1853 (ca.): A Semi-Fatal Encounter

The following account was collected and published in 1911 by Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz in his book The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries. Evans-Wentz interviewed a seventy-three year old man named Neil Colton in Tamloch Townland, county Donegal, Ireland, because he had a reputation for seeing the 'gentle folk'... the fairies. Colton claims the following happened to him when he was still just a boy, so I've set the theoretical date as around 1853, when Colton would have been fifteen. In addition, it's clear from Colton's telling that the event occurred near the home he was still occupying at the age of seventy-three.

         As Colton told Evan-Wentz, it was a midsummer day that he was out with his brother and a female cousin gathering berries by some rocks near his home when they all heard music playing nearby. They went around the rocks to see who was playing, and spotted a group of six to eight fairies dancing a few hundred feet away. One of these dancers, a little woman dressed all in red, ran from the group towards Colton and the others and struck his cousin across the face with what seemed to be a green rush. The kids turned and ran for the house as fast as they could, but when they reached the house Colton's cousin fell down dead.

        Colton's father rode out and came back with Father Ryan, who put a stole around his neck and then started reading psalms over the lifeless girl, occasionally striking her with the stole... and in this way, she soon woke back up from her deathly state. Father Ryan then observed that had the cousin not taken hold of Colton's brother when she was attacked, that the fairies would have taken her forever.

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