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Fairy tales and mermaid tails: Cascading through our consciousness

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Interest in fairies seems to be on the upswing.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Two days before Christmas, I was stunned to read a column in The New York Times headlined “Flying saucers and other fairy tales” by conservative-and-introspective NY Times columnist Ross Douthat.

Strongly syncing with my own research of late – and my voluminous reading of every John Keel book I can get my hands on – is that Douthat echoes the views of those who do not think the strange lights in the sky, reported by American military pilots, and featured in a widely touted Times article, are “a starfaring species that’s come to our planet to study, experiment and eventually offer us a hand up or else ruthlessly invade.”

Douthat, in the next paragraph, references the research of French writer and paranormal investigator Jacques Vallée and his nearly 50-year old book Passport to Magonia (which I happened to review just two months ago – talk about timing!) In the classic 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a French scientist, based on Vallée, is there to help greet the benign alien visitors at Devil's Tower in South Dakota. Devil, eh? That Passport to Magonia book jacket makes more sense when viewed a certain way.

But then again, the "aliens" arrive on Earth in what appears to be a nuts-and-bolts spaceship. A bit counter to Vallée's claims in Magonia.

Nope. Something else is going on. And the scientific world is not ready for it. That much is certain.

And then there is Janet Bord's terrific 1997 book Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People that offers "dramatic proof" that the "real-life existence of fairies, dwarves, gnomes, pixies, brownies and elves" is not to be snickered at. As many readers here at Dust Devil Dreams may know, I have taken great interest in the phenomenon of "little people," including "brownies," as noted by 19th century railroad magnate Arthur Stilwell and recently noted in the TV series Better Call Saul, in relation to a story noted in Harry Thurston Peck's 1896 fairy tale/adventure anthology The Adventures of Mabel.

Bob Odenkirk's Jimmy McGill talks of "brownies" in a 2017 episode of Better Call Saul. (AMC)

It would seem that the notion of supernatural "little people" is gaining renewed interest. Just check out Simon Young and Ceri Houlbrook's recently-released book Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies - 500 A.D. to the Present.

Clearly, something magical is afoot in the larger culture. You weren't hearing much about fairies or brownies or "little people" even five years ago. And you weren't reading about "erotically-charged" sex fairies romping across the English countryside!

Bord's Fairies book notes an earlier, now-out-of-print 1991 book by Colin Parsons titled Encounters with the Unknown, where "brownies" helped with the laundry - at least until the occupant of the house made the brownies mad and they raised a ruckus. 

And then there is the natural world, where "fairy rings" - created by fungi, and something we reported on last September - were thought to be where "circular rituals," as Bord notes, were an indication of nature worship rites and pre-Christian "witchcraft" where mortals who entered the ring would not be able to escape.

Whatever you do, pal, don't join the fairy dance! (Wikimedia Commons)

And back in Bord's Fairies book, she notes that while it may not be "fairy rings" so mch as an "other world" or "parallel world" - "fairyland" - that is separated by a "thin barrier" that mortals usually cannot cross. We only get a "glimpse" if we are on the proper wavelength.

Right place, right time. Right frame of mind. Sounds about right.


So, in recent months I have been dutifully reading - with great pleasure, and, admittedly, some apprehension at times - the thoughts and writings of Christopher Knowles over at the mindblowingly now blog The Secret Sun

While I cannot possibly get into every aspect and nuance Knowles brings to the table (for a start, check out my recent "Nothing like the (secret) sun"), his very latest post - "Mermaid Apocalypse: Social Engineering through Memetic Overkill." 

Knowles argues that the multi-year "mermaid" fad of the past decade or so is really not a fad at all. It's a program of "blatant social engineering."

Mermaids ... circling the drain of the collective consciousness? (Animal Planet)

Do you recall, back in 2012-13, the bizarre Animal Planet "documentaries" Mermaids: The Body Found and Mermaids: The New Evidence were totally and completely fake. But why would a seemingly reputable cable channel like Animal Planet try to pass of these Mermaids programs as real? I remember being shocked that these shows were being aired. A 2016 Slate article, "The Politics of Fake Documentaries," notes that pushing fake docs like Mermaids only further undermines true research into the life of our oceans.

As Andrew David Thaler wrote: "And the bold and outright fabrications of shows like Mermaids erodes the public's trust in government and scientific organizations." As a result, "phony controversies" end up direct attention and funds away from the actual issues like rampant pollution of the oceans and climate change's impact on marine life and those in coastal areas.

Oddly, and synchromystically, a family member said someone in class was asking the teacher about mermaids this week and "wondering how they got their tails?" From Splash to The Little Mermaid ... it seems this is only the beginning of a fast-approaching, sinister, hybridization program of some sort. But I could be wrong.

This, after we were listening to a new record album, Summer of Love, a collection of psychedelic Monkees songs, including "The Porpoise Song," the theme to The Monkees 1968 film Head. Coincidentally, the flipside of the record features a full-length image of a Head mermaid. Well, ya know ... 

It is in the beginning of this cult film that Mike, Micky, Davy and Peter "commit suicide" by jumping off of a bridge, as a way of "killing" the pre-teen pop image that these adult men found so suffocating. 

As they float underwater, amidst psychedelic colors, mermaids swim up to the land-dwelling Monkees and presumably "save" the group, although they have gone from "square society" and emerged in a sort of colorful, acid-fueled "Upside Down" where they encounter Sonny Liston, Frank Zappa and Annette Funicello, among others, as the ego slips away ...

Psycho-jello, man! (Columbia Pictures)

So, will the aforementioned news last month of that Pentagon program searching for UFOs help or hurt the cause of finding out who or what is behind these strange lights in the sky? Some say the story is a CIA-funded diversion, as the real sources of these "lights" is kept hidden. It would indicate that something else is going on behind the scenes and we are still in the dark as we always have been.

Many of us remember the bogus, Fox "documentary" Alien Autopsy (Fact or Fiction?) that claimed to be "found footage" of a dead extraterrestrial being examined after the 1947 flying saucer crash near Roswell, New Mexico. 

It was so clearly fake, but people were so gullible at the time that Fox aired it three times and in one airing, approximately 11.7 million viewers watched alleged members of the military conducting an autopsy of a dead alien.

Hurry up, Bob. I have a 2 o'clock tee time! (Fox)

But in 2016, some 20 years after Alien Autopsy, Time magazine featured an article headlined: "How an alien autopsy hoax captured the world's imagination for a decade.

It took a while, but the filmmakers admitted the "documentary" was completely fake. But what was amusing is that in 1996, Fox's The X-Files poked fun at Alien Autopsy in what I consider the best episode of the entire series: "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space.'"

The Stupendous Yappi narrates "Dead Alien: Truth or Humbug?" on a classic episode of The X-Files. (Fox)

Back to that Time article: The reporter, Nathalie Lagerfeld, notes that Alien Autopsy - and The X-Files, for that matter - came about at a time when the widespread use of the Internet was in its infancy and paranoia in America was on the rise, in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, the Unabomber Manifesto and a creeping uneasiness about the end of the millennium (which the X-Files-esque series Millennium captured in the late 1990's - a show that creator Chris Carter is looking to reboot, apparently). 

Needless to say, the fake alien autopsy show was good for Fox. It was part of a "program," it would seem. And you know that in 1997 - 50 years after the "Roswell UFO Crash" - the Roswell Chamber of Commerce loved the attention the crash brought to that dusty city in remote, southeastern New Mexico.

Of course, my college buddy Matt, a native Roswellian, knew of my interest in the Roswell UFO story and said most folks didn't believe it, but they loved the money it brought to the city. Indeed. The city boosters don't see white, black ... or gray, for that matter. Only "green." Very Trumpian.

Seeing "green" in Roswell, NM. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)

Writes Lagerfeld at Time: "Where does this leave the alien autopsy in 2016, as interest in extraterrestrial life seems poised for a resurgence?"

I guess I had not noticed, in 2016, that an "interest in extraterrestrial life" was poised for a resurgence. But in late 2017, with that notorious Pentagon UFO report that Ross Douthat was opining on in the Times' op/ed page last month, which alluded to Robert Bigelow's role at Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, looking for strange creatures, portals and who knows what all! Methinks that that is what is really going on here. The investigations that are taking place seem to be far closer to home, rather than via telescopes pointed toward the heavens. 

Lagerfeld continues in the Time piece: "The rise of the Internet and social media means that hoaxes can spread more quickly today than ever before. But in the age of Wikileaks, it seems hard to believe that the government could keep a secret of the magnitude of a UFO crash under wraps for long."

I disagree. There is a lot that the government continues to keep secret. Details of the JFK assassination. September 11th ... And what of the ongoing "secret space program" taking place right under our noses?

Of course, I could go on and on.

But with constantly-evolving stories, like this one in The Daily Mail involving the Starbucks "siren" logo ... which, of course, further confirms Christopher Knowles' work, as the designer "tweaked" the mermaid/siren by making her feel "a bit more human" and "less like a perfectly cut mask."

Masks, eh? I guess it makes a lot of sense, in retrospect.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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