Sunday, June 7, 2020

Faery in the Age of Anonymity: The 1990s

This post will try to do what we can with this "modern world" situation wherein witnesses no longer bother to say much about their claims, and investigators are rarely to be found in any form. It's a shame. There are still very interesting tales being told; and I'll re-tell some of them here. But in these 90s we're in danger of losing all this data. Simon Young's Fairy Census saved some of that data even if in anonymous forms, ... but it's a step. ... and entertaining. Below I'm going to begin this decade with a big gallery of some of these tales. Then let's dive into some of the pictured critters encounters.

 The numbers that exist near some of the cartoons are erratically placed there by me, just to have some reference in case you want to check the appearance for the tale we're discussing. I'll begin with several of The Fairy census cases. 

Fairy Census Case #114: Somerset, UK.
 A woman in her twenties was walking along a forest path, her companions having gone on ahead. She turned a corner on the trail, and experienced a strange atmosphere of extreme quiet (The OZ effect.) There was an unusual mist on the path there. It seemed to be glowing. Within that glow, the witness saw a "procession." Now within the area of mist, a troop of small figures in mediaeval dress were marching. They were three foot tall beings who carried lanterns as they marched. They seemed to see her, but merely marched on by. She believed that the experience lasted 3 to 5 minutes, but once checking her watch, it seemed to her to have lasted ten times as long. (Cartoon#6.) 

Fairy Census Case #136: Yorkshire, UK.
 The witness was a woman in her thirties. The encounter occurred inside. (Which, for me, is usually worrisome.) This is a very poor narrative in that it does not tell the reader what the witness was doing. She does claim an OZ Effect just before the event. The happening involved the flying of a seven foot tall female winged fairy across the room. The fairy was blonde haired and pink skinned and clothing undescribed. The wings were translucent pink. As she flew about she sprinkled glittery pink fairy dust around. The witness said that she thought the fairy had come to make her life better. (Cartoon #5.) 

Flying fairies sprinkling "fairy dust" around is a distinctly non-traditional idea, hardly being referred to in any sense until Walt Disney has Tinkerbell throw it around. Some "dust" does  appear in old stories to blind witnesses or allow witnesses to see Glamour --- but even that is rare. This story is the sort of thing which rings all the wrong bells: No good narrative; piecemeal entity description; feelings by the witness that she has been specially gifted; a gut feeling on my part that this drama could have been a form of hypnogogic semi-waking dream. But ... I don't know this, so in the interest of objectivity, and because this case contains the dreaded "wings", albeit on a monstrously big Tinkerbell, I include it.  

Fairy Census Case #38: Devon, UK. 
 The witness was a female in her twenties. This is a case where the witness wants to appear "cool" and so degrades the narrative. The main difference between this claim and the last case is that this witness here narrates a fairly smooth sequence of events from the start to finish. If we disregard the glib talk, the story is credible. The strangeness of this narrative is equal to the Yorkshire case, but strange as it is, this one is not outside the range of the stories in the previous tales in the past blogs. So, on to the case description, but with a bit more confidence. (Cartoon #2)

Here goes: Four people were camping near "an ancient woodland." They had a cabin and were partying. She heard a babble outside that sounded like children's voices. The others didn't hear it. She went outside and got scared and ran back in. Later in the night, she got herself back together and went for a walk in the woods. She kept seeing movements out of the corner of her eye. She said to herself that she didn't want these to be fairies (she said that she'd rather see a UFO since that would be cooler.) Not wanting to stare at them, she still saw that they were a troop of "pixie-like folk" dressed in mediaeval ways, that seemed to exist in a smaller scale. When she brushed past a branch, it exposed the painted end of a cart which normally would be drawn by a horse. This rattled her enough that she hurried back to the cabin. 

After a while she got antsy and went back out. This time she saw them again, and challenged herself to prove to herself that she wasn't hallucinating. To do that, she intensely focused on the central figure in the mediaeval setting. This figure she called an "Elf Queen" and was standing on the far bank of the river, perhaps 20 feet away. She was "robed in a tight-fitting cream garment with copper-colored trim and she had brunette hair pulled into a matching ornate head dress." The accompanying fairy folk were dressed in "classic" red and green "elf type gear." She saw them far less clearly than she saw the Elf Queen. All this continued to shake her and she went rapidly back to the cabin and convinced one of her friends to drive her back to the city. She later wrote a letter to FORTEAN TIMES to report this incident. 

.... so potentially rich. So much of an investigative waste. 

Fairy Census Case #113: Shropshire, UK. 

The witness was in her twenties at the time of the incident.  She was driving on a country road in an isolated area. As she approached something off the road on the verge, she saw that it was a little person pushing a cart or a wheelbarrow there on the grass. The being was three foot tall, and dressed in a two or three piece light green suit, and having a green hat. The witness was shocked by the unexpected vision and just drove by. Looking in the rear view mirror, she found that the little man and his wheelbarrow had just disappeared. 

That's it. A good old fashion "now you see me, now you don't" crossing of paths.  (Cartoon#34)

Fairy Census Case #242: Carolinas, USA.

The witnesses were two teenagers (one at least female.) The main discomfort in this story is that the two were out in the woods deliberately looking for signs of fairies. Just at dusk, and carrying "gifts" for the fairies, they walked 50 yards into the woods and halted in a clearing near some cedar trees. They made a small fire and poured wine into it, leaving some in a seashell as a more permanent offering. They then sat around and waited. They poured water on the fire and wrapped up in a blanket. 
Quite some time passed and then they inexplicably began to feel a "Wild Presence" which they could not put into words. They looked towards the seashell with the wine. Over it at about two feet there were hovering and dancing in a circle, a group of colorful small BOLs. The witnesses watched this for a while and then the BOLs vanished. The witnesses then panicked and ran all the way to their home. There were no shaped forms,  just the colored lightballs,  but both witnesses felt that there were presences associated with them. (cartoon #45)

The main reporter here also said that she and her family members had seen at different times things like black-cloaked "ghosts", a mysterious Black Dog, and an odd tract of forest which location  could not be re-located upon later attempts to locate it. 

Fairy Census Case #106: Oxfordshire, UK. 

The witness was a female in her twenties. (Yep. That again.) The witness was riding a bus back from work, when she got a tingly feeling. She had been distracted and this came just as she passed her stop by mistake. Getting off at the next stop, she began walking back. In time she came to a thorn tree (a tree type that she knew, as a druid aficionado, as a fairy tree.) When she passed the tree she thought that she saw movement and a shape walking behind her. She turned several times, but no one was ever there. 

She kept walking to the back gate of the field of her family's property. Turning slightly then, she saw a "classic gnome": two foot tall and dressed all in leathery brown, but with a cap instead of a peaked floppy hat. After that glimpse, she saw him many other times, once even bending over her cat and stroking it. This encounter seemed to open her up to other experiences of faery, as she, for instance, later on at an Easter Sunrise (Beltane ceremony?) saw some "bark-skinned figures" came out of trees to watch the service. She also had a couple of other incident types, including a "Green Man" sighting and one of a radiant figure by a stream. (Cartoon #1)

The witness being a "practicing druid" bothers me as to independence of the witness' credibility. Other than that, the story doesn't violate previous encounter details. 

Fairy Census Case #27: Cornwall, UK. 

The witness was a male in his twenties (well, at least there's some variety here.) He was driving down an isolated road which was bordered by hedgerows on both sides. There came into the moment a strange feeling of "definite silence" in the air (our OZ Effect again.) At the same time he felt compelled to look closely at the hedgerow. There standing was a two and a half foot tall "old man." The description was: brown-leathery skin, old looking face, hooked nose, large ears, bald with little other hair. Very large hands. He was wearing only a loincloth, looking very angry and pointing right at the driver with his index finger. 

The witness braked strongly. He then realized that the road suddenly swung at a bad angle towards a sea wall. Had he not braked suddenly he felt that he would have driven over that seawall and over the cliff it protected (since he was driving too fast.) This man had made an error sometime previously on his trip and was not on the road that he intended. (his wife and child were also asleep in the car, so he considered this as a helpful warning act which saved their lives.) (Cartoon #4)

Fairy Census Case #217: Arkansas, USA.

The witness was a female in her teens (along with a younger sister, who however wandered off and did not see the being.) They were visiting at their grandparents' place which had a woods on the back of the property. This was a place that they went to play along with the family dog. There were low hills and a stream there and exploring was fun. The younger sister ran happily up the hillside and over, but the dog stayed with the witness. Suddenly it stopped walking and began leaning against her with raised hackles. It was looking opposite the direction from that where the younger sister ran.

In that direction there was a blonde woman, dressed in white and walking towards her. But she was making no noise, despite the dry leaves. In fact there was no noise anywhere at all (OZ again.) No bird sound. No wind. She glowed and she smiled and waved. Her dog moved, and the girl glanced down. Just then the woman vanished. (cartoon not numbered above.)

Apparition or Fairy?


These are the most interesting to me of the Fairy Census  cases in this batch. There are, of course, quite a few cases from other sources. Next time I'll try to cover others from the 90s. As has been mentioned previously, all of the high credibility cases of the "50" presented in earlier posts were from earlier years except for three. Only one of the better credibility cases is from the 90s (the TV documented "Shadow-cutter" case.) The cases today and in the next 90s posting will all be softer credibility cases, but I'll at least try to pick interesting ones. 







1 comment:

  1. Hi Prof Swords

    A recent issue of the Fortean Times (FT393, June 2020) features a forum piece by earth mysteries author Paul Devereux (‘Little Green Man’, p55) describing his encounter with a ‘nature spirit’ that sounds similar to some of the cases you are relating in your recent posts, especially those you refer to as ‘tree/ent’ entities. If you aren't currently familiar with it, I will provide a detailed description as it may be a useful addition to your database.

    Background to the encounter: Devereux states that it took place “about 20 years ago” (circa 2000). One “overcast mid-afternoon” he and his wife Charla were driving “along a lonely country road” in County Mayo in the west of Ireland, doing fieldwork in relation to a project to “geographically map generations-old accounts of fairy paths we had uncovered in the verbatim records of University College Dublin”. Encounter passage verbatim as follows:

    “We came to a Y-junction in the narrow road. There was no road sign and, unsure of which direction to take, we slowed to a walking pace and proceeded cautiously onto the righthand fork. A level sward of low grass occupied the triangle of land between this fork of the road and the left-hand one. Suddenly, standing on the grass, there was a figure, between two and three feet tall. It was anthropomorphic and fully three-dimensional (as we could clearly determine while we were drifting slowly past). It had sprung into existence out of nowhere, and it caught my wife's and my own transfixed attentions simultaneously. The figure’s body comprised a jumble of very dark green tones, as if composed of a tight, dense tangle of foliage, rather like the woodland 100 yards or so beyond the sward of grass.. It didn’t seem to quite have a face, just a head, with deep-set eyes peering out of the green tangle. It presented a distinctly forbidding appearance. As we crawled past in our car, the figure started to turn its head in our direction, but then vanished. Charla called out “Oh shit!”. We looked at each other, both of us wide-eyed and thoroughly disconcerted. “You saw that?” I asked rhetorically. The whole episode had lasted a minute or so, but it was unquestionably an actual, if transient, objective observation”. Devereux was so shocked that he “drove away from the scene at speed, without staying to conduct further investigation”.

    Further details about the figure are provided later in the article: “It had a head and shoulders, but neither of us could recall seeing arms and legs. Either it was standing to strict attention, like with feet tight together and arms straight by its sides, or it didn’t have limbs, standing like some otherworldly bollard. As I state, it seemed distinctly forbidding, at least to me. It still haunts me even these many years later”.

    Devereux states that he was “ontologically discombobulated” by the encounter, as his research was being undertaken in relation to the premise that “fairylore was an artefact of cultural conditioning” rather than something that had actual basis in reality: “I now dearly wish I could have that encounter again, this time to behave in a more reasoned, inquisitive way. But, believe me, when you actually have an encounter with something like this you can react quite differently to the way you would normally expect yourself to”.

    Regards, Dean Ballinger, New Zealand.



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