Around ten years ago, I had been working in the UK and during a break I decided to go on a short tour of the north of Scotland.
I had stayed overnight at Durness (a wonderful little village with some amazingly rustic buildings) and decided to head out early the next morning for some sightseeing. This was in September, the weather had been much nicer than I expected, with most days warm (although overcast), and little of the rain I feared.
On my drive I happened to arrive at a roadside beach and selected this spot for a walk as the sun was to rise. I parked on the side of the road in the pre-dawn light and after a few minutes in the car I set out walking to the beach. The sound of the waves and the smell of the ocean were lovely in the cool morning air.
I walked around 200 yards towards the rocks on the left of the beach and realized that I could hear the soft sound of laughter, singing and playful shouts coming from further around the rocks. This was a little confusing, as I thought I would be alone at this hour of the morning, and I didn’t see any houses close to this spot. I also felt a little uneasy about it for some reason not obvious at the time.
I was told that the beaches around here were open to the public, and there were many walking trails, so I was confident that I was not encroaching on a private gathering. As I grew closer, I was sure the voices were mostly (if not all) female. I, perhaps naively, doubted I was in any danger as I am a fairly large man. My only concern was that I may scare the people, yet despite this I wanted to see around the rocks and discover who had gathered so early on the beach.
Strangely, as I drew closer to the large rock outcrop that barred my view of the group around the small cove, the sound of their activity quieted to almost no noise.
The only sound were the waves, the wind, and some splashing of frolicking in the water.
A few seconds later I cleared the rocks and I finally had a view of the small beach.
To my confusion I noticed no people on the sand. The only company that greeted me were some 15 or so grey seals, of various sizes. Most were watching me from the safety of the water, while others swam further out into the bay. While they were a lovely sight to behold in the early morning light, I was more curious as to the location of the people who were here. I stood and looked about the small cove area and I saw no people or evidence that people had been here.
I decided to walk into the area and I sat down on the rocks to watch the sun rise over the ocean. As I relaxed there, the seals swam away and I was left to my own thoughts.
It was maybe half an hour later that, in the light of the sun, I noticed the fresh footprints in the sand all around me. It was the ones in front of me I examined first, they were smaller than my own feet so I believed they were from a young woman.
There were many prints around… some quite small (obviously children) and none appeared to be as large as my own foot prints. The prints all appeared to come up from the water, and return to the water, with the waves quickly destroying the evidence of their passing.
I thought about it and I am not sure of what I saw… I admit it was still a little dark when I looked at the seals, yet I am sure that they were not people. They were quiet large and grey, with no human hair or faces. Yet I could not explain this. I started to feel a sense of unease and I decided it would be better to go on about my day. I quickly put it behind me and continued my day tour.
That night, when I returned to my lodging, I mentioned my morning adventure to the landlady.
She drew quiet on my questions about the disappearing people and advised me not to talk to people about my experience.
She told me that I had encountered a group of Selkies, and that I should count myself lucky no misfortune had occurred to me.
Since then, I have always kept my experience a secret, only now telling you about it as I trust I will not be mocked. I often wonder why I stopped at that beach and whether I sensed their presence or if it was just a coincidence.
Bob has been a regular contributor here at Encounters with the Good People: generously sharing his own experiences and interaction with the Faerie in several posts, most notably Tommyknockers and Butterflies.
Bob is one of those unique people who have a knack when it comes to Faerie. His mind is open and welcoming to to their presence, but also wise to their unpredictability! Here, Bob shares more strange interactions with the Good People he has experienced over the years, and offers personal insights into what they have taught him about the nature of the Good People. I hope you enjoy reading Bob’s curious experiences as much as I do.
Those of the spirit world, including the Good People, can and do interact with the physical world and it’s inhabitants, in ways that can be benign or malevolent, helpful or just plain mean spirited.
There are many tales about such incidents, but here are some from personal experience.
A common sort of interaction seems to be pranks done for the amusement of the prankster. For example, have you ever been tripped suddenly, yet could not find anything that may have tripped you?
Hiding things is a common prank. They seem to enjoy watching a human get frustrated and confused. Have you ever been unable to find something, then eventually discovered that it was in plain sight, in a place you had already searched?
One morning at home (when I was still living in the town where I encountered the Tommyknockers reported earlier), I tried to find a certain pair of work gloves, heavy gauntlets about a foot long. They had last been placed in a box where I kept gloves. But they were nowhere to be found. The box was emptied and every item checked. The entire house was searched, even the bathroom and bedroom. The glove box was searched again. I was going to be late on the job, and was getting more and more frustrated.
Then I realized what was going on, and invoked St. Anthony. Bingo! There were the gloves, neatly placed palm to palm, at the top of the glove box. And I sensed vast amusement coming from somewhere.
This sort of prank never seems to grow old for at least some of the Good People. It has happened to tools, eyeglasses, a box of matches, even the toilet plunger when was dealing with a clogged toilet in the middle of the night, which was just plain mean. In every case, the missing item did reappear right where it belonged, when the spell was broken.
Although apportion can explain some such events, in many instances it seems more likely that glamour was being used to obscure the object from sight. Glamour can be achieved as a form of aggressive telepathy used to interfere with how the mind interprets the visual signals collected by the eyes and other senses and processed by the brain. After all, the mind does edit and interpret all sensory input all the time. Glamour interferes. And yes, there are also humans who can do it.
Defeating visual glamour can sometimes be done by using a different sense, such as touch, to break the spell.
Invoking St. Anthony by reciting, “Tony, Tony, look around, there’s something lost that must be found,” or a similar rhyme, seems to work well. Sometimes, simply acknowledging that they succeeded in fooling you, then politely asking for the return of the missing object can work. And a few times, I have lost my temper and demanded the return under threat if retribution. It worked, but I don’t recommend it. Politeness is much better.
But at other times, if there was not an immediate need for the item, I would simply ignore the loss, which seemed to take the fun out of it for them, and the missing object would return on its own.
Sometimes, however, hiding things is done for benevolent reasons. For example, you might not be able to find your car keys and you are going to be late for work so you scurry around frantically, then discover that the stove was left on. Once the stove is turned off and safe, you find the keys right where they are supposed to be. This was a fictitious example, but I have had similar events occur.
Pranks can also occur in a pattern. For a time years ago, it was screws being apported. A screw or two would disappear and not be found, not even by touch or holding a flashlight low to the floor to raise shadows, then a day or two later, they would be back. Other screws would appear in places where I know I did not place them. Once I went on a weekend trip, and when I unpacked at my destination, there were screws in the suitcase, with my clothes. Unpacking after I got home produced more screws. I mentioned this to a friend, and he commented, “They’re screwing with you, Bob.”
In a related incident, while unpacking after that trip, I discovered that a favorite T-shirt captioned, “you’re just jealous that the voices talk to me,” was missing, even though I had worn it on the trip. Two days later, I found it laundered and neatly folded in a drawer.
On the other hand, more unpleasant events also happen. In the same house where so many of these events occurred I was sitting at the kitchen table when my chair suddenly collapsed beneath me. I was falling. I grabbed the table to save myself, and that broke the spell. The chair had not collapsed and I had not fallen, but as far as I knew, I damned well had fallen. This was probably the most intense episode of sensory glamour I had experienced.
Around Halloween, 2004, I was hospitalized for a few days. Someone unseen kept jarring my bed, really hitting it hard, at irregular intervals. Nearly a year after that and in a different home, I was putting together some anecdotes for a talk about Halloween. I wrote about the incident with the hospital bed, and this reminded me about the incident with the chair at my previous home, when the chair I was actually sitting in while making my notes did collapse, for real, dropping me to the floor and banging me up a bit. I found that the bolts holding the seat to the base of the chair were no longer in place.
A year later, almost to the day, and hundreds of miles away, I was doing a written piece. I was thinking about the bed and the two chair incidents, when the chair I was sitting in totally fell apart, dropping me hard enough that I couldn’t sit at the keyboard for more than a few minutes at a time for days afterward. Was someone upset with me, or did someone not want me telling this story?
Incidents like this make me wonder whether or not some incidents attributed to poltergeist activity may more properly be blamed on the Little People?
A more amusing incident happened in the same house as the last chair incident. One morning, I walked into my workshop to find a piece of scrap board, standing on end three feet from the place where it had been stored. Showing off, perhaps?
Some apportation events can be quite interesting and even wondrous. For a time back in the haunted town where I used to live, I kept finding quarter dollar coins, simply called quarters, about the house in places where I knew I hadn’t placed them. Then one winter I was working in a retail store. At the end of the day, I totaled the cash, and spied a quarter on the floor. Although the checks and most of the cash went into the night deposit slot of a nearby bank, the coins were simply tallied and left in the till. I added the stray coin to the till and totaled up the coins. Altogether, it came to $6.25. This was so noted and the shop was locked for the night.
That evening, I was invited to go hot-tubbing. I changed into a pair of sweatpants, transferring only my wallet and keys from my work trousers. After the tub time, I was getting dressed in the sweatpants again when a quarter fell to the floor. I knew I had no coins on me, so I suspected shenanigans. When I got back to the store the next morning, the coinage in the till was counted again. It was missing a quarter.
Another day, I was at the grocery. Ahead of me was a local woman, and I greeted her, asking how things were going. She replied that things weren’t going well at all. I simply told her that even on the bad days, something good happens. She seemed skeptical, but apparently someone was listening. When it was time for her to pay for her groceries, she pulled out her wallet, reached in, and came out with a $100 bill. She turned to me in astonishment and said, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep it up.”
Another time, I was conducting a weeknight discussion group about psychic matters at a church I attended. It was customary for those attending to make a donation if they could, to help the church. As a leader, I wasn’t expected to donate, but I liked to set an example and usually donated $5.
One evening, I had only three one-dollar bills in my wallet, so before going to the church, I obtained a five dollar bill and added it to my wallet. When the donations were collected, I took out my wallet, extracted the five dollar bill, and put my wallet away. I put the bill in the donations bowl. This was witnessed. After class, I totaled up the cash, which came to $19, including my five dollar bill. The money was sealed in an envelope with the total written outside, and locked away in the church office. The next morning, at home, I looked in my wallet and found three singles, and a five dollar bill.
At that church, the blessing recited during donations was as follows: “Divine Love, through me, blesses and multiplies all that I give and all that I receive, through the bounty of the Creator. Amen.”
My family have always been Catholic but me and my grandmother have always been attracted or pulled towards nature. She’s really good with plants and even talks to them if that’s a little crazy but it’s worked for her.
I’ve always been good with animals, domestic and wild. They seem to know I have a good intent which allows me to help them when I feel need help.
I first got into reading fairy lore since I joined the missing 411 subreddit and become fascinated by how people could disappear in such weird and reoccurring circumstances. A common explanation offered that these incidents seem to be connected with the Fae.
I kept on exploring and reading about them. I listened to stories on YouTube from Scary Fairy Godmother. Somehow, I got to the point where I wanted to build them a fairy house. I still didn’t know if they were real or not, but was very curious.
So, I started on the project. I used cardboard that was in the recycling bin, painted it, and decorated with leaves, fallen petals and twigs. I was pleased with the result and decided to make a second one, this one being bigger and including a small bed and a bench.
That’s when I started finding feathers.
At first it was in my backyard in a path I usually take and I just considered myself lucky and incorporated it to my second fairy house.
It was black, big and sleek.
Then I found another one in my grandma’s house.
This was weird since I found it inside the house.
It was also black but a bit smaller.
I picked it up and once again I put it inside my more elaborate fairy house.
I was so into creating the second fairy house, I didn’t even get hungry. I just wanted to finish it, make it prettier, adding more comforts to it etc.
I’ve also felt I’ve been being tested recently.
A few days ago, a hen and her chicks were in the middle of the road. I was with my mom in the car and she kept honking at them but they wouldn’t move. I got out of car and lead them to safety.
That night, my cat brought in a small bright green iguana to the house. My cat was trying to kill it. I managed to get him out of the house with treats.
Then my dog wanted to also kill it. I placed my dog in my room so it wouldn’t kill the poor iguana. I found two cardboard boxes and gently with a broom nudged the guy to go inside one of the cardboxes. Then I placed the second one on top and proceeded to go downstairs and into my backyard to safely release it.
Then my cat was smelling the box again. After all this work I wasn’t going to release the little guy just so my cat would try to kill it again. I picked up my cat, put him in my room then went down again and finally was able to set the guy free. Little guy didn’t want to leave his box so I gently touched his tail so he could get running and find somewhere safe.
I felt happy and fell asleep early which is rare with my insomnia. I dreamed I was walking again through my backyard. I found white feathers. Then I kept going and found beautiful brow, orange-ish feathers, bright blue feathers, big peacock feathers.
I went downstairs and was tending to my dogs when I stumbled upon a fluffy white feather. I noticed it, but left in the ground and kept walking.
Then I found another, fluffy white feather right in my path. I picked it up and have placed it in my second fairy house.
I’m in awe.
There have been too many signs at the same time for them to be just coincidences.
I’d like to point out I usually don’t find many feathers, or hens with chicks standing in the road, or my cat bringing bright green lizards. I usually don’t dream about feathers or much at all really. I feel something is trying to communicate me suddenly.
I keep on finding a lot of feathers. One day I kept finding feathers in triplets. For us Catholics 3 is a holy number since we believe in the Holy Trinity, that God is made up of three distinct beings of the same divine nature. So, to me the three is significant.
I thanked them and some have been added to the houses while others I just hold it and throw them when there’s a breeze to watch them fly away.
My dreams have been vivid and weird.
I had a dream which I don’t really recall, but the remarkable thing is I woke up at 5am, on my own. (Just for context I’m a college student. My sleep schedule is very much out of whack. I’m more likely to fall asleep at 5am then to wake up at that time.)
I woke in an almost trance-state.
Switched off the air conditioner and just heard the sounds of nature as everything was waking up.
I live in a rural area so I heard, the crickets, birds and all the roosters.
Then I heard humming in my left ear.
Human, or human-sounding, humming a melody I didn’t know.
I’ve tried to remember it, but honestly it just blurs out.
I didn’t feel scared, it was very calming almost like a lullaby.
I’m from Australia as well. Irish descent on both sides. I guess when you’re brought up like I was, with a wickedly wonderful story-telling Granny and a fiercely patriotic Mother who’d never allow an Irish joke to be told in the house, it’s no wonder I too found myself in the presence of a real, honest to goodness ‘little person’ one day long ago.
This experience changed me.
It was liberating and exciting because I’d always believed they existed but also believe they only existed in Europe, Ireland etc.
I live on the New South Wales (NSW) central coast. It was boxing day, I think about 1999 or 2000.
I had separated from my husband and my best friend was in the same process so she and I decided to have boxing day together with our kids (my 3 & her 4), picnicking on the bank of Wyong Creek.
We were joined by a couple of extra friends and kids. We took a big lunch and canoes. Before lunch we went together in a few canoes for a paddle along the creek, under a bridge, past some old houses.
On our return we were making our way back to where we’d set up, and a couple of the bigger kids were paddling beside us in the shallows.
I heard the frantic barking of a small dog coming close to us along the bank.
I turned to see what was going on.
I saw a tiny figure, about 30cm tall no more, running for all it was worth.
It was like a tiny man with his head back.
Arms drawn up.
Racing right down a half submerged fallen tree in the water.
Striding down, joining hands in front of itself…
it dived into the water and disappeared with the dog (an Australian silkie terrier whose name was Friday, I never forgot it) right behind and it’s owner in hot pursuit.
The owner, a young girl, apologised profusely for the ruckus, scooped the dog up and left.
I turned to my friend in the other canoe.
All of us apart from the littlest kids were there, gaping mouths, wide eyed and just kept saying “you saw that, right?”
“Did you see what I saw?”
It was unmistakable and unforgettable.
Funnily enough, I often took my kids for long drives down to Wiseman’s Ferry for fun and would point out a strip along the way that I’d tell them “that’s where the Faeries live”..
Do you think some people are more in-tune with the Good People than others?
Are these people skilled at keeping their minds and senses alert to the Faerie around them? Or do the Good People simply like or trust them more than other people?
Bob from the U.S. has seen and sensed the Good People many times throughout his life. So in-tune is he with Faerie, that he has kept a journal of each sighting. Here, Bob shares a few more of his personal experiences with us.
It is my belief that the Good People are entities of the spirit world who sometimes manifest into, and interact with, our physical world.
Many of my own encounters were with the Tommyknockers underground, but there have been other encounters taking at least the appearance of many different physical forms.
In the very haunted small mountain town in which I was living in Colorado, I once saw a dark shape scurry under a friend’s automobile when we entered his garage. He saw nothing.
At another time, in the same location, from the corner of my eye, I saw a dark something, about the size of a cat, peering at from around the side of the garbage can (or dust bin, as it is called elsewhere).
When I looked directly at it, it ducked back out of sight. I walked over and looked around it. Nothing there, nor any tracks on the fresh snow.
It could have been a ghost cat, or perhaps one of the Good People.
A few years later, I lived in the Mayfair neighborhood of Denver while recovering from cancer and its surgeries and treatments. There was a nice park a few blocks away from where I lived, and I walked my dog to the park at least twice a day.
One feature of the park was a strip dedicated to native plants along one edge of the park. One afternoon, I suddenly spied a small dark shape dodge behind a utility box along that stretch. A check around that spot found nothing.
A couple months later, my dog and I were taking a walk during the morning “tween” time, or morning twilight.
A small brown figure, about three inches tall, launched itself from the ground in a flurry of wings.
The rational part of my mind identified it as a large insect, perhaps a praying mantis.
But then it occurred to me that it was late January, there was a cold north wind blowing, the temperature was well below freezing, and the light of the rising sun had not yet reached the park.
There was no way this was an insect, nor a bird, nor a leaf or a piece of trash blowing on the wind.
It was in sight for about three feet, then disappeared, even though it should have been in plain view.
There were other encounters in the park.
Just past some sandbar willows in the native plants section, something small and brown, walking upright, started crossing the path ahead of us. It also appeared to be about three inches tall, and vanished while it still should have been in sight.
Less than a week later, in the grass park of the park, my left foot struck something soft and yielding, nearly tripping me.
There was nothing to be seen, not even a tuff of turf, and it could not be felt again.
A few days later, again in the native plants section, there were a couple glimpses of something about twice as tall as the earlier brown beings, but of a sparkly, twinkly silver appearance.
There was also a possible appearance in my apartment one evening.
I was reading, and saw something white flutter down from the top of a bookshelf to the floor, but nothing could be found.
Also in that apartment were encounters with what I dubbed “fuzzballs”.
Also seen elsewhere, these were indistinct black shapes about the size of golfballs which would scurry for about a foot or do, then vanish, even on an open floor.
Eventually, Colorado was left behind, and I moved back to my boyhood state of Ohio. Our dawn walks continued, often in a park along the river, where many animals could be found, but other things as well, including sighting a small white being that was twirling around on the ice of the frozen river one winter morning.
A very interesting encounter occurred almost exactly one year after the encounter with the being that I mistook for a mantis.
On a dawn walk, this time in a residential neighborhood which has lots of trees and flowers, I briefly spied a small brown fairy flying along.
In that instant, I knew that my daughter, who was living in Switzerland at the time, had given birth to her first child. My son-in-law telephoned a few hours later with the news.
More recently, last Autumn, I was crossing a bridge over a major highway.
The highway was well lit, as was the street I was following, but the bridge itself was not lighted.
It was well before dawn, and the temperature was cold. A light suddenly appeared in the air over the bridge, at about fifty feet above me I reckoned.
It was moving across the wind, meandering a bit. It was of an off-white color about the size of a large butterfly. It was in sight for about thirty feet, then vanished.
Part of the lore about the Good People is that they can use glamour to make things, including themselves, appear to be something different.
A Fairy might take on the appearance of a mouse or of a butterfly, for example, or might make a pile of acorns look like a trove of gold coins, or to make physical object invisible.
When I was still in Denver, I had a number of occurrences with butterflies which seemed very strange. I do believe that in some cases the butterflies may have actually been Fairies using glamour, or at the very least actual butterflies were being controlled by the Good People or other entities of the spirit world.
It started innocently enough. I was still recovering from cancer and was frequently at the veteran’s hospital in Denver. Whenever possible, I would walk to and from my appointments, and I would vary my routes.
One day I passed an absolutely delightful garden with many different kinds of flowers. Recalling what I had been taught about nature spirits, I mentally greeted each clump of flowers as I walked by.
Near the end of the garden, one particular cluster of flowers caught my attention. I greeted it and praised it, and immediately there was a very strong and wonderful aroma, which vanished after a few seconds.
About two months later, I was passing the garden again, and this time I caught a glimpse of a Fairy’s wings flickering behind a clump of flowers.
A month after that, I passed by that garden again, and mentally projected a greeting to whomever might be listening.
Immediately, a half dozen butterflies, later identified as American Painted Ladies, sprang up from the garden, and circled around me several times, not more than a foot away.
Then they landed back on the flowers again.
For the rest of that summer and fall, there were similar encounters with butterflies almost constantly.
If I stepped outside my home, I would often be greeted by one or more.
If none were there, I would mentally project, “Where’s my little friends?” and one or more would appear.
One day, one of them went on our walk with my dog and me.
It would fly ahead, land and wait for us, then once more fly ahead when we caught up, over and over.
Part of this relationship may have stemmed from an incident.
Walking back from the neighborhood market on a sunny day, I saw an injured American Painted Lady fluttering about on the asphalt of the market’s parking lot.
It was missing one of its four wings, an injury from which it could not recover.
The asphalt was very hot that sunny day, and it came to me that if I were injured and dying, I would prefer not to be doing it on hot asphalt.
I very gently picked it up and carried it to a nearby shady, grassy area where it could die more comfortable.
As I released it there, I hit with a very strong reaction of approval, along the lines of, “As you have done it unto least of these my brethren.. ”
Some time later, my dog and I were once again walking to the park, and we encountered a woman and her young daughter, who we had met on other walks.
They carried a net, and the girl, who was about four or five years of age, was carrying a small cage box.
“Wanna see my butterfly?” she asked, excitedly.
My heart sank a bit.
Somehow, I knew what she had in her cage.
I did not remonstrate, as she was so innocently proud of her capture, and I do recognize that not everyone shares my beliefs, so I simply asked what sort of butterfly she had.
They didn’t know, so she opened the box enough for me to see that yes, indeed, it was an American Painted Lady.
I told her what she had, but then was prompted to add something.
“Did you know that sometimes when people think they see a butterfly, it really isn’t?” I asked.
“Yes, sometimes it is a moth,” she replied.
“True,” I acknowledged, “but some people believe that sometimes when you see a butterfly, it is actually a Fairy“.
Having given her some food for thought, my dog and I continued to the park. It came to me very strongly that perhaps I should have added that if she made a wish on her butterfly and set it free, the Fairies might grant the wish.
And as we continued on our walk, we had many of my little friends fluttering about us, with one almost landing on my dogs nose.
The next day, we encountered the little girl again. And I asked how her butterfly was doing. Her reply warmed my heart.
I was with a friend. We were high atop Mount Fernan of the Rockies, way beyond cell-service range, in a grove of ancient cedar trees.
We were sitting beneath a massive cedar tree, besides a stream, and we asked the Faeries to join us. We sat for quite awhile, talking and laughing, when suddenly we heard this lovely ethereal music, very jovial and celebratory!
It seemed as close as the other side of the stream, but I did not see any entities. It was just the loveliest, most wonderful music.
My own experience is not too long or complicated, it is about music, coming from nowhere.
Several times as a child and once, very briefly, as an adult I have heard someone playing a sad tune on some kind of woodwind instrument in places, where you wouldn’t expect to find musicians at all (in the woods), or at least not playing such tunes (at the zoo full of kids).
The tune was, as I said, quite sad, tearful even and I heard it while looking at the scenes, one could describe as desolate: an abandoned construction project at the zoo, poorly cut clearing with stumps and branches all over the place. That was in my childhood.
Recently, after all these years, I heard the music again.
Very briefly – just ten seconds at best – but it brought back the memories at once.
I am sure it was same low woodwind (a clarinet, perhaps) and on the sad, misty, rainy November afternoon.
And again, it was in the countryside – hardly any street musicians there.
What’s funny about it all – mysterious music is not a major part of either Russian, or Latvian folklore, on the other hand, both traditions say that supernatural entities have lives of their own, with their weddings and funerals, which implies music.
Perhaps, a fairy musician was expressing his sorrow at the sight of abandoned or poorly done work (Russian fairies rejoice at human diligence and are angered by neglect).
Also, I learned that the place, where I heard the music last time as an adult was a battlefield in both great wars (and not too small at that – a metal detectorist friend of mine says the ground there sings from all the metal – bullets, spent casings, shell fragments)… Appropriate place to play a sad tune.
An Encounter with a Leshy?
One summer morning, when I was in my early teens, my father sat at the breakfast table.
He said that, just that morning ,he met a man dressed as if he just got out of bed – slightly disheveled, wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, who came out of the woods asking, where he was.
The man seemed distressed, but quite sober, so my dad told him and the man was shocked when he learned that he is a full train stop away from his home.
Then the man told what had happened: as he was having his morning smoke, he decided to pop into the woods just across the lane from his house, which is not that uncommon.
Picking wild mushrooms is a popular activity and many people do just that – briefly search the edge of the woods before breakfast in hopes of finding half a dozen – enough to make a small bowl of sauce for dinner (those, who want to get more mushrooms go into the woods better equipped, covering as much of the body as the weather allows for fear of ticks and disease they can carry).
He found nothing and walked back. And walked… and then the woods became unfamiliar, and then he went out of the woods, where he saw unfamiliar houses and met my dad.
The man asked, where the train station was and went away, cursing and mumbling about not having any money and having to explain it all to his wife. There could, of course, be any number of rational explanations, perhaps the man was not as sober after all and just lost his way and the track of time, but someone familiar with Russian fairy lore can also suspect the work a Leshy – woodland spirit and lord of the woods (“a” is intentional – every forest has one, big forests have multiple, new forest will eventually have a new keeper move in).
Leshy is a largely benevolent entity, know to help people (it is said that if an ill baby suddenly falls silent, Leshy is sitting beside the bad comforting the baby and praying for recovery), but as with most fairy creatures, is easily offended, or can just be in a bad mood.
Then, he can play mean pranks on humans, his favorite is confusing a person, making him or her loose a sense of direction and go the wrong way even in familiar places (lose one’s way among three pine trees, as the saying goes), but he can also lure a person deep into the woods by calling in a familiar voices, or transporting a person to a different place altogether, which seemed to have happened here.
What offends a Leshy?
First of all, disrespect for the woods – shouting on top of your lungs, unless in distress, breaking branches as you go, littering (and our unfortunate man smoked, as you remember, perhaps threw a cigarette butt away) and so on.
Treading on Leshy’s favorite track through the forest is even more offensive to him, but this usually invites a more immediate and violent reaction, up to and including sudden gusts of wind lifting a person from the ground.
Maybe, the man offended lord of the woods somehow, or may be it was just one of those days, when Leshy felt like pranking an unfortunate soul.
Or maybe, there is a mundane explanation, who knows…