Fairies Dancing in a Ring

Deborah Hyde
Deborah Hydehttp://deborahhyde.com/
Deborah Hyde is former editor of The Skeptic and is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. She writes and lectures about belief in the malign supernatural, with special regard to the folklore, psychology and sociology behind belief.

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This image depicting fairies dancing in a ring comes from around 1600 and was in its original form a woodcut, before being beautifully hand-coloured to appear in an issue of The Strand magazine in 1892.

Fairies Dancing
A group of fairies dancing in a ring close to the doorway of their fairy mound circa 1600

Before the English Reformation fairies seem to have been a part of normal folkore, but after it they acquired a Satanic tone as the new Protestant theology held that everything not made for good by God was against Him.

Fairy folklore throughout the British Isles was influenced by the presence of (often circular) iron-age earthworks whose human origins were not properly understood. Notice also that there is a door which goes into the mound, into fairyland.

If you see a fairy gathering like the one depicted, remember not to join in with the dance – you will not escape alive.

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