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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

fairies Miniature supernatural beings in the form of humans. The pixies of England and the brownies of Scotland are essentially the same creatures, and just as real. Specific fairies such as Robin Goodfellow (also known as Puck) are said to be helpful though mischievous and can be called upon to perform domestic services.
      Incredibly, the famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle accepted the existence of fairies, elves, and other such creatures.
      There is no agreement on the origins of the many varieties of fairies. One definition says they are the dispossessed spirits of humans not yet ready for heaven. Another describes them as a distinct life-form capable of the usual reproductive process, and in Devonshire, England, they are “pixies,” the spirits of infants who died before baptism.
      The English version wears a red conical cap, a green cloak interwoven with flowers, green trousers, and silver slippers. Others are winged like dragonflies and dressed in filmy negligees. Some are said to dress in perfect miniatures of regular human clothing of the current period. Ones choice of fairy appears to be a matter of taste.
      In various cultures, there are both good and bad fairies. The Koran describes the delicate “peri” as the offspring of “fallen spirits,” and such a fairy is always benevolent, pointing out to the faithful the way to heaven. In contrast, a malevolent fairy lives in the mines of England, causing accidents and misleading the miners.
      In general, fairies (and witches) fear iron.
      See also Cottingley fairies.



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