Seeing Fairies is Out: Lost Manuscript Found July 9, 2014Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern , trackback
A bragging post today. This morning a copy of Marjorie Johnson’s Seeing Fairies: From the Lost Archives of the Fairy Investigation Society arrived by express delivery: major kudos in the village when the red van drives up and the courier demands a signature, the butcher and the baker came out to watch. Regular or perhaps better veteran readers of this blog will know that Marjorie Johnson was secretary of the Fairy Investigation Society in the 1950s and that a missing manuscript of fairy sightings that she put together was the subject of prior posts here. In fact, readers of StrangeHistory were instrumental in helping find this manuscript and it is fair to say that had it not been for the many contributions from readers then this book would never have emerged from the printing press: or at least not in this form and on this timetable. As such this is one of a number of examples where strangehistory readers have changed history: or, at least, rewritten history; the blog and readers are thanked in the acknowledgements. I made a vague calculation and came up with a figure of about 350-400 fairy (and a few angels!) sightings in as many pages that stretch from the late nineteenth century through to the late twentieth century with a concentration in the Second World War and immediately afterwards and with sightings from all over the western world (and beyond). There are a lot of flowers and wings for traditional tastes and some angels: but there are also ‘folk’ accounts that could have come from 1700 and it is difficult to think of any collection with this range and number of memorates. The following extract is from Ireland and might be a sampler: note particularly the time slip.
A strange adventure befell the late Mr. Hugh Sheridan in the first week of February, 1953, and Mr. Willie Monks has kindly sent me this summary of his friend’s statement: ‘I was going home as usual across the fields from where I work at Messrs. J. McColloch & Sons, Gerrardstown, to my home at Bettyville. Both these places are in Ballyboughal, and the distance between them is about a half-mile. I was alone. It was duskish – about 6.30 p.m. – and when nearing the corner of one of the fields I heard a tittering noise ‘like the titter of someone going to play a joke on you’. At first I thought it was some of the other men who had gone on before me and who might be intending to play some prank. However, I noticed immediately afterwards what looked like a large, greenish tarpaulin on the ground, with ‘thousands of fairies’ on it. I then found there were a lot more around me. They were of two sizes, some about four feet high, and others about eighteen or twenty inches high. Except for size, both kinds were exactly alike. They wore dark, bluish-grey coats, tight at the waist and flared at the hips, with a sort of shoulder-cape. As all the fairies kept facing me I could not be sure if the cape went around them, but the ends stuck out over the shoulders. The covering of their legs was tight, rather like puttees, and they appeared to be wearing shoes. I started on the path towards home, and the fairies went with me in front and all around. The larger fairies kept the nearest to me. The ones in front kept skipping backwards as they went, and their feet appeared to be touching the ground. They seemed to be wearing hats rather like a raised beret in shape, with a jutting-out top edge. There were males and females, all seemingly in their early twenties. They had very pleasant faces, with plumper cheeks than those of humans, and the men’s faces were devoid of hair or whiskers. I did not specially notice their hands. As I moved along the path, one tall fairy kept before me all the time. This was a girl, and a man kept near her. They seemed to have partly fair, wavy or curly hair. None of the fairies had wings. They tried to get me off the path towards a gateway leading from the field, but just before I reached it I realized they were trying to take me away, so I resisted and turned towards the path again. At about 40 yards from the gateway I was going along by the ditch when I fell or got into it, but I do not know very clearly how this happened. While I was in it the fairies remained around, and I could see others coming out of the bushes and briars. I got out of the ditch and continued towards the path until I reached it again. I moved on towards home with the fairies around me, and they kept up the tittering noise all the time. In the end I got to a plank leading across a ditch from one field to another, and suddenly all the fairies went away. They seemed to go back, with the noise gradually fading. At one time I had reached out my arms to try to catch them, but I cannot be sure whether they skipped back just out of reach, or whether my hands passed through them without feeling anything. They were smiling and pleasant all the time, and I could see their eyes watching me. When I got home I found I was about three-quarters of an hour late, but I thought I had been delayed only a few minutes. While the fairies were with me I had a rather exciting feeling ‘like being on a great height’, but I was in no way afraid. I would very much like to meet them again.
I have put the Amazon page for the US and for Britain. An advert will be going up in a few days to give Marjorie’s life’s work a boost: it took her half a century to write the book and it is a shame that she didn’t survive to see it in print. And a note in the book claims that that is her on the front cover summoning up a fairy, hence the cloud of smoke. I’m speechless. What a lady: well done Marjorie!
‘Home art gone and taken wages’.