Thursday, June 25, 2015

Notes on Werewolves

Werewolves are some of the most captivating characters in lore, though most of the original tales about them were short encounter stories, (i.e. A wolf attacks someone and rips off a piece of their clothing. Later the person meets a friend who has bits of their clothing in their teeth.)

As with everything else, however, there are many aspects of werewolves which can be understood by piecing together these many tiny pieces of lore. For example, there seems to be some connection between werewolves and the Forest King and or water spirits. I've state previously that the idea of the devil appearing to someone and bargaining with them for their soul is based on previous ideas about forest fairies or water fairies. These fairies often needed human workers for various tasks and so would pay them in advance for this work, which was often hellish in nature.

These same forest spirits seem to have given people the magical belts they used to turn into wolves. In France werewolves would transform by going into fairy pools during the full moon which would also seem to indicate that the fairies were involved in this transformation somehow. Finally there were werewolves who were clearly shaman figures, again connecting them to the world of fairy. However, despite a few vague connections it's hard to say exactly what this relationship was at what time. All we truly have is 19th century understanding of the idea of werewolves, which pretty much ignores the existence of anything but devils.

Still there is something to be said for 19th century beliefs, and in the spirit of that I'm providing some of my notes on werewolves in this blog.


Categories of Werewolves

Werewolves are among the most complicated of mythological creatures because they have so many backgrounds and types. Indeed, just as every person is unique every werewolf is unique as well. Further each village could be said to have some of their own traditions regarding werewolves. For example, silver bullets were one common way to fight them but in some places a gold bullet was required, in others the silver had to be blessed, while in others a person could force a wolf to turn back to its human form by using its name. Just as there were different ways to kill a werewolf there were different reasons a person might become one which I’ve broken down into a number of different types.


The Serial Killer

There are some few bloodthirsty humans who choose the darkness willingly, people who enjoy doing evil. It was believed that such people would at times study necromancy in order to give themselves body and soul to the devil in return for the power to commit murder. It was said that one such man desired neither wealth nor promotion, instead he wanted to find a way to cause suffering and pain to all people. Seeing the evil in his heart the devil granted the young man his wish.

Yea, often it came to pass that as he walked abroad in the fields, if he chanced to spy a company of maidens playing together or else milking their kine, in his wolfish shape he would incontinent run among them, and while the rest escaped by flight, he would be sure to lay hold of one, and after his filthy lust fulfilled, he would murder her presently. Beside, if he had liked to known any of them, look who he had a mind unto, her he would pursue, whether she were before or behind, and take her from the rest, for such was his swiftness of foot while he continued a wolf that he would outrun the swiftest greyhound in that country; and so much he had practiced this wickedness that the who province was feared by the cruelty of this bloody and devouring wolf. 

Stories about such serial killing werewolves aren’t common, however. Indeed its difficult to find many. More common are stories of people who become a werewolf in order to kill specific targets.


Vengeful

There are some people who learn necromancy and gain the power to become a werewolf in order to get revenge on specific people. In one story a man was courting two sisters, cheating on one with the other, but he wasn’t really interested in either and eventually he left them both. Shen they found out what he’d done they got together and swore revenge. In order to get their vengeance they studied magic until they were able to turn into wolves at which point they sought the man out and devoured him.


Cursed

The most famous type of werewolf are those who are cursed to become one. Such people might be cursed to become werewolves for a number of reasons. Some would inherit the magical belt that allowed them to become a werewolf, once they put it on, however, they wouldn’t be able to take it off for seven years and and would have to remain a wolf for that entire time. Other times the act of putting on the belt seems to have been an addition, for while some people seemed to dislike putting on the belt they couldn’t help but do so every once in a while. Finally there were some few people who were cursed to become werewolves by a jilted lover, angry rivel, or the devil/forest spirit. One girl in Japan, for example, began to act fox like and dangerous after being cursed by forest spirits for damaging a sacred tree. Oddly enough the only place I know of where the full moon factors regularly into such stories is Southern France. In “Le Folklore de France” Paul Sebillot says that;

The fountains are related to lycanthropy. Around 1820, a writer of Perigord reported a superstition that was common in this country and in neighboring provinces that some men, including the sons of priests, were forced every full moon to transform into werewolves. 

In this case the people don’t just transform into wolves, however. Instead when the power of the moon takes them they go running into one of the fountains of water, jump in and come out in their animal form until day time. Exactly how or why they are cursed to become werewolves isn’t said nor is it explained exactly how the sacred fountains are involved. These fountains, however, were home to the most important fairies and goddesses in France so there may in this sense be some connection between the often jealous fairies who were very much like nymphs and werewolves.



Shaman

At one time werewolves in Northern Europe were believed to be the enemies of witches and the servants of the devil. One old man told how he and an army of others would send their souls from their bodies in the form of wolves in order to fight the devil and evil spirits who were trying to blight people’s crops. Another picture depicts an old man with wolves claws fighting Baba Yaga, (the guardian of the underworld) which may mean that previously to the devil these wolves protected people from other underworldly beings. In another case a young man had seziers during a feast, after which he said how an invisible witch had entered the room so he’d sent his soul out in the form of a wolf in order to kill her.

Berserker’s and certain Celtic warriors were also said to be able to send their souls out of their bodies in the form of wolves or other animals in order to do battle.


Desperate

Starvation was the greatest villain in fairy tales. There are many stories of parents even eating their own children because of starvation, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that some desperate people would turn to darker powers in order to get food. In the form of a wolf a peasant could eat the cattle and sheep of the wealthy or steal other food. These people didn’t always seem to have complete control over themselves, however, and so would, at times, attack other people, even those they loved.


Born

There are some people who are born and raised as werewolves. In Ireland there is a story about a man who helps a young wolf. Later when this man gets lost in the forest he comes across a hut of people who turn out to be werewolves. They promise not to harm him, however, for while they normally would eat people in the forest it turns out that one of them was the wolf the man helped. In some ways I view these werewolves as a bit like the family of cannibles in “Texas Chainsaw Massacure.” They grow up in isolation, their culture built on the idea of eating people, while they develop their own twisted form of honor.



Further Notes on Werewolves

Sagen, märchen und gebräuche aus Meklenburg, Volumes 1-2

 A young woman whose husband was often absent unknown reasons, became suspicious that he was Werewolf. One day when they were working in the fields he left her again. Suddenly a wolf came out of the bushes, running toward her. It grabbed her red skirt and began ripping at it. She managed to drive it away with her pitchfork, however. Some time later her husband came out of the bushes and notices that he has pieces of her dress stuck between his teeth. 

This story about someone finding out that someone is a werewolf from the bits of cloth between their teeth is one of the most common stories about encounters with werewolves. Unfortunatlly as you’ll see most stories with werewolves are very, very short, and lack in any detail about the werewolves themselves.



Certain people may be by means of a folded belt, which is cut from the skin of a hanged man and is held together by a buckle with seven tongues transform into a wolf. Such wolves are black and the size of a calf. If someone can break this buckle the werewolf will turn back into a naked man
In Erichsburg the balif kept many old things which had been confiscated includingrifles taken from pochers. There was also a belt that was said to be able to turn a person into a wolf. Once the baliffs servant was wondering with another man if the belt could actually turn someone into a wolf. At last he decided to find out, he strapped the belt on and immediately turned into a wolf. In the form of a wolf he began chasing his friend. The ballif who had seen this got on his horse and chopped the belt buckle so that his servant stood before him once more.

During the seven years war seven men were stayin in a farmhouse with a farmer, his wife, and their child. During the night the woman noticed that one of the soldiers got up, put on a belt and turned into a wolf. He went to the cradle to devour the child, but having been suspicious the woman had put the sleeping child somewhere else where it would be safe. Eventually the werewolf gave up, took his belt off and went back to bed. Later when he and the soldiers where leaving she reminded him of that night. 

Several men were reaping the fields. When they were done they lay down to rest. Not far from them a horse was grazing. One of the men got up and by means of belt he turned into a wolf and fell on the horse devouring it. He then turned back into a man and layed down as if nothing had happened. One woman had seen everything, however. Later when the man awoke he complained of stomach pain, at which poin the woman told him that if she’d eaten a horse her stomach would hurt as well. 




Sagenschatz des Luxemburger Landes, gesammelt von N. Gredt. By N Gredt

One day a boy noticed that an Austrian soldier passing through his town was in fact a werewolf, so the boy stole his magical book. The Austrian tried to find out where the book was, but no one could tell him anything so he had to leave without it. The boy zealously read the book in order to lure the art of turning into a wolf. A few years later he would turn into a wolf and creep into people’s houses in order to steal their ham, butter, eggs, etc. 
At home he told a maid that if a wolf came at her she should throw her skirt at him and it would leave her alone. One day a large grey and red wolf came running at her and she throw her apron at him. The wolf fell on the apron. Later she noticed that the boy had a bit of this same apron in his mouth. When the boys mother found out about this she grew enraged and threw his book into the fire. 
After this the boy disappeared intoe the forest and wasn’t seen again in his village. There was talk from a neighboring castle that a Baron had started to loose many sheep to a wolf which couldn’t be killed as each bullet would fall harmlessly to the ground without hitting the animal. Finally  the Baron got a silver bullet which had been blessed. At last eh baron was able to shoot the wolf, which turned into an injured man who begged for his life. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cute Fairy Art

Cute pictures improve productivity, that has been scientifically proven. It's also likely that they increase happiness. In other words, while most art is meaningless, cute stuff does something to make our lives better and the world a better place.

This is my buffardello singing with a bird.

Having grown up in a Yupik village in Alaska with no roads for 200 miles I learned a very traditional style of art. Although I have since studied other forms of art I am still very inspired by this traditional way of drawing.






familiar Spirits - Witches and Fairies

No witch would be complete without a familiar spirit, for in ancient lore a witch was someone who a fairy had become attached to.

From Cinderella's helping spirits to Puss in Boots, familiar spirits are hidden throughout fairy tales and lore. In many ways they are the most important part of folk religion, as at one time the cunning folk (good witches) were more important to the spiritual life of people in rural England than even the priests.

The relationship between each witch and their familiar spirits is unique. One woman from the Amur river had children with a tiger spirit after which her own magical spirit children became her familiar spirit. Another man found a wife while on a spirit journey and she became his familiar spirit, while in Italy a girls familiar spirit was the soul of her dead uncle. In England and Germany, however, most familiar spirits are servants of the Queen of the fairies who can take human or animal form.


Gaining a Familiar Spirit

In lore, there were always some few who sought out the fairies in hopes of becoming a witch. In Russia, for example, there were some people who sought the goodwill of the unclean dead by offering them eggs (Russian Folk Belief). Yet, in most stories, these people are attacked by the spirits or grow so frightened when they encounter them that they flee. As a consequence their aren't very many records of people gaining power by seeking out the fairies, even though it was sometimes considered to be very easy to become a witch. One unique exception to this is the case of Ann Jefferies, a servant girl who did bold things that even boys were afraid to do. For example, she would go out into the wild;

"Turning up fern leaves, and looking into the bells of the foxglove to find a fairy, singing all the time. “‘Fairy fairy and fairy bright; Come and be my chosen sprite,”
 She never allowed a moonlight night to pass without going down into the valley, and walked against the stream, singing: ‘Moon shines bright, waters run clear, I am here, but where's my fairy dear?"

At first, the fairies ignored her, then one day, after she'd finished her chores for the morning in the household where she worked as a servant, and she was sitting in the garden, when six little men in green with “charming faces and bright eyes” came.
Anne's case is fairly rare; however, more commonly, a person inherits their relationship with the fairies from someone else (a mother, an uncle, etc.) or they are chosen by the fairies during a time of grief. As Purkiss puts it; "Fairies are the fantasies of the dispossessed. They do not come from wealth and privilege. They come from the deeps of misery. People whose lives are a perpetual struggle to survive suddenly faced with one burden too many..... A fairy story is a story about hitting rock bottom – in that sense a story about dying..."

So very often, the first encounter took place when the future witch lay dying or found herself in a time of desperation.

Saint Selvija from the village of Sveta in the vicinity of Demir Hisar offers an interesting example. Despite being married for ten years, Selvija was not able to give birth. According to her story, that period was “a great burden” for her... The story continues to state that because she was not able to have a child, her husband stopped loving her and started trying to force her to leave. She refused to do so as she had no other place to go. In the last four years of her “childless experience,” Selvija stopped eating everything, even bread. In this period of self-starvation, she often prayed to God to give her a child, vowing that she would be his servant. One day when, in an extremely weak and depressed condition, she sat down to rest, St. John appeared at her door and instructed her to go to a certain monastery where there was healing water that would make her healthy and able to have children: and finally, she had a girl... After having her children, Selvija became “weak” again until one day she fell into a coma. She was “like dead” for three days and three nights. That was the first time she visited both Heaven and Hell. After coming back, she started to heal and continued to heal until the end of her life.... (Petreska,2008)

In England, a starving man named John Webster was returning home from work with a heavy heart, for he couldn't think of a way to get food for his wife and children. That was when he met a fairy (who appeared as a woman dressed in fine clothes) who offered to help him escape his poverty. Meanwhile, Bessie Dunlop meets the fairy Tom Reid when she is starving to death and weak from having just given birth to a child, yet she still has to drive the cattle out into the field and home again by herself because her husband and child are even worse off than she is. Adding to all of this, one of her cows has just died, leaving her even more impoverished than she was before. As with most such stories, the fairy offers her comfort and aid so that she can get through her hard times (Wilby, 2006).
In the German fairytale, “Puss and Boots,” a boy’s father dies, leaving him so poverty stricken that he thinks his only recourse is to eat a cat and then starve to death, until the cat speaks to him and promises to make him rich (Jacob Grimm believed this cat to be a household fairy). In the story of “Godfather Death,” a poor man has no means to provide his son with a christening and so is desperately seeking any aid he can find when he encounters death, who offers to stand as godfather for his child (and who later aids his child in performing magical healing).
The miller’s daughter in “Rumpelstiltskin,” encounters the fairy Rumpelstiltskin when she has been locked away by her “fiancé” with the order that she weave straw into gold. At this time, she is between her father’s house and that of a potential husband, between being free and a prisoner, and it is then when the fairy appears to her. In “The Old Woman in the Wood,” everyone that a young girl is traveling with is murdered by bandits and, although she manages to escape, she is lost and soon finds herself starving. Sad at the loss of everyone she knows and so weary from starvation that she can't go on, she at last sits down to die. That is when a white bird comes with a magical key to a tree filled with food.


Into the Fairy Court


It was common during this first encounter for the relationship between fairies and witches to be formalized with their familiar spirit taking the witch to the fairy court to stand before the devil or the fairy queen. A witch named Isabell Haldane was taken when she was lying in her bed and carried to a hillside, which opened up for her to enter. She stayed there for twelve hours in the fairy court before being brought home again by a man with a gray beard.
Although Isabell says very little about her experience in the fairy court this first time, most people were given assignments to spread mischief or to help the poor as the kinder fairies were very often obsessed with helping those in need. Both these tasks were hard as helping the poor could mean fermenting a rebellion against the nobility. Such rebellions rarely ended well, as Joan of Arcs story shows. Even when a witch was asked to simply heal the sick and poor with magic they   but more commonly, it involved healing the sick and poor with magic the witches tended to live thereafter in poverty. After all, one doesn't become rich by serving the poor.

In the case of Alison, her brother returned from Egypt to find her on the verge of death, so he healed her and took her to Fairyland. There, he introduced her to witches and the Fairy Queen (Linton, 1883). In an odd take on this idea, a man named Andrew Man was promised power by his mother, then, some twenty-eight years later, the Fairy Queen came and killed all his cattle. “and it was then that their guilty, albeit poetic and loving intercourse, began.” From this time on, he also gained many powers (Linton, 1883).


The Life of a witch

Since witches are very rarely in control of their own lives, how they live depends largely on the fairies which they end up serving and as I stated at the beginning of this article their are a near infinite number of relationships a person can have with the fairies. Some familiar spirits view their witch as a slave others as a pet, a lover, a sibling, a friend, a partner, and more. One thing is clear, however. If you want to tell the story of a traditional witch, you should perhaps begin by figuring out the personality of the familiar spirit they serve, for their life depends on this.

Friday, May 29, 2015

House Fairy Figurines

My little house fairies, like many house fairies once lived like children at an eternal slumber party, carefree and a bit wild they played about the forests until humans came along. One by one, like stray kittens, they found their way into human homes. 

Filled with mischief and giggles they kind little creatures who are quick to fall in love and loyal to a fault. Though prone to playing pranks they are also our unseen protectors they fight a secret war which nightly spills from our lawns and rooftops into our warm kitchens and dark attics to keep us safe from the things that go bump in the night.

Like all fairies, house fairies have two sides to them, however, and so if the people of the house are messy, unkind, or if the fairy has been offended it can quickly become wild and troublesome. Such troublesome fairies are where we get poltergeists from.

Check them out on 


Glimpse the Brownie
From the thick brush of parks and backyards Glimpse plays peek-a-boo with those lucky enough to see him. Anxious to please glimpse is quick to try helping those in need, cleaning what needs cleaned and watching over sleeping children. 
Still a child, however, Glimpse is quick to fracture into obnoxious anger, becoming the poltergeist which just won’t leave you alone. 







Whispering Rain
The Buffardello
At the first smell of rain these wild little fairies come tumbling into people’s homes. Overly rambunctious they dash madly about the house, inspiring children and pets to do the same. 
Like a gleeful kitten this little fairy is likely to pounce on your free roaming thoughts, filling them with an over exuberant energy, pushing to you to do something wild or create something beautiful. 











Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Micro-Fictions as Fantasy Writing Prompts

Little short moments in time from fantasy worlds to help inspire you. You can read a few more of these here.  Or Check out my page of Fantasy Writing Prompts for more inspiration.




(I know a full moon can't rise in the day, but not all werewolves change only during a full moon)

I hear a banshee crying sadly on the moor. My heart grows heavy as I realize she cries for me. My wife was right, I never should have taken this journey.



Brightly colored seashell jewelry clackles as the orcs run towards the beached whale.


The werewolf growls as it circles the tree and the yowling cat.


Yawning and stretching 
The satyr rises with the moon to search for love.


An old motor roars as the car rumbles wildly through the fields. Crashing over rocks and weeds and finally into the creak. A troop of giggling fairies fly out of the wreck and go searching for another toy to steal.

Hiding from the cold rain under their umbrellas 
no one sees the dragon flying overhead.

The trolls huddle in the cold mountain rain, 
looking down on the warm village.


The mighty dragon, once a lord of the fire and sky. 
Now a child carves patterns in his bones.






Thursday, May 7, 2015

Banshee

Few mythological figures are as shrouded in mystery and misinformation as the banshee. Most popular culture depicts them as evil, and often times as men. Banshees are neither.

To fully understand banshee's it's perhaps best begin with a bit of ancient Irish and Scottish Funeral Traditions. In Ireland and Scotland Keening, that is a wailing sorrowful song was an important part of saying goodbye to someone who had passed on. Because of this women would often be hired to keen a poem of lamentation for the deceased, that is until the Catholic church outlawed such practices. The fact that such practices were outlawed seems to indicate that there was some magical or pagan element in the practice of keening beyond simply morning for the dead. After all many different places in Europe had their own unique funeral songs and styles, and only in rare cases did these get banned by the Church.

The movie Darby O-Gill depicts the banshee as a fearsome ghost.

The Banshee is simply a fairy which loves people so much that they keen (and clap their hands as was a traditional part of morning) when someone is about to die. Their eyes are red with crying. The mere fact that they are so often seen crying for a person who is going to die should be a clear indication that they aren't evil, but overly sympathetic to the plight of certain people. Overtime their association with death did cause fear and ultimately led to the  current thinking about them in Hollywood. That, however, is an evolution which occurred because people lost touch with their traditional roots, rather than an original idea.


So What Was the Banshee?

Banshees were ancestral spirits of specific families. As a general rule only important (noble) families had a banshee attached to them. Though there are exceptions to this. The banshee was oftentimes the spirit of a woman who died without children and became a sort of patron aunt of a family. 

Lady Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde states that "Sometimes the Banshee assumes the form of some sweet singing virgin of the family who died young, and has been given the mission by the invisible powers to become the harbinger of coming doom to her mortal kindred. Or she may be seen at night as a shrouded woman, crouched beneath the trees, lamenting with veiled face; or flying past in the moonlight, crying bitterly: and the cry of thus spirit is mournful beyond all other sounds on earth, and betokens certain death to some member of the family whenever it. is heard in the silence of the night."

Banshees would also act as guides into the afterlife. She would "draw nigh at the time of death, and bear the soul to its fairy home." (Yes originally people went to fairyland when they died).

Okay, so the banshee appears to be an ancestral spirit. One which in addition to crying for the death of a loved one can at times help their family. They'll give the gift of poetry, help the heads of families with decisions, and occasionally give babies blessings. In one tale the banshee of the mountain advices a man named McKineely on how to free a woman from the tower she's been shut up in. The banshee then fairies him to the island the woman is on and uses Druidic magic to put the guards to sleep.

This isn't the whole story, however, as there were, however, also two hills in Aberdeenshire Scotland where the banshee like being appears to have been the tutelary deities of the land. Those passing through the area would leave them bread in return for safe travel. Whether this points to a remnant of an older tradition, is unique to the area, or is the result of confusion about the nature of banshees vs tutelary spirits I can't say. 

In another case a banshee appears to be a living spirit which was carried away into fairy land; I was also shown a small cottage in which a girl named Olla had lived. She was carried off by the fairies, and her wailing was heard before the death of her mother, and again before the death of several members of her family. A farmer, or even a labourer, may have a banshee attached to his family—a little white creature was the description given to me by a woman who said she had seen one; others say that banshees are like birds.

In this case banshees aren't fairies at all, but people who live with fairies (though this distinction is often fuzzy as people seem to be able to become fairies).

Yet in a story told by Yeats in "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry" it seems that the banshees very closely resemble fairies and have their own courts which they rule over. In this story a piper encounters a fairy who tells him;

"There's a great feast in the house of the Banshee, on the top of Croagh Patric tonight," says the Púca, "and I'm for bringing you there to play music, and, take my word, you'll get the price of your trouble."

"By my word, you'll save me a journey, then," says the piper, "for Father William put a journey to Croagh Patric on me, because I stole the white gander from him last Martinmas."

The Púca rushed him across hills and bogs and rough places, till he brought him to the top of Croagh Patric. Then the Púca struck three blows with his foot, and a great door opened, and they passed in together, into a fine room.

The piper saw a golden table in the middle of the room, and hundreds of old women (cailleacha) sitting round about it. The old woman rose up, and said, "A hundred thousand welcomes to you, you Púca of November (na Samhna). Who is this you have brought with you?"

"The best piper in Ireland," says the Púca.

One of the old women struck a blow on the ground, and a door opened in the side of the wall, and what should the piper see coming out but the white gander which he had stolen from Father William.

"By my conscience, then," says the piper, "myself and my mother ate every taste of that gander, only one wing, and I gave that to Moy-rua (Red Mary), and it's she told the priest I stole his gander."

The gander cleaned the table, and carried it away, and the Púca said, "Play up music for these ladies."

The piper played up, and the old women began dancing, and they were dancing till they were tired. Then the Púca said to pay the piper, and every old woman drew out a gold piece, and gave it to him.

"By the tooth of Patric," said he, "I'm as rich as the son of a lord"

- So what does all this mean?

Ireland didn't have a single comprehensive folk religion. Rather there were many ideas about banshees. The one common thread is that they were female fairies who had a close connection to specific families or places. In a way they can be thought of as people who entered the fairy world but couldn't let go of their human families.






















Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fairies in America

At the time of the American War of Independence, a native of Tiree... wishing to escape from his Fairy love, enlisted and was drafted off to the States. On landing he thanked God he was now where the hag could not reach him. Soon after, however, she met him. "You have given thanks," she said, " for getting rid of me, but it is as easy for me to make my appearance here as in your own country."

(For those of you keeping track this means that a man fought the American's during the Revolutionary War in order to escape a fairy lover - Writing Prompt - Tell the story of someone who is protected by their fairy lover during a war, even as they are trying to get out of the relationship)

There are many Scottish tales of fairy women following men to the America's. Indeed the fairies were so entwined with human civilization that they came to America in droves. This was especially true of house fairies, and ancestral spirits such as banshees, but even the fairies of the mounds came to America. As a resault any given city in America would have whatever fairies existed in Europe, Asia as well as in America before the immigration. This creates an interesting situation for writers in which Russian Domovi might encounter Scottish Brownies, or Saxon elves may have to share hills with Japanese Tengu.

In one case a fiddler returning from a wedding encounters a woman dressed in green, a Scottish fairy, who ultimatly gives him and his decendents the gift of being great musicians. This is very similar to many artists and craftsmen in Scotland who receive their gifts from the people of the hills.

Another Scottish Fairy to come to America was the Bauchan which would constantly wrestle around with a particular mortal like an overly aggresive and rambunxious teenager. At the same time he was clearly attached to the human for he would help him gather wood, or retrieve lost items for him. After the man moved to America he found the Bauchan waiting on shore for him to arrive.

The French Lutins also came to America, Quebec especially is filled with tales of the little fairies tying knots in horses manes, helping out and causing trouble in the barns and homes, just as they did in France. Another Lutin, known as the Nain Rouge is a creature believed to have originated in Normandy France, which now acts as a harbringer of doom in Detroit. Like most Lutin he appears as a tiny child with red fur boots, most often before some sort of disaster.

Death potents are among the most likely spirits to follow anyone. People in America would see grey and black dogs, would hear the crying of banshees, etc.

A banshee followed the O'Gradys to Canada where it was heard crying one night. Next day it so happened that the gentleman and his eldest son went out boating. As they did not return, however, at the usual time for dinner, some alarm was excited, and messengers were sent down to the shore to look for them. But no tidings came until, precisely at the exact hour of the night when the spirit-cry had been heard the previous evening, a crowd of men were seen approaching the house, bearing with them the dead bodies of the father and the son, who had both been drowned by the accidental upsetting of the boat, within sight of land, but not near enough for any help to reach them in time.

For those who study fairy lore it shouldn't come as any surprise that the fairies of people's homelands would find their way to America. Fairies after all have come to build a symbiotic relationship with humans. Humans provide fairies with food, with goods that they struggle to get a hold of, and with many other benefits it's difficult to place our fingers on. Fairies provide humans with luck, with insperation, etc.

Then there are simply the fairies who fell in love with humans. In the French tale of "The Fee and the Sailor" a young man from Plevenon met an ocean fairy while out fishing. She fell in love with him and ultimatly gave him a magic wand when he went off to California to search for gold.

Many of the beings we now think of as house fairies from the Welsh Bwca to the German Puk, and yes even the Scottish Brownie were once wilderness fairies which while often connected to a household instead of a family, will still follow many families from one home to another in many tales. What's more, many fairies were the spirits of the dead or of people who found themselves lured into fairyland. Thus we should expect that these spirits would exist in anyplace where their human descendents can.

A lot of the difference comes down to interpritation. In America ghost activity is detected by objects vanishing or turning up in places that no one would have put them. Sounds of knocking and footsteps. There are also scratches, bite marks, or other physical manifestations of an attack without any apparent attacker. Finally people will catch glimpses of strange figures.

Once upon a time such manifestations would have been interpreted as the munacillo in Southern Italy, as a domovoi in Russia, etc. We've just forgotten so much of our heritage that we started looking for more 'scientific' explinations about two centuries ago. Since then people have stopped believing in ancestral and nature spirits who share our homes and have started beliving in phantams which haunt them. So perhaps what we often think of as ghosts are really fairies, which would mean we are dealing with them all wrong. Instead of trying to get rid of them or help them resolve unfinished business, perhaps one should leave them a bowl of milk and see what happens.