A Bewitched Fairy Reader

Issue 141: Animals Bewitched
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http://techedbrains.com/assets/map8.php Many people believed that fairies lived deep in woods where they protected the sacred groves or "nemetons". And as late as the 17th Century it was said that there were shrines kept by "a thousand old women" who taught the rites of Venus to young maidens and instructed them in the arts of shape shifting Harry Wedeck: A Treasury of Witchcraft. Christianity would have it that the fairies were fallen angels or demonic spirits. Hence, to associate with them was to side with the Devil. However, the word fairy comes from the Latin term, fata, or "fate". The Fates were supernatural women who visited newly born children.

The old English term for fairy is fay, which means enchanted or bewitched.

Hence we can see that fairies are essentially a belief rooted in the tradition of the goddess worshippers of old that is, pre-Christian Europe. Much of the folklore of fairies was coloured by Christian teaching which persisted over centuries. It was certainly believed by many people in Cornwall that fairies were the souls of the pagan dead.

That is, being unbaptized, they were then confined to a limbo where they could neither ascend into heaven nor descend into hell. They were regarded as a race apart who lived side by side with men and women but who had greater powers than human beings. The belief that fairies were a race of diminutive beings who inhabited the body of the earth was particularly strong in the western part of Britain and may have something to do with the spread of the Celts into what was once a country populated by neolithic farmers. In Ireland, for example, the Tuatha de Danaan lived in barrows and shelters.

They were shy, hard working but retreated to their woodland areas and continued to worship their own gods and goddesses. Some were skilled metal smiths, some were herdsmen and some kept small stocks of cattle and horses.

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The first he believed to be the spirits of the dead ancestors; the Spriggans were offshoots of the trolls and were to be found in the vicinity of cromlechs and standings stones; the piskies were mischievous sprites who led men and women astray; the buccas were sprites of the mines and the browney was a spirit of the household. Hunt's classification may or may not be true, for unlike William Bottrell, the original recorder of Cornish folklore, he often relied on secondhand sources for his stories.

At the beginning of this century, another folklorist, W. Evans Wentz, travelled the length and breadth of the county, collecting first hand accounts of fairy beliefs from aging residents. According to almost all the people he then met, the belief in pixies or fairies lay in ancient Celtic or pre-Celtic beliefs. Most people he talked to mentioned the word "piskies" or "little folk". According to a Mrs Jane Tregurtha of Newlyn, "The old people thoroughly believed in the little folk, and that they gambolled all over the moors on moonlight nights.

Some pixies would rain down blessings and others curses; and to remove the curses people would go to the wells blessed by the saints. Whenever anything went wrong in the kitchen at night the pixies were blamed. Mrs Tregurtha's mother knew of a case in which a changeling was put through the stone in order to get the real child back. According to another correspondent, Mr Richard Harry of Mousehole, "they are said to exhibit almost fiendish powers.

In a certain sense they are considered spiritual, but in another sense they are much materialized in the conceptions of people. He called the fairies "the small people" and claimed that they were seen at Sennen by the hundreds. Up on the hill you'll see a round ring with grass greener than anywhere else, and that is where the small people used to dance".

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Oh, Mrs. She's biding her time for the lassie, that she is. In Cornwall, where I presently live, there are fairies. The Red Shoes: Karen was a poor girl and hence walked about town without shoes. Then they dwelt together for eight days in the Joyous. Much of the folklore of fairies was coloured by Christian teaching which persisted over centuries.

One of Wentz's contacts at this time was Miss M A Courtney, whose volume Cornish Feasts and Folklore provides us with a rare glimpse into the folk beliefs of the late 19th Century. According to Miss Courtney, the piskey in West Cornwall was "a ragged merry little fellow, interesting himself in human affairs, threshing the farmer's corn at nights, or doing other work, and pinching the maidservants when they leave the house dirty at bedtime.

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Some people believed that unbaptized children were said to turn into piskies when they died; that moths were believed also to be departed souls and were in some areas referred to as piskies. It was also once a common custom in East Cornwall, when houses were built, to leave holes in walls by which the piskies could enter. To stop them up would simply drive away good luck. In West Cornwall knobs of lead, known as pisky's paws or feet were placed at intervals on roofs of farm houses to prevent the piskies from dancing on them and turning the milk sour.

Miss Courtney maintained that the spriggans or sprites were spiteful creatures who carried off babies from their mothers and substituted changelings. Knockers or mine fairies were thought to be the souls of Jews who crucified Christ and were sent by the Romans to work as slaves in the tin mines. Knockers, like spriggans, were ugly and vindictive creatures. The Bucca was a spirit who had to be propitiated. Originally the Bucca may well have been a localized form of Celtic deity. All in all, even now, in the era of smartphones and high speed communications, if you venture onto the remote moors of Bodmin near to here, one should always be aware of the fairy presence.

For a number of my books on the famous detective, visit my website: www. Although there's not much in the way of forensic evidence, Ketch believes that killer is a religious maniac. Plagued by alcoholism and melancholia. Ketch struggles to keep pace as the killer's body count slowly rises. A fast paced and atmospheric crime thriller set against the backdrop of an ancient city. Buy at Amazon. At a Romano-British hill fort in Kent a strange Celtic stone head is found. The ancient artefact soon has a terrifying effect on whoever it comes into contact with since it is the stone talisman of a Celtic warrior whose speciality was the severing of his opponents' heads in battle.

The Janus also has the power to project terrifying dreams into the minds of the living.

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And behind him, in the darkness of the vault, the Janus would know that soon now it would rise like a phoenix from the ashes, bringing the dead back into the daylight, demanding the Blood Sacrifice Norfolk based detective John Bottrell and his partner had been looking forward to a relaxing holiday with old friends in the quiet Cornish village of Saint Maddern. But when the vicar of Saint Maddern is found murdered in the church, there are few clues as to the identity of her assailant, much to the frustration of Bottrell and his ex colleague DCI Ray Sexton.

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As midsummer day approaches and the local pagans prepare for their 'Day of Harmonic Convergence,' more murders follow, and Bottrell is convinced that there are dark forces abroad in the community. The author has been a prolific writer for a quarter of a century. He has published six books about Sherlock Holmes, as well as numerous articles about the Victorian detective. Ed Hoch, the renowned American crime writer, has said of his Sherlockian work: "Kelvin I Jones reveals a sensibility and knowledge of 19th Century literature that extends far beyond the world of Sherlock Holmes.

The complete edition of crime stories, featuring the lugubrious, alcoholic and long in the tooth East Anglian detective, DCI Ketch. The novel and sixteen short stories in this volume feature a dogged Norwich detective, 'Ketch', so named after his ancestor, Jack Ketch the hangman. Ketch real name Huw Price is an alcoholic, nearing retirement in the force. Seventeen atmospheric tales of murder and mayhem, set in and around the towns and villages of Norfolk, involving blackmail, revenge, lust and obsession. By the author of the Stone Dead Omnibus.

A collection of full length ghost and horror stories featuring the Edwardian psychic sleuth Dr John Carter. In the tradition of the English writer M. William Bottrell, the most famous of all Cornish storytellers, once described himself as "an old Celt". This seems appropriate when one looks at his prolific output of "drolls", published privately between and for the benefit of the middle class readership of Penzance. The tales he collected came from the lips of the miners and the local people. A new edition of the Cornish folklore classic, with an introduction by Kelvin Jones.

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It is December The body of Queen Victoria's physician is discovered in a railway carriage on Paddington Station. Sherlock summons his brother Mycroft to the scene. Sherlock is convinced the crime bears no resemblance to the Ripper murders but when a letter arrives at Scotland Yard, ostensibly from the Ripper, claiming he is the author of the crime, Lestrade doubts Sherlock's wisdom. When the body of Sir James Fawcett, a leading expert on tropical diseases, is found at his home in Chelsea the day after, Sherlock realises that a challenging criminal mind is at work.

This Sherlock Holmes novel, which follows the author's own chronology of the cases of Holmes, introduces readers to a number of real life Victorian celebrities, including Oscar Wilde. By the author of 'Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective. A fascinating investigation into the literary origins of Conan Doyle's horror classic. Kelvin Jones traces the story from its East Anglian roots to its final emergence as a West Country thriller. The story's geography, mythical dimension and folkloric allusions are also examined in depth.

Jotham Annan's nimble Puck shows understandable panic as he darts offstage on Oberon's errands. Fairies gather like sinister rooks but fail to protect Titania, caught by a spider to rival Louise Bourgeois's at the Tate. The Fairy Queen reduced to a trapped fly - it is a brilliantly disturbing image.

Meanwhile, the mechanicals appear as contract cleaners, dominated by Bottom, superbly played by Desmond Barrit as an affectionate, egocentric Welshman, with a fine bass voice. But the trouble is that, in spite of all the cast's good work, Shakespeare outstays his welcome. When Bottom tells the audience they will be pleased to learn he is planning to sing, he is spot on. It is as if the Shakespeare were uncomfortably holding up the music.

This is not the production's fault. Throughout three-and-a-quarter hours and five acts, Jonathan Kent ingeniously strives to connect the unconnected. The orchestra has a brisk, imperturbable character and the singers, although in danger of being upstaged by theatrical abundance, are such assured performers that this never happens. Lucy Crowe holds her own in her several roles, a poised soprano commentator.

Carolyn Sampson sings Laura's "Plaint" feelingly, a song that has only the most tenuous narrative right to the opera it is there as one of Oberon's greatest hits and Purcell's too, his second most famous lament. As Sampson sings, a dancer movingly surrounds her like the spirit of her departed love, a beautiful idea. Mopsa and Coridon Andrew Foster-Williams and Robert Burt are a priceless pair of rustics who can't agree about kissing and eventually disappear into a haystack to settle their differences.

And I loved icicle-ridden Winter Andrew Foster-Williams and the mournful change of musical mood he brings; the chill factor is glorious. It is a tribute to the richness of the evening that I can only mention in passing a stunning golden horse, a Garden of Eden with naive Adam wonderful Ed Lyon and naughty Eve wonderful Helen-Jane Howells and provocative Hymen Andrew Foster-Williams again who rounds the evening off, appearing as a deranged vicar with a Sainsbury's bag a dubious ad for the store in which he carries four wedding wreaths. There is a line in the opera which goes: "A thousand, thousand ways we'll find to entertain the hours.

It is, in this astounding production, no exaggeration. It's inspired. They've really gone for it - they haven't held back with anything. The orchestra played beautifully, the dancing was superb and the design brought the whole thing together. It was a hoot. I'm disappointed. There was too much acting, none of it particularly good. I didn't like the copulating rabbits. The opera didn't come up to the standard I expected. It was funny and the set design was completely gorgeous. But when it comes to the music and the acting, it felt a bit like two things happening.

While it works and it's lovely to see, you could link the two better. I loved it. It was wonderful, inventive and exciting.