Sunday, May 10, 2020

LEPRECAT Four, part 2

Here we go again down that path into ..... ?

This set of cases is a little different from most in that only two of the seven encounters above are from the British Isles. We have three Native American incidents, and some of these have some potential for being good ones. So, let's give them a chance.

A. Perryville, Alaska. 1950s and earlier. We've mentioned other cases in this southern Alaskan area before. The source is Alaska Magazine, and resulted from an encounter by an Aleut resident who had a close run-in with a short hairy being a decade or more before this listing. It was during an interview that he had with the village elders that they told him that these little hairy men (sort of the gnomish version of Bigfoot) were well known in the villages, as they still were seen coming secretively into the villages and doing things like stealing fish off drying racks. 

I'm open to the reality of this claim especially as it fits in well with cultural beliefs even though it is not integrated into some sort of fairytale legends. Also, we met with a British Isles version of this sort of hairy boggart, with the only difference being that the Cornwall version was wearing rough trousers.

B. Provo River, Utah Valley. mid-20th century. This report comes from a Bigfoot newsletter (The Track Record)  via a newspaper story out of Provo, Utah's Daily Herald. The case is OK but not great on provenance in that the witness is named and presented as a known person (locale members of the Ute tribe) in the area. He and a second witness observed the following. 

The two were fishing on the Provo River when they came to a spot in the river where a large flat rock lay. On that rock were several little human-like creatures. They were between two and three foot tall beings, "the size of a three year old child." They looked like smaller versions of natives but hairier. They have a name in that area: "Pawapicts" in the native language, and "water babies" in English. They were making crying noises, and the traditional "Walla-la-loo loo" call. The witnesses tried to get closer, but the Pawapicts dove into the river and did not reappear. The water levels then seemed to unnaturally rise. This alarmed the witnesses who then fled. 

Interesting incident well-fitted into the locale views of the beings ... but in need of a better investigation, interview, write-up or whatever.

C. Boy River, Minnesota. mid-20th century. This is going to sound like a frivolous form of provenance for an encounter but (and maybe I'm far wrong) I think that this source is quite good. I got this incident from a chat site. But not just any chat site. It's a site for Native Americans writing about things of interest in their culture. I read a lot of the site, and am impressed by the frank and earnest feeling that I get from the posting exchanges. Others may differ but my feeling here was that the account was honest. 

This comes from members of the Mille du Lac Ojibwe  tribe of upper Minnesota. A family was out on the shores of the Boy River "ricing." This is a family affair where they go along the river shore looking for wild (North American-style) "rice", picking large handfuls of the stuff and beating them on flat rocks to separate the grain. This is called "Knocking Rice." Up ahead, apparently around a river bend, they heard others knocking rice. They continued on and saw that it was not another tribal family but the Memegwesiwug, the region's Little People. There were two small hairy "indians" dressed as they were but with hair on their faces. Suddenly a canoe also appeared, and in a few more seconds both the Memegwesiwug and the canoe vanished. These sorts of stories are scattered across the northern tier of Native American cultures from New Brunswick to Vancouver.

D. Neversink Reservoir, Catskills, NY. c. mid-1950s. This is a Ron Quinn case from his gathering of cases from Northern New York, but the reporter here had this encounter in the Catskills. Quinn allegedly knew of a similar occurrence in Washington state (I think the location might be wrong ... see later), so this one particularly fascinated him. 

A hiker was having an autumn walk alongside the reservoir. It was country that he had walked many times before, and was very familiar with this area near the Peekamoose mountains. After a while he saw a fog bank hanging over the water. Approaching, there was a bridge sticking out of the fog to the shore. He hadn't been aware of such a structure before, so decided to explore it. The bridge was three feet wide, brass, and decorated with nice geometric designs. He walked across into the fog, losing sight of the land, and then out the other end onto a small island. And here is where one is challenged in one's beliefs.

The whole island was encircled by this mist. (The witness estimated it as about six acres of land.) Animals which the witness could not identify were roaming about (I'm upset that these were not described), and the trees and vegetation seemed unfamiliar too. The bigger deal for him, though were the Little Men. Three such beings stood at the shoreline about 40 yards away. They seemed to be trying to gaze through the mist at the opposite shore. They stood three feet tall, had white robes and long silky hair. They were bearded, and the one in the center carried some sort of object which the witness couldn't identify. The three men looked his way but seemed not to see him; then moved off towards the trees. The witness was becoming creeped out, and turned back to the bridge and crossed it. 

Back on "his" side, he watched the fog dissipate AND the bridge disappear. The Peekamoose mountains appeared beyond the island, but seemingly now containing a "new" mountain of which he hadn't noticed before. It was relatively sharp peaked and had clouds on its slopes. Then the transition completed itself, with the mid-reservoir island and the "new" mountain also fading away. When the witness returned to his home, he asked if anyone else had seen anything unusual on the lake. One said that there was some fog out there, but that was all.  

As an aside, Ron Quinn related a second story of this type. He felt that it related to Lake Washington in Washington State, but I have an itch that this was possibly quite near the earlier story at the Lake Washington Reservoir in NY State, north of the Catskills. Whichever (and it is at this point probably not important), this experience was reported by a doctor also out for a shoreside walk. He too came across a morning mist and a small bridge extending into it. He too crossed that bridge (as probably would we all) and came to an unknown small island with odd animals. In this case it also was inhabited by one old man. The doctor saw him sitting on some rocks by the shore looking outwards. Before the witness could do anything else, the old man faded away, and the witness returned by the bridge to see the rest of the "illusion?" fade away as well. This time a neighbor some distance away thought that he had seen the mist and thought that there was a small island inside it, all of which faded out. 

High Romance. What can you do with it? The general story fits what the Olde Irish call The Stray Sod --- areas of land which should not be there, but sometimes can be entered. So .... a hint of one of our favorite concepts? A parallel existence mostly mimicking our own? The Land just there alongside? The Land of Faery? 

I can't help liking it. Can't help rooting for it. Can't help keeping it respectfully off to the side of the strong evidence pile ---- where, I guess, a "World Alongside" belongs.

 E. Derbyshire, UK. mid-20th century. Back to the real world? HA!!!! Only in these strange waters could one view an encounter with one of The Little People as a return to the real world. But this shows/reminds us how far from normal shores we come in these explorations. More fun .... more adventure .... more warning about excess enthusiasm.  :={

This is a case report from The Ley Hunter. I respect fellows like Paul Devereux who edited this journal (though not until a couple of years after this report), so I'm not prejudiced against it to start. BUT, the claimant here insisted upon going under an assumed name. Since this wasn't the internet age with its ubiquitous and unhelpful name-hiding, I'll assume that the editors of The Ley Hunter knew who this was. But that's an assumption and doesn't aid credibility. 

The encounter takes place in Alderwasley, which is a small village in Derbyshire. It is a mere five miles from Matlock Bath, which was considered by a 19th century writer as The Heart of Fairyland in this area. I'd like to think that helps the context but ....? Whatever the truth of that, the encounter took place on a hike in the woods and hills near the village (I get the strong feeling that if anyone REALLY wants a folklore entity interaction, they better get a hiking hobby and some isolated hills,woods, streams, lakeshores. Here in Kalamazoo, Michigan I'm out of luck in that. )(the isolated part.) 

The witness was really enjoying the day, reveling in the sunshine and the good air, and happily exploring the hillsides. He sat down on a grassy bank not far from a old low mound. Then beside him, he saw a small "person." It was a "dumpy-looking chap" less than four foot tall INCLUDING his tall pointed cap. He was dressed all in grass-green. The witness was not alarmed but very curious. He tried to communicate. Communication took place but not verbally --- It sounds from the write-up that this was "telepathy" mind-to-mind. The witness wrote two things about the conversation: 1. the being told him that its job was helping the breaking down of dead materials for the utilization by the plants (essentially fungus-etc function of making dead plant matter available as plant food.) 2. He wasn't a nature spirit or elemental but a "human being." ... my guts tell me that even if everything in this story is accurately told from the witness' view, that neither of these assertions by the entity were true. Example: it's almost absurd for the entity to claim it is a human with its appearance and paranormality, so that makes it a liar. AND to break down all the decay matter in a forest to make plant food is a megaton task, which we in science know how Nature does it without elvin help, and we'd be wasting millions of gnomes mining away in the dirt. Flippant? Eh. Maybe. 

The case is a fun case. Wish for FAR more on the credibility side. But it could be real even if the gnome lied.

F. Somerset, UK. mid-20th century. A Terrible beginning to the provenance, as this is a letter to FATE Magazine. It saves itself a little in that the correspondent names herself and gives an address. It also allegedly has two witnesses. The letter is unusually intelligent for FATE correspondents without being braggadocio or self-enhancing. Again, the "feel" of this one isn't bad. 

The letter had three separate incidents. One was when the witness was alone in her mother's garden and reading under a tree. She looked up and spotted a little man running from her yard onto another lawn. The creature was about a foot and a half tall, dressed all in brown, and sturdily built. She thought of it as a gnome. The second experience was not by her, but a male friend of the family. He was doing some gardening for her mother and saw the same gnome, or at least one looking the same. 

 And now what we all have been waiting for: Tinkerbell.

The third incident was when she and her mom were together in that garden cutting roses. Her mom brought her finger to her lips, then quietly pointed toward one of the roses. The witness saw a "perfectly shaped" miniature woman (about six inches tall) who sported "brilliantly colored diaphanous wings like that of a dragonfly." This fairy's clothes were also semi-transparent and you could see her pale pink skin through them. She carried a wand on the tip of which was a light like a small star. She pointed this at the rose. Her hair was long and silvery, also sort of diaphanous and surrounded her head like an aura. 

The witness and her mother watched the fairy hovering about the flower, wings fluttering rapidly "like a hummingbird's", and then she disappeared. 

Boy I'd like to have an interview with the mother .... I'm not supposed to buy Tinkerbell stories. No little winged cute beings in diaphanous clothing and carrying wands. My betters in this business (including Jerry Clark) have told me this. In this case at least, the weak provenance of the encounter allows me a convenient way out, but I rather liked the two gnome incidents as they at least fit the main pattern. Buying half the incidents reported and rejecting the other half doesn't seem kosher. 

But I suspect we'll run into Tinkerbell again.

G. Guanajuata, Mexico. mid-20th century. This provenance also is weak --- what we're too often lumbered with in this topic area. It comes from three websites. The poster is "Gabriel L." on two of the sites, and there is a reference to him on a third by an acquaintance near-family in-law side. So at least this fellow exists and lived in Guanajuato, where the family originated. Gabriel says that very close relatives have told him that they have seen the "duendes" which is a term used for both ghosts/spirits and gnomes. In the third reference however, it appears that Gabriel himself had an encounter with this sort of creature when he was very young, but didn't want to mention it in his report on his sister's incidents. He wanted to talk about these family matters but not take too much heat himself, it appears. 

So, here is his sister's incident: she, several times, was awakened in the evening with enough noise that she would go down to the kitchen to see what was going on. She would "interrupt" the duendes when she arrived. They'd be running about, including scrambling on top of the table, seeking out every loose scrap of food they could discover. They were great if you wanted noisy left-over eaters, but a rather ugly crowd of one foot tall (or so) gnomish critters wearing old and patchwork-repaired dirty clothing. They had long beards and were old looking. The sister was always scared or at least shocked at sighting them. They were only occasionally around but she saw them several times. 

Gabriel's own experience was when he was only five or six. He and some friends were chasing a squirrel when it ran down o hole. Gabriel was left to guard the hole while his buddies went to get some buckets of water to flush it out. A duende then came up out of the hole. It pointed elsewhere and said: dig over there instead.  Gabriel did so and found a box with some coins in it. When his friends returned, he had just gotten the box open, but had to watch it and the coins turn into dust. 

This latter has all the signs of big story telling. The tale of the sister does not particularly, as it is quite like some of the poltergeist+apparitional encounters in Old England. But when one adds Gabriel's other tale, this begins to stress the nervous system. I'll place this in a deep gray box for the moment. 


This set of encounters has its definite weaknesses, especially (as usual) in the area of poor provenance. Of them I like the first three --- the Native American cases. If Ron Quinn's two Stray Sod cases were from witnesses that he knew (and they could have been but it's not stated) they'd be not just likable but of whacking great strangeness. The three foot tall (including pointed hat) green-dressed gnome is surely nice in theory, but I'm left hoping that The Ley Hunter board knew the reporter. If they did, it is probably good. These five cases are in the patterned three to four foot tall range. The two smallest entities (in the foot tall range) are in the weakest provenance situations. 

... and then there's Tinkerbell. Really need better provenance here. But who's to say? 

Till next time --- stay healthy.


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