Desperately Seeking Marjorie June 26, 2012Posted by Beachcombing in : Actualite, Contemporary , trackback
***Dedicated to whosoever helps Beach to find Marjorie***
It is very bad form to write two articles on fairies in as many days, but Beach has been excited since Splendid Chap emailed with the exciting information that Marjorie Johnson is still alive in Carlton, Nottinghamshire (UK). Marjorie was born in 1911 and by 1956 she was already secretary of the Fairy Investigation Society. If she was already secretary in 1956 then she was certainly associated with the Society for some time previous. Might her association with the organisation even bring us back into the pre-war period? Or was she part of the post-war renewal? Splendid Chap dug up this short piece from the Psychic Observer (1956)
Many See Fairies: No Fairies, No Nature: A naval commander, two clergymen, two gypsies, doctors of music and philosophy, some artists and authors, wrote Marjorie Johnson, Brooklands Road, Carlton, Nottingham, to tell her about fairies they have seen. Miss Johnson, 44, says she has seen fairies since she was six. Since she was 19, she has collected stories of them. She has became secretary of the Fairy Investigating Society [sic]. Reports of hundreds of different kinds of fairies have reached her. She says: ‘They are really the forces of nature. Without fairies, there would be no nature. They are like atomic power.’ She is writing a book on the subject. Thanks to Two Worlds.
By 1960 MJ’s books has clearly moved ahead because her progress was reported in the Sunday Pictorial. This is a summary from the Miami News, Monday October 24, 1960: Beachcombing has Splendid Chap to thanks for this too.
Millions of Britons yesterday were told by the mass circulation Sunday Pictorial about the ‘sex life’ of sprites. Miss Marjorie Johnson, secretary of the Fairy Lore Society [sic], told the Pictorial she is compiling a book on the sex activities of the sprites. She said her book would reveal how fairies make love, reproduce their own kind and tend their babies. Miss Johnson maintained that fairies are polygamous, sharing wives, husbands and children. She said her book is based on personal observation and on reports from fairy spotters all over Britain. It is entitled Fairy Vision. The newspaper quoted Miss Johnson as saying: ‘It has taken me years of study to win their friendship and discover the secrets of their sex life. But anyone who is admitted to the circle of fairy friendship is very fortunate. ‘Through billions of years fairies have learned the secrets of universal love.’
In Beachcombing’s previous post on the Fairy Investigation Society, he noted that the FIS seems to have been mocked in the press and to subsequently have withdrawn. Is this an example or the example of this kind of mockery? Perhaps. It looks like Marjorie described her research to a ‘sympathetic’ reporter who then took it all to the lowest denominator. It’s happened to the best of us.
Beachcombing has perhaps the biggest fairy bibliography in the world on his hard drive. And Marjorie Johnson’s book does not figure there. So what happened to it? Well, the This is Nottingham site linked above writes that she ‘wrote books [sic] about fairies after claiming she saw one as a child.’ But they or it do not appear in the British Library Catalogue.
Beach wondered if the books never came out and was about to give up, but then searching through second hand sites he had a shock. First, he stumbled upon: Il Popolo del Bosco (the people of the wood in Italian) by one Marjorie Johnson published in 2004 by the publishing house Armenia: Beach has now ordered this volume. Then there is also Naturgeister: Wahre Erlebnisse mit Elfen und Zwergen (nature-spirits, experiences with elves and dwarfs) published by Aquamarin 2008 in Germany. This is presumably the same book, both are just under 400 pages. But what the hell was the original? And more importantly can anyone put Beach in touch with Marjorie, now hopefully 101? Beach has a couple of free months for writing and would fly out to Nottingham with tape recorder in hand to record some fairy history. drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com. Tomorrow he’s going to drop a letter in the post to Brooklands Road, but what are the chances that she’s still living there! Marjorie, if you are reading this, we need you…
26 June 2012: Splendid Chap writes in. This seems to the address: 4 Brooklands Road, Carlton, Nottingham. However, only 10 days ago this house sale appeared; On the downside it says “The former home of local author Miss Marjorie Johnson” but on the upside the word ‘late’ isn’t before her name so she may have moved to a care home or similar. The piece is originally from the Nottingham Post; Her friend Jean Bullock who is mentioned in the 100th birthday piece is said to live in Bakersfield, which is the Oakdale and Eastdale Roads part of Carlton, and there is only one Bullock on either Oakdale or Eastdale; [address suppressed for confidentiality]. Invisible confirms the horrible suspicion of SC. JOHNSON Marjorie Thelma Passed away on 26th October 2011 aged 100 years. Funeral service and cremation to take place at Wilford Hill on Tuesday 15th November at 2.20pm. Flowers or donations to the Humane Research Trust may be sent to A.W Lymn The Family Funeral Service Robin Hood Street Nottingham NG3 1GF Tel 0115 950 5875. Invisible has found some publication details too but am just too gutted now… Poor old Marjorie. May flights of brownies/pucks/elves sing her to her rest. Beachcombing will put his tape recorder away.
30 June 2012: Wade found this link: The Listener, Vol 53 BBC 1955 Julian Trevelyan Fairy Vision. Sir, — I am collaborating with Marjorie Thelma Johnson in a serious work dealing with contemporaneous accounts of Fairy Vision. Fairy Vision in caps seems intriguing. Wade also notes that Marjorie was linked to the Human Research Trust and her death was announced there in a single line in their spring 2012 newsletter. And a MJ book JOHNSON, Marjorie Thelma. 1.1: Gypsy & fairy lore & children’s verse, c: Nott’m Writers Sc Gypsy Lore Soc. a: 4 Brooklands Rd, Sneinton Hill, Nott’m. Invisible now. A MA sighting. Location. Nottingham, England. Date: 1936 Time: morning Young Marjorie T Johnson was lying in bed enjoying the early morning sunshine which streamed in through the low, open window, suddenly she felt compelled to sit up in bed and turn her eyes to the empty fire grate. There, on a filmy cobweb on the bars, sat a strange little creature. It seemed quite unafraid and, from the broad grin on its face, appeared to enjoy the witness’s observation. As the witness stared, it blinked back at her with a blank expression, which showed very little intelligence. Curious she climbed out of bed. The elf like creature then immediately disappeared. Marjorie climbed back, and when she looked again the creature was perched in the same place. This went on for several minutes until she brushed away the cobweb. She never saw the creature again. She described it as about 4inches to 6inches in height; with very large ears and a glimmering green colored body. HC addendum Source: Janet Bord, Faeries Real Encounters with The Little People Type: E Encounter with isolated humanoid creature. High Strangeness Index: “6” Reliability of Source: “9” Comments: Report of fairy like humanoid encounter. And something from Folklore: this is what comes up when you click the link, but the lines below were in the description. So I assume this was written by one of these: Violet Alford, Alasdair Alpin MacGregor, J. Y. Bell & F. K. Annable Perhaps one of these bookshops could help locate any titles by her. She’s not listed in the Nottingham Library catalog. Kandinsky writes ‘In the birthday article it seems likely she had no surviving children as it focuses on friends rather than offspring, nieces and nephews. I’ve noticed that people who have an intellectual bent towards the anomalous tend to have the ‘magpie gene.’ In other words, they collect stuff that most people would cast aside. If she conformed to the template, it’s likely that she would have maintained a collection of her notes and so forth out of sheer bloody-minded compulsion. I know you’re one of them and I am too. This could be a trail worth following as it’s possible she could have willed a collection to a friend or relation. If so, we could contact the Nottingham website and see if the person who authored the article has any other details. Sometimes the end of a person’s life is underlined with a house-clearance. This could offer the chance that her belongings were sold off or perhaps sit in a dusty, leased container alongside the bric-a-brac of other lifetimes. Another avenue could be to check out her family history and see if their are any living relatives. Do you think these ideas could be worth exploring, or have they been tried already? Perhaps it’s a maudlin mood, but I like the romantic connotations of securing a little historical niche for her and her beliefs – a legacy.’ Thanks everyone for your sterling work!