Blast. Blustery. Blister.
The words all share the same Germanic root. In my latest book, Thieves in the Night, I speak at great length of the belief that faeries traveled on gusts of wind—thus, anyone walking alone would be best to avoid any storm or whirlwind encountered, for it could lead to an abduction by The Good Folk.
Even if one was not swept up in the faerie wind, these “fairy blasts” could still be dangerous. Anyone unwise enough to offend the faeries might find themselves hit with these breezes, manifesting in small lesions, bumps, or blisters upon the body. This concept was, at least in some regions of Ireland (and later Newfoundland) closely associated with the notion of “elf-shot” or the “fairy stroke.” In one of his contributions to the collection The Good People: New Fairylore Essays, Peter Narváez remarks how these boils, when lanced, would produce all manner of detritus: splinters, grass, etc. In one particularly dramatic instance, an informant from Newfoundland reported a man’s leg had to be amputated from the damage.
In the same publication, Barbara Rieti collected New World fairy blast accounts that allegedly produced bones, moths, teeth, rags, rusty nails, bits of porcelain, and rocks when the afflicted site was opened. The entire list, particularly the last three entries, should give Ufologists pause.
I have long maintained that anything—anything—seen in the modern abduction literature is mirrored in faerie lore. (Not Ufology as a whole, mind you, solely the contact experience.) Despite this contention, two things often baffled me as to their faerie analogues: the hybridization program (which I finally at least attempted to reconcile in Thieves in the Night) and alien implants.
Much has been made of alleged subdermal “implants” in Ufology over the past several decades. Typically, an alien abductee (or suspected abductee) will find a lesion or bump on the skin that strikes them as quite anomalous. After consulting a physician, these are sometimes opened up and yield what generally look like mineral deposits, often iron. Occasionally the makeup of these “implants” is anomalous upon analysis; otherwise, while very real, they appear unremarkable. To skeptics, these are simply the accretion of trace minerals or debris embedded under the skin during an unremembered accident. To UFO believers, they represent an advanced technology (so advanced it doesn’t even appear to be technology!), typically used to control or track abductees.
Could the fairy blast stand be an earlier expression of the alien implant motif? It seems almost certain, regardless of whether the phenomenon it described is mundane or supernatural. There is further evidence linking the two in an anecdote recalled by Rieti:
One old man told how he went up to the garden at twilight to have a last look at his surprise vegetable garden before retiring. There was a white gull sitting on his prize turnip, the largest one. He started after the bird and kicked at it. When he did the bird vanished and the man took such a pain in the leg that he could hardly get home. The leg got continually worse, swelled up and crippled the man. There was one night it was particularly sore and a huge boil seemed to rise on the leg. The man’s daughter [the informant’s wife] was there with several neighbors trying to comfort the man, who was in agony. They concluded that the boil should be “let” and proceeded to do so. As soon as the boil was pierced, a long white string came out and continued to fall in a pile to the floor. It fell of its own accord and the swelling abated as the string accumulated on the floor. The string was kept for years after as proof for unbelievers, but the man always had a crippled leg to his dying day.
This interesting fairy blast variant bears a striking resemblance to an alleged condition referred to as “Morgellons.” The condition is unrecognized by medicine and thus quite controversial; however, it is generally believed to manifest in skin lesions that produce a peculiar string or fiber-like protrusion. The general medical consensus is that Morgellons is the project of a delusional individual scratching themselves, then the abrasion collecting fibers from their clothing. Perhaps the most famous self-diagnosed sufferer is singer Joni Mitchell.
The objective reality of Morgellons is not as interesting as the manner in which alien abductee advocates have seized upon it as a possible symptom of extraterrestrial contact. Tim R. Swartz, along with several other individuals, actually authored a book on the connection in 2015.
“In my case [Morgellons] is from direct contact from aliens and part of the genetic engineering process that we’ve all been going through as humans,” said professed experiencer Mike Davis on his YouTube channel. Davis claims to have suffered other “lumps and nodules” under his skin.
Certainly, the aforementioned string-filled blister conforms to descriptions of Morgellons. With this additional data point in place, it seems almost certain that both fairy blast boils and alien implants are describing the exact same anomalous encounter.
I don’t think the rural Irish peasant circa 1750 was encountering extraterrestrials and describing them as faeries. Likewise, I don’t think the modern experiencer is encountering faeries and describing them as extraterrestrials. What I do suspect is that both witnesses—separated so far both geographically and temporally—utilized the language and concepts of their culture to attempt to describe something so bizarre, so alien (in the original definition of the word), we still lack a suitable vocabulary to discuss it.
- Peter Pan Fairies by Arthur Rackham
- Alien implants from http://www.occultopedia.com/a/alien_implants.htm
- Morgellons lesion from https://desultoryheroics.com/2013/11/10/joni-mitchell-on-morgellons-disease/
- Alleged alien implant from https://alien-ufo-research.com/alien-implants/