Joshua Cutchin‘s new book is his best yet, and deeply examines the ancient folklore surrounding children who are supposedly taken from their homes and parents by denizens of the “fairy realm.” Don’t make the mistake that he believes in a literal interpretation. He makes this clear in the first interview he gave for the book.
Throughout the interview, one of the themes (as in the book) is that there are very definite parallels between this phenomenon and the “hybrid” lore of UFO abduction literature. These comparisons have of course been made before, but Cutchin’s book also points out the similarities between fairy lore and Bigfoot encounters, as well as the recent focus on wilderness disappearances (think Missing 411.)
We spoke about the “changeling” lore, which holds that children are taken and replaced with a fairy child, which appears weak, sickly, or otherwise “strange” to the rest of the family. Josh pointed out that this tradition was often used as an excuse to ostracize those who were deemed strange or otherwise useless to the community, all too often resulting in cases of infanticide.
He hastens to add, however, that we “do the phenomenon a disservice” by reducing it to mundane explanations. The true nature of this tradition can be best approached by detailed and careful study, such as can be found in Cutchin’s new work, Thieves In The Night: A Brief History of Supernatural Child Abductions.