I've blogged about this before, but the subject came up with Mom again recently, and then I learned about a new book that intrigues me, to say the least.
Well, it goes like this: down through the years my mom has told me the story of a sunny day, when she was a child of eight or so, that she and her friend Winkie were on the front porch playing, and upon looking up they both saw and described a little man, dressed in red and green and wearing a hat with a pointed hat. The little man made eye contact with them and then ducked into a hole in the ground (that part of the city of Chattanooga, TN was quite rural at that time).
According to my mom, she asked Winkie, "did you see that?" Winkie described the same sight my mom had seen. (My mom swears, and always has, that she asked Winkie to describe what she saw before she blurted her assessment.)
No matter how often I have "grilled" Mom on the details, her story has never wavered. I wrote a post that suggested that perhaps she was so impressed by a childhood visit to a local tourist attraction, Lookout Mountain's Rock City perhaps it led to a fantasy. Rock City, besides being a lovely gardens and natural rock citadel, was a virtual fairyland of its creator, Frieda Carter (Carter was heavily interested in European folklore and troubled herself to import Gnome figurines from Germany to enhance Rock City's natural beauty).
My mother dismissed my theory as preposterous. I'm moved by that. My mother is not a liar (although I wouldn't rule out being a bit fantasy-prone). But who am I to tell her she didn't see what she and her friend allegedly saw?
Now I notice the recent publication of Seeing Fairies: From the Lost Archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, Authentic Reports of Fairies in Modern Times, by a member of the Fairy Investigation Society, the late Marjorie T. Johnson.
Johnson's book claims to present accounts of approximately four hundred fairy sightings from people all over the world, allegedly "the biggest single collection of fairy experiences ever amassed." A blurb at Amazon.com states:
THIS IS NOT A CHILDREN'S BOOK. Its accounts of fairy experiences, mostly from the twentieth century, have come from business men and women, housewives, journalists, clergymen, bus drivers, anglers, gypsies, school teachers, university professors, soldiers, artists, authors, poets, musicians, sculptors, actresses, and many others who have seen fairies of various types in houses, churches, and sheds; in gardens, fields, woods, country lanes, and public parks; on moors, hills, and mountains; and even on sewing machines, typewriters, and kitchen stoves.
Yes, and I've known it for some time, there really are people who claim to have seen fairies. And yes, I'm one of those who has actually read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's embarrassing The Coming Of The Fairies. Without question the eyes can play tricks on us, and those very inclined to believe can delude themselves. But I have to tell you, my mom sounds really convincing....