WMiT: An Introduction to Fairies

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An Introduction to Fairies with Jo Hickey-Hall & Simon Young

Quote:There’s not a single person listening to WMiT? who doesn’t know what a Fairy is. Or do they? When the word “Fairy” is uttered, most likely our minds immediately think of a small, somewhat feminine, little winged humanoid that glows. But this conception of Fairies is a somewhat recent one. There is so much more to the stories, the history as well as the behavior of these ethereal and magical beings. Allow yourself to be reintroduced as it were, to the entities we call Fairies by the host of The Modern Fairy Sighting Podcast Jo Hickey-Hall, and the Scholar of the Supernatural Dr. Simon Young!
Jo Hickey-Hall is a folklorist, researcher and social historian with a long-held interest in the relationship between supernatural experience, local landscape and oral tradition. In 2020, she started the Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, a fantastic show which hopes to break the taboo that still exists around speaking about personal fairy experiences. Jo can be found on Twitter, Instagram as well as YouTube, and if you love what Jo gets up to and wish to support, be sure to join the Patreon!
Dr. Simon Young is a British folklore historian based in Italy. He has written extensively on the nineteenth-century supernatural. His book The Boggart as well as The Nail in the Skull and Other Victorian Urban Legends, were released last year. Be sure to give a follow on Twitter and definitely check out both his webpage Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog (lots of Fairy stuff there) as well as his superb Podcast The Boggart and Banshee: A Supernatural Podcast!

In addition to the book Magical Folk, Simon also released The Fairy Census 2014-2017. Some five hundred fairy experiences are listed in it, and over 160,000 words about encounters with the Good Neighbours. The information in the Census was provided by an ongoing internet questionnaire about who sees fairies, when and why.

Quote:Show Notes
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2023-02-24, 07:04 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 2 times in total.)
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I felt as though the phenomenon was being discussed more as a cultural phenomenon - not as a real paranormal phenomenon. I listened until our pizza arrived, and then it got lost!

David
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I confess to mostly ignorance combined with lack of interest regarding the apparently paranormal phenomenon of fairy entities.

One thing comes to mind: parapsychologists investigating various paranormal phenomena, in particular NDEs, consider one gold standard of evidence of reality to be some sort of veridicality to the apparently paranormal observations.

Have there been any veridical observations of fairies, meaning observations or interactions with apparent fairy entities where the reality of these entities was confirmed by verified information obtained from them that was unaccountable via any normal sensory route? In other words, some sort of a fairy observation/interaction version of the NDE OBE account where the NDEer after exiting his body, then observed from the ceiling of the emergency room the resuscitation team working on his lifeless body, describing details of the scene that could not have been observed consciously from the body, especially considering that the brain was dysfunctional after cardiac arrest. The existence of this veridical account information is considered by open-minded investigators to be strong evidence for the reality of the NDE.

Of course other sorts of evidence of the fairy entities' reality would also do, such as some sort of physical objects given to the witnesses, or photographs or videos, all of course subject to the objection that they could have been deliberately faked, objections that would have to be overcome by weight of evidence.

I know that this phenomenon goes way back in history, with a lot of experiences being written about. But I hate to say it, if there is no such veridical confirmation of these entities' actual reality, then it seems to me one reasonable explanation could possibly be that they are some form of illusion or deception. I am not suggesting that the bulk of these accounts are made up out of whole cloth as deliberate deceptions on the part of the witnesses. Most of these accounts probably can be considered to be sincere. But in the absence of credible veridical or other types of evidence they may have to be considered a cultural psychological phenomenon.
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I was skeptical because the links involved the Cottingley fairies, but I looked at the link regarding the fifth photo and under the photo she says "It’s fascinating, but I can’t say that I am 100% convinced as much as  I want to be!"  For this reason I feel I can respect her views because she doesn't just reach the conclusions she wants to reach.  I would love to see a conversation between her and @neilrushton
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(2023-03-06, 02:46 PM)Brian Wrote: I was skeptical because the links involved the Cottingley fairies, but I looked at the link regarding the fifth photo and under the photo she says "It’s fascinating, but I can’t say that I am 100% convinced as much as  I want to be!"  For this reason I feel I can respect her views because she doesn't just reach the conclusions she wants to reach.  I would love to see a conversation between her and @neilrushton

I looked at that fifth photo a few days ago. Afterwards I thought a little and considered that perhaps it was a double-exposure, either deliberate or by accident. However, looking at the photo again it really doesn't make much sense as a double exposure. Though the translucent effect seems like some sort of wispy thin cloth, rather than the paper cut-outs which were more flat and opaque.

In general I'm reluctant - and this is a kind of prejudice on my part - to be fully convinced by most 'unusual' photographs but I do sometimes leave the door half-open as in this case to allow for something incomprehensible.
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(2023-03-06, 03:09 AM)nbtruthman Wrote: I confess to mostly ignorance combined with lack of interest regarding the apparently paranormal phenomenon of fairy entities.

One thing comes to mind: parapsychologists investigating various paranormal phenomena, in particular NDEs, consider one gold standard of evidence of reality to be some sort of veridicality to the apparently paranormal observations.

Have there been any veridical observations of fairies, meaning observations or interactions with apparent fairy entities where the reality of these entities was confirmed by verified information obtained from them that was unaccountable via any normal sensory route? In other words, some sort of a fairy observation/interaction version of the NDE OBE account where the NDEer after exiting his body, then observed from the ceiling of the emergency room the resuscitation team working on his lifeless body, describing details of the scene that could not have been observed consciously from the body, especially considering that the brain was dysfunctional after cardiac arrest. The existence of this veridical account information is considered by open-minded investigators to be strong evidence for the reality of the NDE.

Of course other sorts of evidence of the fairy entities' reality would also do, such as some sort of physical objects given to the witnesses, or photographs or videos, all of course subject to the objection that they could have been deliberately faked, objections that would have to be overcome by weight of evidence.

I know that this phenomenon goes way back in history, with a lot of experiences being written about. But I hate to say it, if there is no such veridical confirmation of these entities' actual reality, then it seems to me one reasonable explanation could possibly be that they are some form of illusion or deception. I am not suggesting that the bulk of these accounts are made up out of whole cloth as deliberate deceptions on the part of the witnesses. Most of these accounts probably can be considered to be sincere. But in the absence of credible veridical or other types of evidence they may have to be considered a cultural psychological phenomenon.

Do you think ghost/apparition sightings are credible? UFO reports?

There seems to be overlap with these sorts of sightings [and] "fairies". For example:

Quote:There is also the curious scene during which an angel gives the children “Communion,” or at least some kind of liquid and solid that were meant to look like the Catholic sacrament. Interestingly, the main visionary, Lucia, received a solid “host,” whereas the two other children received a strange liquid. Francisco at least could not identify whatever it was he drank from the chalice. Joaquim Fernandes and Fina D’Armada make comparative sense of this scene by describing multiple UFO encounters in which the contactee is given a strange substance to eat or liquid to drink and then has a mystical vision or is made to understand a message. Their conclusion is clear enough: “The recurring theme in all of these types of cases involves the access to communication and dialogue requiring the ingestion of drugs as a means of entering into an extra-human plane.”  On the tragic side, Michael Persinger points out that whereas little Francisco died during the influenza epidemic of 1918, Jacinta’s premature death displayed symptoms strongly suggestive of lung cancer, which he relates to radiation emitted around the tree before, during, and after the visions. This, after all, was also the children’s common playground. 

Persinger has written extensively on paranormal phenomena. He is well known in ufological circles for his lab research on the “alien visitation” phenomenon, a humble analog of which he is able to induce in the lab with electromagnetic fields mathematically calibrated to “entrain” specific altered states in the temporal lobes of a human brain via a helmet fitted with solenoids. He is also well known for his tectonic strain hypothesis, which interprets the balls of light common in UFO encounters as temporary spikes of electromagnetic energy created by stressed tectonic plates in the earth, which then interact with the subtle magnetic fields of the human neural net to create the various local illusions and religious visions of the typical UFO encounter (or Marian apparition). Persinger has also suggested a correlation between high geomagnetic activity and poltergeist activity and hauntings, a suggestion that recalls Jung’s earlier comparison of UFOs to planetary poltergeists. Also, for what it is worth (quite a bit, I think, in this context), Fort repeatedly suggested that all those “super-constructions” in the sky appear during or around earthquakes.  In this haunting reading, the Virgin, or the energy spike that produced her, at least, actually killed little Jacinta. To support such an interpretation, Persinger points out that the Fátima area is well known as a tectonic strain hotspot, and that the strongest earthquake on record was the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 (Fátima is about eighty-six miles north of the city). Fernandes and D’Armada make the same point, citing an earthquake that measured an astonishing 9.0 on the Richter scale that once ripped through Fátima itself.27 The seismic activity could have created immense geomagnetic fields, which would then collect and discharge on tall structures, like the tree on which the apparition appeared. As for the regular periodic nature of the six monthly events, Persinger relates these to a lunar phase, that is, another supermagnetic phenomenon with a strong, predictable, periodic nature. The same magnetic discharges, he speculates, would have powerfully stimulated the children’s temporal lobes, resulting in the visions.  The specifics and, of course, the later interpretation of the apparitions were shaped “by their obsession with religious themes, their lack of education [all three children were illiterate], and their behavior at the time of the experience . . . If they had grown up in a world of Star Wars, they would have seen and heard some variant of Luke Skywalker.”28 Not that the visions were entirely consonant with the children’s Catholicism. As we have seen, they were not. Francisco, for example, did not hear the little lady speak and remembered seeing a haze that he interpreted as a headless angel! 

There is more than a little justification for such a literally radioactive reading. Numerous individuals reported intense heat and the almost instant drying of both their clothes and the previously soaked soil during “the Miracle of the Sun,” features entirely consistent with immense bursts of electromagnetic radiation. The “buzzing” noises can be fit in here as well, as individuals exposed to microwave radiation between 200 and 3,000 MHz commonly experience buzzing noises inside their heads. Raul Berenguel goes even further, pointing out that hearing voices in the interior of the cranium and the phenomenon of buzzing “is identical to what is felt by individuals subjected to mind control technologies that use microwaves.” We are back to an eerie and potentially troubling scene reminiscent of Vallee’s alien-control hypothesis.

A Venus-Virgin with a knee-high skirt, alien insectoid buzzing, and spinning metallic disks in the sky above Fátima. In effect, a Marialien. Now that would have changed how I prayed my rosary. I might even still be praying it.

Kripal, Jeffrey J.. Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred (p. 282). University of Chicago Press. Kindle Edition.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2023-03-06, 04:16 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
(2023-03-06, 03:26 PM)Typoz Wrote: I looked at that fifth photo a few days ago. Afterwards I thought a little and considered that perhaps it was a double-exposure, either deliberate or by accident. However, looking at the photo again it really doesn't make much sense as a double exposure. Though the translucent effect seems like some sort of wispy thin cloth, rather than the paper cut-outs which were more flat and opaque.

In general I'm reluctant - and this is a kind of prejudice on my part - to be fully convinced by most 'unusual' photographs but I do sometimes leave the door half-open as in this case to allow for something incomprehensible.

I have, for a long time, had the bizarre suspicion that if you become really involved in an idea, there is a danger you might somehow create it.  I know it's absurd but sometimes it looks that way to me.  Maybe the fifth photo could have been a consequence of faking the others?  I'm not at all convinced but much as I try to stay near the fence, my mind still wanders into rabbit hole territory from time to time.
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(2023-03-06, 04:24 PM)Brian Wrote: I have, for a long time, had the bizarre suspicion that if you become really involved in an idea, there is a danger you might somehow create it.  I know it's absurd but sometimes it looks that way to me.  Maybe the fifth photo could have been a consequence of faking the others?  I'm not at all convinced but much as I try to stay near the fence, my mind still wanders into rabbit hole territory from time to time.

I do wonder sometimes if there is continuity between fairies and aliens, in the sense that these are something akin to dream figures. Aliens seem to possess a dream of technology more than actual technology in some cases...

Quote:In these studies, the material that pertains to the landings of the craft, and which found little credence in the popular press, has been generally ignored. Thus the only angle from which the total phenomenon could have been viewed in its true perspective has been neglected: the investigators have never recognized the fact that beliefs identical to those held today have recurred throughout recorded history and under forms best adapted to the believer’s country, race, and social regime.

Vallee, Jacques. Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers (p. 6). Daily Grail Publishing. Kindle Edition.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2023-03-06, 04:16 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Do you think ghost/apparition sightings are credible? UFO reports?

There seems to be overlap with these sorts of sightings [and] "fairies". For example:

Some UFO reports have high credibility because they involve multiple "expert" witnesses, that is, pilots trained in accurate observation, or law enforcement officers, and have recorded and documented interactions with radio, radar, and military airborne electronic intelligence systems. And some of these high-credibility cases have been analyzed discovering excellent internal self-consistency of the calculated UFO flight directions, velocities, and so on. And some UFO cases have left well-attested ground traces of the craft's landings. And lastly, some few UFOs have left highly evidential photographs and video evidence of their physical reality. The cumulative weight of this evidence clearly points to the conclusion that at least some small percentage of UFO sightings are of somebody else's hardware.

And along the same lines in principle there are many ghost and apparition sightings with high credibility.

In both cases the great majority of sightings don't have this degree of credibility or plausibility, but the point is, some do and they can't reasonably be dismissed. Does this pattern fit the fairy accounts?
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