Whether or not the fair folk exist, human beings seem to have some sort of psychological need for them. The notion of a realm parallel to and occasionally impinging upon ours, filled with beings of great power”€”occasionally malevolent or benevolent toward us, but always unpredictable”€”with wars and dramas of their own, keeps as powerful a hold on the collective imagination as the Holy Grail or the vampire/zombie mythos. Its allure is quite as strong as any of the bizarreries that fascinate so many, including cryptids, lost continents, and anything else upon which guests on Coast to Coast AM might expound.

Taking a completely skeptical stance for the moment, let us say that all of it”€”from fairies to ghosts to werewolves”€”is utter hogwash. Why would seemingly rational people bother their heads with it all? Three reasons come to mind. The first is that interest in such matters, even among self-proclaimed atheists, is deeply connected to man’s inborn religious sense. Deny him the communion of saints, and he’ll settle for a vast Judeo-Masonic or Lizard Men conspiracy; refuse him angels, and he’ll take fairies.

Second, for all our prattle about democracy, the vast global and technocratic structure under which we live precludes the vast majority from having any real influence on the world around them, save on the most local level. The irrational provides a sort of safe haven wherein, through acquisition of special or secret knowledge, the individual can feel as though he matters. The other rubes may be taken in, but not him!

Third”€”well”€”it’s fun! Human beings seem to have a universal need to be frightened or at least unsettled by the unseen. Halloween does it for Americans, St. John’s and May Eves for Europeans, and the Hungry Ghost Festival for East Asians. There have always been ghost stories and fairy tales, and they have traveled into every medium man has invented.

I find it hard to believe there could be no flame with all that smoke. And from what I have read in Huon of Bordeaux and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I’d rather be ruled by Oberon than Obama.

 



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