The usual question one asks on the subject of elemental creatures is this: do you believe in fairies. The real question is do the fairies believe in you? I would consider myself to be a reasonably rational individual, yet I really do accept that elemental beings, such as goblins, elves, pixies, gnomes and fairies, the little people in fact do exist. It is my experience that they occupy a parallel dimension that exists alongside what we perceive of as being reality within the usually accepted parameters of, length, depth, and height. This dimension, call it the fourth dimension, is inextricably connected to our supposed reality, interwoven in fact and as real as the trees, the rocks and flowers that are a natural part of this world.
At the risk of seeming facetious I am going to detail just two of the elemental beings that may be familiar to you and briefly discuss origins and anecdotal accounts of encounters between said fantastical creatures and members of the human race.
Gnomes: The 16th century occultist, astrologer and alchemist Paracelsus (Phillipus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim 1493-1541) expounded the theory that there existed within the earth a species of humanoid beings he called Gnomus and describes them as being approximately two spans in height. (a span is the distance between the tip of the thumb and the tip of the little finger when the hand is spread wide. So two spans would be around 16 to 18 inches). These beings were able, according to Paracelsus, to travel through the earth as easily as humans walk through air. This would mean, in essence, that the Gnomes were not constructed of flesh, blood and bone but of an etheric substance less substantial, at least as we perceive. There have been reports of gnome sightings on the isle of Gibralter where a certain sailor whilst partaking of a picnic with a young lady on a hill there had his sandwich stolen by a very naughty gnome. He reported that the little fellow had a pointed cap, a buckled belt and was carrying a small hammer. In mythology gnomes are associated with mines. The first movement of the musical work Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky (1839-1881)is titled The Gnome and the music creates an image of a the elemental being busy underground hammering away.
Fairies: There is a worldwide belief in fairies who are also known as The Good Folk or The Little People. In Italy they are called Fata, in Portugal Fada, in France Fee, In Greece Moirai. The fairy folk have been known throughout history and they were in ancient Roman times associated with fate and known collectively in Latin as Fatum. Clearly there have been accounts of fairy folk in many countries and various cultures dating back thousands of years so though we today in our materialistic world may consider such reports as nonsense there were times when serious consideration was given to the existence of elemental beings. There exists today numerous websites dedicated to reporting modern day contemporary sightings and encounters with fairies. One such site is Realitywalker.com created by the former medical research scientist Clive Hetherington who states that he does not just believe in other dimensional beings he knows they exist in the same way he knows that the computer he uses to access the internet exists. Here is a brief example of an encounter Clive had taken verbatim from his website:
By Clive Hetherington: My first encounter with a fairy was just off the local popular bridal way near where I used to live in County Durham between Rolands Gill and Medomsley. I had a period when I would jog about a mile or so up the track in an attempt to get fit. Often however, I never made the mile as I would either be dragged into the wood by some fun nature spirits wanting to play or by Herne to be led to some interesting energy areas. On one such occasion I was led through the undergrowth until I emerged by a stream. There was a small overhanging tree on the other side which seemed to have some sort of being sitting in its central branches about two meters from the ground. As I got closer it resolved into a white creature holding a long stick type thing which actually twinkled at one end – sorry but I just could not handle that this could be a magic wand. What really confused me was that it seemed quite big (about two feet tall (60cm)) and seemed eh! somewhat overweight. As I believed that fairys were very small – say no more than six inches tall (15cm) and slim this encounter caused me slight confusion. As did the fact that it actually seemed to have some sort of magic wand. Communication went something along the lines of; ‘Are you a fairy?’ – ‘Yes I’m a fairy’ – ‘Eh!! – Are you sure?’ – ‘YES‘ ‘Aren’t you eh!! . . . too eh . . . big? . . for a fairy? . . . ‘ and is that a magic wand? . . . . . ‘ I don’t think she was impressed with this exchange; she went a little sulky. So, a fat over sized fairy stretched my boundaries about fairies. She seemed to be lonely and wanted to keep to herself. I never asked if she could cast spells with her wand.
In my personal experience I have always known that there are what I see as semi-translucent beings that I identify as elementals. As a child I saw in the Pendle hills and woodlands close by my home village of Foulridge in Lancashire tiny beings that appeared on the branches and bows of trees and hedgerows, though they kept themselves to themselves. As a young adult I lost the ability to see these beings or fairies as many call them. It was only in later life, having experienced many physical traumas and encounters with death that I suddenly discovered that I could again innocently interact with the little people. I use a flute to play them a happy tune and in the wild woods of Cumbria where myself and my wife Mary visit throughout the Summer season into Autumn I have found many fantastical elementals. In fact I have now found a wonderful new way to explore the amazing and wonderful world of elemental beings through the power of digital photography. Indeed there is a website dedicated to displaying photographic images of the fairy folk this is on the world wide web available to all: fairytastic.ning.com You really should join this site if you are at all interested in seeing elemental beings because they are for real, the photographs on this site show you clearly, to me at least, that what we may miss with our naked eyes can be discerned by the powerful multi megapixel digital cameras of today. Test this for yourself. Go into a wood, twilight is best time, find a quiet dell, running water, a stream is best or even better a waterfall, sing a song, play a mouth-organ a guitar or whatever then take some photographs. At home on your computer photoshop programme enlarge these to 150%. You will, with an open mind, see the fairy folk as they are there within the foliage and mists of our woodland glades.
There is a slight problem I perceive for most adult sentient beings, that is the fairies do not believe in such people at all. You see, as crazy as this may appear, to the elementals we humans are as diaphanous as they are to us. That is why I always sing and play to them they love this and will come out to join in the fun. Remember to treat their homes with respect as indeed you must always treat fairy folk for they can be wonderful friends but terrible foes if one upsets them. I always say hello, please and thank you to the little people when I visit the woodlands for I know they are sensitive to our intrusions. I feel that now is the time for knowledge of the fairy people to be accepted. But most importantly it is essential that we respect their world then and only then will the fairies truly believe in us as friends.
You can check out the websites I have mentioned: www realitywalker com and www fairytastic.ning com I am John G. Sutton. This month’s column was inspired by and is dedicated to the memory of my late pal and very good friend of the fairies THE Joe Cooper author of ‘The Case of The Cottingley Fairies’.