#26 – The “Good People” of Irish Folk Lore

What are we to make of the fairy-faith of traditional celtic societies, Ireland in particular? The stories provide a unified explanatory framework for thinking about a range of paranormal phenomena. They also serve some social and cultural functions. Altogether, I propose that the fairy-faith is a comprehensive “paradigm” in a sense reminscent of philosopher Thomas Kuhn’s work on scientific paradigms. This is a defense of belief in the reality of fairies.

The "Good People" of Irish (and Celtic) Folk Lore

****Note: I try to post LITERAL transcripts of the show. But for this episode, I made major changes on the fly. The episode was too long and (in my view) my Neo-Kuhnian defense of fairy-faith is not adequately developed to have made episode 26 both fun and informative. You may see the notes below as a more extended version of what I was angling at saying in the episode that aired. My apologies to those of you who are looking for a precise word-for-word transcript. This is a compromise between what I can do in a realistic amount of time and what I think will most enable my audience to go further, taking from my work what they need to advance their own thinking.

If you have the time to read it, I think this is a far superior version of my defense of the fairy-faith. And I hope to develop it further in future work. Stay tuned! ***


Good morning, good evening, wherever you may be, around the nation or around the world.

I am your host Dane. Broadcasting from an undisclosed location,

In contemporary American television and movies, fairies are represented as dimminutive feminine humanoids with insect-like wings. The classic 1953 Disney Film “Peter Pan” features a small fairy named Tinkerbell who secretes an enchanting powder that enables humans to fly. But you might also have your conception of fairies shaped by the popular Legend of Zelda video games, which featured tiny pixie-like fairies who could restore your character to health or even bring him back from the dead.

but, the Good People of Ireland, as the Fairies are called, are not like the friendly sprites from American fiction. they’re certainly not something you can grab and squeeze like a sponge to steal their enriching energy. For one thing, they’re often not described as small at all, but being more or less just like us. They’re rarely described as flying. And they’re not always benevolent. At least in the Irish stories, Fairies can be helpful, but they can also be profoundly harmful. More often, they seem to be neutral, but always dangerous. They have their own town and roads, their own secret society that operates parallel to humans, and they seem to have an agenda that only occasionally intersects with human concerns and interests. As we shall see, more often they prey upon us, than we prey upon them.

Against this backdrop of weird, often indifferent, and sometimes hostile, little people, is an important question: why has Ireland, in particular, created such a rich tapestry of stories, unifying a range of phenomena: Fairy forts, fairy circles, orb lights, omens, premonitions, and dead folk returning to walk among the living? One of the most interesting things about the fairy tales of Ireland and celtic is the way that the wee people provided the Irish with a unified explanation for a wide range of seemingly paranormal phenomena. And the tentative thesis I have to offer you dear listeners, is a new possibility for thinking about the good people: I propose that they’re less a phenomena to be explained, and more a mode of thinking.

Welcome back,

I have an excellent primary source text that informed this episode:

Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland, by Eddie Lenihan, Carolyn Eve Green

Which is a collection of Irish folk stories.

Stable Features of Fairies:

Good Looking People – Mysterious, nocturnal humanoids. Sometimes described as three-foot tall. Sometimes described as wizened. But frequently described as looking just like normal humans, except they look much better. They’re good looking people, often beautiful and well-dressed. Rarely are fairies described as looking ill or sickly.

Fairy forts – Also known as  lios or raths. There are actual historical sites labeled “Fairy Forts” by the Irish. So-called “Mainstream” Historians and Archeologists – the kind who are attached to public, accredited Universities. The mainstream community describes these artifacts as ” stone circlesringfortshillforts, or other circular prehistoric dwellings,” some of which are believed to be dated as far back as 600 B.C.E. In 1991, there were believed to be between 30 and 40 thousand of these sites around Ireland. (source: wikipedia) 

They maintain dwelling places called forts and if you so much as cut down the whitethorn bushes on or around their forts, you risk fierce retaliation from the fairies. Demolish a fairy fort, and the fairies are liable to ruin your life with tragic accidents.

In 2011, an Irish Developer is said to have been ruined because he disrupted a fairy fort. And I found an article from 2017 in which an Irish politician blamed disruption to the fairy communities for difficulties the government was having maintaining the roads.

Fairy paths – they travel from location to location, often between forts. The paths need to remain clear. Many poltergeist-type events in Ireland are said to be due to fairy people. The solution to these hauntings is to alter the construction of the house to give the fairy people an easement. In one story I read the haunted home-owner built a home on a fairy path without knowing. Then he was hearing strange noises that were keeping him up at night. Sounded like the furniture was moving around. Eventually, he puts two little doors at either ends of their home. This allowed the fairies to enter the house at one end and leave at the other and mostly put an end to the trouble. However, he continues to hear the fairies one night a year and then lose a cow to premature and unexplained death three days later, which he decides is a kind of fairy toll for the inconvenience of his home.

Parallel culture – Many of the stories I’ve read described the fairies as having a culture that parallels ours. For example, I found one story about a man walking alone on a road in Ireland, who was recruited by the fairies to referee a soccer match. And it turned out that they followed the same rules as us. The man was terrified of offending the ferries, so he refereed in such a way that it came out a draw. The fairies thanked him and asked him to come back. He said he would, but then he changed his life so he could avoid that road.

Another story. young woman forced to travel in the middle of the night to attend a Fairy party, that revolved around a ferry woman giving birth in an adjacent room. The young woman was asked to midwife, which she did, but the baby was born dead. She watched in horror as the fairies threw the corpse into a fire, and brought in a new baby, and presented it to the fairy mother, who accepted it as her child. And then in a weird twist, the ashes of the dead fairy child were mixed into a kind of baptismal font. And as the attendees left the party that night, they all smeared ashen water into their eyes. Of course, the woman does it too, thinking “when in Rome.” But she only smears the ash in one eye. She is returned home, and her family prospers with some fairy-gold she is given as compensation.

But years later, she’s at a cattle fair, and who should she see, but some of the fairy people from the party! And she flags them down. The fairies act shocked and come up to her. They say “you can see us?” and she says yes. They say “can you see us out of both eyes?” the woman closes one eye, then the other, and she realizes that she can only see them from the eye that she smeared with the ash-water. Upon learning this the fairies say to her “now you don’t!” and they poke out her eye.

As horrifying as the story is, it illustrates the weird nature of the good people – having a kind of party, to celebrate the birth of a child, but then there’s these dark twists: the baby is born dead, so they quickly replace it, they burn the body in a dark ritual, the party concludes.

And then I also read about a young man who was recruited to attend a fairy wake. He stood around awkwardly and made small talk with some other captured children, who were permeant denizens of the fairy world. And then when they buried the casket he noticed that they said the same prayers that he used at his Catholic Church, except they left out references to the resurrection of the dead. The strong implication here being that the good people do not see themselves as eligible for christian salvation.

Need for humans – many of the stories I found said that when Fairies have a major social event – a party, a funeral, or a sporting event – they need one human being who is not already part of the fairy world to be present. They frequently recruit human beings to serve as the human witness for their ceremonies.

Children often taken – The Fairies are notorious for stealing babies, sometimes swapping them with fairy creatures called “changelings” disguised as babies.

Don’t eat the food – If you eat fairy food, then you may not return to the human world. In all the stories I’ve read so far, the fairies try to give you something to eat. And they really try to strong arm you into eating. In the stories, people politely refuse, because they know that they’ll be trapped with the fairy people.

In one story, the man ate their cake and then turned up again.

Here is one story taken from The Science of Fairy Tales An Inquiry into Fairy Mythology,  Edwin Sidney Hartland 

[a man who lived in Brecknockshire] went out to look after his cattle and sheep, but disappeared. Three weeks later, after the search parties had all given up, the man re-appeared at home. His wife asked him where he had been for three weeks, and he said “Three weeks? Is it three weeks you call three hours?” Pressed to explain, he said he had been playing his flute in the woods, when he was surrounded by little beings, like men, who closed nearer and nearer to him until they became a small circle. They sang and danced and so affected him that he lost himself. They offered him some small cakes to eat, which he partook; and he had never enjoyed himself so well in his life.”

So that guy was lucky he only vanished for three weeks.

Beautiful music – they make excellent music. They’re also excellent dancers. And they’re often, although not always, described as beautiful people. It sounds like if you DO attend a fairy event, you’ll have a good time.

Retributive if crossed – In one story, a man witnessed a horrible wheel that would roll through his property every evening. On closer inspection it turned out to be an eel with its own tail in its mouth. The main became so disturbed by this interloper, that he slashed it with a scythe. Killing it and bringing it home as proof to show his wife. In punishment, the fairy people rigged a booby trap outside his house, and he lost his foot.

Weaknesses – Cannot cross running water. And they hate iron. These are features that they seem to share with spirits. But there is disagreement on whether they are spirits or not.

How to avoid trouble with – Don’t speak ill of them! This is why they are called “The Good People” it is a euphemism and a way of being respectful. Also try to avoid being alone at night! The worst nights of the year for bad fairy encounters are November eve and May eve. That would be the last night of October, or Halloween, and then the last night of April. By the way, if you listen to this podcast on the weekend it drops, May eve is right around the corner.

If you read these irish or celtic fairy tales, you will often find a variety of entities who appear in these stories as well, here are just a few:

Bean Feasa – a woman of knowledge. This is what we might call a witch. Apparently, they weren’t considered exactly bad in the Irish tradition. But, a Bean Feasa often got her power from a relationship with fairies, and this could put her at odds with the Catholic Church.

Banshees – spirits that announce the death of a family member. I read that there’s disagreement about whether Banshees are wee people or something different.

Leprachauns – Leprechauns apparently ARE wee people, they’re just one kind of wee people. Often thought to be the cobblers, whose work earns them their famous pots of gold. There are sometimes said to be no female leprachauns, which suggests to me that they’re not a sub-race or a tribe. If you catch a leprachaun you can force him to grant you three wishes, but in some stories the leprechaun grants you wishes in a subversive way, similar to the story “the monkey’s paw” so that your wishes are technically granted, but in an unfortunate way that makes you even worse off than before.

Related to Leprechauns, I found a weird story from the Irish Post ( )

Chief among [L. hunters] was Kevin ‘McCoillte’ Woods, a man known to many as Ireland’s last Leprechaun Whisperer.

Though still sceptical, Woods was determined to discover the truth and, that same year, led an organised leprechaun hunt in the region that sparked confusion and amusement alike.

It would ultimately prove a fruitless endeavor though, with no trace of the ancient Irish being discovered during their travails. Had the leprechauns gone into hiding? Died out? Did they ever exist in the first place?

For a while everything went quiet as interest in finding a real-life Leprechaun died down. People returned to normal life and the whole thing was laughed off.

But Woods was undeterred and in 2002 he came across another discovery that prompted similar bafflement. 

Located close to a stone wall on Ghan Road in Carlingford he came across yet more gold coins.. This raised the question “Had he hidden the coins himself to excite interest in treasure hunting?”

It’s unclear, though things took a turn for the weird. Woods revealed that the coins had given him the ability to communicate with the “Carraig” an elder being who apparently served as the elder of the 236 surviving leprechauns, secretly living in the region.

The article also says that “every year, on the second Sunday in May, Woods leads the annual Carlingford National Leprechaun Hunt through the Irish village. Plus, yhe Irish Post reports that 2,000 tiny caldrons are distributed for Leprechaun hunters to find. So it sounds like a cultural event, possible a culturally-mediated hoax…

Or maybe these fairies are a case of a socially constructed phenomena, like the Tulpa!

It does seem to me that anyone trying to get to the bottom of the Irish fairy tale has to struggle through the reality of Irish Craik, this is a word that means “enjoyable gossip” and it seems to leafnote the Irish love of stories, and perhaps embellishment.

So, one way in which Irish Craik clearly manifests and points at how the Irish seem to have a cultural understanding that stories should be entertaining, and this seems to complicate tales about the wee people, is that the Irish will say that a woman who dies in childbirth was carried, by which they mean she was carried away by the fairies.

And I found one really weird story that seemed to reinforce this. This is from Meeting the Other Crowd. This man finds a woman sneaking into his house at night and eating his food. When he confronts her, she says that she’s been taken by the fairies, but she won’t eat their food so she has to escape at night and find someone else’s food. But, she cant’ come back to human society unless her husband comes and gets her. So she gives the farmer the name of her husband. And the farmer goes and looks him up, and it’s a man who recently re-married because his wife died in childbirth.

Now, the farmer goes to talk to a priest about it. What do I do, this woman says she’s the wife and she needs her husband to rescue her, but the husband is remarried? The priest says “just leave it alone. Don’t get involved.” and that’s the end of the story.

And I thought “well, there’s nothing here but a CLAIM to have been kidnapped by fairies, which doesn’t really square up to me with breaking into a guy’s house in the middle of the night. She clearly CAN get away, so why can’t she just STAY with humans?

And I thought “this sounds like a case of blaming the fairies to get out of trouble.” In fact, I found a couple stories that fit the same pattern: 1.) someone leaves food out at night for another person who works late, 2.) the late-worker finds a woman eating his food, 3.) the woman blames the fairies and says only her husband can save her.

The Irish had a period of famine. 1845 to 1852. 1 million people died, and 1 million people fled the country. So that the population dropped 25%. In that context, of people dying, going missing, and starving to death, I can see how there would be a lot supper thievery and identity games going on.

So I think…it’s impossible to read about the fairy people, without seeing them as at least partially a cultural phenomena. People are telling these stories for reasons other than simply just because they are true. In some cases, I could suppose that people who get caught doing misdeeds in Ireland might even be expected to tell a tall-tale, as a kind of recompensation.

And the author, Carolyn Eve Green notes that Ireland has changed dramatically in just a single generation. And in ways that may have shaped how people experience reality,

  1. Walking is significantly down. People have cars now.
  2. So there’s less walking at night.
  3. People use electric lights now at night everywhere.
  4. Local customs and religiousity are both in steep decline.
  5. There are educational pressures to suppres fairy lore. Apparently, higher education condemns belief in fairies in Ireland.
  6. The practice of roaming from house to house in the evening, showing up unexpectedly and telling stories has largely vanished.

So, Carolyn Eve Green seems to suggest that the fairy stories, at least, were a product of a particular kind of almost pre-industrial culture, that exists in Ireland into the 20th century.

Now, that doesn’t resolve the mystery of the fairies completely, in my view. Because, there is still this question of why these stories are so popular with the celtic peoples, and especially the Irish.

One quick thought is: how do we know it’s JUST celtic or in Ireland? Maybe these stories are from all over the world. On that note, a very quick search on youtube found one story of little people from an indigenous community up in Wisconsin. I found a man talking into the camera about trickster people who would party on his Uncle’s porch. He described hearing footsteps, suggestive of running on his uncle’s porch, and his uncle going outside with tobacco to do a ritual to keep them at bay. And I thought.. It sounds like they built that house on a fairy path.

So, it seems to me that there is some phenomena here that causes the fairy people stories. I’m proposing a core paranormal phenomena, which may not be unique to Ireland.

And so let’s talk about that. Because in the fairy stories, I find evidence of MULTIPLE DIFFERENT phenomena, which today we label paranormal, but which the Irish have provided a unified explanatory account for, using the fairy people.

I’ve already mentioned that the Irish folk take mysterious lights, especially seen at night, to be evidence of fairy people. Often these spirits lights are thought to define a fairy throughway, especially if they repeat. Well, here in the U.S. We just call ’em orbs.

Furthermore, they say that fairy people when they dance at night, leave rings in the fields. Clearly, the Irish folk have been using fairy people to explain the paranormal phenomenon that in the 20th century came to be labeled ‘crop circles’.

Many people who die are said to be taken by the fairies. In many Irish stories encounters with the dead ‘turn out’ to be encounters with people who have been taken by the fairies. Suggesting to me, that we can see the Irish folk as explaining what we call ghost encounters as brushes with the fairy world.

I also heard about stories of strange noises, coming from fairy forts. Sometimes it’s music. Sometimes its the sounds of construction. Sometimes . Anyone who is familiar with the old show Coast to Coast, will recall that show has many episodes about mysterious noises, often coming from underground.

And lastly, paranormal abductions. When people describe being taken away by monsters in the 21st century, we often interpret these as stories about aliens. But, I’ve already mentioned that abduction-type encounters feature prevalently among Irish fairy tales.

And here is one story, from the USA that shows how blurry the line between aliens and fairies can be.

Taken from Jacques Vallee’s book Passport to Magonia, here is a case from Everittstown, New Jersey, 1957:

John Trasco went outside to feed his dog. He saw a brilliant egg-shaped object hovering in front of hs barn. On his way outside, he encountered a three-foot being with putty-colored face and large frog-like eyes. It was wearing a green suit, with shiny buttons, a green tam-o-shanter-like cap, and gloves with a shiny object at the tip of each finger. (Coral Lorenzen) 

 It said in broken english “We are a peaceful people, we only want your dog.”

There was some kind of altercation, because the husband later complained that he got green powder on himself from fighting the creature, which then took off in a rush.

His wife reported seeing the hovering egg from the house, but she did not see the creature. 

So, here we have a story of an attempted abduction, associated with a UFO. But the creature is dressed like a Leprechaun. Showing that some of these UFO abduction stories may very well be on a continuum with fairy abduction stories.

So, when you think about the orbs, the crop circles, the abductions, the ghosts, and all that, I propose that the fairy people, perhaps rather than being a phenomena in themselves, and better understood as a theoretical model that provides a single unified explanation for a wide range of paranormal phenomena.

And I realize that this leaves us, back where we were at the beginning, because it doesn’t tell us….whether some of these mysterious encounters with beautiful, sometimes, smallish, impish humanoids, are CAUSED BY, physically real creatures. Because it is possible that there are, or at least were, a parallel race, living alongside us.

Of course, this raises the question: what would these things be? Well, recently archeologists have been talking about discovering evidence of pigmy humanoids that co-existed with humans. In 2004, national geographic reported on the discovery that there was a species of homo sapiens, that never became larger than 3 foot, that lived in Indonesia. Homo floresiensis . And they lived at least as late as 18,000 years ago. Is it possible that homo floresiensis lasted longer? Absolutely.

And this theory is not unique to me, it was first developed by David MacRitchie in his book “ The Testimony of Tradition “ he proposes that Mongols came to Ireland and remants of the Mongols survived in the hills for an extended period of time. This was 1890, long before evidence of the Homo Floresiensis had been verified by the archeological mainstream. But, the Mongol theory would place those pigmy people at much later date than if they were Homo Floresiensis. Nevertheless, my sense is that this is a live possibility that we should take seriously.

So, let me wrap up my proposal for understanding fairy-faith:

I figure, we can see the fairy-faith less as a putative phenomena, but more as what the philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn called a “paradigm” – a paradigm is a theoretical model that accounts for a wide range of empirical data by positing some underlying explanation. Kuhn’s go-to example is Aristotelian physics, the Aristotelians explained various kinds of changes in the physical world by positing four kinds of matter: fire, earth, water, air. And everything naturally seeks its place in the universe, so this is why fire rises, and air rises, while water and earth descend. And the story gets more complicated from there, but this model of things seeking their natural place explained a lot of motion.

Similarly, we can see that the Little People stories of Ireland are a sort of model, that posits a parallel world of active agential-driven activities, and this could explain a wide variety of weird phenomena, which are often not grouped together by paranormal researchers in the contemporary world.

And as for the question:; well, why Little People? Why not, just inter-dimensional beings who sometimes manifest as balls of light and sometimes as people and sometimes as crop circles? Well, there are people we’ve talked about on this show, like John Keel, who think that shape-shifting ultra-terrestrials are the right all-encompassing explanation for everything from UFOs to Little People.

But what I’m open to the concrete physical reality of smaller humans, sometime in the past of the Celtic peoples, which may have been the seed around which the fairy tale paradigm revolves. You see, as Kuhn himself observes in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, paradigms grow up because they are very good at explaining certain empirical phenomena. People adopt particular paradigms, ways of viewing the world, because those ways of viewing the world provide excellent explanations for some subset of the empirical realities those people attend to.

One of the reasons why we want to invoke Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigms – it helps us make sense of why there’s a sense in which the reality of fairy folk is independent of whether miniature magical humanoids literally exist. Kuhn maintains that the central theoretical features of a paradigm are postulates. Postulates need not be provably true in order to be useful. If fairy people are a useful assumption, then they can be treated as if they were a known quantity, for the sake of the value that believing in them generates.

First to say something about what postulates are. A postulate is something that is assumed to be real, because treating it as if it were real solves problems. Strictly speaking, one example of a postulate is the ‘parallel postulate’ of Euclidean geometry. The parallel postulate states that through any given point not on a line there passes exactly one line parallel to that line in the same plane. You can’t prove this. It’s an assumption. Starting from this assumption (and others that seem just as obvious, but unprovable) Euclid was able to show that many more interesting claims about geometry were true. So that’s what a postulate is: something you cannot prove, but whose existence you assume because it enables you to solve problems.

Similarly, Kuhn says that we might see certain elements of Aristotelian as a postulate of Aristotelian physics. As I mentioned already, Aristotelian natures seem to be one example. You can’t “see” the nature of fire, earth, water, air. It’s something Aristotelians assumed, because it solved many problems. Another example from a different physics would be the forces of Newtonian mechanics. You can’t “see” the forces – they’re assumed for the sake of the system. Thus, Aristotlean natures and Newtonian forces are postulates – not provably true, but useful to treat as if they are true.

Now, if fairies can explain a wide range of phenomena – crop circles, spirit lights, hauntings, and human disappearances – then it seems to be that they have the same right to be assumed as postulates as Aristotlean natures or Newtonian forces. That is, they can be treated as if they were real within the structure of the theory, because of their ability to solve problems.

Kuhn thought that you can’t meaningfully question the existence of postulates independently of their paradigm. After all, Aristotelian physics really does solve problems – it has explanatory power and provides a unified picture of the world. Plus, it can always be modified in little ways to solve any particular problem you want to solve. It’s conceivable that a person might explain all the physics we have today, entirely by making small changes to Aristotelianism. Similarly, for a long time, when Newtonian physics was running into trouble, the astronomers preferred to solve those problems by making small adjustments or adding new assumptions. One famous example – Newtonian physics did not do a good job of predicting the orbit of Mercury. So, the astronomers at the time posited the existence of another planet called “Vulcan” that was closer to the sun than Mercury and whose gravitational pull kept Mercury off-course. Today, we are more apt to say that Mercury did not conform to Newtonian physics because Newtonian physics doesn’t describe the orbits of planets as well as Eisenstein physics does. But, the point is, you can always add new entities to keep a system going.

If Kuhn is right that you can’t meaningfully question the existence of postulates independently of their paradigm, and little people are a postulate of some kind of “folk tale” model of reality, then we can’t meaningfully deny the existence of fairy people. From the folk tale point-of-view, fairies are real. All you can do is say “well, is the folk tale theory of reality better than the alternatives?” And what are the alternatives really? As near as I can tell, modern science doesn’t have good explanations for spirit parties, crop circles, cryptid abductions, orbs and spirit lights. Insofar as it explains these things at all, it tends to do by explaining them away. Error-theories are provided – theories of why these things don’t exist. And the error-theories are not themselves unified – they’re a bunch of ad hoc accounts of why this piece of empirical data is an artifact, or why this observer was drunk, or debilitated, lying, stupid, or crazy.

There is no unified “error-theory” of the paranormal from the point-of dogmatic naturalism (i.e. those who deny the existence of non-material phenomena). The absence of a unified account is a major mark against these people and the way that they see reality.

Furthermore, I want to remind the listener that i’ve suggested that there are some problems that fairy people solve, which are not, strictly-speaking, mysterious phenomena. The fairy people might be invoked to solve social problems AS WELL: speaking respectfully of the dead, or getting out of trouble for eating someone’s food during a famine. And this could be an additional reason to invoke the fairy people.

If all this is right, then it suggests an alternative way of asessing the fairy-faith. The reality of the fairy people is less a question of whether they literally exist, and more a question of the various epistemic desiderata (explanatory power, predictive power) and non-epistemic desiderata (social mores and norms) that believing in them confers.

Of course, in the end, many of us will say: that’s all fine and good, but I REALLY WANT TO KNOW IF THERE ARE TINY MAGIC PEOPLE RUNNING AROUND IRELAND!

This intuition also has to be respected: we cannot completely dismiss the flat-out, naive, literalist, demand to know: are THEY FREAKING OUT THERE OR NOT? On this question, I am a flat-out agnostic: I just do not know. I haven’t done enough research to feel confident weighing in on the issue yet.

All I am saying here, is that the annoyingly literalist demand for a simple answer “TINY MAGIC PEOPLE – YES OR NO? NOW!” is actually a different one from the question of the validity of the fairy-faith. And this could help explain why many of us feel uncomfortable or even angry, when the literalist comes to us, pressing and demanding, a quick answer.

Can you imagine them doing that to Einstein? “IS MOTION REAL, YES OR NO, NOW!” if the people in power had acted like this, the whole question of nuclear physics – including the development of weapons for defending the U.S. Against Japan and then the Soviets – might have been swept away in a hubris of literalism.

So, I submit this as a possible account of the Fairy People, while pleaing for the right to revise my view in the future!

Ok. That is the show.

My sources for this research included:

Meeting the Other Crowd: The Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland, by Eddie Lenihan, Carolyn Eve Green

Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, by Jacques Vallee.

The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries (Celtic, Irish) by Evans-Wentz

The Science of Fairy Tales An Inquiry into Fairy Mythology, Edwin Sidney Hartland

“The Incommensurability of Scientific Theories” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (February 2009)

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