot tall) hunched-over woman wearing a hooded cloak, but one either stained or faded that the original color could not be determined. Something about the cloak (indescribable apparently) added to the oddity of the old woman's presence. 

The witness had been recently much pestered by uninvited vendors and ran down to her door to tell her to go away. When arriving in full view of the garden area in a very brief time, there was no sign of the "intruder." (So far the tale has little mystery to me.) 
 A few months later, the exact same sequence of events occurred. The witness was convinced that this was supernatural. 

One year later, a servant was working in the garden and heard soft steps behind her, though the warning gate-bell to the garden had not sounded.  There facing her, now much closer than the incidents of the mistress of the house, was the same small, oddly clad and hunched-over old woman. The wraith stared and smirked at the servant, then seemed to move backwards and disappear. (Well, now that gets my attention ... finally.) The servant then continued to have visitations by this "whatever" several times over a few months. 

 Other poltergeist phenomena  occurred plus some mediumship attempts, none of which seem very strongly related to the original claims ... but perhaps so. 

This case has little in it that feels like Faery at all. It's like a repetitive apparition or even a "haunting." But it has worked its way into the fairyworld claims literature. There are many VERY similar things which get reported alongside Faery cases from Celtic areas also. For me it's like the close encounters with Balls of Light cases which get reported to UFO researchers --- interesting, yes; but almost certainly NOT what we're talking about when we say "UFOs." This "apparition?: Interesting, yes; Faery, no. 

Love the instant disappearance, though.  
Pentrevoelas, Wales. mid-1800s

This encounter was collected by the Reverend Elias Owen for his book Welsh Folk-Lore (1887) which was a Prize Essay at the National Eisteddfod (read: great big prestigious meeting in imitation of the Olde Druidical poetry and writing contests.) Owen says that he doesn't remember how far back it was when he collected this story, but it was from a respected old man who had told and re-told it for years always with insistence that it happened exactly so. 

I'm going to insert Owen's own writing from my copy of his book, below. In this case I think it's right (for some reason.) 

(Maybe I'm just being a lazy typist ...........)

 This incident has lots of the things that make me smile, so I should be more wary, I suppose. It has fairies making music and singing with the best sorts of sounds, small people dressed all alike and trooping along accompanied no less by spotted dogs, earnestly entreating the witness to "come away" with them, which he mightily resisted. If the witness had just brought the local priest and his wife and mother along --- perfect. But no wife, no padre, so ... 

There is one other thing that I'd like to mention here. Owen seems like he's trying to do his best, but in one surprising (to me) thing he doesn't have his act together (at all.) You can see a hint of this just below the red box which off-sets the case. Owen is saying there that he recalls a similar tale collected by Rhys. Reading the thing (on his next page) Rhys' story isn't similar at all. 

Well, who cares? 

I do, at least a little. Rhys' tale is an obvious "fairy tale" type of story --- full of running away with the fairies and subsequent happenings containing "morals to the story." It is utterly on the other side of that divide that any serious open-minded reader of these things sees. One side: "tales for teaching morals around the peat-fired flames." The other: "the crossing of two paths without a writer's agenda." Rhys has the first; Owen has the second. MOST of Owen's collected stories are type ones. In fact, it feels (again maybe it's just me) that Owen is one of those "too modern men" who collects but doesn't think there is anything but some looser definition of "culture" resident in them to be preserved. If so, that makes me sad. 


Wemyss Castle, Fife, Scotland.
1863. Can we possibly have here an encounter with a Faun? 

Well, let's see. The story comes from an edgy sounding title: Ghosts I Have Seen (1919) by Violet Tweedle --- I don't like the author's name much either, but I'm way off base on that. 

The story as we have it: The way that this tale is written, it would appear that the "interview" telling the story was delivered by the witness who was Royalty or near royalty --- I don't have Ms. Tweedle's book, and the case excerpts that I have just miss being clear as to whether the witness was some prominent lady, like Lady Grosvenor of Wemyss Castle. (who I believe this was). Whoever, the Lady involved was VERY prominent and had a multi-person audience, among which was the interested Ms Tweedle. Now, finally, the tale:

While a child, she and a friend were playing outside the castle in a large and formal garden. There was an attending nurse, but that person was apparently bored and walked away from the two girls who were probably happy to be free of her. Then, however, there came a rustling in nearby bushes. Out of that area came "a huge creature, half-goat, half-man." He crossed the road directly in front of them walking unhurriedly. Then he plunged into the woods beyond the road and was lost from sight. 

The girls then erupted into a frenzy of screaming, which brought the wayward nurse back running. Telling their story, they were promptly chastised for making up nonsense. Getting her charges up to return to the castle, they crossed that road. The young Miss (later Grosvenor, I think) pointed out that their were TRACKS left there, AND they showed cloven hoofs. Then everyone resumed screaming and ran back to the castle. 

Well, THAT's a jolly old British tale which breaks the ice on the many other kinds of Faery-World creatures that we've been told about but have not seen much of. And another thing: the prime witness here says that she was strongly encouraged in this to tell her Faun encounter by the "Grand Duchess" who had just told her own mind-boggler --- an encounter with a CENTAUR which I have yet to find and read.

 Maybe that's enough to keep the peat-fire burning for now. 

Till next time.  


  1. The return of the Prof! Some light in a dark time. If you are still seeking the Centaur story you could find it by looking up Violet Tweedale (sic) on Gutenberg: her book is available there. Thank you for what you do!

    1. Thanks for the information. Wild tale. Would be a lot better if the Duchess had been identified.



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