Children Who See Fairies

  • Simon Young University of Virginia Program Siena (Italy, CET)
Keywords: children, fairies, memory, popular culture, supernatural


By taking eighty-eight fairy experiences of English-speaking children aged from about three to ten, from the last eighty years, we look at the characteristics of fairy sightings among the very young. Children have more sleep-related fairy experiences than adults. In natural settings children focus their experiences on trees: there is little interest in the flowers so common in contemporary adult fairy experiences. In some cases, meanwhile, fairies become a fixture in the life of a child, and here parallels with the psychological literature on ‘invisible friends’ are intriguing. We also look at the role of memory and secondary elaboration in the encounter as the child integrates and elaborates the experience.


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