Category Archives: Thin Places

Faeries by the old Elm Tree

I’ve just been reminded of a story from when I was around 10-11.

I used to walk home from my junior school through a wood (it was longer but meant I didn’t have to walk on the road). There was a brook which disappeared into a rudimentary brick-built tunnel mainly torn up by tree roots of an old elm tree.

tree roots stream

So, on good days I would sit there for awhile, dropping things into the brook to watch them disappear into the darkness of this tunnel. It felt like a very special and secret place and although I was a very talkative kid it was my time for silence.

old lady hands

One day, I was playing with a friend from my village and we went to take some topsoil in a wheelbarrow to her Nan who lived near the wood. I’d never met her before (although I had seen her around). My friend introduced me and the Nan replied “Oh you’re the little boy who plays with the faeries up by the elm tree“.

Now at the time I assumed she meant “I was away with the faeries” a local saying that meant in your own world. I was surprised because I always thought I’d been alone and unwatched so the fact my friend’s Nan had clearly seen me was a bit embarrassing.

However, a few years later my friend told us that her Nan kept a journal about her time with the faeries in the wood. I now like to think that my playing by that brook wasn’t alone but was overwatched by others and in turn they talked to my friends Nan about me.

Needless to say, as a teen I always made sure not to get up to anything in that wood that could get back to my friends Nan!

Kit Cox.

Advertisements

Lights at Trundle Hill Fort

I remember going to the Trundle (Hill Fort) in Sussex one Lammas eve just before sunset only to find it unusually quiet (I had the place to myself).

Trundle hill fort sussex (2)

southdowns.gov.uk

Got the odd feeling the whole hill was being somehow set outside of the stream of time for a while, or somehow time was flowing round it (this won’t make much sense to anyone who hasn’t felt something similar themselves).

At the top I happened to look down at the grass and was amazed to see what we call “glow-worms”. The insects with the lit up bodies. They hadn’t been there/glowing before that. Not one or two mind you, but hundreds and hundreds. The whole damn hill was covered in them like stars! It was a really beautiful sight at sunset I can tell you.

Now I grew up on a farm not so very far away from this hill in Surrey, and never saw a “glow-worm” in all my life before that (I was 18-ish), and I have only ever seen one since (I’m 50).

I definitely got the feeling the “fair folk” were putting on a show somehow, manipulating the natural world, though I dare say the less impressionable souls will see nothing to wonder at. But there it is.

Guthfrith Karlsson – England.

Tweed Faerie on Knocknarea

I was walking up Knocknarea (Mountain in County Sligo), where I know the Good Folk ride. Two friends and I climbed up to see Maeve’s Cairn.

It was just before sunset, and we had quite an adventure coming back down a steep slope in the dusk.

knocknarea

Suddenly, about a third of the way down, I looked up and standing right in front of me was a handsome young man in tweeds.

You’ve been up to see Maeve then,” he said with a nod.

We have,” I answered with a smile, my two friends just behind me.

He nodded again. “She’s a grand girl.”

That she is,” I agreed and both of us moved on.

Seconds later I turned to comment about him to my friends, only to find that he was gone.

There were no trees, no bushes, nowhere to hide on that section of the mountain. And yet in the matter of seconds he wasn’t there.

I do have to say that if all Fae look like that, they’re quite the nicest looking beings I’ve met. 🙂

Eileen – United States.

 

Beware the Faerie Ring

Now I believe in the Good People and my family know ways of dealing with them and it’s a lucky thing too.

It was May last, 2018, my boyfriend and I were cycling the track through a place called the Black Valley in County Kerry. It sounds gloomy but really it’s a lovely place. It was a bright morning and we set out early, hoping to beat the weather coming in later that day.

bike under treeSo anyway, we’d been riding only about 30 minutes when I saw a lovely painted horse there, stood beneath a fairy tree looking at us, and I mean staring at us. Hard like.

If you don’t know what a fairy tree is I’ll tell you, it’s a lone hawthorn tree sitting in the middle of a field all by itself. And so it was this fairy tree with the horse stood under.

I don’t know what it was about this horse, but I felt like it was calling me or something, so I told my boyfriend to stop and we hopped off our bikes, climbed the stone wall and walked over to it.

As we got closer, I could see the horse was shattered, exhausted like. With eyes beseeching or something but not moving, standing right still. And then I saw why, surrounding the horse, about a yard from his hooves, was a neat circle of mushrooms.

My boyfriend reached his arm out to pat the horse and I smacked it down and said “Don’t go putting your arm in a feckin fairy ring” so I said.

mushrooms

I thought a minute then decided it best to call me Mam and ask her. So I did and she told me what to do.

With my boyfriend holding my left arm, I stood close to the outside of the mushroom ring and leaned my right arm into the ring and grabbed the mane of the horse, which was neatly plaited, and pulled it out. I’d like to tell you it was a gentle tug but the Good People don’t give up their mischief easy so it was more of a yank.

The horse stumbled when it got out of the ring and then took off. I’m sure he was grateful, although he didn’t stick around to say so.horse painted

I knew we’d used up all our luck that day so we turned around and rode home. Spent the rest of the day on the couch with Netflix!

We went back the next weekend to check on the horse and he looked grand. He was well away from the fairy tree mind!

But we really were lucky, especially being it was May. Without my boyfriend there to hold one of my arms I wouldn’t think of reaching into that fairy ring for fear of never getting out myself.

I’d like to think the Good People were just having some fun with the horse. Dancing and singing all night long and plaiting its mane and all, I surely hope they meant it no harm, for they do have a care for animals but you can never be sure.

My advice to anyone spotting a fairy ring is to stay well away, never step in it, no matter what. Even if there is a pile of coins or a diamond ring or anything else sat in the middle of the ring, keep walking, don’t stop and don’t be tempted.

And best stay clear of the fairy trees too, just leave them be and you should have no trouble.

Emily – County Kerry.

Cross in the River

My name is Ann. I am 17 and I live in Ulster.

I haven’t told anyone this before (and my name isn’t even Ann) but I wanted to tell someone about a weird thing that is happening.

I like to hang out in these woods near my home. There’s a wee river runs through there and I usually just sit and sketch and listen to music. A few times I noticed some strange sounds around, but the woods are full of weird sounds and animals so I just ignored it.

fairy-dust-1-1545647 (2)

Then one day, it was in the autumn, I was sitting at a cross in the river, a place where it splits into two. There are three massive stones which turn the river and I was sitting atop one of them. I heard laughing, quiet like, then felt something brush against me, not hard but it knocked the pencil from my hand into the river. There was more laughing, I looked around but there was nothing there.

So I packed up and got the hell out of there and didn’t go back for a while. Then I had an idea. At the spot where the river splits, there are tall, dense trees and I climbed up and waited. Nothing happened. So I went back the next day, same thing. No weird sounds, no laughter or rustling. Then the third time, I was sat up there about 20 minutes when it happened.

freeimage6 (2)

I heard chatter, and laughter but distant. Not distant far away, but quiet. Like the volume was turned down. Then it quickly got louder. I could make out 6 different voices talking. But they weren’t speaking English, although I picked up a few words in English. It was more like they were talking a few languages, all bunched together. I’m not certain, but there could have been some Irish or Nordic (my Dad watches those Nordic shows on tv).

The voices were really close now and when I looked down at the river and woods below me I could see movement and splashing, but not any real form of anyone. I called out ‘Who’s all there?” and it went silent. They were gone.

That was yesterday. I went back today and sat on the big rock again and waited and within 10 minutes they were back. Same thing. Quiet voices. I sat still and sort of whispered ‘Hello’. The water splashed in front of me as though several big people had jumped off the other big stones, then they started singing. 3 voices. They sounded like a chorus of birds, but real quiet and each singing a different song to the other. It was weird.

That’s all I remember. I woke up on the grass at the base of the big stone. I don’t know how long I’d lay there but everything was ok. Nothing bad happened. I called for them but they were gone. The song was real nice though. I’m pretty sure I’ll go back.

Anyway, searched for anyone talking about special places, you know where the other folk might hang out and found ‘thin places’. Now I’m wondering if the cross in my river is a thin place.

I can’t talk to my Dad or brother about it, they’ll think I’m taking the piss. Does anyone know much about it, or been around a thin place when the good folk are around? Is it safe?

Ann – Ulster

*

A note from Kitty.

I have received some interesting information for Ann via Reddit on whether it is safe to return to the place of her encounter, and also some advice on what to do if she does choose to return. Many thanks to everyone for your input.

From Krakenwaffles: I’ve been doing some research lately for a project. Basically, leave the fairies alone, especially if you are already losing time. Fairyland exists out of our time and a few minutes there can last for years. (See the poem The Fairies by Allingham.) Fairies can give you amazing gifts, but they have a cost and often fairies just want to mess with people.

According to Kipling in Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906) if there are many fairies around, the people nearby will get sick.

Fairies are capricious. They can reward humans they like but sometimes they want to keep those humans and replace them with changelings. Do not ever eat anything they give you and do not mess with their land (Glassie, Irish Folktales, 1985).

According to Yeats (Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland, 1888) fairies are fallen angels. They possess every charm but conscience. Good to the good, evil to the evil. Quickly offended but easily pleased by simple things. Listening to their music can drive you mad. Do not ever join in their songs! If you can’t improve the music somehow they will harm you. They can give magic healing knowledge to humans but this involves the humans being taken to fairyland for years.

According to Beveridge, Children into Swans (2014) thin places are surrounded by mist. It’s not wise to go into the mist because you might cross the border into fairyland.

You might come out ahead if they really like you and are being nice. Fairies can be amazing if they want to. But it would be a huge risk.

Whether or not you believe in fairies, this is what the sources say.

*

From Darth_Bfheidir : I’m not a believer, but my mother always said to carry “iron from the earth to banish misfortune”, but what “iron from the earth” means I don’t know. I assume it means unwrought iron.

She also said that an offering of cake or bread is suppose to placate them so they take the bread instead of messing with the person.

Of course the girl in question could always do what you’re supposed to do and stay away, there is a reason these places are marked.

*

 

From BabydollValentine: I know hardly anything about fairies because I’ve just begun this journey.

I read her story and what the fae were doing didn’t seem malicious to me. Just playing and messing with her a bit. Kinda strange she woke up by a big rock tho.

If she decides to keep going back perhaps she could bring a small gift or treat like some cream??

*

From BluePaws: A cold forged iron bell could work. If they appear again or you hear them, ring the bell and hopefully they will leave but if they don’t leave some sugar close to where they are, but not too close.

If that doesn’t work find somewhere else, better if that place doesn’t have any lakes, rivers, etc.