Friday, February 4, 2011

I DO Believe in Fairies, I DO, I...well, maybe not...

There is nothing more magical than a forest filled with the possibility of fairies. From J.M. Barrie's mischievous Tinkerbell, to the Fairy Queen Titania in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", fairies have been occupying the world of fantasy and wonder for a long time. I've often ventured into that realm through my own imagination. But, casting the fictional/imaginary fairies really exist?

Recently, I was about to make my usual 'well wishes for the weekend' post on one of my Facebook pages, so I was "Googling" some fairy art for a picture to add. I had just typed "fairies" into the search box, and as I was scanning my results I came across a photograph. It didn't really look like much. A bit blurry, with some distorted shapes in it. I hovered my cursor over it, and there was a picture description of it being an actual photo of fairies. "Real" fairies. Okay, that peaked my curiosity. I went to the page and found a lot more photographs, said to contain actual images of different types of fairies. Were they photographic evidence? Really? The photographer was adamant that they had a clairvoyant say beyond the shadow of a doubt that the oddly shaped and out of focus blobs are definitely fairies. Huh...okay...hey, maybe they are...maybe they aren't. As someone who has distaste for people scoffing at my beliefs, I certainly don't want to poo-poo anyone elses. It's just that when I looked at those photos, they looked doctored to me. I'm just sayin'...


Fairies have many names (wee folk, fair folk, Fae, among others). Different cultures might include more types of mystical beings under the moniker of 'fairy' (i.e. gnomes), but it is pretty universally thought that they are supernatural, preternatural, ethereal creatures. Some cultures think of them as actual races independent of humans. Others think of them as 'spirits'. Some think of them as evil. That they abduct babies and small children while leaving changelings in their place. If you sense fairies are near, it is recommended that you not lie...they hate lying, and there will be dire consequences if they catch you in one. Others think of them as tiny whimsical and cute winged...people. For as many happy and cute fairy tales, there are just as many dark ones. Fairies are indeed the subject of myth and legend. Were these ancient tales of fantasy formed from actual contact? Personally, I can't answer that. Nor can anyone that has never encountered these questionable and elusive creatures.


I would say that the most famous account of supposed evidence as to the existence of fairies, is the story of the Cottingley Fairies. Photos taken of two school age girls posing with "actual" fairies made quite a stir in 1917. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a big believer of their story, and even wrote a book called 'The Coming of The Fairies' to support his beliefs. (At the link reachable by clicking on Conan Doyle's name, you'll find more of the famous photos.)

To this day the photos still draw attention and spark the imagination. However, the photos that amazed people in 1917 don't have the same shock value they once had. I think just about anyone who looks at them will automatically think the fairies to look like carefully placed paper cut outs. There are still some that think them to be real, but I think those people 'want' them to be. I can kind of understand their feelings. That would really be cool.

There are two films based on this story, 'Fairy Tale: A True Story' & 'Photographing Fairies'. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a trailer for 'Photographing Fairies'. I recommend it even if you are not interested in the fairy's a great film.

While I was surfing around looking up some more info on this subject, I came across some tabloid fodder from the UK. A highly publicized story in Derbyshire, England. The remains of a fairy had been found while a man was out walking his dog along an old Roman road.


Pretty cryptic, huh?

A UK artist and magician, Dan Baines, had created the creepy find. He posted the pictures on his website with a fictional account of how they were discovered, and the photos quickly gained attention. He would soon post a statement coming clean, and calling it all an April Fool's Day prank. However, the pictures continued to circulate sans his statement. Some thought the model was such good quality (too good) and the story was so convincing, they believed that it was all real. Even with the artist's statement, people still believe in it's authenticity and have even cried Government conspiracy. In April of 2007, the model was sold for 280.00 pounds on EBay, and is part of a private art collection now. Yet another example of people needing to believe. 
Now for the most compelling argument as to the existence of this fantasy creature. The dragonfly. We've all seen them. Depending on where you live, you might see them many times a day.

They buzz around you as if checking you out. sometimes in small groups, sometimes solo. I've always loved to watch dragonflies. Beautiful bright colors. Large beating wings. There is just something so special about them. Very hard to get photographs of, too. The times I've had a camera on hand, I've never managed to get a picture. They would hover as if waiting for me to get ready, and when I was set to snap they would zip off.

There are many 'believers' that say fairies most often appear to us as dragonflies. Here's one account:

"In the spring of 2000 I was walking in a sheltered part of a creek surrounded by woods with my two small children and my best friend. We were in awe of our surroundings and we all felt as if we were someplace magical. As we were turning to leave we realized that we had dragonflies on all sides of us. I pointed across the creek to a large bunch of them when one of them landed on my finger and sat there for a minute. The children swear that they could hear giggling. There was a rustling in the brush all around us as if there were many little things running around, but the sounds weren't like the animal sounds we knew. All of us knew that we had entered a secret place of the faery. None of us will ever forget that day, and we have never been able to find that place again."

So...will I be able to look at dragonflies the same? Probably. Unless, of course, one alters its appearance and appears to me as a little human with wings. That ability is called Fae Glamor. They can shift their appearance to suit their needs. That might be why there are so many varying descriptions of fairies from the beautiful to the hideous. The only rather universal reports have been to the mischievous nature of them. They are known to like to "play" with humans....poking, prodding, and the like.

Now that I've done some looking around and reading about the existence of fairies, what do I think now? Do I believe? At this point, it's just a romantic notion. I think it to be highly unlikely. As someone who leaves just about anything to the realm of possibility, I don't claim disbelief often. However, I'll keep the door on this topic cracked a little. There's a tiny part of me that hopes I'm wrong. ;)


  1. I wish I could remember the book I read this in, but the author was in . . . uh, Scandinavia, maybe Sweden? And a belief in fairies was still really prevalent, and even construction projects were designed to avoid "their places." And a lot of people had had experiences that they attributed to contact with fairies.

  2. It does appear that there are some areas of Europe where the belief is strong. As far as people who say they have had actual encounters, I'd be curious to know what they are attributing to fairies.