6. Elves and Fairies
There aren't many people who take seriously the existence of elves and fairies in today's society. Yet there are people who will swear on the heads of their grandchildren that they have seen them with their own eyes - just as plainly as others have seen ghosts, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.
The stories of elusive little people are as ancient as civilization itself and can be found in virtually every culture on Earth. Most familiar to us are the legends of elves, dwarfs, leprechauns and trolls from Europe and Scandinavia. They have been the subject of dozens of children's fairy tales, books, myths and inebriated tales. William Shakespeare made them central characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Generally, fairies were described as tiny ephemeral beings with wings who resided in forests.
- Elves, dwarfs and leprechauns were likewise residents of the forest. Unlike fairies, however, they were quite human in appearance - except for their diminutive size. They were often pictured as having their own miniature civilization, hidden away from the human world.
On a summer night in 1919, 13-year-old Harry Anderson claimed to have seen a column of 20 little men marching in single file, made visible by the bright moonlight. He noted they were dressed in leather knee pants with suspenders. The men were shirtless, bald and had pale white skin. They ignored young Harry as they passed, mumbling something unintelligible all the while.
In Stowmarket, England in 1842, a man claimed this encounter with "faries" when walking through a meadow on his journey home: "There might be a dozen of them, the biggest about three feet high, and small ones like dolls. They were moving around hand in hand in a ring; no noise came from them. They seemed light and shadowy, not like solid bodies. I... could see them as plain as I do you. I ran home and called three women to come back with me and see them. But when we got to the place, they were all gone. I was quite sober at the time."
Elves and fairies were considered quite real in past cultures, and were a familiar part of their rich folklore. In today's technological society, perhaps, we've simply replaced them in our imaginations with little gray aliens.
7. The Dover Demon
Dover, Massachusetts was the location of the sighting of a bizarre creature for a few days beginning on April 21, 1977. Although the creature, which became known as "the Dover Demon," was only seen by a few people in this short period of time, it is considered one of the most mysterious creatures of modern times.
The first sighting was made by 17-year-old Bill Bartlett as he and three friends were driving north near the small New England town at around 10:30 at night. Through the darkness, Bartlett claimed to have seen an unusual creature creeping along a low stone wall on the side of the road - something he had never seen before and could not identify. The other boys did not see it, but it was obvious to them that Bartlett was shaken by the experience. When he arrived home, he told his father about his experience and sketched a drawing of the creature.
Just a few hours after Bartlett's sighting, at 12:30 a.m., John Baxter swore that he saw the same creature while walking home from his girlfriend's house. The 15-year-old boy saw it with its arms wrapped around the trunk of a tree, and his description of the thing matched Bartlett's exactly.
The final sighting was reported the next day by another 15-year-old, Abby Brabham, a friend of one of Bill Bartlett's friends, who said it appeared briefly in the car's headlights while she and her friend were driving. Again, the description was consistent. This is the creature they allegedly saw:
- about four feet tall on two legs
- hairless body with rough-textured skin
- long, spindly peach-colored limbs
- a large watermelon-shaped head, nearly as big as its body large glowing orange eyes.
Subsequent investigations into this unusual case turned up no hard evidence for the reality of the creature, but neither was there evidence of a hoax nor a motive for perpetrating one. Skeptics suggested that what the teenagers saw was a young moose, while UFOlogists who looked into the case wondered if there was an extraterrestrial connection.
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