Chapter 7. Folk creatures


Photographs of fairies, so far, have all been faked. It’s hard to escape the obvious conclusion that it’s just something about fairies, likely due to their reticence and evidence of their magical powers. A fairy can fly on its own or ride on the back of a dragonfly. A fairy can charm a person though for some persons it doesn’t take much. Therefore, they can certainly make sure the camera doesn’t see them. There are many ways to ward off fairies. You can carry cold iron or a piece of bread, or sport a four-leaf clover (if it’s not too wilted), or wear your clothes inside out. There’s no reason to ward them off unless you believe in them, or maybe you believe in them but don’t want to be the photographer of the moment when the fairy kingdom decides to start diplomatic relations with humans.


Babies and old people are physically similar— bald or balding, bleary-eyed eyesight, no teeth, weak, bed-wetting, and prone to sleeping a lot. It makes sense at least some babies are changlings. Elderly fairies (therefore, small) dumped, like parasitic breeder birds laying their eggs in others’ nests, into an unwitting family’s loving cradle. If you could watch them carefully enough, you’d find them dancing and singing fairy charms in a language you don’t understand.


People make up their own goblin stories as though goblins didn’t really exist. They change the ways goblins look and behave, checking with no authority and honoring no heritage. Goblins in the World of Warcraft game are small green humanoids from the Isle of Kezan who love money, technology, and explosives. Goblins in the Harry Potter stories are intelligent and skilled silversmiths and businessmen who can perform acts of magic without a wand. True goblins are unrelated to Spider-Man’s foe, the Green Goblin, and are not created with a Goblin Formula. True goblins were not invented for comic books. The wide variation in depictions of goblins may have arisen because of differences between tribes of goblins. Some goblins, like redcaps, are more murderous, and some, like hobgoblins, are more friendly. A hobgoblin who assumes the appearance of a white cat may be understandably reluctant to be seen in its true ugly form. It’s also not easy to describe a creature who can change its appearance and become invisible at will.


A certain letter is all it takes, given the ritual to harden an intent, changing death to life and animating a man of clay. We should not fear the golem, only the intent, unless the golem can prove that we, too, like clay, can be made to do another’s bidding.


The jinn are not human, and they are not alien, but they may pretend to be alien. They are pranksters that masquerade as monsters, fairies, or genies, and do not stint when blaspheming. They create crop circles, make flying saucers fly, and trade the weak for their souls. They don’t obey our rules or do our bidding or conform to our ideas of them.


Young men dream Lilith will visit them in the night. Woman or demon what does it matter? They will ask “How could I help it? What could I lose?” She’s a monster only if you see her in the dark.


When I was a child they told me if I didn’t sleep, if I stayed awake, I would see the night raven, and it would take me away and eat my heart. Its feathers are boggy air that make you sick. Its wings are strong like falling trees. Its beak is a pair of scissors without a handle. That didn’t work. I had an early fascination with large powerful birds, and tried to stay awake until it came.


It is said that the Oni are souls of the dead who must torment the living whose intentions are evil; however, the ability of Oni to judge intentions is pathetic and feeble. Oni are hairy monsters with red, blue, or green skin sharp teeth and claws and bovine horns. You’ll know them because they wear tiger-skin loincloths and carry iron clubs; however, recognizing an Oni for the torment it intends will do you little good.

Phantom cat

Many people all over have seen a large cat where jaguars, cougars, and leopards don’t live and in spite of searches for it it cannot be found. A pet or mascot released into the wild, a feline escaped from a zoo or circus, no rational origin has been established, yet the cat cannot be found.