You are hereForums / Mysterious Britain / Folklore and Legends / American Fairies
I'm a transplanted Brit, family's from Cornwall and Devon, been living here in North America since the late 50's but have gone back and forth many times since. There are places in the UK where one feels the presence of the old folk. There are places in N. America where fairies should be found, special places that would make wonderful homes for them but that are very plainly unpopulated by fairie. I suspect that this continent is, in most of its parts, just too young, hasn't been lived in long enough for the barriers between realities to begin to wear thin enough for passage. There are some exceptions, sasquatch, Ogopogo, the spirits of the Anasazi in the southwest being the best known, but there are no fairie here, I'm afraid. The land, at times, feels sterile in their absence.
Hi mhodder, welcome to Mysteriousbritain :)
Thanks, Ian. This seems an interesting place to be for a while.
I've begun reading Evans-Wentz on the fairy faith and found a point he made to be quite illuminating. Fairie seems to manifest wearing the cultural, psychological and environmental clothing of the area in which it is seen. I wonder, then, if I haven't seen fairie sign here in the northeastern part of the USA because I've been expecting it to look like the fairie of Celtic Europe? I've decided to keep an open eye for fairie sign that doesn't come like what I've been used to. I don't know what shape it might take, the land here is young, not long settled, and somewhat wild. I suspect the fairie of this part of North America has a very stange look and might even be a bit frightening.
There is always the theory that Jung put forward, that Gods and other mythical beings are a product of the collective consciousness and could therefore manifest as whatever a Folk group considered normal, so it would be perfectly plausible for the Vikings who landed in Vinland to transplant their Wights and trolls, for the pilgrims to take their pixies and sprites and for the Native americans to have their wendigos all in the same land, that then raises the question, once the Folk who brought their ideas of Faerie with them have gone e.g. the Vikings back to Scandinavia do they leave vestiges of their ideas behind?
Interesting. Suggestive of Neil Gaiman's book American Gods. Perhaps it takes a while for a people to impress the psychic landscape with their fairies, gods, monsters, etc. before they "stick" and can continue on their own when the originators leave. I believe A. Huxley suggested this. The Norse weren't here long and didn't settle in more than a handful of places. They seem to have frightened the Dorset people (I think it was) enough to enter into the latter's mythology and monsters with which to threaten little children who misbehaved. Where colonials settled and stayed for a few centuries, as in the urban centers along the east coast, they left an impress that manifests as ghosts, like the Headless Horseman. I suspect there are strong psychic imprints from the French in Montreal and Quebec. But outside the settled areas, especially in the wilder countryside of Maine and New Hampshire, there don't seem to be imprints that manifest in European styles like fairies, piskies, goblins, and so on. If the native Abenaqui left any behind them it may take an Abenaqui to feel their presence. This is all very interesting and makes one think.
American Gods was certainly part of my thinking, an impressive book. the thought of Allfather Odin, Perun and Anansi all on the go is a novel one to say the least and really exemplifies the Jungian archetype.
I enjoyed American Gods like few other books I've read recently. Gaiman seems to make the point that there are no gods around this country that come from the culture(s) that manifested the All-Father, for example. The ones he created came from the land, itself, and were supremely powerful in their own bailiwick. I found this an intriguing suggestion.
"Cousin It" was based on a Shetland folk tale.
I remember reading that "Bigfoot" was a noa name for the bear with the first nations in Canada. "Watch out for the Bigfoot". Not hard to see it turning into a monster myth very quickly.
It's been awhile since someone posted to this thread, but I've got a tidbit.
The Nunnehi are "little people" in Native American Cherokee legends that are sort of fairy -like. Here is are websites with sources on the Nunnehi. http://www.ferrum.edu/applit/bibs/tales/littlepeople.htm
Here's also a link on a mound sacred to the Cherokees: http://www.smokymountainnews.com/issues/4_01/4_25_01/mountain_voices_carden.shtml
If ever the Brits are looking for similar folk legends and lore across the pond, look first in the Appalachian region of the US. There's tons of myths and lore (partly because it was settled in the 1700s by the Scotch-Irish and Scottish and they brought their lore with them). There's also many wonderful Native American legends all across the Americas (http://www.ualberta.ca/~swg/), some have come to be accepted by everyone as local legends.
Thanks for the great links seacatte, I can see I will be reading more about Cherokee myths and legends now. I would also like to welcome you to teh Mysterious Britain website.
This small and ancient church has a plethora of legends and traditions associated with it, making it one of the most important mysterious sites on the Isle of Lewis. Read More »