One area of the paranormal that I have always found interesting, is that of cryptozoology. The thought that some of the strange creatures that often seem to present themselves in fiction alone, could indeed exist is often something that plays with ones imagination. The possibility of a huge prehistoric animal still living in Loch Ness or hairy potential ape like animal roaming the forests of the americas; unseen by many, but witnessed by few is something that almost allows us to once again believe in the magical possibility that anything is possible.
Of course in many cases, the Loch Ness Monster being a prime example, both the local environment and what it provides seem to lack the necessary elements to sustain one such creature, let alone the possibility of an entire species. As someone that has grown up in a household where their mother knows a reasonable amount regarding the subject of animals, there were of course discussions at times regarding such supernatural creatures and the reality of their existence. With understandings around local ecosystems and their sustainability when it comes to the creatures in question, usually being the downfall of existence.
As my youngest daughter reaches the ripe old age of ‘nearly eight’ the concept of magic and supernatural creatures quickly begins to be extinguished by ‘those children in the know’ and of course the older children that no longer believe. So, at a last ditch attempt to save a little magic in this world, both for her and perhaps for myself; I thought I would begin to write regularly about supernatural creatures. This will be made up of information I find online (as ever these days), from the many books on my shelves and of course from personal knowledge and understanding too. Whilst my initial notes will be written in my personal daily journal, the idea is to start building a single leather bound journal I have full of this information. A little like a field guide about these creatures; or at least the best I can.
I do not expect it to be a quick endeavour, with me adding more and more details over the years to come. The full journal being a gift to my children and perhaps their children too. Whilst it is not really aligned with my usual research and writing, you never know where a cross-over may emerge.
Also, before I am accused of leaving huge amounts of information out, these entries will be designed to show some information with the hope that the reader feels inspired enough to find out more. One of the best examples I can provide for this is the Mothman, which in the past led me down such a path that I learnt a great deal about a case I would not have even likely thought about previously. Sometimes, all we need is a little inspiration to get us heading in the right direction.
So, let us kick things off in this series with my notes on Fairies; for two reasons; 1) my daughter has mentioned them on many occasions; and 2) one of my favourite authors was involved in a case that was all about Fairies.
Fairy is from the old French word Faerie – so you may see it spelt various ways throughout these notes.
In fact the term ‘fairy’ has quite possibly been rather over used through time to describe a wide ranging number of various supernatural beings. Hence there are often many differences between fairies from Celtic folklore and say those in modern literature.
Fairies can be found most commonly in English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, German and Slavic folklore tales.
However, the faerie folk are not always the cute helpful and good characters we are used to. In fact they are often evil and up to some kind of mischief. With many tales of faeries drawing people into the woods to be lost forever, or stealing babies and replacing them with their own. In many tales, time spent with the faerie folk passes slowly in comparison to normal time. So, whilst you may think you were there for only minutes; weeks or even months may have passed for the individual.
The idea of faeries seem to have roots that stretch back through history with mentions the world over; with stories from Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Norse legends and more.
Early forms of faeries can be found as mythical beings in Greek mythology; such as nymphs, satyrs and sileni. Often the creatures are considered minor deities of nature or of natural phenomena. However, they can also be seen as guardian spirits in Roman religion; such as penates, and genii.
Looking at the Norse traditions and their wide variety of elves, disir and valkyries that could equally be identified as fairies.
Finding Fairies is by no means an easy task though, as the stories either tell of them being invisible most of the time, have the ability to shape shift or more commonly live underground. It is believed that, if you find a fairy ring, which could be a ring of mushrooms or even stones, then if you walk around the ring nine times; the entrance to the faeries dwelling will appear to you. However, there is a slight issue there; whilst in the faery dwelling if you eat their food it is unlikely you will ever leave again. Which makes me wonder how could this even be known, unless a lucky few have actually managed to escape!
Fairy stories appear to have many cross-overs with various lore from around the world with them being seen to have many similarities with various supernatural creatures. Their existence appears to connect more so with the very world itself, perhaps giving them the same command over the elements. Often related to in their magic. They are nether good or bad, but both; with extremes of both from helping those in need to plain old abduction and murder. Then there is the strange use of dancing, singing and music used to draw people in never to be seen again. Very much like the siren. Enchanting music heard on the breeze being a common them in fairy stories of old.
However, whilst fairies are common in historical lore and present in modern entertainment; there was an interesting case that hit headlines in more recent times.
This is the case of the Cottingley fairies, which I believe began around November 1918 following a letter from eleven year old Frances Griffiths to her friend Johanna in South Africa. The letter included a photograph of Frances with some fairies and was briefly mentioned in the letter as if it was a normal occurrence. The story and photographs that featured in the Strand Magazine towards the end of 1919 caused somewhat of a small sensation. However, many years later in the 1980’s, Frances admitted that the photographs were fakes. Still the world of the fairies that was imagined by Frances adds to the lore and legend too, especially as the story of the Cottingley fairies caused much debate for years. Personally for me the only disappointment is that the champion of the Cottingley fairies was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who should really have realised that they were the illustrations from Princess Mary’s gift book in 1914. Doyle’s story ‘Bimbashi Joyce’ was featured int he very same book.
There are many variations and stories concerning faeries, from the world over. Some which inspire and present fairies as always doing good; others which present them as very scary characters. Suffice to say they should not be meddled with, if they are indeed real; or perhaps they only really exist in our imaginations and lore.
Faerie – Faery – Fairy