Wednesday 6 September 2023
Edwin E. Robinson, 62 of Falmouth, Maine was bald, blind, and deaf. His baldness, I presume, was natural, but his other disabilities were the result of a brain injury in 1971, when the truck he was driving jacknifed on an icy bridge. He wore a hearing aid and learned Braille. Then, on 4 June 1980, something happened. He was looking for a pet chicken in his back yard during a thunderstorm, and was struck by lightning.
Saturday 22 April 2023
Do you remember having a weird experience - I mean a really weird experience - when you were young - and I mean really young? If you do, how do you remember it now? Do you remember it as a real event, or have you convinced yourself that it must have been a dream, an hallucination, or a misinterpretation of something you didn't understand at the time? It would be comforting if you could so convince yourself. The reason I am asking this is that I am increasingly coming upon people who claim to have encountered as adults what, for lack of a better name, can be called "fairies". But the striking thing is that many others claim to have had such encounters as small children, and yet believe they really did happen.
Such is the case of a man who calls himself only "John". Most of us can remember hardly anything before the age of three, and possess only fragmentary memories of our lives before school. However, John remembers that, when he was three years old, he was plagued by a tiny, terrifying bedtime visitor. To his incomplete memories he has added what his parents told him he had told them at the time, and the fact that they themselves used to hear voices emanating from his room at night. Whether all this was a strange pychological phenomenon or - perish the thought! - something paranormal, it deserves wider distribution. This article originally appeared in the Fairy Investigation Newsletter 16, New Series (June 2022), and is republished with the permission of the author, John and the editor, Simon Young.
Wednesday 9 November 2022
Once upon a time, on the West Samoan island of Tutuila, by the village of Vaitogi, lived a woman called Fonoea, old and blind, with her little granddaughter. One day, having been neglected during a famine, she announced that she was going to commit suicide. But, she added, if they ever wanted to see her again, they should go to the cliffs and call for her. Of course, they took no notice. However, she got her granddaughter to lead her to the cliff, whence they both jumped in. At that point, she was turned into a large turtle, and the little girl into a small shark. The villagers were horrified, of course, but they remembered her promise, and so they called upon her in song to came back. And she did. Even since then, whenever they summon her, the turtle and shark will return.
That is a famous Samoan legend. You will easily find it if you do a web search, even on the Wikipedia. It was first recorded by a missionary in 1884, who treated it as a pagan superstition. But is it?
Wednesday 9 February 2022
"If this is 'all in the mind', then all I can say is the mind is a very fertile field." That was a comment made to me by a missionary in Papua New Guinea about some of the bizarre effects of sorcery and folk religions he had noticed in his work. Well, the mind is a very fertile field, and outside the western world it often manifests in strange culture bound syndromes. Koro, for example, is a mental disorder which causes Chinese and Southeast Asian men to imagine that their penises are retracting into their bodies. Malays run amok. In much of the Muslim world women find themselves possessed by what they call zar spirits, but the syndrome in not necessarily seen as pathological, because many of them make quite a bit of money out of it, just like spiritualists over here. Just the same, one wonders how far the 'fertile field' theory can be stressed before we wonder whether something alien has sprouted there.
Monday 18 October 2021
Recently, I was approached by Wendy Garrett in Kansas, who interviewedme for 40 minutes by telephone about my recent book, Apparitions. You can now access the podcast at https://audioboom.com/posts/7960496-malcolm-smith-10-17-21-aussie-fortean-blogger-writer-researcher-apparitions-paranormal. I hope you find it interesting, if only to listen to the two quite different accents. (I might add, it was a little disturbing to hear myself talking, because you never hear your own voice the way other people do.)
One thing I found interesting was Wendy's account of her own experience at 11.57. She was weeding the garden when she heard an invisible choir chanting something like, "Mother, bring us rain". Then a cloud passed over, there was a short sprinkle of rain, and the voices stopped. I have no explanation for that.
Thursday 16 September 2021
I started this blog with the aim of collecting reports which were in danger of being forgotten, in the hope that, in the aggregate, they might form a pattern. Well, I have now managed to see some sort of pattern - one of which I wasn't aware initially - so I have now collected it into a book. It is called Apparitions: tulpas, ghosts, fairies, and even stranger things, and it is available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle e-book form. Much of it has already been published, but a whole lot more is new: collated from both nineteenth and twentieth century sources. With 213 endnotes, it is fully documented.
Friday 16 October 2020
There are so many anecdotes of accurate premonitions of danger, either waking or dreaming, that we must accept this form of ESP as one of our evolved survival strategies. A strong premonition of this sort commonly induces the percipient to alter his behaviour in order to avoid the danger. But what if there are serious consequences of such an action? What if cancelling your plane flight at the last moment means losing both the fare and the cost of your holiday? What if your boss insists you make the journey? Worse still, how do you know that attempting to avoid the danger won't make it come true?