Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Humanoids of the Magical Type

Oh, we have humanoids in our culture such as Bigfoot, the Lizard Man, and the Skunk Ape, but there are magical ones in our folklore. They seem to cover all the ranges of human characteristics, some good, some bad, some indifferent. Here’s an introduction to just some of the humanoids man has designed in his history:

Gnomes (German origins) were supposedly named by Paracelsus in the 16th Cenury, a physician and alchemist. He believed these creatures had an occult knowledge of the earth. In the 1800s in Germany they began to make ceramic garden gnomes to protect the creatures and the plants in the garden. It was believed these elemental spirits spread wildflowers, maintaine the garden, and nursed hurt animals, and were a sign of good luck.

Trolls (Scandinavian origins) were believed to be tiny creatures that could not be exposed to sunlight or would crack. They came out at night. Rock foundations that looked like faces are said to be trolls that stayed out after sunlight. They had crooked noses, four fingers, and tails. It was said they could transform their looks and fool people and would lure them away for attack. If a farmer angered a troll, he would feel his wrath.

Green Man (Celtic origins) was a pre-Christian Pagan symbol known widely as a god of ecstasy and divine rapture, he was also the god of vegetation. To many He represents the cycle of life, birth, and renewal. His image is carved in lots of historic sites and even in old churches and often is brought forth in Springtime as the symbol of rebirth.

(Irish origins) were driven into hiding when the Celts invaded Ireland. The Pagan gods of the Tuatha, skilled in building and magic, went underground to live in the tombs and mounds they had built. Hidden from sight, they grew smaller in the popular imagination until they turned into fairies.

Gargoyles (Ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome) were originally used a waterspouts to drain water away from buildings. They were named for the gurgling sound they made as water passed through them. They were found on many cathedrals and other architecture. They went away for many centuries and then reappeared as a popular craze during the Victorian era. These ugly “demons” were believed to scare away evil spirts.

Elves (German origins) were originally thought of as a race of minor nature and fertility gods, who are often pictured as youthful-seeming men and women of great beauty living in forests and underground places and caves, or in wells and springs. They have been portrayed to be long-lived or immortal and as beings of magical powers.

Pixies (Celtic origins) were mythical creatures of folklore, considered to be particularly concentrated in the areas around Devon [1] and Cornwall, [2] suggesting some Celtic origin for the belief and name. They are usually depicted with pointed ears, and often wearing a green outfit and pointed hat. Sometimes their eyes are described as being pointed upwards at the temple ends. Pixies (or Piskeys) are said to disguise themselves as a bundle of rags to lure children into their play. The pixies of Dartmoor are fond of music and dancing. These Pixies are said to be helpful to normal humans, sometimes helping needy widows and others with housework.

Nymphs (Greek origins) were spirit females. They tended to frequent areas distant from humans, but could be encountered by lone travellers outside the village, where their music might be heard, and the traveller could spy on their dancing or bathing in a stream or pool, either during the noon heat or in the middle of the night. They might appear in a whirlwind. Such encounters could be dangerous, bringing dumbness, besotted infatuation, madness or stroke to the unfortunate human.

(European origins) is a broad term referring to a number of preternatural legendary creatures. The term is generally used in reference to elf-like creatures, including fairies, and similar beings (although not earth beings),[1] but can also signify various spiritual beings, including ghosts.

Brownies(Scottish origins): Customarily brownies (A type of hob – see hobgoblin) are said to inhabit houses and aid in tasks around the house. However, they don't like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts or food. They take quite a delight in porridge and honey. They usually abandon the house if their gifts are called payments, or if the owners of the house misuse them. Brownies make their homes in an unused part of the house. (as in the movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.”)

I admit a love of fairies and garden gnomes outdoors. Inside, I have many images of the Green Man, as I like the concept of a keeper of the woods made from the plant life with a vested interest in its welfare. Of the badass ones, trolls have my attention hands down. Gargoyles are beautiful in sculpture and architecture. All in all, if I could only have one around my house, I'd probably pick the Green Man, he's just darn sexy.

Which is your favorite?


  1. I like the new blog look btw! Spooky! I need some pixies and brownies around here. If they can help me out a little it would be great. We have some wonderful unfiltered organic honey I think they would love!

  2. Yum! Every springtime, my mom would go to the local beekeeper and get big combs of honey in jars. I'd dig the combs out and chew on them. It was soooo good! We had these huge columns that held up our 2-story veranda at Aspen Grove and they had a hollow inside and honeybees would go in the hole at the top, honey would drip out of the hole in the bottom. When I was little, I thought it was a magic spout! :-) p.s. I'd like a troll to keep the Jehovah's and Mormons from constantly knocking at my door.

  3. great post, i didn't know the details on some of these beings. my favs are trolls and gargoyles.

  4. Sandra;
    I have a special spot for the spookier ones too.

  5. I've been thinking about these 'elementals' lately myself. A lot of the background information on them sounds like old wives tales, but I'm beginning to wonder if they aren't some sort of forest spirits. More than half of the population of Iceland still believes in elves! It's almost like the bigfoot phenomena to me...people keep seeing them, but no one ever seems to be able to find bigfoot a spirit of the forest too?

    As for my favorite, I'd have to say the elves. Particularly the way Tolkien depicts them.

    Although brownies do sound good. In fact, I think I might go get some at the store.

  6. Jeff;
    Don't eat the brownies!

    I'm totally aligned with you. I used to think of elementals as something from folklore in times when people were close to the earth and saw lots of strange phenomenon they couldn't explain. I told myself that man doesn't do that anymore, but then I had to stop and really look at it and, well, aliens fit the bill pretty good and are a modern version of pixies/elves/brownies... It makes me wonder if such a creature as an alien presented itself to ancient man, he wouldn't assume the thing was spiritual/nature-based. What other reference does he have? When we see one, we say it's from another world because our world is accounted for in our eyes and because we have, in fact, traveled in space so that now is part of our folklore explanations for these things.

    Iceland's elves are one of my favorite subjects. I hope to write a post about it soon. I've been doing some research on the "earth haunted formula" and Iceland is one of the areas I've focused on because of it's seismic and volcanic activity is off the chart and where you have these kind of earth things--you might have such phenomenon. I think that Icelandics designed the elf explanation to help them explain strange things that occur in such an earth-active area that spits out strange phenomenon. I think when you have a culture talking about an elemental, you have to ask what's at work there. I'm hoping to do some studying of places like Ireland and Mexico that also report a lot of strange creatures.

    It's hard to say if Bigfoot is part of the whole thing, but I have to admit that when we have phenomenon, people tend to think of it as under one blanket. Psychic abilities are something of a spiritual nature, ghosts are of a spiritual nature, spooklights are of a spiritual nature...The thing is that these phenomenon may have nothing at all in common. We need to look at them separately.

    I could talk to you all night about this--favorite subject--phenomenon! I hope to have that post up tomorrow or the next day.

  7. Have you seen the old Destination Truth episode about the Icelandic elves? I thought it was pretty interesting. I embedded the episode in my article called 'Hidden Folk'.

  8. Jeff;
    Yeah, I loved that episode. I could almost feel the cold breath. What a beautiful country! I fell in love with it immediately. Apparently, my father's cousins were mostly in Iceland and his family went back and forth to Norway. Grandma was from Lapland. They all loved the extremes there. I find it's in my blood too. I might get to post that Iceland post tonight because I found out some chores I needed to do, I don't have to do (yahoo).

  9. Where are you getting your cool photos? You always pick good ones to go with your blogs, but lately they've really appealed to me. This is one of those.

    FAIRIES for me.

    Also, I sometimes wish there was a way to rate your blogs. So many I would give 5 stars to. This is one of them. Very cool the way you do your descriptions like you do when you break things down. (You did it recently on something else...I can't remember which one. It's really nice.)

  10. Courtney;
    Glad you like it. I have to admit, I just use the right wording when I do a google image search. I think this time I used "elves, sprites, fairies" and looked for something that had the feel I wanted. The newest post (icelandic elves) is what I put in the Google image search and found those girls all decked out for the photo. They kind of reminded me of pictures of my Laplander grandma. I love the northern people--they're so cool! Intelligent, but light-hearted. I'm glad I inherited that from my dad--I got my mom's Scottish thriftiness and hard work ethic. Good combo, I guess. I could have gotten the sourpuss attitude of mom's Scot's people and dad's Norwegian drinking gene, so I guess I lucked out.

  11. Mms. Forest, m' Lady, I am sooo, so behind in this magnificent, prolific web log of yours. You have too few peers. Who'd've thunk, a pragmatic, skeptical, yet psychometrist spirit sleuth? LOL! My fave-rit? Weh-heh-heh-El! Might I quote the opening narration from one of the 20th century most amazing US cartoon series, ever?!

    "One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled.
    It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear.
    It was the age of gargoyles.
    Stone by day, warriors by night,
    we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect,
    frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years.
    Now, here in Manhattan, the spell is broken, and we live again!
    We are defenders of the night!
    We are … GARGOYLES!!!"

    And? have ya e'er heard of the online-only series, soon to debut in its 2nd season on Sy-Fy, "Sanctuary"??? Man, am i behind! LOL!

    Happy viewing, y'all,
    Anadæ Effro (•8-D}

  12. Thanks for the compliments...I'm blushing. I guess I am kind of an oddity. But, on this blog I've found my people finally. I always knew ya'all were out there somewhere, just not in my corner of the conservative desert.

    I love the Gargoyles quote. I remember as a kid seeing that movie "Gargoyles" on TV (the campy 1970s one) and I was in love with gargoyles immediately...and strangely turned on by them. Hee hee I heard about Sanctuary. Right now, everyone's telling me to see True Blood, so I'm going to try to get caught up on that. I love that movies/shows are finally getting back to the spooky and goth like we had in the 70s.

    Hope you get a chance to ge caught up on my blog. I've written some things you might enjoy. :-)