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Saturday 22 April 2023

The Little Boy and the Little Visitor

      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.
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Meeting Bonnie
by John
     When I was three there was a little man about three and a half inches who came into my room each night... He frightened me. I still remember a few of the nights quite clearly, especially one night when he brought another little person with him. Some other information about the visits I had, I got from my mother as I used to complain to her about this fellow, when I was little. While it was all quite real and I was not asleep. For many years I put it off as just a childhood hallucination. However, there were some things about the encounter that make me now think it may have been real.

      I was born and raised in Canada…. We are of English, Scottish stock and a dash of Nordic blood in us as our Scottish ancestors come from the area where the Vikings and Scots interbred and the last name of those ancestors were names of those that mixed. My life was divided up into sections because we moved so often throughout the province of Ontario, in Canada; because of this it has been very easy for me to remember what I was doing at each stage and age of my life. I can remember eating in my highchair; my father feeding me baby food…. I can remember my sippy cup; it was blue with a white top. The first four years of my life were spent in the same house where I encountered two little men; one who told me his name was Bonnie. My parents told me that as soon as they had moved into this house, they would hear voices in my room at night (keep in mind my parents were not into hocus pocus stuff; they are very meat and potato type people and always had their feet on the ground.) At the time, my mother attended the Anglican Church and my father was member of the Presbyterian Church; both of which, during the 1950s had become quite mainstream and not fanatical. I share all this information to make clear the atmosphere of the family’s outlook on spiritual things. Anyway, my parents would take me out of my crib and put me in between them in their own bed, because the voices, coming from my room, frightened them. It would only be a couple more years, when I was three, that Bonnie would start coming into my room at night. I believe there are six aspects of my encounter with the little men that make me believe they may have been real and not just some childhood imagination.

1. I was very, very afraid of the one man; the main one who came to see me, in my bedroom at night… in fact, he was the only one who came with the exception of ONE time when he brought another little person to see me.

2. Bonnie was about three and a half inches tall… His eyes bothered me; they had very high ridges around them. His head was slightly elongated. No pointed ears…. no elf hat. He seemed to have long sideburns (something odd for 1959 even Elvis’ sideburns were not like these back in the 50s). If I had seen any cartoon or picture in a story book, of an elf or fairy, then it doesn’t seem to make sense that I wouldn’t see pointed ears, on this fellow, if this man was really just my imagination. While it was dark in my room, with the door only slightly open allowing some light from the hall to come in, his skin seemed to be darker than mine… Almost a greyish or bluish brown colour but not too dark… His skin was light enough that I could see his facial features including the ridges on his eyes that, for whatever reason, seemed to bother me.

3. The man told me his name or at least told me what he was. I don’t recall the night he told me, but my mother informed me that I told her the man’s name was Bonnie. There are two problems with this name; until very recently, when I decided to do some research on the name, Bonnie, I had always thought that Bonnie was a girl’s name, but I now know that it is also a boys’ name… But, I didn’t know anyone with that name when I was three and as far as I know, and as far as my mother knew; our family didn’t know anyone by that name, either. Also, I can remember when I was three and had a hard time saying the words, television and telephone… I can remember trying very hard to pronounce them, and just couldn’t get them right. I have often wondered if this little man told me he was a Brownie and I couldn’t say the word correctly and so, my mother thought I said Bonnie. Again, I don’t remember the night the little man told me this, but my mother told me that was the name I gave her, when I was telling her about him. I actually do have some memories of the guy, but I don’t remember him telling me his name; I got that information from my mother.

4. At night I would pretend I was asleep because I was so afraid of him. I could feel him jump up and grab my blanket and I could feel him climb up the side of my bed; I could feel the little tugs on the blanket. This doesn’t seem like something a three-year-old mind would create if it was just his imagination… How would a boy that age know that a tugging feeling would be felt if something was climbing the side of the bed? It may be possible, but I just find this a bit odd to conceive. Also, the tugs seemed to indicate that it was a hard climb for him…. He didn’t climb fast… it wasn’t overly slow, but as an  adult, and having at one time been rather fit, when I think back to his climbing, it seems as if it was an effort for him to climb up.

5. If I pretended to sleep, then Bonnie would walk upon my pillow; I could feel him walking on it and then he would tell me he knew I was awake. If I didn’t move and didn’t say anything, then he would pull one of my hairs, which of course, hurt me, and then I would either lift my head up and brace myself on the bed with my forearms or I would sit up all the way, cross legged on my bed. Most of the time he would just say nasty things to me, about how bad I was. I guess a Freudian psychiatrist would have a field day with that, perhaps suggesting that Bonnie was nothing more than an imaginary projection of the forming super-ego of a young three year old child. Anyway, Bonnie would tell me that he had been watching me throughout the day and he said that he thought I was a stupid boy and he would point out when he felt I had been bad and tell me he should hurt me as a punishment.

6. This is the most important point that makes me think he was real. (For some reason, I remember this night more clearly than any other…) On one occasion Bonnie brought another little man with him. But, the other man was almost a full inch TALLER than Bonnie. Bonnie told the other little man that I was the boy he had been talking about. Bonnie then started to tell me what a little brat I was and that he should punish me. The other little fellow then said to Bonnie; ‘Leave him alone…. stop scaring him!’ Then, Bonnie turned to him and shouted for him to, ‘Shut up…!!!’ Bonnie then went on to tell the other little man that he (Bonnie) wasn’t doing anything wrong. TWO things about this night make me believe that Bonnie had to be real. (1) I was shocked that Bonnie, being smaller, was yelling at the other little man, and that the other little man, even though he was much bigger, seemed to be afraid of Bonnie, because, after Bonnie yelled at him, the other man backed off and didn’t say any more and actually seemed intimidated by Bonnie. The other man didn’t interrupt any more even though Bonnie continued to try to scare me. I don’t think small children consider it normal for a smaller person to be able to boss around a larger person. Sure, once we get older and have more life experience, we come into contact with smaller people who are quite aggressive or assertive and who do boss around larger people… but, I just don’t think my three-year-old mind would have thought that way. (2) Also, there was the morality aspect to what they were saying; First, the other fellow tells Bonnie to leave me alone and not to scare me. This seems like a moral judgement. Also, Bonnie defensively but assertively replies that he isn’t doing anything ‘wrong’. Again, this speaks of moral values…. It just seems odd to me that my three-year-old mind would think these two fellows would debate the right or wrongness of Bonnie’s act… Rather, I would think that if this was really just my super-ego forming, that it would have focused solely on my behaviour and not that of Bonnie, who was a super-ego projected manifestation. Well, my story might not be that great, but it has puzzled me my whole life.

Perhaps I should add that my parents told me that I was a very well behaved child and so, that also makes me doubt that Bonnie was a manifestation of a developing super-ego; it is not like my parents had to keep disciplining me.... thanks.

Editor [Simon Young]: I asked John, now aged sixty-four, about his adult life. I was interested to see whether he had had other supernatural experiences.

I worked part time as Christian pastor for many years… and was always drawn to the more mystical aspect of the religion. My story of Bonnie is the only real strange story from my childhood, however, when I grew up, and especially throughout my twenties and early to mid thirties, I actually encountered a fair bit of poltergeist activity; enough that it frightened me, even as a Christian minister. I ended up contacting a professor, back when I was around twenty-nine…. Sorry, I cannot recall his name, but suspect I could find it, if I tried. He was some sort of investigator of poltergeist activity – he thought it was psychic energy, but I didn’t buy that for some reasons I won’t go into, right now. Why I bring this up, is that on three occasions, at different locations, the poltergeist activity would focus on me and no one else. Others witnessed what happened, but it never happened to them. Secondly, I have worked with the poor and the homeless in Canada, for decades. But, what got me interested in the homeless was two things; (1) I felt sorry for them… but also, (2) they tend to come up to me, even if I am in a crowd of people… They will push right through everyone else and come up to me and ask for money or help. Friends who know me and have walked around with on the streets, find it fascinating when they see this happen. So, I have always wondered if I gave off some sort of signal; you know, some body language (in the case of the homeless) or some energy (in the case of the poltergeist) that attracts both. One more thing. Shortly after my father died, he started coming to me in dreams; this is odd, because my father and I were not close later in life… He told me that my mother was in trouble and that the man she was seeing was going to hurt her. In one of the dreams, I realized I was dreaming and I told my father, in the dream, that he should go into my mother’s dream and tell her. He told me that he tried to but that she couldn’t hear him… He said he tried everyone in my family and I was the only one who could see and hear him in my dreams. Again, like Bonnie, I have no idea if what I experienced in the dream was real, but what I do know, is that I called up my sister to see if my mother was in fact, dating someone. I wasn’t close to either of my parents – they had become fundamentalist Christians many years earlier and I remained an Anglican… they thought I was going to Hell and basically stopped talking with me and so, I had no idea what my mother was doing. Turns out my mother had just began dating a man from her fundamentalist church. I did NOT contact my mother, to tell her about my dream, as I felt she would just think I was nuts. Sure enough, the man she was seeing, told her to sell her house and they used the money to travel throughout the USA… when she ran out of money, they came back to Canada and the man went back to his ex-wife. My mother’s pastor found out about this and made the two of them stand up in their church and confess their sins and repent. I don’t agree with what my mother did, but I would never go to a church that made me do that, if I screwed up.


  1. what a great story! wonder if the haunting "ridges around the eyes" were a young mind translating overly large eyes (a la the Greys) into something comprehensible? But was also reminded of Neanderthal and Homo floresiensis brow ridges; a remnant of an ancient offshoot of humanity?

  2. I found John's account fascinating as I, too, had a similar experience as a toddler. Thankfully, it only happened once that I can recall. I would've been about the same age too, about three. I remember being put into a crib in a dark, spare bedroom in my grandparents' house in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, one evening when my parents were visiting, circa 1966. I remember a small, thin man with a peaked hat climbing up between the slats of my crib and standing on the mattress rather indignantly with his hands on his hips, surveying me as if I was an intrusion to his space. I do not recall any specific details about his appearance but, like John, I was frightened by him and I do recall closing my eyes and trying to "wish" him away. This great discomfort with elves and fairies persisted into adulthood. As a child, fellow friends were terrified of the Wicked Witch of the West and her horde of flying monkeys in "The Wizard of Oz"; but I was afraid of the Munchkins! Go figure...

  3. Interesting account. I too am of Scottish and Irish decent. My father was Presbyterian and my mother Anglican. We too live in Ontario.

    When I was four I was playing in our front yard one day. I decided to sit on our front step which was about 25 feet from the road.

    Suddenly to my left on the road was a little man about four feet tall riding a tricycle. As he passed in front of me he turned, smiled and waved. I smiled and waved back. He rode off to my right then disappeared.

    I went in and told my mother what had happened. She said we don't have any little people around here so you must have imagined it.

    I am now 77 and I know it was real.