Category Archives: Faerie attached to Families

The Fairy Whistle

I have never heard a tale quite like this one. Could it be the Leanan Sidhe at work?

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We were only teenagers then. Had been on the drink after a game like. My three cousins and me, walking home at a stumble.

The oldest, I won’t tell his name, was barely walking at all. Me and my other cousins took turns half carrying him across the fields and anyway we all fell into this ditch. It was shallow enough, and we all just lay there, under a tall tree, looking up at the stars for I can’t say how long.

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The night was silent, and so were we, which I suppose was the first sign of something unusual. Then we hear this music. It was simple, a whistle I think it was. Quiet, but close. I said to my cousin who was less inebriated than the other two “Do you hear that?”. He says “I do”. There was no one around for miles. My cousins’ house the only one nearby.

We listened for a time. All four of us. It was the most beautiful tune, played over and again. Almost had me in a daze. Then I shot up and realized we were laying our backs against the side of a fairy ring. I knew it well in daylight and wouldn’t go near it then. So, I upped and got them moving again.

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Well we got home no trouble and next day recalled the whistle we heard. We all four of us remembered it the same but swore not to mention it to our Mam’s for fear they’d tear strips off us for being foolish enough to sit on a fairy fort. But that tune, it was lighter and sweeter than anything I’d heard before or since.

Now you’ll be expecting me to tell you some terrible bad luck befell the four of us soon after. Well it didn’t. We were fine. In fact, I suppose you could say we were better than fine. For a time.

Each of us grew and spread our wings. My cousins each excelled in their field of interest. It’s not for me to tell their names but one was a successful multimedia artist in the city, another was a regarded musician who had traveled the world and the last was a history teacher who published several books on Fairy Folklore.

I say was because all 3 are passed now. Suddenly and every one before their 30th birthday. They each lived a short, bright life and I too have enjoyed a surprising measure of success in my own field.

In the end, we only saw each other at funerals. We’d look at each other with these eyes you know. Now there’s only me left. Well anyway, the thing is, I turn 30 myself next year and find myself wondering about that fairy fort, and the whistle we heard that night. And I wonder what awaits me.

Michael – Ireland.

I received a follow-up email from Michael and he asked me to add a curious detail which he forgot to include in his own account. Michael says that since that night, when he and his cousins lay back on the wall of the fairy fort, none of the 4 men ever experienced a sleeping dream. Ever again. Make of that what you will. If you have a theory on this, or how it relates to his extraordinary tale, I would love to hear it.

I wish Michael all the very best and thank him again for sharing.

Cheers, Kitty.

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The Banshee Visits

Imagine being all of five and living a world away from Ireland when you have an encounter with the Banshee.

Imagine being told by your Grandfather that it was pointless to tell anyone, since in the United States no one respected the old ways or recognized them anymore.

I remember it clearly.

My Aunt was suffering from breast cancer, a young thirty-nine, with my Mom, who was a nurse, caring for her. My Grandfather, their father, was living with us at the time. For some reason he and I were at our house when Mom and Dad were at my Aunt’s. I suspect it’s because nobody expected my aunt to die so suddenly.

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The other kids were out in the street playing ball in the hot summer sun, but Grandpa and I were together in the shadowy house. I don’t know what I was doing. Drawing, I think, on the chipped and scarred coffee table that had been roundly abused by the seven kids in the house.

It was really quiet. I do remember that, and my Grandpa was sitting in my dad’s comfortable chair doing a crossword puzzle in the daily paper. We’d been listening to the shrill voices of siblings and neighborhood kids all morning, but it seemed that they’d moved farther down the street, because I remember a hushed kind of silence.

Suddenly I heard a sound I still can’t describe; a keening, yes, but the most beautiful, hair-lifting cry I think I’ll ever hear.

Outside, up, as if it hovered high over the front porch. fold newspaper

I looked up.

My Grandpa froze where he sat.

Slowly he set down his newspaper and rose, pausing, as if by dragging his feet he could prevent the inevitable.

Then he walked to the front window and pulled the curtains aside.

The keening came again, like a high wind or one of the old ladies who showed up at the family funerals, except indescribably more beautiful and haunting.

I sat where I was, suddenly unsure what to do. My Grandpa knew. He looked out, looked up, as if something hovered in the bright white sky.

“She’s gone,” he said, and there were tears in his voice.

Quietly he let the curtains fall back into place, and for a while just stood there, his head down.

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“What was that, Grandpa?” I asked.

He shook his head, never looking for me.

“It was the Banshee.”

He walked back to his chair and sat down.

He picked the paper up that he’d carefully folded to exhibit the crossword puzzle, but he didn’t look at it. He just held it.

I looked out toward where the voice had come from. I knew what banshees were. I’d just seen ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’ not long before, and the Banshee in the movie was a terrifying swirl of flowing black robes and hair. Her voice, though, had been terrifying.

This hadn’t terrified me. Even so, I didn’t have to courage to get up and walk to the window to look out. I just went back to coloring.

Just then my Mom called. My Aunt had just died. My Mother didn’t seem surprised that my Grandpa already knew.

I never asked my Mother about what I heard. I didn’t tell anybody until only about ten years ago when I finally discovered the Irish part of our family who had been able to stay in Ireland.

“Of course,” my cousin said when I told her. “The Banshee follows our clan.”

I’ve never heard her again.

 Eileen – United States.

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The Faerie Dog

I had an encounter with a Faerie when I was 8 or 9 years old. I don’t remember a lot of it myself, although I definitely remember it happening. big-foot-1312500 (2)

Luckily my Mum was there too and has told the story so many times since it happened, I couldn’t forget it if I tried!

I live in Dublin now raising my own children, but back in 1972 when we had our ‘encounter’, we were living outside of Bunclody in the County Wexford.

So, the day I encountered the Faerie dog had been like any other day. I was after getting off the school bus to find that, once again, Mum was late and not there in the car to drive me home. This had happened a thousand times before and I knew what to do: stand still and wait for her. This I did, and can remember running the nine times table through my mind over and over, for to keep myself occupied.

So, I was there alone, the bus long gone and the road was quiet but I wasn’t worried. It was a safe town after all.beetle-free (2)

Then I noticed this olive green car with 2 men in it drive past me, real slow like, looking at me all the while, then a few minutes later it drove past going the other way, turned and came back toward me.

All of a sudden, this black dog, or it could have been brown, appeared out of no place and stood beside me. It was big. Not so big as a wolfhound but heavier. I think it had a real barrel chest and a thick, short coat but can’t be certain, and to this day, I couldn’t tell you if it were male or female.

Anyway, this dog rested a paw on my foot, hard like, pushing my foot into the ground as it stared at the car approaching us. I remember the sound of it growling low and deep so that its whole body shuddered and the fur on its back shackled upright.

I was scared stiff. Truly I couldn’t move a muscle, not knowing whether to stay or run or whether to be more scared of the dog or the car.

The car with the 2 men stopped right in front of me and the fella in the passenger seat rolled his window down and said something like “hop in and come for a ride”.

Next thing I know, he opened the car door, stepped a foot out onto the road and the dog flew at him, grabbed his leg, shook it hard and pulled on it something fierce, I thought he was going to rip his whole leg off!

I remember the fella shrieking high, like a girl, and his pal hollering at him to get back in the car. But he just kept shrieking and wailing.

The dog was latched on that fella’s leg and wasn’t letting go and I tell you, the snarl coming from it was like nothing I’d heard before, or since. Just the thought of it gives me shivers, even today.

And that’s when I noticed my Mum pull up in her car behind. She hurled herself from out behind the wheel and round her car and the driver of the car hit the pedal.

The shrieking man was dragged along the road, half in the car, half out of it, with the dog still attached to his leg. There was blood everywhere, all over the road, all over the dog. It was awful. I remember the smell of the blood, sweet but foul, like a gutted fish left sat in the Sun.

My Mum stood in the middle of the road, flailing her arms and hurling abuse after the car. The dog let go the man and the car sped off. I was crying, Mum was screaming and the dog… well it was stood in the middle of the road too, but then it turned and looked hard at Mum.

No word of a lie, with only one glare, that dog silenced my Mum (and if you knew my Mum you’d think it a miracle!).

The dog, blood covering its head and chest and still dripping from its jaw, walked right up and stood about a metre in front of her. The two of them stood staring at each other for about half a minute. It wasn’t long but I remember it felt like forever.

Do you know, not for a second did I think it would attack her, I don’t know why, I just knew it wouldn’t. Anyway, then the dog walked away toward the cluster of trees I guess it came out of and it was gone.

Without a word, Mum scooped me up and put me in the car, a mustard Cortina it was (I loved that car), grabbed paper and pencils from her bag, and shoved them at me. Then she barked at me to write down everything that just happened, and fast. Well this I did, and she did the same. Every now and again she would say, “EVERYTHING, WRITE EVERY LITTLE THING”.

We both finished and sat in silence for I don’t know how long until eventually my Mum said, “you were just saved by a Faerie. And if we aren’t careful, we’ll forget the whole thing”.

Mum drove like a Banshee to my Auntie’s house which was only 5 minutes from the bus stop, and burst through her door yelling “Nora, I’ve just been scolded by a Faerie!”.

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Aunt Nora

We told Auntie Nora everything we could remember and then passed her our written notes. I remember my Auntie raising an eyebrow and saying “There’s a lot you have written that you didn’t tell me. You are forgetting and no doubt”.

Then she frowned and said to Mum “Please tell me you didn’t thank the Faerie”.

Of course I didn’t thank the Faerie Nora, what sort of fool do you take me for? You never thank a Faerie!”

I didn’t have a scratch on me, nothing to prove what had happened, and then I remembered my foot. The weight of the dog pushing on my foot. I rolled my sock off and there it was, a purple bruised pawprint. I saw it with my own eyes, and showed it to Mum and Auntie too. Not that Auntie needed convincing, she always believed in the Good Folk. Sure, she’d have plenty of stories for you herself.

That was the day I encountered a Faerie of Ireland. I can safely say that every week of every month of every year since that day in 1972, either Mum or Auntie have told this story to someone, to keep it alive like, so it’s never forgotten. Thank goodness my Mum knew enough of the Faerie to write the experience down before it was lost to us.

Oh! I almost forgot the best part. When the dog stood in front of Mum and stared at her, she said she heard its voice in her own mind. She wrote down only moments later what it had said to her.

Manys the time I have watched over your unguarded daughter. If she is left alone once more, I will claim her to live among Faerie.”

From Sharon – Dublin, Ireland

The Night Visitor

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Bridget McManus was my Mother and it must be said, was as sensible as the day is long. She told me this Tale not long before she passed in 1962.

In around 1920, my parents, Donal and Bridget McManus, were both in their early twenties and not long married.

Donal had an uncle, his Mother’s brother, there in Chicago who promised him work and a place to stay until they got theirselves settled and, I suppose, it seemed a grand offer.

Donal and Bridget bid a warm farewell to both their families and emigrated from Kilkenny, Ireland to Chicago, America in search of prosperity and adventure. And so it was, adventure they found, only not in the shape they had dreamed of.

This Tale finds them only weeks after arriving in Chicago. Donal and Bridget were asleep in the attic room of Uncle’s house, enjoying the deep sleep reserved for those with a clear conscience.

Bridget woke first. She heard 3 knocks at the Attic window. An impossibility sure, and yet she swore it were true. So, Bridget heard 3 knocks and sat up to see her there. Sat at the end of their bed, smiling silently was Donal’s own Mother, Orla.

There was nothing unnatural to her appearance, she looked altogether familiar: her Sunday shawl wrapped around her shoulders, her hair curled and her hands resting softly in her lap.

Bridget shook Donal to wake and they both sat up and looked upon the vision of Orla: sitting with the grace of her renown, and smiling, just smiling.

Donal spoke and this is what he said: “Mother dear, why have you come? What have you to tell me dearest?” But his Orla did not answer. She tilted her head a little and smiled warmly then disappeared from before their eyes. Donal and Bridget both swear they felt a weight lift from the bed as she disappeared.

There was no more sleep to be had that night and no drop of whiskey or pot of tea could settle their helpless agitation. Donal and Bridget dressed and waited, pacing the floor or gazing out the attic window.

When dawn arrived, Donal told his uncle of the apparition. As Donal spoke, the breath in Uncle’s chest tightened and he fell pale. “Tis the Good People” he said, “they have followed our kin across the western sea. Didn’t the very same thing happen to my cousin, there in Boston… I am afraid dear Donal, dire news is upon the wind”.

Donal hurried to the Church Rectory for to ask a kindness. Very few people had a telephone of their own in the day so, as was the way of things, he turned to the Church for help. Donal used the church telephone to call the telephone in the Church at Kilkenny, and heard the news he had dreaded.

Donal’s Mother had passed on only hours before. It was sudden and, they said, painless. She had been strong as an ox until the minute she died.

Donal was terribly shaken. He returned to Uncle’s house wearing the face  of a Motherless son. “She came for to say goodbye” is all he said.

Emigration may have promised Donal and Bridget a heavy purse but aren’t some things more important anyway?

That very day, they left Chicago for New York and the first voyage home

Joe McManus

Her Fairy Garden

When my sister and I were kids, I’m a few years older than her anyway, she had one half of the back garden set up like a fairy wonderland.

My Ma and Dad helped her. Dad built a little fairy house, so small ‘only fairies could fit inside’ and a little pond next to it with frogs and fish and special plants that attracted birds.

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Ma gave her potted plants to decorate and hung tiny lights up between trees. My sister would also string up those little crisp packets. This was the early 80’s and everyone was doing it. You’d stick your empty crisp packets in the oven until they shrink to a tiny size. Well, she’d do this, then string the tiny colourful crisp packs up on the lower branches of bushes near the fairy house. She said the fairies loved them.

Anyway, she’d be out there all hours, her feet and fingernails always covered in dirt. I was only allowed to kick my football on the other side of the garden and woe me if it ventured onto her side (as it did from time to time…).

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I remember my mates and me watching her tend to the plants, sweeping leaves from around the fairy house and piling them up to make her own fairy fort, all the while talking to the fairies. We just laughed, thought she was mad.

When I got jack of her and her fairies taking up half the garden, Ma would always tell me they made her happy, and she made them happy. “They favour her”, she would say, “and don’t say a word against it… or them!”

This went on for years, well into her late teen years when she moved away to study. The fairy house and pond are long gone, but when she comes back to visit Ma and Dad, she still goes out and tidies the leaves and hangs a few ribbons or bells off the trees or plants a flower, then she’ll sit on the bench and talk to her ‘fairies’. After all this time, it is still really important to her.

Anyway, I recently got to thinking, my sister has what most would call a ‘charmed life’. She’s the kind of person whose toast lands butter side up if you get my meaning. Her life isn’t perfect but she is lucky. If she buys a raffle ticket, she wins. When she goes for job, she gets it. She’s always been lucky. Not long after getting her first car, the brakes failed and she ran off the road at speed, the car rolled and was a write-off, but she didn’t have a scratch on her. No word of a lie, not a scratch.

My sister is the sweetest person I’ve ever known, honestly, to know her is to love her. She always wears this look, like a crooked smile, as though she has a secret, that people find so charming. And I don’t know what I’m saying, but after all this time, now I’m older, I wonder if she has always had a secret.

Name withheld at request – Dublin.

The May Magpie

I have enjoyed reading about other people’s experiences with fairy of Ireland and wanted to share my story too, although it’s not really about me at all.

In May 1992, I stayed 4 weeks at a Bed & Breakfast in far north Donegal. I won’t trouble you with the reason for my extended stay, suffice to say I departed a better man than had arrived.

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I want to tell you about Nora, my host at the B&B. She has been in my thoughts lately, as I have come to realize she probably saved my life.

Nora ran her house with the routine of a drill sergeant and expected absolute courtesy from her guests. She fed me three times a day, insisted I hike at least once a day (regardless of the weather) and dragged more ‘pleases’ and ‘thankyous’ from me in those 4 weeks than my Mom had managed in 20 years! But she was by no means a hard woman. She had a soft spot for troubled souls like me and… she believed in fairies.

I arrived in Donegal in early May. The one month in the year so Nora told me, you are most likely to be stolen or attacked by a fairy. Though I never (knowingly) saw one myself, according to Nora her garden was teeming with them.

She spoke to them, and about them, politely, as though they were distant relations but there was one that caused her constant worry. The May Magpie.magpie-1332420 (2).jpg

According to Nora, a lone magpie in May is a disagreeable fairy in disguise with a mind to cause you harm.

And she had one in her garden.

There it is as every year before,” she said as she set breakfast to the table in the sunroom (which overlooked the garden), “come to test me. I’ll be keeping the cat inside til June now, hope you’re not allergic”.

She had a tight smile on her lips and a keen eye on the magpie as she spoke. “If you slight the May magpie, it will bring a world of trouble to your door the likes you had never known”.

I had to stifle my young self from laughing as Nora assured me she could handle the fairies and knew how to appease the May magpie.

And so, for the next 4 weeks I watched. Every morning, after serving my breakfast, Nora ventured into the garden to greet the waiting May magpie.

She bowed her head in greeting and spoke a familiar word or two.

Good day to you, and isn’t it a fine one?” or “You are looking well yourself” she would say.

And every day after serving my lunch, she would venture back into the garden, make a little small talk and leave a bowl of Guinness for it to drink.

They say there’s a change coming from the West now”.

And would never think of hitting the sack without checking in… “I’m off out after tea, so I’ll bid you goodnight” she once hollered from the backdoor.

One day I even heard her give the May magpie the time, “It’s a quarter past the midday now” she said as she pinned washing on the line.

That lone May magpie, at least for the month of May, was treated as Nora’s most revered and dare I say, feared, guest. I can only wonder what might have happened if Nora had displeased the May magpie for no matter how I tried, she would never venture into that conversation.

I have seen and done many things in my life that are best forgotten, but memories of Nora and her May magpie have never left me. In fact, the words Nora told me back then, ring just as true today.

A kind word goes a long way” she said, “it just wants you to acknowledge it. To say I see you. You have no need to harm me nor I you. Let us live byside each other in peace.That is all we need tell any of the fairies”.

Even now, after all these years, I still think about the fairies in Ireland and still nod my regards to a lone magpie.

Just in case.

Daniel – Philadelphia

The Treehouse

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When I was about 10, my dad decided to build me a treehouse over the 4th July holidays.

Our backyard was fantastic, it was more like a meadow, with rolling grass, flowers growing wild along the fences, iron gates and unruly trees of amazing colours. A great garden for a kid to explore.

Dad was a carpenter and knew how to build, he was no hack, he knew wood, he knew trees and had the best tools, but no matter what he did, he could not keep this treehouse together.

He chose an old oak tree which stood right in the middle of the yard and began by setting the supporting beams in the ground with cement. He had no problems with that but when he moved on to the braces and platform, that’s when the trouble started.

The next morning he went outside to find the braces and platform on the ground and the screws (stainless steel) he had inserted in the tree pulled out and the threads flattened and un-useable.

He thought it was stupid kids messing around and vowed to finish the tree that very day. He worked all day and into the evening and, apart from the rails, got the basic treehouse built.

Next morning, same thing, only this time all the treehouse, except the supporting beams, was in a heap on the ground. Dad was seething. We couldn’t talk to him all day he was so angry. He rebuilt the whole thing again and this time, at nightfall, stayed up in the treehouse with a torch and waited to see if the kids returned.

Next morning, I came downstairs to find Dad sitting in at the kitchen table, face pale and hands clasped around a glass of Mum’s brandy. Mum sat next to him with her hand on his shoulder and shook her head at me as if to say ‘don’t ask’.

So I walked over and looked out the window at the backyard and there, all over the ground, were scattered the various pieces of the treehouse. The only thing standing were the supporting beams.

Not a word was said, but later that day Dad took the chainsaw to the beams and cut them off at ground level and stored the wood neatly under the house. All plans for a treehouse were abandoned.

Fast forward 6 years, at my sister’s wedding, Dad got rolling drunk and I asked him what happened that night in the treehouse. He told me that he had been visited, not by neighbourhood kids, but by 3 creatures.

They came at him not from the ground below but scurried across from the branches of other trees. They were covered in green fur and their eyes were big as plates. He said he shone his torch at them and they growled and banged their fists into the wood of the treehouse.

Dad was terrified and tried to grab the ladder to get down when they started tearing the treehouse apart, only not with their hands, but seemingly with their eyes. He said they stared at the joins and the screws and seconds later they just separated and fell to the ground.

Dad jumped to the grass below and stood watching the demolition in astonishment but not fear. He said, once he was on the ground, he felt no fear of them.

When they had finished, the 3 creatures lay their hands on the wounded parts of the tree and mumbled like some sort of ritual. Then they were gone. Dad didn’t see where they went, they were just gone from sight and his treehouse building days were behind him.

Dad grabbed me by the lapel of my tux and said “That old oak was a Fairy Tree, we got off light. Never touch a Fairy Tree”.

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And the tree? well, Dad built a (metal) fence around the tree so no-one can climb it or even touch it.

Sean – Pennsylvania