From Abracadabra to Zombies
reader comments: fairies
28 Jan 2000
I was just perusing your article "Fairies." And no, I will not berate you for your disbelief. I think we are all entitled to our own opinions- so long as we don't thrust them upon others, that is. What I wished to say was that I have gotten the impression that your arguments are decidedly one- sided.
reply: You are very perceptive.
You focus on the Cottingley Glen incident- was this your only source? How can you base total disbelief on one hoax? (Yes, I do admit that was what this was.)
reply: The Cottingley Fairies are mentioned to (a) ward off the critics who would point out that since a great writer like Conan Doyle believed in fairies, there must be something to it; and (b) to exemplify how even intelligent people can be deluded about the paranormal and occult. The disbelief in fairies is based on the lack of any good reason to believe in such creatures.
Would it not be more to your advantage to look into sources which discuss the reality behind faeries (yes, that is how many of us spell it), as you seem to believe that we all think faeries are tiny winged things like Tinkerbell? Such is not the case. I'm just suggesting that perhaps you need to broaden your spectrum before you dismiss something as a "dupe," as you so eloquently phrase it.
reply: And whom might these sources be? You had an opportunity to broaden my and my readers' "spectrum" but you didn't do it. Why?
I found your whole style to be rather offensive- you seem to be
saying that anyone who believes in anything that can't be scientifically
analyzed must be an absolute moron. Perhaps you ought to edit this. I
respect your opinions, but maybe you ought to be more careful about
offending others. To disbelieve is one thing; to scoff and mock is
another. You appear to lack a total faith in everything. Things are not
always scientific. There are many things out there which cannot be
explained. While yes, some may be fakes, but others- well, how can you be
so sure? I shall leave you alone now, before you start throwing a self-
righteous fit over my liberal (what a concept!) views. All I shall say is
that I do feel sorry for you. You must lead an extremely empty life.
Except when you're mocking and dashing the views and beliefs of others,
reply: Thanks for not being offensive and not scoffing or mocking me. No doubt you have convinced many thoughtful people of your views by your perspicacious and detailed evidence.
27 Aug 1999
I really enjoy your website. It's extremely clear and well-written. I'm poking through the cryptozoology site today and found your brief entry on Fairies. While its a very clear explanation & delineation of modern concepts, it neglects the historical aspect found in the Arthurian cycle, wherein fairies and other so-called Green People are roughly the same size as humans, living in what we might call "another dimension" out of which they can step at will, and into which they can "abduct" or lure the unwary. This other dimension looks like, yet doesn't look like, its more 3-dimensional earthly surroundings.
I'm by no means a scholar and have only the armchair critic's interest in collecting this sort of information, so I'm afraid I can't refer you to sources beyond the Mabinogian and similar writings. I simply find it interesting that (1) these medieval (and possibly earlier folkloric) accounts are remarkably similar to modern alien abductions, minus the anal probing, and (2) these creatures were diminutized over time, perhaps by the Christians in their attempt to snuff out and render evil or irrelevant the religions and superstitions of native Europeans. As to (1), I don't assert that this parallel implies some inherent objective truthfulness, but rather some impulse that persists through time and across cultures to explain the initially unexplainable. I think of changelings as a way to describe mental retardation or other diseases, or even SIDS. Similarly, abductions by the Tuatha de Daanan or X-Files aliens can be some sort of mental defense to protect against recognizing some other event or activity that has, similarly, rendered a person disoriented in some deep way.
As for (2), well, I think enough's been said about that. Sorry to
ramble on, and no need to respond. I know you have enough to do, and this
email is in no way a criticism, merely a suggestion of some tiny tangent
that can be expanded upon with interesting implications.
reply: I think I'll leave the expansion to someone else, thanks, but if big fairies became wee people over time, it may have had something to do with trying to explain why they were so hard to see and how they could get into so much mischief, and how they were, in many ways, just like children. Christians have been accused of many things, but this is the first time I've ever heard them being accused of diminutizing fairies.
26 May 1996
While I was doing a little "surfing" on the Net, I came across your homepage here. Wow... aren't you the skeptic.
You definately have a negative outlook on just about everything... or that's how the text files seem to point. I'm not trying to be insulting, by the way. But I mean, you have to believe in SOME things. If life was as black and white as a heavy skeptic might want to believe, life would be very cold.
reply: Actually, we skeptics think more in terms of shades of gray, purple, blue, red, etc. Sometimes its hot, sometimes it's pretty cool, and, yes, sometimes it's very cold.
Tell you what... I have a small story for you. Even I question my sanity when I tell people about it, but I KNOW it happened. Here goes...
When I was about 10 (roughly), I woke up from my sleep for no reason. I heard nothing, but I looked up towards my window. I was quite awake at this point, and saw a fairy! She was at the top of my window between the ends of the top of the curtains. She was basically floating there. You know the fairy that flies around in Walt Disney cartoons? That's close to what I saw! When the fairy looked down and noticed I saw her, she got a surprised expression, covered her mouth with her hand, kinda tucked in her body like a jerky motion, and then vanished.
You probably think I'm just making this up, but I DID see this.
reply: I may be a skeptic but your story just rings with verisimilitude. How could I doubt it?
Just TRY to believe that life is more than logical.
John \"Magnus\" Altinger
reply: No problem. You and your fairy are proof that life is more than logical.