Modern Times

Belief in fairies was still widespread in the early twentieth century, according to the testimony of W. Y. Evans-Wentz in The Fairy Faith in the Celtic Countries (London, 1911). An American-born believer in fairies, Evans-Wentz travelled all the Celtic countries on foot and collected material from all social classes, during which respondents spoke of their convictions without condescension or skepticism.

In more recent times the fairy faith has fallen sharply, and many residents of all Celtic lands have found inquiries about such beliefs to be insulting.

Also in 1911, Jonathan Caredig Davies published his Folk-lore of West and mid-Wales. No less than 60 pages are devoted to detailed accounts of fairy beliefs. Although he is poor at citing his sources, we must assume that most of these were still current as folk tales in the second half of the nineteenth century.

This took its place alongside Robert Kirks The secret common-wealth (first published 1815 but written in 1691) and Thomas Keightleys The fairy mythology (1828) as the leading works of reference on fairy lore.

Despite a substantial volume of literature, the next major study of fairies did not appear until 1959 when Katherine Briggs The Anatomy of Puck was published, which lead in due course to her better-known A dictionary of fairies in 1976

In the nineteenth century roads in Ireland were rerouted to avoid disturbing fairy mounds.>In the December 25, 2005 edition of the Boston Herald, it was written that belief in fairies, elves, leprechauns, etc., collectively known as the “Little People” or “Hidden Folk”, still flourishes in Europe, as for example in the case of Icelandic road planners who will always consult an elf expert before building a highway, in order to avoid building through elf territory.

Many people in European countries still hold a mixture of fear and respect for the Hidden Folk, and will be especially careful not to arouse their anger , for they know that to do so would be disastrous. Such beliefs even extend to the United States, as reported in the lead article of the May 2006 issue of Fate Magazine, where it was reported that a small town in Minnesota, that was settled primarily by Scandinavian immigrants, told stories of what were called the Huldefolk, and a witness named Richard Connors even reported having an unexpected wrestling match with one of the beings!

With the coming of the 21th century, the Age of Faery seemed to have truly come to an end. The gods of Ireland had become no more than fairy tales, and most had forgotten they were ever anything more. However, this same century brought about a renewed interest in ancient religions and beliefs, and today, there are those who have resurrected the ancient Faery Faith.

With the rise of Wicca and other Pagan movements in the 20th century, the Flower Fairy was reinvented, slowly becoming the Elemental Fairy.

As demonstrated in this account, belief in the Little People doesn’t necessarily stop at just the folklore and mythological angle, but instead continues on to reports of actual encounters with the Little People, mainly from the United States and Europe but not just limited to these countries.