It is Wednesday! And I’m feeling a tad whimsical, so I thought about taking a different approach to this blog today. If you know me in real life, either as a person, colleague, or writer, you know that fantasy is one of my favorite themes. Fairy tales were my favorites as a child (my Granny would read me Little Red Riding Hood every single weekend I spent with her), and even today I am a huge fan of Sarah J. Maas (Court of Thorns and Roses series) and Jennifer Armentrout (From Blood and Ash, I am obsessed with Poppy and Hawke!)
So it is no surprise that my interests in fantasy sort of cross into my real beliefs. I cannot tell you how much me and one of my best friends, Nikki, dream about being mermaids (siren sisters forever!). Heck, I do wish I could get ahold of one of those tails you actually can swim in. I’d probably need to do it in the shallowest of pools but whatever, I’d feel like a sea goddess!
I collect interesting stones and gems I find. Sometimes if I find something very unique, I consider it a “gift” from the area I found it, generally the woods and trails that lie just beyond our apartment complex. I let myself feel open to the possibilities of folklore and ancient beliefs of unknown creatures perhaps not visible to the human eye. Yes, I am talking about fairies; the Fae, the Green Folk, they are called so many names.
Perhaps I won’t go out and say it so bluntly, but I entertain the ideas and don’t NOT believe in them. I love to read old Irish tales of the “wee folk,” though apparently you shouldn’t be a tourist there asking about it. The locals are like, “Seriously?”
I digress. I do believe I have captured Fae on photos before. I have a photo from when I dressed a tree outside our old apartment in colorful ribbons for May Day, a day to celebrate the oncoming summer. In a few of the photos I took, the breeze drifting the ribbons up in a graceful pose, a spark of blue light is caught at the base of the tree, small orbs of vivid blue. They appear in different pictures (I took multiples), changing shape/location each time. Now, could this be a light flare on the camera? Obviously. I only have my older model of an iPhone and have very little knowledge of photography skills. But when I see it, I can’t help but smile at the thought that I might have actually captured something. I’m usually not that lucky!
Recently, as I was leaving work, I noticed in the building’s flower bed something unusual: pale mushrooms had sprouted amongst the woodchips. It was odd, since the landscapers are routinely working day-by-day to keep the university’s gardens and walkways as beautiful as can be. I consider mushrooms amazing and wondrous to look at, so I decided to take a quick picture despite the triple-digit heat that was making me want to run for my car and head home. So I squat, took my phone, and snapped a photo, the one below.
I finally got home later into the sanctuary of my air conditioning. I kicked my heels off and decided to check the photographs. It was still surprising to have found such sneaky fungi. Then I noticed the blurry haze beneath the bigger shroom cap, and thought, “god, this phone camera is crap.” But I noticed something. Do you? Take a look below at where I’ve circled.
Now, I completely understand what pareidolia is, the tendency to perceive images out of random visual patterns. In many cases, people see faces out of things that aren’t actually a face, but our brain shapes it together as such.
But this is too cool to not be amused by! I see a small, round little face and daresay dark little ears that point out from either side. It looks as if it is peering out from under the mushroom cap right at me. Perhaps I did catch a little Fae seeking shade beneath a mushroom.
Maybe I’m insane, which is completely fine. That is truly no secret to anyone.
I’ve had mixed reviews: my whimsical friends who have as much belief in the possibility of fantasy creatures existing have either said “that is totally a fairy,” or “um…I’m not NOT saying that’s a fairy cause…wow.” And then a very realistic person grounded in the here and now who lifted a brow at me and said, “I see woodchips. Please admit that those are woodchips,” which gave me a laugh. I understand and respect skepticism, even complete disbelief. After all, I even recognize that this photo is dodgy at best. Even if it is pareidolia, it’s a fascinating one to make a fae face appear!
Have you ever caught anything on photograph or other media? If so, comment below. I’m always up for fantasy and folklore ramblings, cryptids and paranormal speak. For instance, did you know that here in Oklahoma we supposedly have a cryptid octopus living in three of our lakes? I actually hadn’t known about this until a recent video by the Youtube channel Mr. Ballen (love his storytelling vids) and looking it up, I was astonished. I have SWAM in one of those lakes! It’s right by me. To think we’ve been wary of the fish that will nip at you in the deep water!
Stay hydrated and cool in these dog days of summer, and I’ll write to you again soon!