If you've been a reader of my blog for very long you must be aware that I have a fondness for the offbeat and Fortean experiences. I'm more an idealist than a materialist; more Jungian than Freudian. I believe in the primacy of mind over matter. Please keep that in mind when you read posts like this one.
My mother's last remaining brother died last year. There was a story about Uncle Harry that I remember from my youth. It fascinated me then, especially when I was a young child. ON Saturday I asked my mom to tell me about it all over again - just to make sure I had remembered it accurately. (Really there isn't that much to it.) It goes like this:
As was common in the depression years of the 1930s and early 1940s, my mother's parents had a small home that was cramped with children. My Uncle Harry slept on a rollaway bed in the kitchen because there weren't enough bedrooms and sleeping spaces in the rest of the house.
One morning, after he had awoke - and he always maintained he was fully awake when this happened - he happened to look at the kitchen table and noticed a small man standing underneath, leaning on one of the table legs. He was dressed in plain clothes and was doing nothing other than leaning. He looked away and looked back and the man was gone.
Okay, so far it's still easy enough to dismiss that as a child's overactive imagination, or maybe, despite his protestations, Harry was not fully awake that morning.
But I learned that this happened in the same house my mother lived in when she and her friend Winkie saw a little man outdoors who, upon being sighted, ducked behind some rocks. Long time readers might remember the post I did about that one, and I tried to dismiss that as my mom's young mind being highly impressed (as I knew it was) by her childhood visit to a local tourist attract (Lookout Mountain's famous Rock City), which is highly decorated with gnomes that were imported from Germany. All this occurred in Hixson, Tennessee, which was quite rural back in the 30s.
My mom is immovable about what she says she saw. And was again Saturday when I discussed this with her. In my whole life she never wavered in the details of her story (or Harry's, which I never had the chance to ask him about because he lived out of state).
Believe it or not, there is a vast amount of accounts of people who claim to have seen fairies and little people of all kinds. It might be easy to dismiss this stuff as lies, delusions, or the product of those who are overly fantasy-prone.
But there is another alternative. That would be to recognize a reality beyond the common or "normal" reality. Before you dismiss me as a crackpot, I would highly recommend a book that has helped me along as I've tried to make sense of the strange and uncanny in my life and in the lives of others I know personally. That books is Daimonic Reality: A field Guide to the Otherworld, by Patrick Harpur. I highly recommend Harpur's book, unless your mind is bolted tight in Western literalism and materialism. I would also recommend that Jung be consulted about archetypes. Those are some good starting places.
Most of you know my background of having been raised by my parents in the Christian Pentecostal tradition. I came from a world of visions, angels, and intense demonology. I know folks who claim to have seen angels and demons. Again, one doesn't have to restrict oneself to the Pentecostal tradition to find accounts of people who have encountered otherworldly beings.
Is there a way to make sense of Fortean experiences without resorting to mental illness as an explanation? I think there is. Sometimes we just need to expand our thinking.