My 06 May blog covered a Beyond the Edge (BTE) Radio appearance by the leaders of Crypto 4 Corners, J C Johnson and Chief Leonard Dan, and the extraordinary variety of reports that this team investigates in their area. To quote myself:
Listening to the podcast, Crypto Four Corners has investigated reports of the Furry Ones (Sasquatch), skinwalkers, giant rabbit-like ‘rodents’, mini T-Rex, ‘Night Stalkers’ (gargoyle like creatures), little people, centaurs, gryphons, winged hominids and dogman/manwolf. I know, from other reports that I have seen elsewhere on the Internet that J C Johnson has also reported a sighting of a dire wolf or something similar while on a San Juan river expedition.
I noted in that blog that I disagreed with Mr. Johnson’s belief that all this high strangeness did not result from a window or portal in his research area. Given the amount of Fortean phenomena reported in that area and the long tribal history of magical/shamanic practice, I posited that it was almost inevitable that some weak spots might develop in the Veil in that area, particularly since there is also a long history of rogue magic users (skinwalkers and ‘witches’) as well. The gods alone know what those folks might have called through and how well they practice the magical hygiene of opening and then closing the Ways.
One of the phenomenon that seemed to pop up a good bit during the course of the BTE interview was the investigation of centaur sightings in the 4 Corners area. In all the cases reported, witnesses stated that they had seen the classic centaur, half man and half horse. In one case, the witness reported having to stop his car while several of these beings crossed the highway in front of him or her. These types of reports leave even true believers scratching their heads, especially when the witnesses report actually being able to hear the hooves clop as the centaurs go by.
Oddly enough, I found a possible solution for these sightings in a work on Faery lore. Orion Foxwood is an author who has, so far, written two excellent books on the Faery Seership tradition and one book on Southern Conjure. He comes from a line of Appalachian folk who have the Sight and has trained in Alexandrian Wicca, traditional witchcraft as well as his family tradition of conjure. He also studied extensively with noted Faery Seer, R J Stewart. In Mr. Foxwood’s book, The Faery Teachings, he makes the following observation on p. 73:
. . . It is important to note that the Fay may not appear in human form at all. They may appear as an animal, a human or any mix thereof. They can take an entirely foreign shape, even of a species of being that seems right out of a science fiction movie. They can also be seen as balls or streams of light or shadow . . .
Now, most people, when they think of Faery at all, think of the Celtic lands but really we may define the Faery as those spirits who live ‘within’ a specific land. There is a strong interface between the Fay and ancestors (who quite literally live ‘in’ the land when they die) and all these beings live in what Foxwood terms the Sea World, the world that lies ‘beneath’ or ‘within’ our physical world (The Stone World, in Foxwood’s parlance). In the Faery tradition, it is recognized that there are places on the face of the planet where the Veil between our world and the Sea World is quite thin and it is, therefore, easier to interact with the Faery beings in those places.
It is also well known in Faery lore that those thin places in the Veil can be sites of extraordinary activity. There are multitudinous stories of persons accidentally or intentionally crossing over into the Land of Faery and of those, like Thomas the Rhymer, who are pulled into that Other World by Faery beings for initiatic purposes. The lore also indicates that the cross over can occur in the other direction. The most famous instances of this happening are the stories of the Faery Rade, witnesses swearing that they saw ‘the Shining Ones” riding forth from their mounds and hills and trooping across the landscape. Most people, encountering such a rade, would simply put their faces to the ground and wait for the Faery to pass, afraid that, if they looked, they might be swept up and taken off to the Land of the Fay. Witnesses to these events described the ringing of the bells on the horses’ harness and the clopping of hooves. To them, at least, the manifestation was quite real.
Now, we have been discussing this in light of the Celtic Faery folklore with which I am most familiar but I should note that, though I am no expert, I do know that the indigenous people of the United States have their own stories of ‘little people’ and I can certainly recognize the Faery in some of the spirits with which Native shaman work. I think it quite likely that sightings of centaurs and other mythological creatures could be sightings of what I would call Faery.
I can not say with any certainty whether these sightings are physical manifestations or not. It certainly seems to be the case that Faery can manage physical manifestation since there are records of people being struck by them; however, the Faery are also highly skilled at the magic called glamour in which they make something appear to be something else. It is entirely possible that these witnesses are experiencing exactly what the Faery want them to experience – clopping hooves and all – and that the ‘reality’ may be something completely different.