Survey of Fairy Sightings


A few days ago, I learned of a survey being conducted by the Fairy Investigation Society, so if you wish to contribute to this study, you can do so here, either as a first-hand observer or as someone who knows someone else who has seen a fairy. The Fairy Investigation Society’s site looks very good, so I shall certainly be studying it again in the coming weeks and months, while I had originally intended to fill out a number of their forms myself. However, I’ve pondered the matter at some length and I’ve decided not to complete the surveys, so these are my reasons for abstaining.

I personally know at least four people in Britain who have seen these beings, because they volunteered the information and told me so themselves. I’ve discussed the subject of fairies with other people, including one world-famous landscape photographer and as a result, I’ve learned of the existence of many more people in Britain who would swear to having seen fairies, elves, gnomes, pixies or some other local variant.

For my part, I once spent the best part of a sunny afternoon watching as many as 12 of these beings and no, I wasn’t smoking dope, I hadn’t dropped acid, I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t dreaming and I didn’t imagine it. I found it was easiest to see them from out of the corner of my eye, but they nonetheless had a physical reality because they appeared solid, if incredibly delicate, while I could also trace some of their movements by the way they bent the long grass while they wandered around me as I sat on a tree-trunk close to a slow stream.

In more recent times, I’ve seen what I could only describe as a giant on a hump-backed bridge, just yards away from where someone else had watched a gnome on the riverbank and in the same vicinity as where a truly monstrous ‘black dog’ had been seen. Fairies in Britain form the last great taboo as far as sightings of supernatural phenomena are concerned, because I get the impression that most people are happy to admit to having encountered ghosts, black dogs or even UFOs; the claim that someone has seen fairies, however, is likely to provoke sheer incredulity and guffaws of laughter, but a fear of ridicule is not the reason I’m not completing the aforementioned census.

Judging from everything I’ve read and everything I’ve personally experienced over the course of roughly five decades, Britain is full of ‘special places’ with auras ranging from a serene, supremely uplifting beauty to an almost tangible terror. Some of the places seem to be home to entities that are invisible to the human eye, such as the otherwise unremarkable woodland path in Everleigh where I encountered what I can only describe as a ghoul, but there are countless other special places where disembodied voices and ‘fairy music’ can be heard, as well as other locations where ghosts or other supernatural entities are seen. I have no idea what these entities are, although I’m certain there are many varieties or species of phantoms, but while I’m always interested in learning of rational explanations for these things, which are often fascinating in and of themselves, I regard them all as a source of wonderment rather than as a resource to be dissected, experimented upon, analysed and invariably dismissed.

The mission statement of the The Fairy Census tells us that it “is an attempt to gather, scientifically, the details of as many fairy sightings from the last century as possible…..” I’m sure this is a noble endeavour, but I have to admit that my skin crawls when I see a reference to scientific study and fairies in the same sentence. The supremely enlightened adherents of the new religion of Science will not so much as entertain the notion that a single one of these sightings are genuine, so I simply don’t see the point in spending 30 minutes or so filling in a form and thereby giving them yet more material to dismiss out of hand.

Whatever the true nature of these ‘things’ that so many of us have encountered, Britain is home to otherworldly creatures that I assume must have been a part of the living landscape for thousands of years. There are many animals such as foxes, badgers, hares, snakes, otters and birds of prey in our fields, woods and waterways that are actively demonised and harrassed by a large section of modern society, so I have no wish to play any part in adding fairies or black dogs to the woeful list of indigenous British creatures whose habitats are threatened by the continuing encroachment of civilisation.

The survey aims to measure contemporary attitudes to fairies, but I would imagine that most people either believe in them or else they don’t, although in all fairness I wouldn’t blame the legions of doubters for a moment for not crediting the existence of such astonishing entities until such time as they’ve seen them for themselves and even then, it’s hard to take in the evidence of one’s own eyes.

As for attitudes towards fairies, contemporary or otherwise, the most insightful observation I’ve ever read on the matter comes from Patrick Harpur in his excellent book Daimonic Reality. He noted with regard to supposed Golden Ages in belief in fairies that UFOs are always coming, coming – but never here, whereas fairies are always going, going – but never gone.

“Anno 1670, not far from Cirencester, was an apparition; being demanded whether a good spirit or bad? returned no answer, but disappeared with a curious perfume and most melodious twang. Mr W. Lilly believes it was a fairy.”

From Apparitions, 1696, by John Aubrey.


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8 Responses to Survey of Fairy Sightings

  1. eternalidol says:

    Upon reflection and in the interests of accuracy, I should say that the Loch Ness Monster is almost as taboo a subject as fairies, inasmuch as 99% of the related coverage I see online is sneering and dismissive. I have what I consider to be some truly fascinating material pertaining to the Monster in some of my books, so as soon as I can remember which books have the material in question and as soon as I can find them, I’ll post it up.


  2. Juris Ozols says:

    Dennis –

    I’ve never encountered a fairy (although my granddaughter may qualify as one) and have not encountered Nessie either. But in my mind Nessie is real. On a trip to the UK many years ago we journeyed to Scotland on that famous train specifically to spend a day on Loch Ness hoping to catch a glimpse of her. But sadly, she didn’t show.

    However, we talked at some length to the fellow working the ticket booth to Urquhart Castle. He spends his days there with a magnificent view of the Ness and was emphatic that he had seen “many a strange thing” there indeed.

    So no Nessie for us. But we got to drive the Scottish Highlands, stay at a centuries old B & B, sample a certain Scottish elixir, and after a couple of days we even began to understand bits and pieces of that strange language they speak there. A great experience!


    Me at Urquhart pointing out at Loch Ness to – what?

    Liked by 1 person

    • eternalidol says:

      Thank you very much for this, Juris, and I’m glad you enjoyed your visit so much. I’ve yet to make my way to Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle or indeed Scotland, but it’s something I certainly intend to do one of these fine days,


  3. Austin says:

    It is interesting that you mention of your own experience as ‘I found it was easiest to see them from out of the corner of my eye ‘ . This is entirely consistent with an experience of my own, in early Spring 2011 when this ‘nether region’ on three occasions that day pulled something out of the ‘ether ‘ . Of all places just NW of Stonehenge. On one occasion I was walking between the Cursus barrows and Fargo plantation, one near the beginning of the Western end of the Cursus area and at the time ‘far from the madding crowd ‘. The third one I did not record the exact location but somwhere NW of SH .. Please don’t tell anyone though for exactly the reasons outlined above !


  4. Dan Johnston says:

    Nessie is just as real as Champ (on Lake Champlain) or Ogopogo (Lake Okenagan) or the Brozny Dragon (Lake Brosno). If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and lives in a lake, it must be Nessie et al. Too many sightings occur at too many lakes in the northern hemisphere for it all to be mass delusion going back to 600 AD. My take, for what it’s worth, is that the adults only use the lakes to breed and their offspring make their way by land or sea to the ocean before they’re big enough to notice. They are not plesiosaurs but are air-breathers and able to crawl across short stretches of land. I envision an intermediate whale-like species that never made the full transition to full-time ocean living.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. eternalidol says:

    God knows what these creatures are, but on account of the amount of sightings you mention, Dan, as well as their range, I’d imagine that there are different species and varieties. I don’t have the books to hand, despite having searched for them, but quite a few sightings of British water monsters have left the observers feeling genuinely disturbed. Of course, anyone would get a shock to see a large, out of place creature, either in water or making a short trip across land, but some of these sightings seem to have put the Fear of God into those people who witnessed Nessie or Morgawr, although certainly not all.

    In the same vein, I have a book here somewhere with a detailed statement from some church minister in Scotland, in which he expressed the idea that whatever’s in the water once had a physical reality, but doesn’t now. I’d like to do this man justice, so when I eventually remember which book he appears in and when I find said tome, I will post his words up.


  6. eternalidol says:

    And I seem to remember that on the old Eternal Idol, a great deal was written about the possibility that Stonehenge was once Caer Sidi. Many flint arrowheads were found during the early excavations there and these artefacts were known as fairy bolts in mediaeval times, while the famous axe carvings certainly bear a resemblance to mushrooms or toadstools, which often form a fairy ring. Then there’s ‘Stonehump’ and the North Barrow, so I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if Stonehenge was once viewed as a place of the Little People.


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