LEPRECAT FOUR: This is the catalog for the era of the 1950s. The catalog contains around 50+ cases. I'll try to describe around half of them.
A. WICKLOW, Ireland. 1951. This is a MacManus case, so I at least am in for a treat. This happened in June of 1951 when MacManus' friend and her sister were walking along a rural lane at dusk. They were approaching an old thorn tree (a species legendary with connections to Faery.) There just a few feet away appeared a small man "out of nowhere." He was between two and three feet tall and dressed all in black, both clothes and cap. He seemed youngish rather than a typical leprechaun or gnome. As the two girls stared, one said "Mercy! It's a fairy!" The other then answered "The Lord save us, so it is!" Now growing terrified, they stepped to the nearby gate, and ran into the nearby field. The little man turned and stared at them the entire time. They continued to run. Then they looked back the second time. The little man was gone. But there, perched on that gate, was an odd device which had not been there. It was shaped like an old-style kitchen standing clock.
The mind reels a bit about an encounter with a young leprechaun which vanished and, maybe, was replaced by a timekeeping device .... I refuse to speculate, but it's hard not to just go all Out Proctor with something like that. As an aside, this same young lady had seen another little person, dressed in all red, in the nearby woods one previous date, and had heard mysterious "fairy music" in the woods as well.
B. Ballananty Beg, Limerick, Ireland. 1951. This is a bit different. The "case" is a collection of specific 1951 claims embedded in a strong local encounter tradition associated with a so-called "fairy fort." The story/stories arise from newspaper coverage and community documents concerning the building of a housing development over a fairy site. What is true, even as to the 1951 occurrence, is a bit tougher to unravel given the information, but here's an interpretation:
Alright. A development company wanted to build houses all over an area called Ballananty Beg wherein existed an ancient circular area surrounded by a ditch, which from literally time immemorial was associated with Faery --- in this case a central focus area for the region's leprechauns. Many people could recount stories about this old structure. So objections railed. The local laborers refused to dig up and demolish the site. (my prejudice would have been to preserve the place in a special honored area and build all around it --- whether I believed in leprechauns or not.) A construction crew brought in from Clare had mysterious problems and picked up and left. Local bulldozer laborers also quit the job. So what really is our point?
Well, there were both local people who claimed that they themselves had seen the leprechauns congregating at the mound --- doing their leprechaunish things like shoe-making --- AND some members of the bulldozing team said that THEY had seen this too the very night that they decided that they shouldn't do the demo job.
Was that, and were the other stories, true? Hard to say given no researcher isn't it? A few years later (1956?) it is said that a nearby demolition man DID come in and he ruined the site for big bucks. There is no information if the leprechauns took revenge.
C. Haytor, Dartmoor, UK. 1952. This is another MacManus case, so I'm upbeat. This case doesn't have quite as good a description as the former, but it's MacManus. Two people were walking on the moor. MacManus knew one of them well, and she was the witness in the case. The two, mother and adult son, had climbed to the top of Haytor. He wanted to rest, but she said that she had a desire to climb back down alone and re-climb the low tor just for the natural communion of it (she very much liked the life of the land of the moors.)
Once down, she began her climb again. She tired and took a break to sit on a recumbent boulder called a "coffin stone." Looking upward, she saw a little man standing beside a larger upright boulder further up. He seemed to be watching her. He was about 3 to 4 foot tall and dressed in all brown, a long smock tied at the waist and brown trows. He may have had a low brown cap or just matted brown hair. He seemed old (gnomish?) in the face. She re-started her climb, despite being a little concerned due to the cultural belief that some recumbent and standing stones were meaningful to the Little People. She got to within 40 yards of him before he turned and ducked behind the upright stone.
Once regaining the top, she told her son, who professed not to believe, but they retreated to the area to inspect it. No remaining signs, but they could ascertain that the lay of the area allowed no place to disappear to other than merely behind that stone (and she had gone directly to it finding nothing.) For her, the little man was not only real but had vanished once he got behind that stone.
D. Edinburgh, Findhorn Gardens and vicinity, Scotland. Four experiences in one year of the middle 1900 years (so I've chosen to put this in with the 50s.) Preliminary note about the previous cases in this blog entry: I like the "A" and "C" cases, and the "B" case has certain charms and allegedly several witnesses, but this one (D) is pretty much purely Believe It Or Not. Single Witness with some sort of privileged relationship claimed with the entity. I will re-state my hang-ups vs this sort of testimony, and you can take it as you will.
Findhorn Gardens are an amazing location whether one believes in their claims of superior plant growing assisted by beliefs and relationships with plant fairies and devas or not. Again my biases cause some teeth grinding here. But there is a spirituality about the place that is not easy to deny and even a wonderful fellow like Paul Hawken experienced it. So ... just maybe.
The current claims are tied to a fellow named R. Ogilvie Crombie, a major figure at Findhorn. Crombie claims to have had many experiences, which apparently only he can see. The first occurred not at Findhorn but in Edinburgh at the botanical gardens. He was sitting under a tree when a figure approached to twenty yards and began dancing around. It had two small horns on its head, pointed ears and face, and shaggy body hair down to cloven hooves --- or, a classic faun. It seemed not to realize that Crombie could see it, until the human spoke. Then it made a startled jump, but hung about for some conversation. It told Crombie that it had a job, helping the life cycles of the trees. It also expressed negative thoughts about humans, as we no longer believed in them (fairy folk) so they moved away or became invisible. He gave Crombie his name and even went back with him to his apartment for more conversation (not recorded.)
A month later Crombie saw another faun. This one was taller than himself and "radiated tremendous power." It was the demi-god Pan himself. A month after that, he saw a figure covered with a monk's habit lying on the ground. Approaching, the figure stood up and was twenty five feet tall. Pan again. Pan announced that he was a "Servant of the Almighty God," and here to serve nature and through that service, Man. Finally four months later still, Pan suddenly came walking beside him AND ENTERED HIS BODY. When that happened, Crombie was able to see the Folk Kingdom World arrayed all about with its nymphs, dryads, fauns, elves, gnomes, fairies, et al.
Folks. I'd like to believe all of that, but that's not my style to put such things into a "Beliefs" category, as you know. But even more: I can't find any reason to relate these tales to any objective reality either. This is "nice" for me but little else. I think that if someone wanted to attempt a bit more "comfort" with these tales, one would have to try very hard for more context --- i.e. more about Crombie and more about other persons' claims about nature spirits at Findhorn. Wish it was true ---- think that it may well be not.
E. Heilbron, Germany. 1955. This case is a sleeper; probably a good case, but just out of reach. The problem, for me anyway, is the provenance (as usual).
This case came to my files from that best of general sources Janet Bord's Fairies. That is always a very good start. But Ms Bord, like all of us, wants to present the best array of cases out there, and can only work with what's available. She, of course, had references and that sends us to a book by Andrew MacKenzie called The Seen and The Unseen. If I own that book it's back at my original house and out of reach. So it's a dead-end.
MacKenzie was a vice-president of The Society of Psychical Research and may or may not be someone I can count on. I can only guess that he came upon the case via some communication to the SPR. IF that was true, and if that communication included testimony by the primary witness, then this is a good case. But ????? Anyway, MacKenzie being an expert on "ghosts" included this story in his book about Ghosts cited above.
This encounter took place in a castle, and the primary witness is the "royal" owner of that castle, Baron Maximilian Hofer von Lowenstein, for whatever that does for us. (despite my "Yankee" shrug when it comes to royalty, it still generally helps my view of a claim when the claimant has something to lose.) This castle had a reputation of being haunted since at least WWII. The wife of the Baron felt that she had seen a very clear apparition of a young child in a sailor's suit. The Baron felt that he had experienced strange music in the castle but could never track it down. Different from all of that was the "goblin" sighting.
The goblin sighting was actually a series of sightings by the Baron. He saw a two-foot tall little man, dressed in yellow, who would suddenly appear in the castle outlined by a pale blue light. The "goblin" had a beard and a pointed cap (I've colored it also yellow, but that was not stated), and would caper around. The Baron who saw him several times would try to capture him, always failing as the "goblin" would simply vanish. This gnome was later seen by the Baroness as well.
What to do with that? This could be a really good one if we could ever get the whole personal story. But this is all we've got.
F. Chester, CA. 1956. This is the case above with the simple cartoon with no writing. That's true because it was an incident which I got a poor description of at first and even the state name was wrong. I mention this just to give a warning about trusting second hand references. I was lucky and retrieved the better case remarks from the UFO literature. Also, thank goodness that we had a UFO investigator on the hunt. The case was investigated, interviewed, written up in detail. The investigator's name was Paul Cerny. I knew Paul, a good fellow and an engineer, who was VERY interested in UFO research, a passion which both aided and hindered his work. It aided his work in that he worked very hard at the investigations plus his enthusiasm made the witnesses see him as someone who wouldn't laugh at them --- so they told him their whole reports rather than hiding things. It hindered him in that (after he had gathered the information) he often would speculate upon what might be behind the facts, and then his "romance" would get away from him. Fortunately, with Paul, it was always easy to tell the difference between his investigated facts and his later guesswork.
The encounter was reported by a high credibility witness, an off-duty deputy sheriff in the region he patrolled. He and his sister had gone hunting. They were separated. He was taking a moment literally sitting on a log in a clearing. He heard some movement behind him, like gravel shifting on the hillside. He stood and turned. About 70 feet away, there was a little man about four foot tall staring back. He was brightly clothed: a red and gold cap on brown hair, Closefitting green pants, a long sleeved jacket also gold colored and open in the front, a tan shirt underneath, light brown boots. He was human proportioned and adult faced (40 years old?).
The two stared at one another for a minute and then the being turned away and lept up the hillside in twenty foot strides. He reached the top and disappeared over. Through all of this, all his (more distant) sister saw a small man some distance further away.
Paul was a UFO researcher and was moved to try to see this as a UFO case. But there was nothing Ufological about it; a fact that I think he ultimately realized. But it was a MYSTERY, so he published it in a UFO publication. To me, this is VERY like an elfin type of sighting in every way, so here it resides.
All six of these encounters fall into the prime height zone for our Gnomes, Elves, Pixies, Leprechauns: two to four feet, even the first of the faun stories. Other cases coming later will violate that "club." But for now, we're still overloaded with characters in that range. Perhaps that means something real.
Please give me a couple of days till the next time. Stay healthy folks.