(3/14/01 8:38:22 am)
|Relationship between fairies and UFO's|
Hi, I'm a University student in Sheffield, England, and I'm writing an essay on the similarities between old sightings of fairy-folk and the modern belief in UFOs and their occupants. Sightings of both are remarkably similar. Does anyone have any information on this topic, and if so could they email me at joa98njs@Sheffield.ac.uk before sat 17th March 2001. Thanks a lot, folks.
(3/14/01 10:05:25 am)
I would have to go digging through old material to give you a specific, but it's been observed for years by Carl Sagan and others that there are marked similarities between descriptions of fairy abductions in ancient tales and legends, and contemporary alien abductions--all of which makes the case that this is an old psychological phenomenon wearing new clothes.
And writers of dubious credentials and intent, like Eric Von Daniken, have taken descriptions of angels and Ezekiel's Wheel out of the Bible and made claims that these could be interpretted as alien encounters and UFOs respectively.
You should have no trouble finding information on any of these "connections."
(3/14/01 10:06:20 am)
|Re: Relationship between fairies and UFO's|
One book that I have read that covers this topic somewhat is "Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People" by Janet Bord. She does discuss the similarities between fairy sightings and alien sightings/abduction stories. While the book is not hugely scholarly, it does sport a nice little bibliography and is footnoted.
I'd be interested in what you end up writing.
(3/15/01 11:22:05 am)
Kaspian Lost, by Richard Grant
(an author I'm enjoying more and more lately), is not a scholarly
work, but characters in the book do discuss the relationship between
fairies and aliens. The similarities in abduction experiences, etc.
It's worth the read even if it doesn't directly help your paper
(3/15/01 2:41:24 pm)
|Strange and Secret Peoples ...|
Carole G. Silver has a section on this topic in her brilliant exploration of Victorian attitudes as seen through the lens of fairy/folk tales. The book is titled _Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness_, and the chapter concerning this topic "Fairwell to the Fairies", subtitled "Variations on 'Farewell': Science and Transformation".
Good luck on your project,
(3/16/01 8:21:32 am)
|Carole Silver book|
Helen, I agree with you, the Carole Silver book is brilliant. I loved it. Does anyone on this board know her?
(3/18/01 10:26:29 pm)
Another curious similarity between aliens and faeries is the way both were/are used to explain peculiar events and mishaps- as alibis. For instance, in Mercutio's Queen Mab speech in Act 1 Scene 4 of Romeo and Juliet, the faerie queen is held responsible for a vast range of ailments including dirty dreams and knots in maidens' hair and is even credited with teaching women how to bear a lover's weight. The only difference seems to be that we've upped the stakes- aliens split thicker hairs.
I'm wondering how the tradition of the fairy bride/mistress might impact upon this connection between fairy and alien abductions- especially the Victorian gentleman's covert fantasy of being abducted by his very own "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" and stories like Thomas the Rhymer in particular. It's a sexual and "moral" abduction as much as it is a physical abduction- it allows the abductee and readers to engage in the kind of fantasies they could not allow themselves to construct using the "respectable" gender roles of their own society- it's a bit like the way the discourse of Orientalism allowed European men to say things about "Oriental" women which they could not possibly say about European women.
Now, the question (and the point) is- do alien abduction stories serve a similiar function? Do they allow their creators and audiences to articulate usually inadmissable fantasies and fears?
(3/19/01 10:42:13 am)
Not to get too specious--but I wonder what phobias and fears might be expressed here? Do all those who think they've been abducted by aliens harbor a secret desire to be anally probed? There's a Kids in the Hall skit with two aliens sitting around on board their ship, arguing about the point of abducting humans. The one who wants to give up this experiment and go home points out angrily that they've been abducting and anally probing people for nearly forty years and all they've really determined is that about 10% of the humans seem to like it. Not much of a grand scheme...or phobia.
The pattern with alien abductions seems very well defined, but it doesn't offer much in the way of definitive explanation of what's really going on--some semi-conscious dream state phenomenon is usually attributed; but if so, then why are the stories so consistent? As, it seems, they were when it was faeries, too. Which makes me wonder if it's something archetypal emerging.
I'm reminded too of the "benandante" as described by Carlo Ginzburg in his book "The Night Battles." These were considered special, magically empowered members of villages in the Friuli region of Italy, who would periodically leave their bodies and go off to do nocturnal battles with evil witches that wanted to destroy their crops. The nature of the battles was consistent enough (from inquisitional transcripts that have survived) to suggest that either they had been told what to expect and so fantasized as required, or else were sharing in some collective experience, as shamans seem to do worldwide. Eventually they were stamped out by the Church, their protective magic branded as Satanic--not much of a surprise there.
But it seems that faerie folk and the devil share a lot of common behaviors and uses as well. Both are blamed for similar things. So maybe there's a middle step, at least in European/American society, with the work of the devil replacing the mischief of the faeries and, in turn, giving way to aliens as notions of Satan have eroded. As has been pointed out in numerous books and articles, the *desire* for UFOs seems to parallel the desire for millennial events, raptures, second comings and such (ex., the Heaven's Gate cult). Mother ships now stand in for heaven.
Anyway, it's really a much larger question than it seems at first glance, isn't it.
GF (who'd rather be abducted by the Sidhe, thanks all the same)
(3/19/01 2:37:01 pm)
Not exactly on subject, but I wonder if we can see a bit of the transition between fairies and the Christian devil as the instigator/enabler of our more basic unacceptable desires. I remember reading accounts of the Wild Hunt which seem to feature either Hern or the Devil in the huntsman role, depending on which version you happen across. Not that it's likely the two versions can be dated accurately, even though I'd tend to assume the version with Old Nick was later.
(3/19/01 4:09:01 pm)
|Mother of all villains|
While, undeniably, the anal probe phenomenon does render the alien abduction scenario a less than appealing proposition for most, I don't think this inhibits the extent to which an abduction narrative can serve as an outlet for transgressive desires. As you note, many entities inherit the havock wrecker's/abductor's mantle before the aliens- I would add vampires and the "reds under the bed" to the geneology.
In reality, not many people would enjoy having their blood and life sucked out of their body and yet the expression on the face of a vampire's victim, especially a female victim, is frequently one of rapture. Maybe it's not a physiological desire which is finding expression in these narratives, but I do think that a dominant culture needs to entertain its antitheses, its enemies, even its (millenial) end and that these narratives can be a vehicle for that. The culture needs something to define itself against. Every superpower needs an enemy- you only have to consider a film like "Independence Day" to see the ways in which aliens are, at least on a fictional level, assuming this role as arch enemy of the American people.
It's not so much a desire for sexual relations with supernatural
beings as it is a desire to lose one's will, to surrender completely,
to return to that infantile state. Why else would the alien in the
"ALIEN" movies be a mother?