A. Sutherland – AncientPages.com – “On the Isle of Man, the prevailing belief was that the fairies represented the souls of those who died long ago, possibly before the Biblical flood, or were perhaps amongst the angels banished from heaven…” 1
Credit: Adobe Stock – Mauro
As ghosts or spirits of the dead, these little people were sometimes called ‘Middle World Men,’ who weren’t good enough for heaven or bad enough for hell but lived in a world of their own… People say that there is a fascinating spot near Cronk ny Irree Laa, a hill in the southwest of the Isle of Man, on Dalby Mountain.
There, ‘where you can place your ear on the ground and hear ‘the sounds of infinity’ (sheean ny feaynid). It is said that these are the sounds of the invisible beings who fill space – trapped, as it were, between the earth and heaven…’
On the Isle of Man, these creatures are described as ‘evil spirits, immortal and insubstantial – “like shadows on the wall.’ 1
Indeed, just like on the Isle of Man, these creatures have been known for a long time, and faery lore about them is full-packed and has a worldwide reach.
However, Native American lore with great ancient traditions is particular about the existence of this race.
The Mohegan Indians, who inhabited the region between the Thames and the Connecticut Rivers (now Connecticut), spoke of a race of “little men” who lived in the area of the Mohegan, and it was their home. Legend has it they had become extinct when the Pequot tribe appeared on their way from the Hudson River to the Sound area of Connecticut.
As scientists determined, Native American populations (from at least three migrations), and the majority descended from a single group of First American migrants that crossed over through Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America that existed during the ice ages, more than 15,000 years ago.
It is said that the Little People are an ancient race of people who lived in the British Isles long before the Celts or the Anglo-Saxons arrived.
The Natives say even more. They say that the population of the Little People pre-dates the arrival of the Indians.
Also, the Iroquois people and many other tribes talk about Little People and their locations along the riverbanks and forests. Thanks to their ability to become invisible, these beings could easily take what they wanted from their neighbors.
Legends of dwarfs originating from the Native American culture say these creatures possessed wizard-like abilities.
Book illustrations of Native American little people. Left: Little people from Stories Iroquois Tell Their Children by Mabel Powers, 1917. Credit: Public Domain – Right: “How Morning Star Lost Her Fish”, from Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children by Mabel Powers, 1917. Credit: Public Domain
It has been often proposed that the phenomenon of “Little People” may be the effect of hallucinations because of the use of hallucinogens. At first, it seems possible; however, thousands of myths and legends come from all the world’s corners, and hallucinogens commonly used in religious or shamanic rituals cannot be the only source of people’s visions and encounters with these mysterious creatures.
We still have old legends and myths saying the Sun can erase particular mythological creatures. There is a way to eliminate a troll, for example, and many tales relate how trolls were changed to large stones because sunlight is the primary weapon against these creatures. Due to this exposure, a troll becomes harmless.
Thor converses with Alvis while protecting his daughter, Thrud. Image of WG Collingwood. (Public Domain)
Dwarf Alvis (‘All-Wise’) was one such creature, and so were other dwarves in their underworld kingdom, Svartalfheim (Nidavellir). This realm was never penetrated by the Sun and or other light. Similarly, it happened with the rulers of the forest – Gnomes, also seen as the Little People, with supernatural abilities, givers of material gain and stability, and guardians of groves and outdoor circles.
There are many mysterious accounts of the Little People, but one remarkably strange is that of the “Zayamuincobs,” the so-called “Adjuster-men” of Mesoamerica. They were known as a race of tiny people with magical powers who used these extraordinary powers to construct great roads and ancient architectural landmarks. It is said they existed on our planet before the creation of the SunSun. According to some ancient myths, their Sun destroyed this race, we read in Gary R. Varner’s ‘The Folklore of Faeries, Elves & Little People – A Study of a Cultural Phenomenon.’
Ancient Mayans once possessed numerous statues depicting this creature, of which most were only two and a half or a maximum three feet tall. The knowledge of their existence has long been widespread among people of Mesoamerica, and these beings were known as “those with eyes like those of bees.”
The ancient Mayans also believed in supernatural bees known as Bacabs – the lords of the bees. According to the book of Chilam Balam, they were “supernatural bees dwelling in Coba.”
Researchers investigating the Little People and their characteristics in various old accounts around the world often referred to them as fairies and benevolent spirits that could appear in human form. As not disturbed, they were sometimes kind and compassionate but also very often mischievous and occasionally malicious.
In Polynesian mythology, the Little People are one of the main subjects. In the Māori descriptions, for example, they are fair-skinned with light or reddish hair and never age. They eat only raw, uncooked food, love dancing, and music, but dislike singing after dark.
Interestingly, they traverse between our world and the spirit world through a magical fountain.
Also, the Yupa Indians, who inhabit the Sierra de Perijá in the mountains between Colombia and Venezuela, have tales of a mysterious race of friendly Little People, and they call them the Pipintu. Their only nourishment is breathing in smoke from their fires, which seems most unusual, but they are unable to eat food through their mouths because they have neither intestines nor anuses.” 2
Aluxes are little Mayan troublemakers and guardians of corn fields. Credit: Jami Dwyer – Public Domain
According to the stories of the Creek Indians, the Little People” live in hollow trees and rocky cliffs. Most important of all what the Creek Indians told, these beings “affect the minds of sane people. It means that when a man’s mind becomes bewildered – not crazy – this is caused by the Little People. The Cherokee tribe had another opinion: they usually helped lost children, the Indians working hard at night, and all those who needed assistance with disease or any wound.
Another Indian tribe of Iroquois also talked kindly about other little people, saying these creatures were beneficial to the local population with their guidance and came with gifts and magic wisdom.
Descriptions of the little people vary much from place to place.
Written by – A. Sutherland – AncientPages.com Senior Staff Writer
Expand for references
- Kruse, John. Manx Fairies: The Little People of The Isle of Man
- Varner, Gary R. The Folklore of Faeries, Elves & Little People – A Study in a Cultural Phenomenon
Daimler M., Fairies, A Guide to the Celtic Fair Folk
Dora van Gelder Kunz, The Real World of Fairies
Varner, Gary R. Water of Life Water of Death: The Folklore & Mythology of Sacred Waters.
Porteous, A. The Forest in Folklore and Mythology