I'm sure that there IS light on this path but it may be down to you readers to figure it out. I'm still a bit flummoxed. But one thing that I think we can say: fairy folk encounters still occur in this new century, and some of these are our "usual suspects."
The first thing that I noticed about this array of seven incidents was that only two of them were from the British Isles. Also, all of them are knee-high to chest-high (1 to 4 feet.) Their clothes vary in color choice but all are relatively sharply dressed except one. Only one leans strongly to "elfin" pointed features. Do the encounters contain any details of greater interest? Interest is in the soul of the beholder (and all of this is interesting to me) but maybe a few things should be mentioned specifically. Let's just briefly run through this crowd.
A. The Cornwall case: A witness in her 50s (with a couple of others apparently) saw several two-foot tall gnome-like little men dressed with flat hats and a variety of colors working beneath a line of trees. They appeared to be chatting among themselves while clearing up foliage. They had blondish hair streaked with gray, beards, and ancient faces. As they worked, "Small bright balls of light" moved over their heads among the leaves. No comment on how this experience ended. (Fairy Census Case #25.)
B. The Cornelius Pass, OR case: Two male witnesses driving on an isolated road in mountains. Ahead a creature was crossing the road. It was humanoid with very long arms, such that when it was slumped over its hands dragged on the roadway. (I picture a slow moving chimp in my mind.) It was four foot tall with "an incredibly ugly" face. The passenger panicked as they approached and screamed "A Troll!! A Gnome!!!" and demanded rapid removal from the vicinity. The creature wore clothes and a small brimless pointed hat. It also seemed to have a pack on its back. (About paranormal.com)
C. The Puerto Rico case: This case has had a little publicity because the gnome named himself "Sebastian Polizar" and stuff like that draws attention. The gnome in question appeared to the witness three times, the third of which was seen also by the witness' mother. Sebastian was always dressed in all white with a pointed hat and shoes. He would always suddenly be seen, stare awhile, and then vanish. One time the witness asked his name and got the reply. It seems that the original witness still thinks that she sees him (meaninglessly) occasionally. (About paranormal.com)
D. The Cork case: The witness was a woman in her 50s sitting in her garden. It was a portentous night, being Samwain Eve and full Moon. There had been a "solid" fog that day, and a farmer had said to her "Pooka come down in mist." So, we're fully "programmed" for the arcane. As she watched, scurries of little men about two foot tall scrambled about her garden. They had dark complexions, big noses, and raggedy clothes. They were all in and around the bushes giggling and tumbling away. The odd negative in this was the accompanying music. She said that this music was "hypnotic" but made her feel sick. Overall she said that she doesn't know what she experienced, but was thankful that she had it. (That last remark is sort of an investigator's dream, by the way.) (Fairy Census Case #144)
"D2". A second Cork case, without an entity seen. I want to mention this incident because it happened at the megalithic site of Drombeg Stone Circle. I irrationally like Drombeg Circle (that is a picture of an earlier version of myself standing between the entry stones --- no, sadly, the fairies continue to view my presence as eminently ignorable. I'm six foot tall, by the way, so these stones have significant size. The recumbent stone, in the back, see-able just under my arms, is dedicated astronomically to key positions of Moonrise, for what that may be worth.) This incident, by a female in her 40s, consists of her being involved with some kind of Pagan Ritual within the circle. It was her task to serve the other folks something and she had brought a knife to do so. Upon producing the knife, it was forcefully knocked from her hand. Unthinking as yet, she picked it back up and it was thrown out of her hand again. Stopping to think, she recognized that her knife was Iron, and as such shouldn't be employed in any such ritual. She apologized to whatever spirits were involved and things went on normally from there. I give this for what speculations you may want to imagine, but it at least fits the anti-Iron, pro-Copper fairy traditions. (Fairy census Case #143.)
E. The Greensburg, PA case: The witness here was a wife and mother out for a walk in the nearby woods alone. A couple of months earlier, she had been called to attention to a shimmering patch above a stone wall, where her son said a little man was sitting. She couldn't see it. Now she was walking enjoying a beautiful snowfall. The environment that day was also "shimmery." She rounded the edge of the path and there, peeking out from behind a tree, was what look like a classic Elf. This was a very close encounter: about only three feet away. The Elf had all the pointy elfin features: nose, ears, fingers, and a pointy cap to go with them. Both clothes and cap were red. Its skin tone was a light lavender shaded color. The lady stared, then started, then said "OH!", and the little fellow vanished. (Case from About paranormal.com but taken I believe from The Fairy Gardens site.)
F. Rough River State Park, KY case (this one is a lulu): The witness was a male on a canoeing trip. At one stage in the paddling, he felt that something was "off", and tied the canoe to the bank. About ten feet further along the riverbank, he saw a "pot" of some sort sticking out of the water. It was an apparently very old earthenware jar, and he was excited about perhaps finding an artifact. It was mud-covered and seemed to have very small handprints on it. He tried to tug it out. He stopped when he heard a noise. This sounded like small children laughing. He heaved the jar out, and simultaneously heard a scream. He scrambled up the muddy bank and stopped to look his find over. A couple of minutes of silence later, he set the crock down, and slowly explored in the direction of the earlier noise.
Then he saw two little men. They stood one foot tall.
"They had pale skin, little brown leather pants held up by suspenders, no shirts and little pointy hats made of what looked like leather. They had leather foot coverings that went up past the ankle. Their hair was reddish color and their eyes blue. Their hands were only about an inch wide."
They knew that the witness was watching but continued their task of pulling some kind of old stump down the stream, using leather ropes. His fascination was broken by a "Thump" to his rear. There were three more of these little men just like the others. These three were hi-jacking his crock jar back down the bank to the stream, laughing all the way. Then there was a loud "SNAP!" and all of them were gone. Only their footprints still showed in the mud. ... leading nowhere.
This case, despite its almost Disney atmosphere, might be a true keeper as (though it was gathered by me off About paranormal.com,) its real source seems to be a report about actual interviewing among the Ojibwa culture and this witness just a day after the encounter.
G. Rural Interior Alaska (heavily forested area doomed for clear-cuts.) Several of these cases are easy to like. This one closely beats out the previous as my favorite. (Romantically, not due to solid credibility points.)
I'm an old Environmental Studies prof as a few of you know, and I've studied a lot of these clear-cutting projects on the Pacific coast. When I read that these are just for fire protection, I have my doubts, but maybe this one was. Or maybe that's what some of the employees are told, and then cut more than necessary. Regardless of proper environmentalism, our primary witness in this instance thought that he was doing something honorable, even though "what" he encountered did not seem to agree.
In this case there WAS a fire and the witness was sawing trees to stop the spread. He was part of a large team who did a lot of this sort of work. Our fellow was working with a partner spending half of the time sawing, then would switch with his partner and douse down the sawn timber so it wouldn't burn if the fire came that way. This, he said, was boring hard work, and you just slogged through the day. Some of the trees to be cut are about three inches in diameter and maybe 15 feet high. The job is to saw them all in a swath of certain width, whether green or already burnt. He moved to cut into a green tree. As he positioned the saw, the tree "shrunk down" and standing in its place was a classic wizened gnome of about one foot tall and beard and heavily wrinkled face. The gnome was screaming "NOOOOOO!!!!" at him. This so shocked the sawyer that he stood as if paralyzed with the saw running in his hands.
His buddy came running over to ask what was wrong. The gnome was gone, and the worker was just standing there in shock. His partner forcefully sat the man down and tried unsuccessfully for 15 minutes to get the witness relaxed and back into normal head space. Finally he had to bring the supervisor over. Under the scrutiny, the witness said: "I saw an elf! (with an impolite adjective thrown in there somewhere.)" The supervisor did not berate him. The witness was suspicious about the silence and asked: have you seen it? The supervisor said "no." The witness said: "Have others seen it?" The supervisor nodded his head "yes." (Fairy Census Case #215)
It may seem strange to say, but at this point in our exploration we are in familiar territory with the materials of this post. We're surrounded by members of the 1-to-4 foot tall Little People tribe. They're messing about in Nature, wearing their weird hats, and occasionally messing about with us. Mainly not a bad crowd to have an encounter with.
Next time: stranger formed characters .....