7 June 2016


S. D. Tucker. The Hidden Folk: Are Poltergeists and Fairies Just the Same Thing? Fortean Words, 2016.

Albert S. Rosales. Humanoid Encounters: The Others Among Us,  2010-2015. Triangulum Publishing, 2016.

If you asked most people they would argue that belief in fairies is a dead superstition and that the stories told of them were purely cultural inventions and not memories of actual experiences. These two books challenge that view, one explicitly, the other implicitly.
Magonia readers will be familiar with the connections between fairy lore and UFO stories, an issue raised back in the very early years of MUFOB, and one popularised by Jacques Vallee in Passport to Magonia.

Now SD Tucker has explored the similarities between this folklore and tales of poltergeists, noting the many similarities, in particular the tricks that were often attributed to fairies bare many similarities to those attributed to poltergeists. Both are held responsible for the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of household objects, strange noises, the bombardment of buildings by stones, doing household chores, smashing up the house, leaving mysterious gifts or ominous wounds, the levitation and teleportation of people or cattle, the knotting of horses’ manes, etc. They can both manifest as protean shape changing apparitions, which might be attributed to ghosts, aliens, cryptoid animals and similar manifestations, as time and culture incline.

Tucker explores these common themes through a detailed examination of both traditional folklore and modern reports, weaving an interesting case, in a book enlivened by many fascinating illustrations. There are extensive notes; however an index would have been helpful.

Rosales collection of the more recent 21st century UFO stories reminds us that many of these accounts come right out of the traditional lore, ranging from a 90cm tall dwarf seen in the middle of the road and a lady in green beckoning the witness; to a thing with goats feet and a 60cm tall 'child' in a sort of satin track-suit running at an impossible pace,  as well as beings appearing in balls of light. Indeed what we see in this collection, mainly taken from unedited internet sources, is that the technological gloss is now almost wholly removed from such narratives.

Tucker argues that it is not so much that fairies were poltergeists, but rather both, and indeed a whole range of 'Fortean' phenomena are cultural glosses applied to some indeterminate anomalous phenomena or personal experiences.

As I have argued if you report encountering something dressed in a silver suit, the account goes to UFOlogists, if it’s reported as hairy it goes to a cryptozoologist, if dressed in historical costume it goes to a psychical researcher, it might also go to priest or an exorcist. A white luminosity might be interpreted as an alien, a ghost, a fairy, a boggart or an encounter with the Virgin Mary, or marsh gas or ball lighting. Very probably it is not any of these. -- Peter Rogerson

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