A Scientific Guide to Seeing Fairies. A fragment.

“A scientific guide to seeing fairies” – a blog I wrote for REMEDIA network. Perfect if you always wanted to know where in my research on 19th ct science and literature the fairies come in!


By Franziska Kohlt

And it is only when “in fairy-fiction drest” that Romance gives admission to “truths severe.”

Edward Bulwer-Lytton, A Strange Story

kohlt 1On a hot July day in 1872, Lewis Carroll, together with his friend the Pre-Raphaelite painter and illustrator Arthur Hughes, took ‘a splendid walk to Fairyland.’[i] The mysteriously named woodland area near Guildford in Surrey was popular with Victorian artists and writers – not least because of alleged appearances of a spectral lady and a pursuing phantom horseman near the lake “Silent Pool” at the heart of the forest (which is, even today, still listed as one of Britain’s most haunted locations). According to Carroll himself, encountering fairies or other fantastic appearances on such walks was quite a straightforward matter, one just had to follow three simple rules:

The first rule is, that it must be a very hot day—that we may consider as settled: and…

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