Welcome back to Fringe Paranormal! It’s time to learn a little about ghosts, demons, and angels as well as gnomes, fairies and other “wee people”. The following was compiled by Agent Scott S. from a variety of sources.
At the conclusion of this series you can find the full compendium at Fringe University.
Today we pick up with nature spirits and fairies.
The Difference between Ghosts and Nature Spirits
Basically there are two main differences between ghosts and nature spirits, the theory is that ghosts are the souls or memory of someone who has died where as nature spirits never knew life as we know it as they originate from another realm of existence. But in today’s society people are more readily to accept a belief in ghosts rather than nature spirits, I think this originates from the fact too many people have been affected by ghosts during their lives or they know close friends or family who have been affected but today’s society finds belief in the typical victorian fairy very hard, described as no more than four inches tall these creatures displayed butterfly wings and danced around in fancy dresses.
Quantum physicists will openly discuss the theory of alternative universes but mention you have fairies at the bottom of your garden and before you know it you are enjoying your lunch through and straw in the confines of a padded cell. Incidentally, the word “nature” derives from a Latin word “natus” which is the past participle of “nasci” meaning “to be born”. So nature is what has been born, and “physics” is originally the study of what has been born (in a broader sense, the universe, then), it seems. Over the course of time I think it has strayed from its original meaning as we have seen physics become the study of physically measurable quantities and their relations, but we as a whole in the paranormal field know there is much more to nature than that which can be physically measured. Ironic to think that modern physics makes use of “invisible fairies, which cannot be measured”: they are referred to as “quantum fields”.
A reference taken from the Fortean Times describes the earth spirits as particles, which are there and not there; like electrons they are both material and non-magical. They are quantum events at the bottom of the garden. We cannot know particles in themselves, but only by the traces they leave, like tiny yetis. They are as elusive, maddening and paradoxical as fairies ever were.
Well, what an easy explanation! Or is it?
I know from my own experiences with nature spirits that the phenomenon is strikingly different from that of a typical haunting if indeed you can have such a thing as a typical haunting. On most occasions you will be able to walk into a property and you can almost sense if a ghost is present, I am aware at times they can mess the team about and stay well away. But a nature spirit, should it choose to, will approach you and its vibrations are much more prominent. One case we are currently studying in Northern Ireland involves a Rath, a pre-Christian settlement. In local folklore there have always been tales of a chamber underneath the Rath, but there has never been any archaeological digs to prove or disprove this tale.
From our own experience the nature spirit, which is linked to the site has indicated through a series of loud thumps where this hidden chamber lies. The chamber is known as a Souterrain, which was often used as ritual sites and hiding places. If the Iron Age settlement became threatened the women and children fled into these passageways and would have been protected by one of the males from anyone who would have dared to crawl through to the main chamber.
Christianity identified it as a demon. Legend states the reason for it being there was to protect treasure, I know from experience it is just as curious about us as we are of it. One account of a clergyman entering a renowned fairy ring at night, tells of the man being held down by these small creatures and hearing an unforgettable buzzing. I too have been on site at sunset and experienced the buzzing almost similar to a mosquito, and several times after. An associate of mine who is a practicing pagan claimed the buzzing was not myself getting in tune with the entity but the entity getting in tune with me.
Unfortunately due to other commitments and cases I have not been able to return to the Rath, but I do plan on being back in the next few weeks, both with recording gear and night vision, though this is to try and capture footage and understand the movements of the badgers that live near the Rath.
They say there are over 3000 different breeds of nature spirit though I suspect there maybe misidentification over continents but I’m only familiar with about 30. Ireland is renowned for its fairy tales and it’s a well-known fact when men moved out of the old forts and abbeys the fairy moved in. Even in today’s environment I can travel approximately a mile from home and find a fairy tree. These thinly crooked and rather worthless trees dot the landscape and are usually found near the middle of a cleared field, but a great superstition lingers about cutting one down as they are links to the Fairy world.
There are various legends and claims made about these entities but in fairness we know so little. In the late twentieth century they were nearly forgotten and resigned to myth, but I have been watching a growing interest near the end of the 1990’s to present and hopefully we may get the chance to observe and understand this close and yet very distant world.
Introduction to Fairies
The Spanish word hada comes from the Latin fata which, in turn, derived from fatum, meaning fate or destiny. In the middle Ages, the gentiles defined it as a divinity or unknown force, which had a fascinating effect on the other divinities and on men and events. The French word fee has a similar origin and resulted in the English words fey and fairie which, as time went by, suffered spelling variations from fayerye, fayre, faerie, faery, and fairy. According to its ethimology, it is a fantastic being pictured as a woman known to have magical powers. For the Saxons, the word ferie refers to the world of fairies as an entity, being a geographical location. In Spanish it turned out to be feerico, depicting something wonderful or fantastic.
The world of Fairies is a mixture of a mysterious enchantment, a charming beauty, but also of a huge ugliness, of insensitive shallowness, humor, malice, joy and inspiration, fear, laughter, love, and tragedy. It is richer than what we are usually induced to think by literature. In addition, extreme caution should be exercised to penetrate into this world, as nothing is more irritating to fairies than several human beings curiously moving around their extraordinary dominions, like spoiled tourists. Love, but also abandonment and death, may follow under their spell. Like human beings, they live in a universe of contradictions.
Location of these elementary beings has varied throughout time and cultures. For the Irish, sometimes it was found in the horizon; other under their own feet; on other occasions, on hills, or in a magical island in the high seas or under the ocean
Air Spirits: Silfides
The air element, featured by intelligence, represented by Spring and Dawn is inhabited by Sylphs in the form of butterflies. They control winds, help birds in their migrations and flowers in their pollination. Their light yellow- toned translucent appearance is present in the scent of wet herb threatening to rain.
Water Spirits: Nymphs, Mermaids, Nereids, Naiads, Undines, and Water Goblins.
The water element featured by love and cures, represented by Autumn and Sunset, is inhabited by nymphs, mermaids, nereids, and undines. They appear as mythological creatures in all liquids, such as seas, rivers, fresh water brooks, falls, and clouds. Their aspect varies depending on their habitat. Nereids rule the seas; undines called Naiads by the Greek, are found in lakes. They are mostly blue and a receptive energy. Like mermaids, they attract any sailor with their songs until they wreck. They are the ones channeling natural river beds.
The Earth element is the densest. It is represented by Winter and the night. It is inhabited by ladies, goblins, gnomes, and trolls. They are mostly green, and have a receptive energy. Fairies or ladies are characterized by their kindness and for being the oldest inhabitants of the plant. They may either be imposing or tiny; their powers, however, are incredible and dominate nature.
Fire Spirits: Salamanders
The Fire element features both creation and destruction. It is represented by Summer, and daylight. It is inhabited by Salamanders, Farralis and Ra-Arus, appearing as reddish salamanders and dragons. They give the idea that with courage and imagination everything can be done. They send forth projective energy, and dominate the element. No fire would be ignited without their intervention.
Since these elementary beings are earth spirits, they preferably work the soil and tree roots, to which they grant power. They look like funny little old men, as they belong to a race coming from the beginning of times. It is said that they inhabited the lost Atlantis. These tiny creatures build their homes under aging trees. They only go out at night and their home is lively after sunset. They are friends of animals, they speak their same language and protect them from danger. The best feasts are when the freezing winds blow over the woods dancing and playing, they start to run and some prefer rain for their dances.
Often as a paranormal investigator I’m asked if anything can follow me or anyone on my team home. In all honesty I have to answer yes, there are situations where something can follow somebody home from a haunted residence. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but all paranormal investigators must keep in mind that a little bit of the astral world can always come home with them and stay for a spell. So what follows us home? Is it a ghost, spirit or ‘Great Aunt Thelma from beyond the grave’ ? Chances are what’s been tracked into our private sanctuary is what I dub an “astral critter”.
I’m not sure what exactly to call these beings. Some call them elementals, others the “wee folk”. We know them in folklore as elves, fairies or goblins, but chances are they are all basically the same thing; non-human entities attach themselves to us and attempt to make themselves at home until they choose to leave, have to leave or we make them leave.
So what’s the theory behind these astral critters? I’m no expert, but I can offer my opinion of what they are, why they attach themselves to us and what we need to do to get rid of them. Keep in mind these are usually non-human entities, and they’re more of an annoyance than a threat. However, sometimes they can cause some havoc. This is how I believe we take them home.
Often a haunted residence has a “portal” somewhere on the property. This portal is how the astral beings enter and exit the spirit plane into the physical plane. Usually these are ghosts, which are generally confines to the area and don’t leave. However, nothing is stopping other astral beings from entering the physical plane from the astral. If there is a smaller hole, chances are there are smaller astral beings. Most haunted places have a portal that can expel these smaller beings. They have personalities, but usually they are bent on mischief or fascination with our world. It’s possible they find some fascination with a team member, perhaps due to the cool gadget the team member is using and there’s an attraction. Bang! Like a little kid with a new toy, the critter attaches itself to the unknowing paranormal investigator. The Investigator goes home and that’s when the real strange stuff happens.
First, the TV starts acting up, screen bouncing maybe, or the cordless phone dies with no plausible explanation. Appliances in the kitchen start up or turn off. Things start falling off shelves, and strange knocks or noises occur. The family cat is terrorized by something it sees, but no one else can see it. The docile feline becomes outrageously skittish. The dog barks at air, and whines. Then the homeowner, confused about what’s going on in the home starts seeing it himself. Rarely directly, but in the corner of the eye. It’s about three feet tall, and usually green or brown. As soon as you glance at it, it takes off somewhere else. Rarely will it directly interact or attempt to harm a person, but it certainly can be really annoying after awhile, and it soon wears out its welcome.
Does this sound familiar? Many of us had these things happen after an investigation. It’s an astral critter, it followed you home, and now you have a choice. You can either get rid of it or keep it as an exotic pet, which I don’t recommend.
In the old days when people were more superstitious these critters had characteristics that gave them a more defined appearance, wings, hats, vests, possible a tail. They’re usually seen looking somewhat like humans, and appear both male and female. Chances are these are all put on the creatures by the seers to make more sense of they were seeing. People also lived with these beings, offering them food and wine, and making sure they didn’t anger them and lose their crops. They were common seen in farms and woods, and were seen as nature spirits or even home guardians. People in Ireland, lona, and the Isle of Man still see them commonly.
But in the present day can we really believe in these creatures? Sure, much of the stories were myth, but I can’t tell you how often I heard stories about these critters, and witnessed them myself. Is it that hard to believe in lower astral forms?
Anyway, how would you get rid of these creatures? The good news is that they usually leave on their own within a week. Sometimes they don’t leave, and that’s when some action needs to be taken to get rid of it. Here are some suggestions from folklore that still work today:
- Placing some pepper and vinegar in a dish can deter them.
- Ring a loud bell throughout the home, it usually makes them leave.
- Keep a piece on iron on you, just a small piece. Folklore says they don’t like it.
- Just tell it to leave, and it often does.
- Use sage to cleanse your living area.
- Say a prayer to get rid of it. In the Catholic tradition, Saints Michael and Barbara can remove it.
- Finally, put chimes on your door, so it won’t return.
Astral critters can be annoying and a little scary, but are relatively harmless. Let it know who’s boss and it should hit the road. In this day and age, we still need to be on our guard against and mischievous and negative entities. As many paranormal investigators know, soon or later you’ll come home from an investigation, and you know without a doubt something’s right, and chances are it’s an astral critter, and you’ll know how to get rid of it. Good luck!
Thoughts on the Sidhe
The term Sidhe (SHEE) is an old term for the “little people” of Ireland, and I prefer to use this term opposed to the more commonly used term Fairies. Fairies instantly draw up ideas of cute little females with wands, and though some of the Sidhe are portrayed this way in history and literature like in Cinderella), many were much more sinister (remember Rumpelstilskin?) Nowadays the Sidhe (or fairy folk, if you choose) are portrayed as friendly, attractive adorable beings. The gnomes sit in our yards with pointy red hats, the generic fairy is dangling from wing chimes and sits on shelves as cute little knick-knacks, and the trolls are these ugly, yet popular brightly-haired plastic dolls that are dressed up like everything from soldiers to nurses. When you think about it, it’s kind of insulting how we treat the Sidhe today.
The Sidhe are seen very much as myth, even within the paranormal community. Hoaxes like the Cottingley Fairies added to that belief. However, I do believe when it comes to the Sidhe it’s not all smoke and mirrors. Delve back further in history and you’ll see among old pagan beliefs and you’ll see how the history of the Sidhe is often misunderstood, but very universal. Stories of the Little People range all over the world. The Native Americans, Celtic Europeans, tribal Africans and Pacific Islanders all have their stories of a race of human-like people who interact with their societies and offer blessings, veneration, and interaction but also theft, kidnapping, destruction and terror when they aren’t appeased. So my question i: with these “creatures” existing all over the globe can all these stories really be fabricated?
Some say the Sidhe are a race on their own, while others believe that they are the Pagan Gods of old who retreated back to nature with the dawn of monotheistic religions. Yet there’s another theory that they are a mix of humanoid-type hybrid creatures as well. Regardless, there are some misconceptions of these creatures. They have not always been cute, friendly and available in toy stores. The fact of the matter is these creatures were quite nasty, both in appearance and temperament.
Celts treated these creatures with utmost respect, but feared them immensely. Some cultures even kept their front and back doors opened so the “trooping” Sidhe can come through the house and out the back door without too many problems Milk, cream and portions of meals were left out for the Sidhe so the Sidhe would bless the household and not harm the family. The wife of the household was taught at a young age how to appease the Sidhe, and she knew the consequences of making the “wee folk” angry. They would destroy crops, livestock, trash homes, attack the children, and even cause death. People believed the Sidhe also took healthy babies and replaced them with their own ugly sick offspring. The most terrifying of the Sidhe were the ones that ventured out after dusk. The creatures, like trolls, banshees and the Black Annis were known for killing, kidnapping and even eating humans traveling at night. Some, like the castle-occupying Red Cap, existed simply to kill people. In fact the Red Cap is known by his cap colored red by fresh human blood.
What’s the most disturbing about these creatures are most likely their appearances. They usually took the appearance of the element they were associated with as well as a human-like appearance. Earth Sidhe were brown, dirty and wore green and brown, like gnomes. Air Sidhe were light, winged and transparent. Water were pale, milky and aquatic colored with blues and greens. Fire are red or rustic. However, most of these creatures really weren’t as cute and chubby as we’re familiar with them. Most of their appearances struck fear in the people who saw them. Many were known for their large heads, big empty eyes, skinny bodies, expressionless faces and even claws and tails. Many were gender neutral, but many were male or female. Trolls were males covered in hair and known for large glowing eyes and rotting teeth. Water nymphs were usually female, pale, wet and expressionless buy very alluring, and often pulled men to their deaths in lakes. Pixies, nowadays seen as the cutest of this batch, were also very scary looking. They were known for very large heads, big empty eyes, small bodies, intense staring and unisex bodies, similar to other “winged” beings.
I often believe the “things” that follow people home from haunted houses are a type of Sidhe. Some sort of lower astral form that attaches itself to people for a limited amount of time before it has to go back to the astral world. They cause some havoc for awhile, especially with appliances and lights but eventually go away or can be easily cleared out. I say this because Sidhe are known to follow people and have a relentless compulsion for playing pranks and tinkering with everything from butter churns to Airplanes. Pilots claimed to have seen bizarre creatures fooling around with plane engines in WWI. I believe this may be a type of Sidhe, some are more evolved than others. I also believe that it’s possible these are pure astral energy but our minds put the appearances on them; Wings on the flying ones, and claws on the earth Sidhe. Though being pure astral it doesn’t explain how people have been physically maimed by such creatures.
Now here’s my theory. The old stories of fairy kidnappings and encounters often described big eyed creatures sneaking into homes and carrying people out to either populate their race or “breed” with their own kind. This is documented in many history books. Doesn’t this sound familiar today? Stories of people being powerless and having big-eyed big headed non-gendered vaguely human looking creatures coming into their homes (usually in farming and wooded areas) and poking and pronging them and having sex with them to create a stronger race are as common now as they were three hundred years ago. Only now we call them aliens!
The Fairy Compendium
Variants: dullaghan, far dorocha, Crom Dubh
The dullahan is one of the most spectacular creatures in the Irish fairy realm and one which is particularly active in the more remote parts ot counties Sligo and Down. Around midnight on certain Irish festivals pr feast days, this wild and black-robed horseman may be observed riding a dard and snorting steed across the countryside. It is advisable to stay home with the curtains drawn; particularly around the end of August or early September when the feast of Crom Dubh reputedly took place. The dullahan’s call is the summoning of the soul of a dying person rather than a death warning. There is no real defense against a dullahan because he is death’s herald. However, an artifact mad of gold might frighten him away, for dullahan’s appear to have an irrational fear of this metal. Even a small amount of gold shall do.
Variants: phouka, puca
No fairy is more feared in Ireland than the Pooka. This may be because it is always out and about after nightfall, creating harm and mischief, and because it can assume a variety of terrifying forms.
The guise in which it most often appears, however, is that of a sleek, dark horse with sulphurous yellow eyes and a long wild mane. In this form, it roams large areas of countryside at night, tearing down fences and gates, scattering livestock in terror, trampling crops and generally doing damage around remote farms.
In remote areas of County Down, the Pooka becomes a small, deformed goblin who demands a share of the crop at the end of the harvest: for this reason several strands, known as the ‘pooka’s share’, are left behind by the reapers. In parts of County Laois, the Pooka becomes a huge, hairy bogeyman who terrifies those abroad at night; in Waterford and Wexford, it appears as an eagle with a massive wingspan; and in Roscommon, as a black goat with curling horns.
The mere sight of it may prevent hens laying their eggs or cows giving milk, and it is the curse of all late night travelers as it is known to swoop them up on to its back and then throw them into muddy ditches or bog holes. The Pooka has the power of human speech, and it has been known to stop in front of certain houses and call out the names of those it wants to take upon its midnight dashes. If that person refuses, the Pooka will vandalize their property because it is a very vindictive fairy.
The origins of the Pooka are to some extent speculative. The name may come from the Scandinavian pook or puke, meaning ‘nature spirit’. Such beings were very capricious and had to be continually placated or they would create havoc in the countryside, destroying crops and causing illness among livestock. Alternatively, the horse cults prevalent throughout the early Celtic world may have provided the underlying motif for the nightmare steed.
Another account of the Phookas: Originated in Ireland, Wales, and Scandinavia. It is possible that is was a Nordic fairy that was brought to Ireland. They are known as Kornbockes, Bookahs, or Bwcas. Their element is air and they are active from Samhain to Bealtaine, especially at night. Pronounced Pook-ahs, they are the Hobgoblins of Ireland. They have heads resembling human males, but the bodies of horses. They can fly for limited distances, but have no wings. They are trooping faeries that run in destructive packs. They are said to be very ugly and ill-tempered and to quarrel amongst themselves often. Their favorite’s pastime is wreaking havoc and will go out of their way to harm children and crops. They lay claim to any crop not harvested by Samhain night. They love human babies and are always on the lookout for a newborn to steal, and are jealous of airplanes and will do them harm whenever they can. Their favorite food is potatoes.
It appears that fairy women all over Ireland find birth a difficult experience. Many fairy children die before birth and those that do survive are often stunted or deformed creatures.
The adult fairies, who are aesthetic beings, are repelled by these infants and have no wish to keep them. They will try to swap them with healthy children who they steal from the mortal world. The wizened, ill tempered creature left in place of the human child is generally known as a changeling and possesses the power to work evil in a household. Any child who is not baptized or who is overly admired is especially at risk of being exchanged.
It is their temperament, however, which most marks the changeling. Babies are generally joyful and pleasant, but the fairy substitute is never happy, except when some calamity befalls the household. For the most part, it howls and screeches throughout the waking hours and the sound and frequency of its yells often transcend the bounds of mortal endurance.
A changeling can be one of three types: actual fairy children; senile fairies who are disguised as children or, inanimate objects, such as pieces of wood which take on the appearance of a child through fairy magic. This latter type is known as a stock. Puckered and wizened features coupled with yellow, parchment-like skin are all generic changeling attributes. This fairy will also exhibit very dark eyes, which betray a wisdom far older than its apparent years. Changelings display other characteristics, usually physical deformities, among which a crooked back or lame hand are common. About two weeks after their arrival in the human household, changelings will also exhibit a full set of teeth, legs as thin as chicken bones, and hands which are curved and crooked as birds’ talons and covered with a light, downy hair.
No luck will come to a family in which there is a changeling because the creature drains away all the good fortune which would normally attend the household. Thus, those who are cursed with it tend to be very poor and struggle desperately to maintain the ravenous monster in their midst.
One positive feature which this fairy may demonstrate is an aptitude for music. As it begins to grow, the changeling may take up an instrument, often the fiddle or the Irish pipes, and plays with such skill that all who hear it will be entranced.
Grogochs were originally half human, half-fairy aborigines who came from Kintyre in Scotland to settle in Ireland. The Grogoch, well-known throughout north Antrim, Rathlin Island and parts of Donegal, may also to be found on the Isle of Man, where they are called ‘phynnodderee’. Resembling a very small elderly man, though covered in coarse, dense reddish hair or fur, he wears no clothes, but sports a variety of twigs and dirt from his travels. Grogochs are not noted for their personal hygiene: there are no records of any female grogochs.
The Grogoch is impervious to searing heat or freezing cold. His home may be a cave, hollow or cleft in the landscape. In numerous parts of the northern countryside are large leaning stones which are known as ‘grogochs houses’.
He has the power of invisibility and will often only allow certain trusted people to observe him. A very sociable being, the Grogoch. He may even attach himself to certain individuals and help them with their planting and harvesting or with domestic chores – for no payment other than a jug of cream.
Originated in Ireland and is also called Our Housekeeper. Their element is earth and they are found at hearthside’s, especially between Samhain to Bealtaine. Pronounced Ban-tee or Ban-Teeg; no one has ever fully described them. They are thought to appear as small elderly women in old-fashioned peasant clothing with kindly, dimpled faces. They are very friendly to humans and wish to have a friendly human house to watch over. They are fairy housekeepers who can be found watching over children, hearths, and pets. It is also believed they would finish up chores left undone by the tired mother of the house. They love fresh strawberries and cream.
The bean-sidhe (woman of the fairy) may be an ancestral spirit appointed to forewarn members of certain ancient Irish families of their time of death. According to tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O’Neills, the O’Briens, the O’Connors, the O’Gradys and the Kavanaghs. Intermarriage has since extended this select list.
Whatever her origins, the banshee chiefly appears in one of three guises: a young woman, a stately matron or a raddled old hag. These represent the triple aspects of the Celtic goddess of war and death, namely Badhbh, Macha and Mor-Rioghain. She usually wears either a grey, hooded cloak or the winding sheet or grave robe of the unshriven dead. She may also appear as a washer-woman, and is seen apparently washing the blood stained clothes of those who are about to die. In this guise she is known as the bean-nighe (washing woman).
Although not always seen, her mourning call is heard, usually at night when someone is about to die. In 1437, King James I of Scotland was approached by an Irish seeress or banshee who foretold his murder at the instigation of the Earl of Atholl. This is an example of the banshee in human form. There are records of several human banshees or prophetesses attending the great houses of Ireland and the courts of local Irish kings. In some parts of Leinster, she is referred to as the bean chaointe (keening woman) whose wail can be so piercing that it shatters glass. In Kerry, the keen is experienced as a “low, pleasant singing”; in Tyrone as “the sound of two boards being struck together”; and on Rathlin Island as “a thin, screeching sound somewhere between the wail of a woman and the moan of an owl”
The Bean-Sidhe is also known as Washer of the Shrouds, Banshee (the Anglicized spelling), Cointeach (literally “one who keens”), Cyoerraeth, Gwrach y Rhibyn, and Cunnere Noe. Her element is water and she appears at night before a death. She is a well known and much feared fairy, and sometimes classified as a ghost. She is female and appears in a filmy, full-sized human form with long stringy hair partially covered with a hood, and a whit gown or shroud, and has a wet ghost like appearance. Her keening (mourning wail) is heard at night prior to death.
Variants include lurachmain, lurican, lurgadhan
The name leprechaun may have derived from the Irish leath bhrogan (shoemaker), although its origins may lie in luacharma’n (Irish for pygmy). These apparently aged, diminutive men are frequently to be found in an intoxicated state, caused by home-brew poteen. However they never become so drunk that the hand which holds the hammer becomes unsteady and their shoemaker’s work affected. Besides the fact they can use foul language, they also smoke awful smelling pipes and manage to drink a lot or stout, even straight from the jug.
Leprechauns have also become self-appointed guardians of ancient treasure (left by the Danes when they marauded through Ireland), burying it in crocks or pots. This may be one reason why leprechauns tend to avoid contact with humans whom they regard as foolish, flighty (and greedy) creatures. If caught by a mortal, he will promise great wealth if allowed to go free. He carries two leather pouches. In one there is a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it is paid out. In the other he carries a gold coin which he uses to try and bribe his way out of difficult situations. This coin usually turns to leaves or ashes once the leprechaun has parted with it. However, you must never take your eye off him, for he can vanish in an instant.
The leprechaun ‘family’ appears split into two distinct groups – leprechaun and cluricaun. Cluricauns may steal or borrow almost anything, creating mayhem in houses during the hours of darkness, raiding wine cellars and larders. They will also harness sheep, goats, dogs and even domestic fowl and ride them throughout the country at night.
Although the leprechaun has been described as Ireland’s national fairy, this name was originally only used in the north Leinster area.
Originated in Ireland and are also called The Gentry. Their element is earth and they can be found in wild areas with large grassy hills. The Leprechaun is a solitary fairy who loves to play pranks on humans. He appears as male, and no female sightings have ever been reported. They are almost always seen in green clothing or costly material and green tri-colored hats. They are mischievous, but will be helpful to humans when approached with respect. They are very quick-witted except with drunk.
He guards a pot of gold, if one can gain control of one they can have the pot of gold and three wishes. They are shoemakers by trade, however they only work on one shoe and only serve other fae. They do not enjoy working with fellow faeries and keeps to himself except for at parties. They have been known to invite humans do these, which can be joined as long as they do not eat, drink, or dance with them.
Originated in Ireland, but similar fairies are found in Italy by the name of Monciello. It is also known as His Nibs in some parts of Ireland. His element is earth and he is found in wine cellars. He is a solitary fairy who resembles the Leprechaun. Pronounced Kloo-ree-kahn, no females have ever been sighted. He guards wine cellars, which he chooses in his own time, and then he moves in and makes himself at home. He is impeccably well-groomed and well-dressed, and is almost always drunk. He generally has a cheery disposition, but is a bit aloof, even while intoxicated. He wears a red hat that may be made of plants. If he is ignored or mistreated it is said he will wreak havoc on you cellars and on your home, and most defiantly will spoil your wine stock.
The word merrow or moruadh comes from the Irish Muir (meaning sea) and oigh (meaning maid) and refers specifically to the female of the species. Mermen – the Merrows male counterparts – have been rarely seen. They have been described as exceptionally ugly and scaled, with pig-like features and long, pointed teeth. Merrows themselves are extremely beautiful and are promiscuous in their relations with mortals.
The Irish merrow differs physically from humans in that her feet are flatter than those of a mortal and her hands have a thin webbing between the fingers. It should not be assumed that Merrows are kindly and well-disposed towards mortals. As members of the Sidhe, or Irish fairy world, the inhabitants of Tir FO Thoinn (the Land beneath the Waves) have a natural antipathy towards humans. In some parts of Ireland, they are regarded as messengers of doom and death.
Merrows have special clothing to enable them to travel through ocean currents. In Kerry, Cork and Wexford, they wear a small red cap made from feathers, called a cohullen druith. However, in more northerly waters they travel through the sea wrapped in sealskin cloaks, taking on the appearance and attributes of seals. In order to come ashore, the merrow abandons her cap or cloak, so any mortal who finds these has power over her, as she cannot return to the sea until they are retrieved. Hiding the cloak in the thatches of his house, a fisherman may persuade the merrow to marry them. Such brides are often extremely wealthy, with fortunes of gold plundered from shipwrecks. Eventually the merrow will recover the cloak, and find her urge to return to the sea so strong that she leaves her human husband and children behind.
Many coastal dwellers have taken Merrows as lovers and a number of famous Irish families claim their descent from such unions, notably the O’Flaherty and O’Sullivan families of Kerry and the McNamara’s of Clare. The Irish poet W B Yeats reported a further case in his Irish Fairy and Folk Tales: “Near Bantry in the last century, there is said to have been a woman, covered in scales like a fish, who was descended from such a marriage”.
They originated in Ireland, Germany, and England; and are also known as Water Woman, Weisse Frau, Jenny Greentooth, or the Greentooth Woman. Her element is water and she is found in dark lakes where drownings have repeatedly occurred Pronounced Ban-Shoan, literally “white woman”, is a water, female fairy in a white gown that lives beneath lakes and streams and reaches up to drag under and drown children who play or work near the water.
Will ‘O’ Wisp:
The Will-O’-The-Wisps, or fairy lights, are quiet and helpful. They appear in the misty Irish mountains to help searchers locate someone lost in a ravine or drowned in a rocky pool. Those who can see the lights have the gift of knowing; they know that their closest of kin are in danger.
Originated in Ireland, but similar fairies are found in Welsh and Cornish fairy lore known as Bogles. Also known as Boggans, Peat Faeries, Bog-a-Boos, and Boggles. Their element is earth and they are found at peat bogs or mud holes. They are small mud covered creatures. Their bodies are almost completely round and they don’t have necks. They seem harmless, if unpleasant.
Originated in Ireland and Scotland and another name for them is The Herding Boys. Their element is earth and they can bx found in pastures in the summer. Pronounced Boo-al-een, and literally means “little boys”. They look like young men and wear red hats, which may really be inverted flower caps, and are fantastic shape shifters. Their mischievous nature borders on mean and they have been known to torment animals for fun.
Originated in Ireland. Their element is fire and they are found in pastures or at shrines to Aine which are found in her home county Kilkenny. Pronounced Din-sheen-k’has, they are dwarf fairies in the service of the Irish Goddess Aine, who is a cattle goddess and a protector of women. They can shape shift and guard cattle and avenge women harmed by men.
Originated in Ireland, with Scotland being a possible first home and also known as Rat Boys. Their element is water and they can be found along polluted coastlines, swamps, marshes, and in costal ruins and are most active in winter. Pronounced Fear Durgs, they are fat, ugly faeries with dark, hairy skin and long snouts and tails which give them a rat-like appearance. They wear shabby, torn costumes which seem to date to the Middle Ages. They are morbidly dangerous who feeds on carrion, and his shillelagh (Irish walking stick) is topped with a skull of unknown origin. They live near the sea, in damp raths or marshes, rather than in the sea, and like the heat near human fireplaces.
They originated in Ireland and are also called The Formers. Their element is water and they are found at sea shores at night. They are sea monsters, the survivors of a banished fairy race that was driven out of Ireland by the Tuatha De Danann. They have bizarrely misshapen bodies. They do have arms and legs and have been occasionally seen on land. They are very stupid and ill-tempered.
Originated in Ireland and is called the Gaconer is Scotland and Cornwall. His element is air and he is a lonely male fairy that materializes in lonely places and attempts to seduce females who will eventually die of love for him. Pronounces Gon-cawn-ah, and his trademark is an Irish clay pipe which her is always either holding in his hand or has clenched in his teeth
Originated in Ireland and the Hebrides Islands of Scotland. Their element is fire and they are most active at night, and can be found around a blazing fire at your hearthside. Pronounced Gan-cahn-ock, they are always depicted as being very small, and having playful, mischievous smiles. They are pixie-like in appearance and have huge eyes that curve upward on the ends and large pointed ears. They have small wings, but they do not seem to be functional, and appear to dematerialize and reappear quickly to move from place to place. They are often mistaken for flickering lights or lighting bugs. They are guardians of the home and hearth and crave the warmth of the fireside and are harmless. They do have a tendency to play pranks though. Any kindness from them can be repaid with the warmth of your fire and fresh milk.
Originated in Ireland and India. They are known as Leshes in Slavic lands and Suibotschniks in Russia, and Leshiye in Germany. Their element is air and they can be found in wild woods. Pronounced Lay-shee, they are guardians of forests who are always disguised as foliages. They are usually found in groups, and seem to be androgynous. They are classified as solitaries rather than trooping faeries, because they seem to have little to do with each other. They are active in the spring and summer, especially at dawn and dusk, but seem to prefer being nocturnal. It is believed they have come to dislike human for their careless treatment of the environment. Though they have never harmed anyone, their nasty prank; usually involve trying to lose people in deep woods.
Originated in Ireland and possibly ancient Rome. Their element is air and they are active at night and found in blackthorn trees. Pronounced Loo-nan-tee-shee, they are thin and wizened in appearance and look like small, bald, old men. They have pointed ears and long teeth, and long arms and fingers. They are found in groups, but are neither trooping nor solitary. They are believed to hate humans with a passion. Their purpose seems to be to protect the blackthorn trees from human encroachment.
Originated in Ireland and also known as Walrus People and Sea Cows. Their element is water and they can be found at seasides, especially near rocky shores around dawn and dusk. Pronounced Mer-oo-khas, they are a race of Irish Sea faeries, often mistaken for Merpeople. They have similar fish-like lower bodies, but have the upper bodies and heads of other mammals. They have an ambivalent temperament.
The Tuatha de Danann:
Originated in Ireland, they are one of the five myth cycles of the island is then Invasion Cycle in which the Tuatha de Danann take a leading role. They can be any element and are also known as the Irish Faeries, the Royalty, and the Gentry; and can travel anywhere, but make their homes in the burghs of Ireland. Pronounced the Too-ah day Thay-nan, and in mythology were among the earliest conquerors of the island, and their goddess Dana is one of the earliest Great Mother Goddesses of Western Europe. Dana was later renamed Brigid. The Tuatha are trooping faeries, which are warrior-like temperament, but fair and just. They are male, female, and children and look just like humans only somewhat smaller It is said the Milesians drove the Tuatha underground into the fairy burghs which they still inhabit. Hurling is a popular sport among them; and it is said much of the folk music of Ireland was composed by them. The current royal family of Britain is believed to be descended from the Melesain kings. The Tuatha also posses the invincible sword of the Sun God Lugh and the cauldron of the God Dagda.
Originated in Ireland, England, and Norway and are also known as Well Guardians. Their element is water and they are found at the side of scared wells or wishing wells, or at hot springs. They are superb shape shifters who usually take the human beings whose bodies they envy, and are dangerously beautiful. They are water sprites and well guardians who are very sympathetic to human needs, but asking for their help often carries a huge price.
Up next: Classes of nature spirits from around the world… and goblins too. Dungeons and Dragons fans take note!