Ebon, Martin. The Devil's Bride, Exorcism: Past and Present.
New York: Harper & Row, 1974. Huxley, Aldous. The Devils of Loudun. New York: Harper &
Martin, Malachi. Hostage to the Devil. New York: Harper &
eye-biters During the reign of queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), an epidemic illness spread among cattle in Ireland which rendered them blind. Witches were accused of causing the blindness by malevolent spELLs. Many of the eye-biters, as the witches were called, were arrested, tried and executed. Eye-biting was considered an involuntary form of EVIL EYE.
Faery (Feri) Tradition See Victor H. Anderson; Gwydion Pendderwen.
fairies A host of supernatural beings and spirits who exist between earth and heaven. Both good and evil, fairies have been associated with witches. During the witch hunts in Europe and the British Isles, accused witches often sought to save their lives by claiming they were taught their witch arts by fairies, which seemed less malevolent than if they had been taught by the DEVIL. For the most part, fairies have remained in a category of their own, though when convenient, the clergy allied them with the Devil.
Belief in fairies is universal and ancient and is especially strong in Europe and the British Isles. Fairies come in all shapes and sizes and are known by scores of names, among them in Western lore brownie, elf, dwarf, troll, gnome, pooka, kobold, leprechaun and banshee. In the colonization of America, fairy beliefs were transported across the Atlantic, where they survived in the Appalachians, the Ozarks and other remote mountainous areas.
The word fairy comes from the Latin term, fata, or "fate." The Fates were supernatural women who liked to visit newborn children. The archaic English term for fairy is fay, which means enchanted or bewitched; the state of enchantment is fayerie, which gradually became faerie and fairy.
There are four principal proposed origins of fairies:
1. Fairies are the souls of the pagan dead. Being unbap-tized, the shades, or souls, are caught in a netherworld and are not bad enough to descend into hell nor good enough to rise into heaven.
2. Fairies are fallen angels. When God cast Lucifer from heaven, the angels who were loyal to Lucifer plunged down toward hell with him. But God raised his hand and stopped them in midflight, condemning them to remain where they were. Some were in the air, some in the earth and some in the seas and rivers. This belief is widespread in the lore of Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia.
3. Fairies are nature spirits. Fairies are among the many spirits that populate all things and places on the planet. (See nature spirits.)
4. Fairies are diminutive human beings. Evidence exists that small-statured races populated parts of Europe and the British Isles in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, before the spread of the Celts. In Ireland a mythical race called the Tuatha de Danaan lived in barrows and in shelters burrowed under hills and mounds. They were shy and hard-working, and, as stronger races invaded and conquered with their iron weapons, they retreated into the woodlands to live secretive lives. They were pagan and continued to worship pagan deities. They were close to nature and had keen psychic senses. Some were skilled in metals and mining, and some were herdsmen, keeping stocks of diminutive cattle and horses.
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