Friday, March 13, 2015

Haunted Forests and the Leprechaun Trickster

From the movie "Leprechaun"
Dancing With Irish Folklore

Everyone is familiar with the character of a leprechaun. They derive from an old belief of a cobbler who is able to grant three wishes if you are able to capture one. There also is the association that at the end of every rainbow there is a leprechaun with a pot of gold. Generally they are figures representing good luck and fortune, having the ability to change people's lives for the better. The "Luck of the Irish" is interlaced with the leprechaun motif and, as such, have become iconic figures not only just on St. Patrick's Day, but also within the world of sports and media in general.

There is, as with most mythological characters, a dark side. Here is where the leprechaun is defined as the trickster:

"The leprechaun plays several roles in Irish folklore; he is principally a roguish trickster figure who cannot be trusted and will deceive whenever possible. In her encyclopedia 'Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins', folklorist Carol Rose offers a typical tale of leprechaun trickery 'concerning a man who managed to get a leprechaun to show him the bush in the field where his treasure was located. Having no spade, the man marked the tree with one of his red garters, then kindly released the sprite and went for a spade. Returning almost instantly he found that every one of the numerous trees in the field sported a red garter!'

Tricksters have played an important role in nearly every culture as teaching moral values and they also play a role in the paranormal realm, many times functioning as a joker or child having fun at the expense of someone else.

Within Irish folklore there are other entities like the trickster leprechaun such as the banshee. The banshee is seldom seen by the naked eye, however, they are said to emit a mournful wail that signifies their presence. If you should ever hear the banshee wail, usually at night, then you can be sure that someone close to you is about to die. And in this sense, Irish folklore takes on a bit of witchcraft and becomes a precursor for death.

Many times leprechauns and banshees are known to haunt wooded areas where they hide, making them difficult to be discovered. There is another very well-known place in the world where death is certain and its mystery is shrouded within the entangled network of trees and branches that are home to a Druid environment of death and despair. It is a place that harbors not just folklore and mystery, but it also is a place chosen by many to cross over the veil between life and death.

Death in the Realm of Nature

There is an forest in Koshu, Japan that rests within the shadow of Mt. Fuji which has become a haven of death because of the many suicides committed there. It is the world's second most popular suicide location (depending on your sources), flanked only by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing, China.

"Japanese spiritualists believe that the suicides committed in the forest have permeated Aokigahara's trees, generating paranormal activity and preventing many who enter from escaping the forest's depths. Complicating matters further is the common experience of compasses being rendered useless by the rich deposits of magnetic iron in the area's volcanic soil."


Bodies can be found,literally, in any condition. Annually, an average of 70 bodies are discovered in this forest. Many of them are believed to be businessmen who have decided to take their lives due to the economic turn down. As a result, there is huge paranormal activity here, as one might assume. Screams are heard quite often with shadow figures darting in and through the trees.

"[W]orkers must carry the bodies down from the forest to the local station where the bodies are put in a special room used specifically to house suicide corpses. The forest workers then play jan-ken-pon - rock, paper, scissors - to see who has to sleep in the room with the corpse.
It is believed that if the corpse is left alone, it is very bad luck for the yurei (ghost) of the suicide victims. Their spirits are said to scream through the night, and their bodies will move on their own." 

These woods are haunted because of the immense activity that continuously takes place in this site. A portal should be very likely to exist here because the veil between life and death is worn very thin. Although suicides are perhaps one of the strongest means of creating paranormal activity within the realm of nature, there are other ways this can happen.

The Ballyboley Forest

As just stated, portals to the other side are many times created from intense activity on a site. In the case of the Aokigahara Forest, it is the sheer numbers of voluntary deaths that have made that place a spot where the spiritual veil has been lifted, almost removed entirely. In Larne, Northern Ireland, there is yet another place that serves as a portal, but in this case, the reason for its existence goes all the way back to the time period around 300 B.C. This is the Ballyboley Forest.

Local legend tells that this was an ancient Druid site. From the 1400's through the 1600's people were reported as disappearing in these woods, never to be heard from again. It is believed that the Druids built up a type of stone monument in the area that may be similar to the one discovered at Stonehenge.

As can be assumed, since these would have been worship and sacrifice sites for the robed monks, these practices would attract a fair amount of paranormal activity. Interestingly enough, after all these centuries, the energy from their activity still remains intact. This may prove the assertion that once a portal has been opened, if it is not properly closed, it can remain open indefinitely. The Druids are also known for their strong relationship with trees that dates back to 300 B.C. and perhaps, because of this companionship, the longevity of their practices would be further enhanced by the continuous rebirth of the Ballyboley Forest.

There are a few modern stories that help reaffirm that this forest is still haunted by the Druids:

"...two men say that they were in the forest when they heard a loud flapping sound. They thought nothing of it at first but as they continued walking they started to hear other strange sounds like a lady moaning in pain. They thought someone was in trouble and left the track to enter the forest to find the distressed lady. They found no lady...but trees were smeared thickly in blood. As they fled, they looked behind and saw four human shapes...clad in brown rags, with heads covered."

In the case of the Ballyboley Forest, it was the practices of an ancestral pagan religion that gave rise to substantial paranormal activity. This type of activity is prevalent throughout Ireland, especially in some of the more northern forests where it is believed, by many, to be the birthplace of fairies. Investigators and locals have reported light anomalies, shuffling sounds, and sounds emanating from these ancient forests that have been in existence, untouched, since the birth of the planet.   

A Little Local Folklore?

For the last part of this article, I wanted to share an interesting place to find paranormal activity. My wife regularly checks out different realty sites, searching for homes and property in our area that fits our budget and offers what we are looking for in a country home. I am super excited about the prospect of moving to a rural setting and excited as well about this unusual discovery. Luck of the Irish? 

This photo was taken from the website and is a part of several pictures of a ranch-style home in Missouri. We have found many photos that tend to show orbs usually inside he home. I am certain that the realtor who shot the photos had no idea what was being revealed.

At first we thought it was just a snapshot of snowflakes falling, however, after looking at all of the other photos, it was not a snowy day nor were there any other photos suggesting this could be snowfall. And then I did a little research online....

You will notice that the white balls of light have tails on the bottoms of them suggesting they are moving up, not down. Interestingly, I was able to find another photo with this same display of anomalies in it. These may be considered fairies. The area you are seeing is very rural and remains untouched by human activity. Could it be possible that these woods could house ancient entities like fairies, just like in the ancient forests of Northern Ireland?

Sometimes paranormal activity can be purposely created, though not intentional, as in the Aokagahara Forest. Other times we simply stumble upon an entity or group of entities. I'd like to think that in those instances, like Ballyboley or the Hermann woods, it's the Luck O' the Irish!!

Works Cited