I’m Here to Fill your Krampus-tide Stocking

Don’t forget to leave a penny for Krampus! (Maine State Museum).

Krampus likes lots of odd, pointy, and weird things, so let’s go . . . .

Was a genuine 11th-century Norse penny found in Maine dropped by a Norse explorer, or is it part of a long-time hoax? But would   “Egil Ketilson” have been carrying money? Where was he going to spend it, Skraeling-Mart?

• The initiates of Mithras also kept their secrets well. But they left some buildings, and people try to figure out the religion from those.

“I realized that if I designed my metal band, it would definitely be a pagan feminist folkcore band, which is a Swedish/Norwegian style of metal music. It’s really ambient and loud even though it’s not using as much electricity-style [sic] instruments. I realized that I didn’t know anything about paganism. I was grabbing onto it because it seemed logical for this brand of metal. Slowly, over the years, I started researching goddesses and figuring out that in paganism there is a lot of mathematics and numerology. That instantly peaked [sic] my curiosity because I like working with numbers.”

Being avante-garde these days is such a lot of work.  And you have to learn about runes and electricity and stuff. (Does anyone still say “avante-garde”?)

• “Your eyes appear to have a magical power all of their own”? “You operate at a lower body temperature than the people around you.” You might be descended from Fairies.  Yeah, sure, tell it to Krampus.

More Confirmation about Bigfoot

I read this article in the Colorado Springs Independent and a paragraph jumped out at me:

She learned about her [Nepalese] people’s animistic prayer traditions, and had shamans explain to her that yeti aren’t the silly abominable snowmen of cartoon legend, but actually shape-shifters and guardians of the mountains. At their urging, Lepcha now carries ginger in her pocket while traveling, so the yeti won’t disturb her.

Shape-shifters. Part of the faery folk, and not necessarily our friends, as I have suggested before — also here). That is why I think that people who go out in the woods and look for “tree structures” are doing it wrong, although I am sure they have a great time.

On the other hand, although “ghost” is an odd choice of words, these people might be on to something (link to YouTube video).

How Do You Feel about Faeries?

Prof. Magliocco

Prof. Magliocco

NOTE: The survey is now closed. Prof. Magliocco received more than 500 responses quickly, and they exceeded the number that the university’s Institutional Review Board “allowed.”
From Sabina Maglicco at California State University, Northridge, comes this request for help with a survey:

My latest project involves research into the lore of fairies, fae, sidhe, and similar beings from a variety of cultural traditions in contemporary Paganisms.  I’ve posted a survey at the link below; please feel free to take it and share with other like-minded individuals. Respondents must be 18 years of age or older, and identify as practitioners of one of the modern Pagan religions.


I can endorse the quality of her work—she is also the author of Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America as well as an article, “Who Was Aradia: The History and Development of a Legend” and numerous reviews in The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies.

Fairies Infest British Woodland, Control Measures Planned

From the BBC:

Hundreds of fairy doors have been attached to the bases of trees in Wayford Woods, Crewkerne.

It is claimed the doors have been installed by local people so children can “leave messages for the fairies”.

Can something be too twee? Yes, it can. And remember, fairies are not always your friends.

Why “Aliens” Might Be Invisible

Magonia, the review blog of esoteric books (0r should that be, books on esoterica?), recently revisited two books on Unidentified Flying Objects from the 1950s by Morris K. Jessup, the first writer, they say, to use the term “UFO” in a commercial publication.

Ah, those were the days, I take it, when the assumed evidence for the reality of alien spacecraft was growing steadily. Soon we would know the truth! Governments would be forced to admit that there was Someone Else! Perhaps a disk-shaped spacecraft would float down onto the White House lawn — or in Red Square, why not? — and a being would step out, proclaiming, “We come in peace.”

Or, conversely, the aliens would not be peaceful, and Earth would have to put aside its wars and rivalries to unite in a battle to save humanity. We have all seen book and movie versions of these possible scenarios, going back to War of the Worlds in 1897, at least.

Astronomers have now found — by calculation if not direct observation — many planets that orbit their suns not too close and not too far — the habitable zone — and which, therefore, could possibly contain life “as we know it.”

But getting there is the thing. With our chemically fueled rockets, which are limited in size, even a trip to Mars would take half a year or more. And right now, that would be a one-way trip — although some people are still volunteering. It did not take so much fuel for astronauts to escape the Moon, but Mars would require quite a bit more.

“Hyperdrive” and “warp drive” are science-fiction plot devices, not technology that is anywhere in sight.

So when it comes to actual physical aliens visiting us, I see only two possibilities:

1. They travel slower than the speed of light, which means that they either have incredibly long lifespans or that they have learned to  “hibernate” while traveling for many years.

2. They travel faster than the speed of light using a sort of “hyperdrive.” But if they can do that, what else can they do?

They would have no need to land a spaceship on the edge of town, leaving scorched spots on the ground, drop a ladder, and climb down wearing silvery suits, looking for someone to put on their operating table and probe.

Instead, their technology would so far ahead of ours that it would seem invisible to us. And so might they. We would not even know that we had been observed.

That blog’s name, Magonia, pays homage, I am sure, to French astronomer Jacques Vallée and to the name of a land in the clouds., taken from a medieval French tale. Vallée borrowed the name when he wrote Passport to Magonia, introducing his “interdimensional hypothesis.”

Briefly, it states that the Visitors/Fairies/aliens etc. are not from Out There but from In Here, “visitations from other ‘realities’ or ‘dimensions’ that coexist separately alongside our own.”

Maybe they live in Icelandic boulders, or as someone in a dream once told me, “inside the walls.” Either way, they should not be disturbed. Contact with them can be extremely upsetting.

This idea has long made more sense to me than the idea of physical “flying saucers” coming chug-chug-chug through interstellar space. Now you see them, now you don’t.

A New Investigation of Fairy Encounters

This request for help with a compilation of contemporary Fairy encounters and lore comes from Simon Young of the re-launched Fairy Investigation Society. The FIS was founded in 1927, died in the early 1990s, and in late 2014 it came back to life.

The survey (‘the fairy census’) is split into three parts: (i) for those who have seen fairies, (ii) those who have second-hand accounts of fairies and (iii) a more general one on fairy belief, which can be filled out by anyone who understands the word ‘fairy’, I did it with my four-year-old daughter yesterday . . . I have used the phrase ‘associated with the FIS’ in all press releases. I did this because I thought it might be a good way to attract extra members, as I was trusting in coverage around the world in the two years it runs. In the first forty eight hours we had forty detailed fairy sightings (in the first and second category). Just to put this in perspective the great and energetic Marjorie Johnson managed a couple of hundred sightings in her two year survey, 1955–1956. It would be great to get to two thousand, which would mean by far the biggest folklore survey of its kind.

He is also the author of a paper on the original Fairy Investigation Society, available at Academia. edu, along with other of his works.

Link to the survey.

I have previously mentioned Diane Purkiss’s historical survey of fairy lore, and I still hold the position that fairies are not your friends.

Fairy Houses, Bee Houses, and Garden Products to Avoid

Some fairies are said to live in boulders, others perhaps in purpose-built housing.

In this blog post, a professional gardener in southern Colorado moves from greenhouses to fairy houses (with her dad as maintenance man) to bee houses.

And please scroll to the bottom — it’s a long post — for a list of bee-killing garden products to avoid.

Where Are the Hidden Folk?


huge boulder

The “cave” is big enough to walk into if if you bend over.

My little patch of the southern Colorado foothills may not be great agricultural land, but it does (or because it does) have boulders. Big ones.

Ever since I posted about the Icelandic huldufólk (hidden folk) documentary, I have been scrutinizing them. Is this one . . . um . . . inhabited?

It is something that I accept in theory. And I have had some interesting dreams about the hidden folk/fairies/”UFO people” (all the same thing, probably) who live inside the house walls or in invisible houses.

So maybe I need a hidden-folk consultant, like the woman at the start of the documentary, who can walk around each boulder and give a nei or as appropriate.

The Hidden Folk of Iceland

“Two nations live in this country — the Icelandic nation and this invisible nation.”

Huldufólk 102 is a wonderful 2006 documentary about Icelanders’ relationship with the Hidden Folk (elves, fairies) in their landscape. You can watch it online here (74 min.) Here is the trailer.

One of my favorite parts starts eight minutes in, when a primary school teacher is explaining to the kids how the elves live in a boulder.

Only one of the numerous people interviewed is obviously New Age-y, with her talk about earth chakras, etc. And there is one guy in sort-of medieval Norse garb, his cap decorated with runes, who is described in the subtitle as a “sorcerer.” (Some people are speaking English, some Icelandic with subtitles.) The rest are pretty much down-to-earth Icelanders, a couple of whom describe their own outlooks as Pagan and/or Heathen.

You have heard stories about roads being routed around “inhabited” spots? Here is a civil engineer who did it.

Also  the land itself: mountains, geysers, rocky coasts, cliffs — wonderful as well.

UPDATE: Bad link to complete film now fixed.

(Hat tip to Galina Krasskova.)

The CIA, UFOs, Fairies, etc.

I am reading Mirage Men: An Adventure into Paranoia, Espionage, Pyschological Warfare, and UFOs, by Mark Pilkington. (There is a related documentary film.)

Small disclaimer: I met Mark Pilkington a few years ago in England. We did not talk about UFOs nor about the fact that he was one of the people making crop circles for “cereologists” to get all cranked up about.

I have not yet finished the book, but one of its these seems to be that a lot of the UFO material out there is deliberate disinformation by various intelligence agencies.

Why? Consider this scenario, which happened various times in the past: Military radar operators report suspicious “returns” over an airbase. Fighter aircraft are scrambled to intercept the intruders. Once airborne, however, the pilots cannot find the intruders. Must be technologically advanced UFOs!

This means that (a) alien beings have crossed the galaxy in order to play games with our radar operators, or (b) someone here on Earth is working on ways to “spoof” radar signals in order to confuse potential enemies and cause them to fly around looking for intruders that are not there—while, presumably, the real attacker sneaks in undetected.

Occam’s Razor: They sell them in 12-packs at Walgreens and Boots the Chemist.

Why would intelligence agencies feed deliberate misinformation to the public at large and to UFO “researchers” in particular? Some possible reasons:

1. During the Cold War, to baffle the Soviet Union and divert their military from #2, below.

2. To create a belief in “UFOs” that in turn camouflages actual experiments in spy planes, “stealth” technology, drone aircraft, and other secret research.

Create an image and a predisposition, and people will see what they expect to see.

3. To conduct experiments in disinformation in a controlled way: for example, how long does it take a particular piece of “disinformation” to become broadly accepted and by what channels is it disseminated? The whole “Majestic 12” hoax might be an example. Or “cattle mutilations,” or what you will. A lot of Pilkington’s book is devoted to tracing some of these pathways of disinformation.

What about Fairies?

If alien races did arrive here, they probably would not step out of  mechanical “flying saucers” wearing silver coveralls. Anyone who could conquer the whole issue of traveling faster than the speed of light would likely be so advanced that we not even perceive them.

To use a metaphor from the book, do the goldfish in the bowl know that someone is watching them swim around?

All talk of UFOs aside, I do tend to think that there are other beings who share our space, in a manner of speaking.

They have been here all along. They appear in various forms. They are not necessarily our friends. (Which is why the whole phenomenon of “fairy festivals” makes me feel a little queasy.) Lots of weirdness.

Mix them up with your favorite intelligence agency, and watch out!

Another facet of Mirage Men that I appreciate is that it shows how investigating forms of paranormal (or perceived paranormal) activity can have unsettling effects on the investigator. Rampant paranoia is just part of it.

The classic work, to my mind, on this phenomenon is John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies, published in 1975.  (Ignore the 2002 movie, please, unless you have to watch everything that Richard Gere ever did.)

What is interesting is not whether “Mothman” exists or not, but what happens to Keel and his associates when they begin to investigate it. Talk about having one foot on the Other Side! (Or are they victims of disinformation too? More paranoia …)

It reminded me of the summer when a newspaper reporter friend, a lodge of wannabe ceremonial magicians, and I decided to investigate the so-called cattle mutilations. Things went downhill into weirdness fairly quickly.

I published the story in Fate (“Mutilation Madness.” Fate June 1988: 60-70), but this was back in the pre-digital 1980s, so there is nothing to link to. Sorry.

One last quote from Mirage Men that more or less summarizes it:

The UFO scene is overrun with whistleblowers who regale us with tales of underground bases and intergalactic pacts while waving impressive-looking documents around as evidence. To the believers these people are clearly on the side of ufology and are to be welcomes. That the role of [the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations] and other agencies in distributing this same material has been public knowledge for twenty years seems not to have sunk in. Meanwhile, those insiders who suggest that the UFO phenomenon is a complex brew of security, secrecy, psychology, sociology, politics, and folklore, perhaps driven by rare but genuinely anomalous events, are obviously part of the cover-up.