What supernatural/mythical creature of lore is most likely to have existed or still exist?
French scientist Jacques Vallee spoke of the parallels that exist between Fairy ‘kidnappings’ and alleged alien abductions; ranging from seeing strange lights, missing time, and hypnotic mind control.
In the 1930’s, The Dublin Press in Ireland, wrote of reports of boys sighting groups of fairies and trying to chasing them but being unable to catch them as they teasingly jumped through hedges and trees, all the while appearing as glistening and glowing figures, unscathed by the elements they passed through. At moments they appeared to have faces like those of men; hairy and rugged yet they had no ears.
It’s said that Iceland is a nation that takes the belief in Faeries so seriously still, that to this day they adhere to the principle of not building on nor disturbing places where they know fairies could dwell, such as boulders and rocky areas. They construct around these fairy dwellings, rather than disturb their natural habitat, as an act of respect for them.
Writer Fiona Macleod, the pseudonym of William Sharp, in his ‘Herbridean Legends,’ tells of having lived on the Island of Iona, in the outer Hebredies, when growing up.
One day he went to visit his friend Elsie, who he hadn’t seen for a few days. When he got to her house Elsie wasn’t there but her Mother was. He asked her where Elsie was. Her mother told him cryptically that she had been gone for a few days now.
Sharp wondered how he could not have known this, as the place was so tiny everyone knew everybody’s business. The girl’s mother continued, telling him that her daughter had believed she was communicating with the long-dead spirits of the monks who had lived once on the Island. She said that her daughter felt that the spirits were attacking her and that she must go to the only place on the Island where she would be safe, a place where they would not be able to follow her; the Fairy mound. The Monks and the Fairies had long-since been mortal enemies.
She went on to tell him that long ago, when the Monks had their commune on the Island, “They burnt a woman. She wasn’t a woman but they thought she was. She was a faery. A ‘Sheen.’ And it’s ill to any that bring harm to them.”
She said that though the spirits of the Monks was still strong, the Fey were stronger, and the Monks were not able to enter the Fairy Land; a particular spot on the Island along a path to a fairy mound, and this was where her daughter had gone to seek refuge.
It was said that this was the spot where Netta Fornario was also found, mysteriously dead.
Netty, also known as Norah Fornario, spent much of her early life living in the affluent London suburb of Kew in the early 1900’s. From a young age she’d shown a keen interest in the rising field of spiritualism and the possibility of communing with the dead. She joined the Alpha and Omega Temple. This had been established as an offshoot of the infamous Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and was established by ritual magician Samuel Liddell Mathers after he left the Golden Dawn.
In her late twenties Netty set off for an extended stay on the tiny and remote island of Iona, in the Hebrides. Legendary English Diarist of the time, Dr Samuel Johnson, on describing his visit to the Island wrote of the strange magnetic yet seemingly inanimate and abstract yet highly powerful ‘energy’ that could be felt on the Island and the effect it had on him. In the 7th Century, the abbot of the island, Adomnán, wrote in his journals about the Saint Columba, who legend had it could control the weather on the Island and keep away dragons and serpents.
When Netty had not been seen for an entire day, concern was aroused and a search party set out across the moors to look for her, but though they searched for hours they found no sign of her in the wilderness. The next day, led by the barking of a dog, they were taken to a spot where they found her, dead. She was lying naked except for a long black robe with occult sigils on the lapel. Her body lay over a large cross-shape, that appeared to have been carved into the grass.
In her left hand was a long knife, which had to be pried out of her death-grip. On her face was an expression of absolute terror. On her body were deep and fierce scratch marks. The cross beneath her was thought to have been carved by her perhaps as some form of attempt to defend herself from psychic attack, or perhaps as some kind of ritual she’d been carrying out.
Her toes were cut and bruised, which seemed to indicate that she had been running at speed over rocks and rough ground, quite possibly in flight from something that was chasing her. However, what is extremely odd is that the soles of her feet and her heels were in no way injured or damaged. How had she travelled over rough, broken and sometimes perilous terrain without any marks to the soles of her feet?
Also what was puzzling, was that her body had remained undiscovered for two days, despite the island being tiny and thorough searches having been conducted. She seemed to have been missing from sight for two days.
Her cause of death was ruled as heart failure from exposure, though most believed, from the expression of her death-mask, that it was heart failure from sheer terror.
Netty was obsessed by the writings of pseudonym Fiona MacLeod, or rather the writer William Sharp, a Scottish poet & novelist. At one point, Netty had gone to see a London Opera based on MacLeod’s writing more than twenty times, and wrote a subsequent review of the production for the Occult Review journal.
The Opera was a tale of Faery folk and magic, in which the Fey are cast as a breed of strong immortals that humans are in fear yet awe of, because of their ability to interfere with, manipulate and control people. But Netty had an unwavering fascination with Fey lore. She writes of ‘Students of mysticism who are able to understand the great truths behind the gossamer curtain of the Fey.’
However she also makes mention of the appearance of the demonic in the Opera, ‘Symbolising dark atavism,’ and crucially she points out, ‘The reaction of these ‘lower principles’ to the stimulus of super consciousness often produces disastrous results.’
In other words, demonic forces may react strongly to anyone opening up their consciousness to the hidden realms, and implying here that she did seem well aware of the dangers of dabbling in the unseen world and of the possibility of being confronted with the malign forces that dwelt in it. However, it seems this failed to stop her in her quest. Continuing in her review she quotes the lines of a character from the original version of McLeod’s/Sharp’s work,
“There is no dream save the dream of death,” and interprets this as making explicit that “death itself is only a dream; the ultimate reality lies in the other world where all of life is one.” She remonstrates that these lines should not have been left out of the Opera, and clearly this is a crucial clue as to where she herself may have wished to go; to where she believes is life beyond death, where a life continues after bodily death.
Dion Fortune, her close friend, offered intriguing possibilities about the cause of Netty’s death.
“I knew her well and at one time we did work together but before her death we went our separate ways. She was too interested in contact with the Green Ray Elementals (the astral realm on which the elemental Fey dwell) and I became very nervous. I wouldn’t work with her. I don’t object to reasonable risk but it appeared she was going in too deep, and trouble would come. Whether she was killed by psychic attack, stayed out on the astral plane too long, or whether she strayed into an elemental kingdom who shall know? The facts however cannot be questioned.”
Do fairies really exist…?