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Thread: Sure, why not? The Fair Folk as thought experiment.

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    Sure, why not? The Fair Folk as thought experiment.

    WARNING: Not to be taken too seriously.

    In the UFO thread, it was brought up in discussion whether or not "Fairies" are more plausible than extraterrestrial intelligence as an explanation for UFO sightings.

    As I have far too much free time, I decided to explore the unlikeliest possibility that the Fae may exist in some form or another.

    So what are the qualities of "alien" encounters and fairy stories? Where do they intersect, and where do they differ?

    Well, the common tales of both mythos include "abduction" of one sort or another, sometimes with "lost time" displacement. Both types of being are often described similarly as slim, having large heads and eyes, long fingered, and smaller than human average. In many cases they are considered extremely charismatic or mesmerizing.

    So, let's speculate. An offshoot of H. Sapiens, with some ability to induce a hypnotic state in human beings? And of course, the ability would need to include a way of altering or disrupting recording and photography. Which suggests an electromagnetic effect. Technology or bioelectricity? You be the judge!

    As far as flying lights, a Terrestrial source of air vehicles or gliders is plausible. After all, if aliens can hide their presence from humanity, so can (hypothetically) an Earthly species. Perhaps they have hidden nanotechnology, allowing the creation of metamaterials to cloak their detection? Again, no more implausible than aliens doing it! Any evidence of prior industrial development leading up to nanotech would of course have to have been removed and destroyed before humans could find it. Factories torn down and the grounds scoured for traces of artificial materials.

    Impractical, yes. Impossible? Who can say!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    So what are the qualities of "alien" encounters and fairy stories? Where do they intersect, and where do they differ?
    This was a theme of Patrick Harpur's 1994 (non-fiction) book Daimonic Reality. I imagine you could find a cheap second-hand copy if you're interested.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    This was a theme of Patrick Harpur's 1994 (non-fiction) book Daimonic Reality. I imagine you could find a cheap second-hand copy if you're interested.

    Grant Hutchison
    For certain values of "non-fiction".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    For certain values of "non-fiction".
    If you feel able to express such a forthright opinion, I presume you've read it. It seems to align neatly with your theme here, but I deduce you're not a fan.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    If you feel able to express such a forthright opinion, I presume you've read it. It seems to align neatly with your theme here, but I deduce you're not a fan.

    Grant Hutchison
    I'm not seriously suggesting that my idle speculation is real. I have not read that work, but Harpur to the best of my knowledge, does promote supernatural ideas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I'm not seriously suggesting that my idle speculation is real. I have not read that work, but Harpur to the best of my knowledge, does promote supernatural ideas.
    Potential fuel for your idle speculation, I felt.
    Harpur teases out many interesting parallels between present-day and historical experiences of the "paranormal". The fact that he subscribes to an explanation couched in the Jungian collective unconscious, rather than in psychosocial factors, doesn't invalidate his observations.
    À propos:
    It should be possible to believe one's informants without believing their explanations.

    Lizanne Henderson & Edward J. Cowan Scottish Fairy Belief (2001)
    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Jun-30 at 09:57 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Perhaps. I made this invisible bed, now I have to accept its strange bedfellows.
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    Those Eyes is a short story with this premise. The abductors get their comeuppance in a very CQ-ish way...
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Those Eyes is a short story with this premise. The abductors get their comeuppance in a very CQ-ish way...
    You beat me to it - I was thinking of the David Brin story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Perhaps. I made this invisible bed, now I have to accept its strange bedfellows.
    Wow! Two mixed metaphors AND a Van Rijn reference in one sentence. Impressive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Wow! Two mixed metaphors AND a Van Rijn reference in one sentence. Impressive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    So what are the qualities of "alien" encounters and fairy stories? Where do they intersect, and where do they differ?
    I think there is a lot of commonality, not only between alien stories and fairy stories, but all sorts of mythology, including religious stories. And I am being completely serious. But I don't think the commonality is because there is actually some sort of supernatural or extraterrestrial phenomenon. The commonality lies in the human brain - our needs for seeking out explanations for things, and almost contradictory desires for both mystery and the explanation for those mysteries; our desire for wonder and understanding.

    It is probable that every age and type of human culture has their mysteries. Ancients had gods and angels and spirits and kami. We have Big Foot and UFOs and Illuminati.
    Last edited by Swift; 2019-Jul-01 at 12:55 PM. Reason: typos and small corrections
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I think there is a lot of commonality, not only between alien stories and fairy stories, but all sorts of mythology, including religious stories. And I am being completely serious. But I don't think the commonality is because there is actually some sort of supernatural or extraterrestrial phenomenon. The commonality lies in the human brain - our needs for seeking out explanations for things, and almost contradictory desires for both mystery and the explanation for those mysteries; our desire for wonder and understanding.

    It is probable that every age and type of human culture has their mysteries. Ancients had gods and angels and spirits and kami. We have Big Foot and UFOs and Illuminati.
    Agreed. Although modern gods, angels, and spirits are still with us, in the mainstream culture. Elvis Ate My Space Baby stuff is more fringey... for now.

    (Keeping in mind that one of the world's major organized religions started as a fringe cult of a marginalized group.)
    Last edited by Noclevername; 2019-Jul-01 at 01:45 PM.
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    Since reading Pratchett, I will never be able to think of elves the same way again.
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    I have this desperate desire to see Jeff Goldblum as a Pratchett-style elf someday. For some reason, that's how I picture them.
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    Well, we do have a severe lack of artifacts of the Fae.

    Although I do find it mildly amusing that the ETs called the "Grays" look so much like some versions of the Fae.

    ---

    Back to the thread..

    OK; we do have a severe lack of artifacts that cannot be explained without recourse to elves, sprites, gremlins, and similar beings. Since people have been actively hunting for the various representatives of Fae for quite a few centuries, I think we can put them in the same imaginary bin as centaurs, ogres, and unicorns.

    Although I remain on the lookout for a certain Bertilak de Hautdesert,
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    Serious invisible elf claims

    Some time ago, I was amused (and somewhat bemused) that there are actual, serious invisible elf claims by a significant number of people. For instance, apparently in Iceland there is some significant percentage that believe in invisible elves or "hidden people" that, they claim, some sensitive people can see regularly, and that can supposedly make themselves visible to others at will. For instance, see Why So Many Icelanders Still Believe in Invisible Elves and Huldufólk.

    Iceland apparently even has an elf school where you can learn about them, though I have the suspicion that it is at least partly a tourist attraction (from what I saw online, it looked like there is a lot of tourist interest). Apparently, it's unclear how many in Iceland seriously believe in them, but it seems to be some significant percentage.

    Similar to a lot of other claims, there are a few people who claim they can (or have) seen them or can otherwise detect their presence. However, the majority of supporters base their arguments on the "eye witness" claims but admit they haven't seem elves themselves.

    On the UFO side, I can't remember the name, but I remember seeing one fairly prominent "UFOlogist" push a similar invisible elf claim: As I recall the claim, UFOs were supposedly the result of elves that come from an alternate universe of some sort and can appear (or disappear) at will.

    I also believe the elf claims and culture has a lot of similarity to UFO interest culture. There is a subset of UFO culture that looks at the subject in a fairly serious and (somewhat) science oriented way, but there is a very large number of claims that take a turn into unknown physics at least, and then into the blatantly supernatural.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    There is a subset of UFO culture that looks at the subject in a fairly serious and (somewhat) science oriented way, but there is a very large number of claims that take a turn into unknown physics at least, and then into the blatantly supernatural.
    Well, a somewhat pseudoscience way. A Cargo Cult mock-up of science.

    On the UFO side, I can't remember the name, but I remember seeing one fairly prominent "UFOlogist" push a similar invisible elf claim: As I recall the claim, UFOs were supposedly the result of elves that come from an alternate universe of some sort and can appear (or disappear) at will.
    In keeping with the spirit of the thread, let's examine that. Are there any theories or hypotheses consistent with that? Different domains of space? Wormholes or some kind of universal intersection? Strings? Branes? Bulk? Anything that hasn't been ruled out.
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    Advantage that "aliens" have over faeries, leprechauns and Sasquatchs do not have is that aliens presuppose that the entire infrastructure required for an intelligent population to be sustainable is presumed to be out there somewhere, where we can't see it.

    L/F/Ss have to run the additional skeptic's gauntlet of "Where do they live? Where do they poop? Why don't we stumble across their houses?"

    One can easily come up with answers to each of these, but for aliens, it is de facto "where we can't find them".

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Advantage that "aliens" have over faeries, leprechauns and Sasquatchs do not have is that aliens presuppose that the entire infrastructure required for an intelligent population to be sustainable is presumed to be out there somewhere, where we can't see it.

    L/F/Ss have to run the additional skeptic's gauntlet of "Where do they live? Where do they poop? Why don't we stumble across their houses?"

    One can easily come up with answers to each of these, but for aliens, it is de facto "where we can't find them".
    Well, we know it has to be somewhere close, because if aliens came to Earth from a great distance we'd see them coming. Thermodynamics. Either they're already in the Solar System, or already on Earth.

    Why can't a "hidden race" exist on our planet? Perhaps they'd live underground, or undersea. For beings with the technology level required to spoof all our detection devices, it's not impossible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Well, we know it has to be somewhere close, because if aliens came to Earth from a great distance we'd see them coming. Thermodynamics.
    Except that you just granted the possibility of being able to spoof our detection devices:

    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    For beings with the technology level required to spoof all our detection devices, it's not impossible.
    So we wouldn't see them coming, right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why can't a "hidden race" exist on our planet? Perhaps they'd live underground, or undersea.
    Agree. Simply pointing out that "aliens" have an automatic pass on why we don't we see signs of their communities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Except that you just granted the possibility of being able to spoof our detection devices:
    So we wouldn't see them coming, right?
    (Grumble grumble) ...Yes

    Agree. Simply pointing out that "aliens" have an automatic pass on why we don't we see signs of their communities.
    No one has an automatic pass, no. Extraterrestrials would have more sensors to fool than an Earthly-based society, since they'd be coming and going in full view of every early warning defense system and telescope in the world. In order to achieve that so thoroughly, they'd have to have already infiltrated us probably since WWII*, which means they're already on Earth, which means they don't actually need to come and go directly from interstellar space. Look for a local base.

    *We first began establishing DEW systems during the Cold War.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    In keeping with the spirit of the thread, let's examine that. Are there any theories or hypotheses consistent with that? Different domains of space? Wormholes or some kind of universal intersection? Strings? Branes? Bulk? Anything that hasn't been ruled out.
    As far as I know, there are various ideas that haven't been ruled out, but the issue is actually finding supporting evidence for any of them. Personally, I find the idea of aliens from an alternate universe to be at least as plausible as aliens using faster than light travel, but don't find either to be very plausible. FTL introduces causality problems, and there is no known way to do it. There is also no known way to travel to alternate universes (and we don't know if they exist), but it wouldn't have to introduce causality problems. No evidence for either one, of course, but FTL is more popular in science fiction and UFO culture.

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  24. 2019-Jul-04, 01:47 AM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I think there is a lot of commonality, not only between alien stories and fairy stories, but all sorts of mythology, including religious stories. And I am being completely serious. But I don't think the commonality is because there is actually some sort of supernatural or extraterrestrial phenomenon. The commonality lies in the human brain - our needs for seeking out explanations for things, and almost contradictory desires for both mystery and the explanation for those mysteries; our desire for wonder and understanding.

    It is probable that every age and type of human culture has their mysteries. Ancients had gods and angels and spirits and kami. We have Big Foot and UFOs and Illuminati.
    We have an in built desire for excitement, which I'm very glad of, It would be very boring if we knew everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    As far as I know, there are various ideas that haven't been ruled out, but the issue is actually finding supporting evidence for any of them. Personally, I find the idea of aliens from an alternate universe to be at least as plausible as aliens using faster than light travel, but don't find either to be very plausible. FTL introduces causality problems, and there is no known way to do it. There is also no known way to travel to alternate universes (and we don't know if they exist), but it wouldn't have to introduce causality problems. No evidence for either one, of course, but FTL is more popular in science fiction and UFO culture.
    AFAIK FTL is ruled out by what we know.

    But speculation in spite of lacking supporting evidence is kinda the point of this thread. To actively embrace the god(s) of the gaps, with a nod and a wink. To imagine the stuff happening just outside your field of view, that goes around the corner just before you look at it.
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