Posted in Blog Posts

Away With The Fairies

Do you believe in magic? Most adults will answer no and claim to have outgrown magic at the same time they stopped believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. For adults, it survives only in children’s stories and Las Vegas variety shows. But ask the same question of a child and you’ll be told in great detail about witches and wizards, cursed frogs, Kings with talking swords, goblins who spin straw into gold, trolls who live under a bridge and young girls being chased through forests by axe wielding hunstsmen. Magic is part of the very fibre of a child’s being so what is it that changes when we grow up?

When I was a wee girl I KNEW I could move objects using the power of my mind, I just hadn’t worked out how; I KNEW that clocks had their hands moved around by tiny little people who did their work when we blinked, I didn’t need to see them to be convinced; I KNEW that if I was a good enough person I would one day find a unicorn who would join me as I walked in the forest.

Then I was educated out of my beliefs. I was taught to look for empirical data to back up theories, to use logic and reasoning and to instead of instinct and wishes and to accept responsibility instead of whimsy.

And it’s shite.

So when John Hyatt exhibited his recent photographs, I was very, very excited. If you haven’t heard of him, he is the man behind the Rossendale Fairies, a series of photos taken around Lancashire. Hyatt, an art research lecturer from Manchester, claims his photographs were not doctored, not photoshopped and the fairies captured by his camera just happened to be there.

What do you see in these photographs? Gnats? Midges? The photographer doesn’t commit himself.

“People can decide for themselves what they are. The message to people is to approach them with an open mind,” he is reported to have said. “I think it’s one of those situations where you need to believe to see. A lot of people who have seen them say they have brought a little bit of magic into their lives and there’s not enough of that around.”

Hyatt is quite right: there isn’t enough magic in people’s lives. Our TVs and newspapers are filled with horror and inhumanity and if these photographs bring hope, a chance that things might be better then they are magical in themselves. What brings a lost child home, a remission from an untreatable cancer, old friends meeting in a cafe after years apart, if not magic? Co-incidence? You may choose to believe so.

But me, I’m still looking for my unicorn.

*All photographs are the copyright of John Hyatt



Writer, photographer, creative fantasist.

8 thoughts on “Away With The Fairies

  1. You probably know how I feel about fairies but they are real and they are not what people generally think. I’ve seen them and experienced them. I dislike almost all fairy art for this reason; there’s a whole range of twinkly-wee stuff that makes me alternately guffaw and tear my hair out.
    There is far more out there than we know. It’s not that many generations since the only light we thought was real was the visible spectrum; now we know that light includes a lot of rays we cannot see with our very human eyes. Falcons can see the trail of ultra-violet light emitted by mouse urine as the little beasts wee their way along through the grass, making their ability to find prey quite impossible for us to have understood even a few years ago. I’m not saying science has the answers but I think there is so much more out there than we realise.

    1. And isn’t it sad that we need science to prove it to us before we’ll believe? Mind you, I usually consider myself a rational, logical woman…but I do believe in “magic”

      1. I believe very much in magic, a kind of silvery thread that has woven through the entire fabric of my life. But I do sometimes want to understand and classify the mechanisms.

  2. Of course fairies are real! My son swears there is a whole colony of them at the bottom of my garden and I’m not going to argue. Magic and mystery are all around us. We, as you say Nettie, have been taught to trust in science alone and I agree entirely, science doesn’t necessarily have all the answers. I’ll keep watching for those fairies my son befriended and one day I’ll find a unicorn.

  3. Nice post, nice pictures, Nettie. In the pics I see flying jellyfish – but then I’ve a bit of a thing about jellyfish. Recently saw a load of ‘upside down’ ones at local Oceanography dept at University. Don’t know about actual fairies, but I have faith in cosmic ordering, however it works. Only make a request when in dire straits and, have to say, a solution has always very quickly turned up. I go into the garden, hold my arms up to the sky, and speak my request. And I always remember to say thanks! This could be thought of as a type of magic, but the neighbours may feel differently.

    1. Ha! Perception is amazing, isn’t it? I’d never have thought of jellyfish. I hope you have all your requests answered.

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