The origin of Gremlins, mischievous, goblin-like creatures who took great delight in sabotaging planes, dates back to the first half of the 20th century. They were well known to RAF pilots, particularly during WW2 where any inexplicable mechanical failure in planes was attributed to them. At first they were believed to be enemy sympathisers but it was later revealed that the enemy too experienced strange faults and problems with their planes. Since then, a number of films and other media have spread awareness of gremlins, who still regularly get the blame for any and all mechanical and now even electrical problems we may experience!Filed under Faerylore | Comment (0)
A wonderful guide to faerylore from the Northern counties is The Faery Folklorist. The author is actually visiting sites with faery associations and each post is accompanied by splendid photographs of the area. During these adventurings the faeries have so far remained elusive, but perhaps one day the author may have their own sighting to report. (Although I am not sure I’d like to encounter some of the Folk mentioned myself!). I don’t know if the investigations of the Faery Folklorist will eventually cover a wider area, but for now enjoy the tales from this particularly lovely part of the British Isles.Filed under Faerylore | Comments (3)
The Reverend Robert Kirk, a seventh son said to have been gifted with second sight, wrote the Secret Commonwealth of Elves Fauns and Fairies in 1691. The extraordinary book explores the nature and social structure of a race of supernatural beings, or fairies, that inhabited Doon Hill in Aberfoyle. The church where he served as Minister stands nearby, and Kirk would take daily walks there for exercise. In 1692 his dead body was discovered on the hill, having apparently collapsed whilst on his daily stroll. The story goes that shortly after his burial Kirk appeared to his cousin, Graham of Duchray, and informed him he was in fact not dead, but a prisoner in Fairyland. His release could be obtained at the baptism of his posthumous child, when his apparition would appear. Duchray was instructed to throw a knife over the apparition to ensure Kirk’s escape. However when the time came and Kirk duly appeared in the room his cousin, whether though surprise or terror, neglected to throw the knife and Kirk disappeared again.
To this day Robert Kirk’s spirit is said to be held in the Fairy realm, or else imprisoned in a tree standing on Doon Hill known as the Ministers Pine. The tree is festooned with ribbons and rags bearing wishes and petitions to the Fairies, an old custom practised in many places. The church now stands in ruins, but on the southeast side visitors can see a memorial to Robert Kirk, although this was only erected in 1793, a hundred years after his death!
Photo courtesy John Webster.Filed under Faerylore | Comments (4)
The Little People site is a a resource of traditional stories and an encyclopaedia of types of little folk. Although it is still being worked on it looks promising, with entries on the more common little people available and readers own stories of their experiences. There is also a links and books list.Filed under Faerylore | Comment (0)
There was said to be a fairy island on Llyn Cwn Llwch, near the Brecon Beacons in Wales. The island was invisible from the shore but once a year, on May Day, a door would open on a rock on the lakeshore. Going through this door would give mortals access to the cave and tunnel under the lake, thus allowing them to visit the island to join in the Faeries May Day revels. This practice continued for many years, until one man took a flower from the island and brought it back to the shore. The Faeries, angry at the thief, closed the door and it has never opened since.Filed under Faerylore | Comments (2)
An elusive island, an ancient site, the depths of the forest or at the bottom of your garden – just were do the Faeries call home?
Some say they Fae inhabit Hollow Hills, the ancient burial mounds and man-made hills which are found throughout Europe and beyond. Their elaborate palaces are just below our feet, but you won’t find them by digging. If you are in the right place at the right time you may see the hillside door open and hear the sweet sounds of Faerie revels spilling forth.
Others claim they are to be found on a mysterious Island, somewhere to the West, where it is always Summer and death is unknown. These Islands are hard to find, some being under the water and only coming up at night or only visible once in a while. Many names have been given to these elusive islands, including Tir Nan Og (the Land of the Young), Tire Nam Beo (Land of the Living), and Tirfo Thuinn (the Land Under the Waves).
There are further thoughts the Fair Folk are found in the wild areas still as yet untouched by humans – the far forests, the remote moors, the mountains and lost valleys… Their habitat shrinks as humans encroach further and further into their world and they retreat further still.
Of course their world could also be all around us, it just remains invisible and intangible to our limited senses. Sometimes you will catch fleeting glimpses, usually accompanied by giggles and your keys mysteriously going missing…
From a 17th Century manuscript written by Elias Ashmole, now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
An excellent way to gett a fayrie, but for myself I call margarett Barrance but this wil obtaine any one that is not all ready bound. First gett a broad square christall or Venus glasse in length and breadth 3 inches, then lay that glasse or christall in the blood of a white henne 3 wednesdayes or 3 fridayes: then take it out and wash it with holy aqua and fumigate it: then take 3 hazel sticks or wands of an yeare groth, pill them fayre and white, and make soe longe as you can write the spiritts name, or fayries name, which you call 3 times, on every sticke being made flatt one side, then bury them under some stone hill whereas you suppose fayries haunt, the wednesdaye befor you call she, and the fridaye following take them up and call she at 8 or 3 or 10 of the clock which be goode plannetts and howres for that turne: but when you calle, be in cleane Life and turn thy face towards the East, and when you have she bind her to that stone or glasse.
An unguentto annoynt under the eylidds and upon the eyelidds evninge and morninge, but especially when you call, or finde your sighte not perfect. Putt sallet oyle into a viall glasse but first wash it withe rose water, and marygold flower water, the flowers be gathered toward the east, wash it til the oyle come white, then putt it into the glasse, ut supra, and put there to the buds of hollyhocke, the flowers of marygold; the flowers or topps of wild time the budds of young hazle, and time must be gatherred neare the side of a hille where fayries use to go oft, and the grasse of a fayrie throne, there, all these putte into the oyle, into the glasse and sett it to dissolve 3 dayes in the sonne, and thou keep it for thy use; ut supra.
Folk and Fairy is a site that aims to collect together sources which analyse and interpret folk and fairy tales. These stories have survived hundreds of years of retellings and their continuing popularity through changes in culture are proof of their deeper meanings. The bibliographies explore sources that cover literary as well as psychological traditions, and range from feminist analysis to Marxist. Folk and Fairy is a useful starting point for those wanting to delve deeper into the hidden meanings of the world’s folk and fairy tale traditions.Filed under Faerylore | Comment (0)
From Greek mythology come the Dryads – female nymphs or tree spirits. Like all nymphs, Dryads lead supernaturally long lives and are tied to a particular tree or locale. Hamadryads are specifically linked to one tree only, and when that tree dies they do too. The word Dryad comes from the Greek drys, meaning oak, so Dryads were originally oak tree nymphs but the name has now come to mean any tree nymph. The Dryads will punish any who harm their beloved trees, but from time to time they would also marry a mortal. Many Dryads also began their lives as mortals but became Dryads at the will of one of the Greek Gods or Goddesses (often to escape the amorous attentions of another God!).
Art by Debra of Garden BeguiledFiled under Faerylore | Comments (4)
Long thought to be objects of power, holey stones (also known as hag stones) are essential for the dedicated faerie seeker. They are pebbles and stones through which a hole has been naturally bored, usually by the actions of a stream or river or the sea. It is said if you look through the hole you will be able to see faeries (this is the same idea that inspired the ‘Seeing Stone’ in the Spiderwick Chronicles). Holy stones are most effective when found, not bought – so next time you visit the coast or a riverbank take the time to look for one.Filed under Faerylore | Comments (4)