Away with the faeries

I was sitting reading a book the other day by Stuart Hardy called ‘Speakin O Dundee’, when I came across a rather far-fetched tale of a young man called Jamie Moir from the Hilltown.  Jamie was found by some local men one morning rather worse for wear on the slopes of the Law – covered in bruises and with his clothes all mangled.  More tellingly, an empty whisky bottle lay near to his splayed out body.  Probably fearing the worst upon finding this body, the men would have been fairly relieved to find Jamie still alive, despite his roughed-up appearance.  As they walked him back home, Jamie began to relay a tale to them that gave him a wee bit of a reputation afterwards, if the tale is anything to go by,

Jamie told them that he had been travelling on foot back home from the Longforgan fair, when, in the distance, he spotted a group of people.  He called them over to chat, but, as they got closer, he could tell that they were not folk whom he knew.  The group of around a dozen were a lot smaller than Jamie, and wore clothing which he found to be old fashioned and strange looking.  By his own admission, Jamie was fairly drunk, having stopped off at an Inn on his way back to partake of a few (too many) refreshments.  He bought a bottle for his journey home – the very bottle which lay empty beside him on the Law.

Despite this, Jamie said that the people he had met had asked him for a drink, which he willingly gave.  They all had a sip, and, before he knew it, he had been lifted from the air and carried away to the Sidlaws, where he spent the rest of the night laughing and drinking liquor with his new companions – the fairies!  How he ended up back on the slopes of the Law, he could not say.  As you could imagine, many folk were more than sceptical, especially considering the evidence and the reliability of the ramblings of a drunk man.

However, others did believe him – those who believed in such legends, or perhaps those who have had their own experiences with the fairy folk. Many explanations have been given for a belief in fairies. Some say that they are like ghosts, spirits of the dead, or were fallen angels, neither bad enough for Hell nor good enough for Heaven.  Some people believe them to be more like the modern adaptations, with pretty wings and magic wands, whilst others think that fairies are just an older version of our alien abduction stories of today.

Could it be that our tales of fairies are no more than interpreted tales about our Pictish ancestors?  A 12th century document tells of the Picts as being no more than ‘pygmies’ in stature, working hard during morning and night, but staying out of the sunlight during the day.  Scottish tribes in our earliest times used to kidnap the healthy children of their foes and replace them with sick children from their own tribe, which is a trick attributed to fairy folk.  Were those who could see the future later labelled as fairies in an attempt to explain away their abilities?

The expression “away with the fairies” is meant to imply that someone is not facing reality or living in a dream world, which could definitely be the case in Jamie’s tale of the unexplained. Whether you believe or not, we, as a race are obsessed with ‘the unknown’ and strive to find an answer for anything.  Nowadays, when we can’t validate something, we dismiss it as myth or fallacy…but that doesn’t mean to say it’s not there.  Perhaps the fairies just don’t want to play with us anymore because we’re all too busy with technology?

Read about Whuppity Stoorie, the dark fairy.

Find out more about fairies.

Sources:

Stuart McHardy, Speakin O Dundee, Luath Press Ltd, 2010

www.historic-uk.com

www.abovetopsecret.com

 

 

 

Everyone knows that Friday 13th is supposedly connected with bad luck and bad omens. Many people across the world believe that a black cat crossing your path, stepping under a ladder and walking across a double drain is bad luck, but even more so on Friday 13th. Today we’re going to explore some of the most well known Friday 13th myths.

Dr Benjamin Cartwright believes that the number 13 carries a bad luck label because Judas was the 13th man in the Biblical account of The Last Supper. Christ was crucified on a Friday so many people believe Fridays are tainted. Sticking with the Biblical theories, it is said that Adam and Eve were created on a Friday, ate the apple on a Friday and died on a Friday…coincidence? Along with the more serious superstitions, there is the Scandinavian myth that there were originally 12 Demigods but then Loki appeared, a God who was evil and cruel thus making the mythology tainted.

 

Here at Dark Dundee HQ, we think it’ll take a bit more than a couple of auld wives tales to put the wind up us, but here are a couple of really weird superstitions from around the world.

If a woman sleeps with a shoe under her pillow at night that she will dream of her future husband so for all you single ladies out there you know what to do tonight!

If a woman wears a Chinese Jade necklace she will get whatever she wishes, with Valentine’s Day tomorrow, ladies, why not give this a go…what have you got to lose?!

In Turkey, chewing gum at night signifies that you are literally chewing the flesh of the dead! If you’re in a Turkish nightclub and you see people eating gum…get out there fast!

Superstitious Spaniards eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight as the New Year arrives, in the belief it will provide them with 12 months of good luck for the year ahead. If nothing else, it’s one of your “five a day”, so the health benefits are a bonus at the very least!

If you pass a graveyard in Japan, or if a hearse passes you, superstition dictates that you must hide your thumbs in your pockets so save your parents from death. “Thumb” directly translates as “parent-finger” in Japanese, so this is where the origins of this little foible are based.

Do not make or have your wedding gown made on a Friday. The myth is that if it is made on a Friday, the marriage is doomed to be a disaster so add in making a wedding gown on Friday 13th and you may as well not turn up at the church!

Now, not that we think anyone would, but digging a grave on a Friday which will not be used until the next day is a superstition that many people live by – although we are staying well clear of anyone who goes out on a Friday night to dig a grave…

If you take your dog for a walk on Friday 13th do not, we repeat DO NOT, allow him or her to eat green grass…if you do, you best have a brolly handy as it’s going to rain soon, according to some.

Finally, anyone who has a date with their girlfriend on Friday 13th might want to pay particular attention to this one…before going out make sure you don’t stub your toe. If you do, make sure it is a toe on your right foot. Some myths are that if you stub a toe on your right foot before meeting a girl that she will greet you with a kiss but, stub a toe on your left foot and it’s a whole different ball game…if this happens don’t show up as she will be waiting for you with a cleaver!

So, any volunteers willing to sleep with shoes under their pillows, let their dog eat grass or stub their left toe then go meet their girlfriend? We can’t – we’ll be too busy hiding our thumbs…just in case!

Even the name “Bigfoot” evokes unease, conjuring up images of huge, hairy bipedal humanoids with primal, base instincts and a wild demeanor.  Whilst theories and sightings have been reported for years, nobody has ever managed to document irrefutable evidence of the legendary beasts. And whilst most of the more well documented cases are focused around America, it seems that Dundee and Angus may too, have a similar creature lurking in their midst.  Is it a combination of myth, folklore and hoax, or is there some real credence to the legend of the Bigfoot?  Recently, the debate reared its head after a local newspaper ran a story about one woman’s account, causing many residents to respond with their theories and opinions.  Rather than just reading the story and passing judgement, we contacted Charmaine herself, and asked her to give us her full story.  Read her unedited account for yourself and make up your own mind…

“Here’s my account of what I experienced in Angus regarding a possible sighting. I have attached a screenshot of the location which will come up on google maps as Slade farm cottage, Carmyllie. This was my grandparents’ property and we spent a lot of our childhood there, my brother currently lives there.

The first incident took place during the day when I was sent out to get the newspapers that got delivered to the neighbours at the bottom of the road. I was with the dog and we were coming down the path that leads to the track running past the bottom of the property and out to the farm road. I have marked where I was walking with the yellow dots. Just before I got onto the track the dog stopped suddenly and started to growl, whine and bare her teeth, I remember seeing the hair rising on her back but I carried on past her for a few paces ending up on the track (the green dot is where I stopped). I looked up to see a large black figure further along the track standing with its back to me (red dot number 1). It was reaching up to a branch on a tree at the side of the track and was tall, thick build with no neck and wide shoulders. I remember standing in shock for a second or two before screaming and turning to run back to the house , as I screamed it slowly started to turn round but I didn’t hang about to see its face. Needless to say my reports of seeing a monster were not taken seriously and dismissed as it probably being a neighbour.  I can’t give an exact year but I was around 8/9 years old.  This is an estimation as I remember drawing a picture of it in primary 5 at school, so that puts it around 1980/81 and I don’t have an exact time of year but the leaves were out on the trees  so it would have been sometime between April/May and September.

There were 2 further incidents around that time but they are more tenuous, one was at night when we were coming up the road in the car and just as we were turning right onto the track there was a figure further up the road looking towards the headlights (red dot 2). I briefly made out a humanoid shape and there was orange eyeshine reflecting from the lights, it was just standing in the middle of the road. At the time I told myself it was probably a person. The final incident was when we were out picking wild raspberries and we heard something way back in the woods, a long, deep wail. The adults in the group commented, wondering what it was but then carried on with what they were doing (approximate location marked in blue on the following picture).

At that time the area to the north/north east and the south were all commercial pine woods, including the fields directly adjacent to the property. Almost all of the woods have been cleared now and there are more houses in the area. There is also a disused sandstone quarry to the north, with a water hole that was stocked with brown trout, there are hundreds of rabbits and sometimes deer around. At one time there was a tunnel that led from the quarry to Redford for transportation of stone, but I am having difficulty finding exactly where it is from records. I mention this as I am trying to work out the feasibility of some kind of hominid being able to survive around there.

The first incident terrified me, I had nightmares for quite some time afterwards. I could have possibly dismissed it if not for the dog’s reaction and I can remember the whole encounter very clearly. For years I wondered what it was and have recently found out about other possible sightings further north east. I have asked my mother, who grew up there if she ever experienced anything unusual there but she hasn’t, although she did say that when she was young she didn’t like going up round the quarry area as she felt like she was being watched. Unfortunately my grandparents and the neighbours who lived there at the time have passed away now. I intend to get some time up there and scout about , not that I think there would be anything in the way of evidence but just to determine possible shelter areas etc. around the quarry.

Obviously I’m not making a definite claim as to what it was that I saw but in researching the “Squatch” phenomenon over the past year or so there are similarities that I can’t ignore. This experience has stayed with me and I find the whole thing a fascinating area of research. There are issues with the location, in it being much further south and less remote that other sightings in the north east and it is frustrating that I can’t ask the people who lived there about unusual activity. I was also very young at the time and so this doesn’t make it the most robust report as well as it being unverifiable. Oh, to go back in time with a camera, tape measure and internet!

I would be interested to hear what you make of all this.”

An aerial shot showing points where incidents happened:

carmyllie1edit

Also a photo of an old aerial shot of the property before the woods were felled:

carmyllie2edit

As you can see, although Charmaine is adamant she saw something, she does not lay claim that it was the legendary Bigfoot.  However, after a bit of digging, Charmaine realised she was not the only one who had seen something.  Having now joined the British Bigfoot Research team, Charmaine is more than eager to hear of any similar tales, so please get in contact with her at: bigfootresearchscotland@gmail.com.

Adam Bird, the co-founder of the British Bigfoot Research organisation thinks he may have captured Bigfoot on camera.  Adam captured the picture whilst out walking in a nature reserve and was amazed when saw the gloomy shape in his shot.  He took the image below but claims he was not aware what was stalking the background.

adamsight

“There is at least one reported sighting here,” he said, “so we decided to check it out.  We stayed there for a few hours that day and felt watched and followed the whole time. I took various photographs throughout the investigation and when I checked back through them I spotted the creepy picture.  I make no bold claims but my fellow investigators think this could be genuine evidence that the British Bigfoot exists. One misconception is that the UK doesn’t have sightings – but there are many. These creatures are seen all over the UK, and the phenomenon spreads from Scotland right down to southern England. These people are clearly seeing something and that something cannot be passed off as simply hoaxes or known animals. This is something unknown.”

So…does Bigfoot really exist?  Adam definitely thinks so, and Charmaine, whilst intrigued, still can’t say for sure.  And is it possible that this creature of legend actually lives among us?  We’ll let you make your own minds up…but we’re not walking in any woods in the near future, that’s for sure!

Special thanks to Charmaine for her permission to use her story.