Sunday, September 6, 2015

Don't Disturb the Fairies!

A pharmaceutical company building a factory in the Irish town of Waterford has been warned that bad fortune will follow them if they destroy an ancient "fairy fort" that stands on the plant's construction site. Local folklorist Eddie Lenihan has recently written a letter to the company explaining the potential danger posed by angering the fairies.

“I am no campaigner, I just like to see things respected. I said to them [West Pharmaceutical Services], in that letter, that if that factory is built, and I hope the factory is built on another location because Waterford needs the jobs, but if it is built there, wait and see what happens.

“It’s not a matter of if it will close but when it will close. People will think you are a crank if you say something like this and there will be much laughter.

“I’d like it to be on the record anyway so that people can look back when something happens and see that they [the owners] were warned and didn’t pay attention.

“It will be more than bad luck, there are stories after stories of it. I’d be the first to be skeptical, I’m not one of those people who believes everything they hear. I’ve been collecting folklore for 40 years and a lot of the stories are bunkum, but not all... You can have one coincidence or two coincidences... but after awhile you realise that it can’t be a coincidence.”

If nothing else, that description certainly sounds like the way real magick works. Unlikely events keep piling up until some sort of paranormal influence starts to become a reasonable-sounding explanation.

So as an operant magician, it interests me to see whether such things will actually happen to the company once the fort is destroyed. On the other hand, the fort in question is an ancient ruin that the historian in me would much rather see preserved, even if gets in the way of experimental data.

I don't know if there's some option that would allow the company to build their plant while leaving the ruins intact, but that would seem to be the best solution for all involved, humans and fairies alike.

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Susanne Iles said...

I would be very surprised if the company was allowed to damage the ring fort in any way. I'm going to explore this further. The Irish government is supposed to be rabid about protecting heritage sites. For example, farmers get huge fines for disturbing forts on their properties, and it is illegal for the average citizen to own a metal detector without a specialized, government-approved license.

That being said government greed does reign in certain circumstances. The Good People have been known locally to mete out punishments when their sacred sites are disrupted and disrespected. I'll do some digging and will get back to you.

Scott Stenwick said...

According to one of the commenters on Facebook, this particular site is not listed as a heritage site and that's why the company may be able to build over it. I'm not sure if that's an accurate claim, and if it is, whether or not it implies that the government doesn't think this fort has much historic significance.

But I don't really know that much about the legal situation either. Feel free to share whatever you find out.