Sep 16, 2022 I Brent Swancer

Strange Tales of Encounters With Trolls, Faeries, Dwarves, and Other Fantastical Little People

Some of the weirder mysterious encounters with strange entities revolve around those that involve various faeries, gnomes, dwarves, trolls, and other little people normally confined to the world of fairy tales. As absurd as it may seem, there is a long tradition going back centuries of many alleged sightings and encounters with such entities, many of which truly skirt the outer fringes of the bizarre. Traditions of various species of little people populate the myths and legends of many farflung cultures artound the world, and at times they seem to push through the veil between fantasy and reality. Here we will look at a selection of some very odd such cases, in which people have been confronted with strange little people like something from out of a bedtime story, and which blur the line between reality and fantasy. 

Our earliest account here comes to us from some time in the mid-1940s, when a young, 5-year-old girl called only Jill went on a weekend trip to visit her aunt in the Catskill Mountains of southeastern New York state. The aunt reportedly lived in a large house on the road and surrounded by thick forest. One day as her parents and aunt sat talking on the front porch of the house Jill went out to play with her cousins out back, and at some point her attention was captured by some colorful butterflies fluttering about nearby. The curious Jill followed the butterflies about through the trees for some time before finally turning around to get back to playing with her cousins, but they were no longer there. Indeed, she had followed those butterflies deeper into the forest than she had realized and now she was lost. She walked about calling out for her family, but was only answered by the lonely sounds of the woods. In the meantime, her family had realized that she was missing and they too went out calling for their daughter to no avail.

As this was going on, Jill was inadvertently getting deeper into the woods, and she felt disoriented and panicked in the growing gloom that was descending with the inexorable approach of evening. Now crying and in a panic, Jill managed to find a small clearing with a log, where she sat and ate a candy bar that had been in her pocket. At this time, she noticed that in this clearing the sounds of the forest seemed to have been muted, dulled somehow, with her sitting in almost total silence except for a slight rustling of leaves from the breeze. Looking around trying to make sense of this disorienting silence, she then saw two tiny humanoids that looked like “dolls” standing on a nearby rock staring at her. The humanoids were described as wearing shiny green clothing and small hats, and had wavy silver hair which came down to their shoulders and beards. 

The two diminutive doll people did not seem to be threatening, so Jill offered them some of her candy, but the two figures merely kept staring at her, as if studying her. She then began crying and begged them to take her back to her aunt’s house, and to Jill’s surprise they suddenly hopped off the rock and gestured for her to follow them. As they walked the night came, and Jill noticed that little orbs of light began to dance around the little people, frosting the ground with light and allowing them to see where they were going. After some time of walking through the trees, Jill suddenly found that she recognized where they were, and was able to get back to her aunt’s house, but when she turned around to thank her saviors, they had vanished into the night. The case was mentioned in the book Little People, by Ron Quinn, who claims that the Catskill mountains are full of similar stories of dwarves and gnomes. What were these little figures and why did they help this little girl? We may never know for sure.

From the files of Albert Rosales comes a wierd tale from 1948. On All Saint’s Day of that year, a young man in Remedios, Cuba, by the name of Jose Espinoza went out to his sugar cane fields to work. Since it was All Saint’s Day and no one was supposed to work on that day, his mother pleaded with him to stay at home, but Espinoza would not listen to her even when she warned that the Devil himself was out doing his work on that day. Jose went to start rearranging some cane carts, but when he approached them he allegedly saw a diminutive man standing only around 2 inches in height perched atop one of the carts. The little figure supposedly had bright red skin, a tail, and horns on its head that shot out sparks, and it then reached up and grabbed some of these sparks, which then morphed into a ball of fire in its tiny hand. The entity then hurled this fire ball at Jose and missed, after which it quickly produced another fireball, and then another, each one bigger than the last. Jose quickly found himself terrified of the literal little devil and ran home, but when he returned with his mother the thing was gone. 

Moving on we come to a case from 1975, in the Staffordshire town of Penkridge, in England. Here there lived a couple by the names of Barry and Elaine, and on this evening they had just attended a Christmas party at a friend’s house and were driving home along a rural road that would take them past a place called Slitting Mill. As they drove, they came to an ancient looking stone house, and it was here where their engine suddenly sputtered out and died. Barry got out to see what was wrong with the car but when he examined the engine there seemed to be nothing wrong with it. Thinking this to be odd, he went to examine the rest of the vehicle and that was when his wife screamed and he looked to see a troop of diminutive hairy humanoids of the “'hairy troll' variety.”

The creatures stood only a few feet tall and walked in a single file line across the road in front of them, and although at first they did not seem to notice the astonished couple, one of them then looked to see them there and halted his little procession. They could now see that these “trolls” wore no clothing, and that they were completely covered in shaggy hair and had hunched backs and hooked noses. After a few moments of appraising their human company, these creatures then began to approach the couple, much to their horror. Elaine at this point was overcome with panic, worried about their two children sleeping in the back of the car, and Barry desperately wondered what to do. The creatures seemed to be more curious than threatening, drawing warily closer until suddenly the couple would claim that they had lost consciousness. When they woke up, two hours had passed and the car started as usual. They would remember nothing of what had happened during this missing time, although they would be plagued by vague dreams of the hairy humanoids for quite some time. What were these creatures, where did they come from, and what did they want? Indeed, what had happened to the couple during that missing time? Who knows?

Another strange case comes from the book Lost Cities of North & South America, by David Hatcher Childress. Late one night in 1977, a man called simply Xuc was doing his job as a caretaker at the ancient ruins of the great city of Mayapán, a Pre-Columbian Maya site a couple of kilometers south of the town of Telchaquillo in Municipality of Tecoh, Mexico. As he went about his rounds, he heard an odd sound like “a machete chopping wood” coming from the direction of one of the temples and he went to investigate. As he drew closer to the source of the baffling sound, a clay pellet of some sort suddenly went sailing past his head, just barely missing him. This was followed by a barrage of similar pellets and Xuc was forced to take cover. 

As the pellets continued to rain down on him, Xuc stole peeks from behind his cover to try and see who his assailant was, but the darkness made it difficult to see anything at all. He was finally able to locate the mysterious rock thrower framed by the moonlight, and it was no typical trespasser. There, standing on some temple masonry, was a tiny humanoid silhouette, around 3 or 4 feet tall, with an oversized head and a black beard. It seemed to be wearing a traditional Mayan garment resembling a tunic, but even odder than this was that it had what looked like a machete slung over its back. Xuc would run off in terror at the sight of this odd little humanoid, but he would go back the next day and manage to collect eight ot the pellets that had been thrown at him. What in the world was this thing?

An additional account from the Catskill Mountains also comes from the book Little People, by Ron Quinn, this time a case from June of 1977. On this day, a local man named Ned Grimm went out for a hike. He was a seasoned outdoorsman very familiar with the area, and this was a totally normal thing for him to do, to go out hiking and photographing nature, but this time would be different. As he walked along through the trees, he suddenly experienced an odd, tingling feeling as he passed a rock formation. After a few minutes the feeling passed and he continued on, but he began to notice that there was something off about his surroundings. There was unfamiliar vegetation, the landscape that he was so familiar with looked distinctly different, and weirdest of all was that the sky was now clear when it had been overcast just moments before and it had a strange green tint to it. 

Ned continued along, but was becoming increasingly unsettled by how much the scenery had changed, and he was perplexed when he came to a wall of granite cliffs where there had never been any before. Thinking he must be lost, he decided to follow a rocky trail that led up to higher ground, and as he did he noticed some sort of music that seemed to be coming from around the bend. Wondering who would be out there in the middle of the forest playing music, he went around the bend and was met with the sight of four diminutive humanoids sitting on a boulder playing flutes, with a fifth nearby collecting water into a jug from a stream. Ned immediately took cover and snapped some photos with his camera. At no point did the little humanoids seem to notice him, and so he crept back off towards where he had parked his car. 

Catskills Mountains

Despite the inexplicable change of scenery, he was somehow able to find his car again, very near that rock formation that he had passed, and when he passed it he was overcome by that unearthly tingling sensation again. He blinked his eyes, and when he did the forest had changed back to the one he recognized, and the sky was overcast again. Strangely, when he looked at his watch he found that only around a half an hour had passed, even though he felt like it had been at least three hours. Baffled by this, he went home and had his photos developed, but whereas all of the pictures he had taken in familiar surroundings came out perfectly, the ones he had taken in that phantom realm with the green sky turned out blurry and tinged with green. Had this man stepped into another dimension, perhaps some world brushing up against the veil between realities?

Moving along to later years, in 1997 a man by the name of Duane Berger went out camping with a friend named Mark near an abandoned copper mine in the Arizona desert. They spent the day exploring the area and even briefly making a foray into the dark tunnels of the mine, and that evening they were sitting around their campfire having some drinks and chatting. At some point during the evening, their revelry was interrupted by a series of screams emanating from that tunnel from within the bowels of the earth. Peering into the blackness they could not see anything, but those screams continued to eerily issue forth from the dank darkness of the mine. They were not sure if the screams were coming from one person or several, but at this point in time they assumed there was someone down there in trouble, some other camper who had made a misguided attempt to explore the mine at night. Another idea that they had was that someone was being tortured down there, and whatever the case was, they felt like they had to do something.

Not knowing what to expect when they passed the maw of the tunnel and ventured in the dark, they armed themselves with camping knives and a tire iron, after which they took a flashlight and made their way into the earth. At first the light of the flashlight barely drove away the clinging darkness of the cave, but as they continued they noticed a green glow up ahead. As they drew closer, they allegedly saw silhouetted in the light two robed figures of small stature, standing only around 4 feet in height. From behind them they could hear the screaming emanating from deeper within the tunnel, and the two men demanded that the robed figures let them go. The men then shone their flashlights directly at the dwarf-like figures and could see that they had some kind of masks over the top half of their faces and the bottom halves were gaunt and sickly grey in color. Upon being shone on with the flashlight, the creatures cursed them in some strange language and produced a wand that shot sparks and seemed to paralyze the men. When this was done, they turned to the solid stone wall and shot a green beam from the wand, which seemed to open some sort of portal through which they entered before it turned back to solid rock as if it had never been there at all.  

As soon as the entities were gone, the two witnesses could move their bodies normally once again. Duane would later describe the entities they had encountered as “some incredible supernatural beings or aliens from another world or demons from hell,” and they were so scared that they immediately got out of there, too afraid to see where the screams were coming from. Duane would later claim to regret not having been able to help whoever it was, but he also doesn’t seem to be even sure it the screams were human at all after their ordeal. He would also entertain the thought that they had perhaps been hearing the screams of souls being tormented in Hell itself, and that they had actually found “some ungodly, cursed opening that actually went from Hell directly to Earth.” The case was featured in the book “The Inhumanoids: Real Encounters with Beings that Can't Exist, by Barton M. Nunnelly, but there is no real source given for it and we are left to wonder just what was going on here.

Even more recently is a case from 2018, in which an unnamed witness was walking her dog through the Errington Woods of North Yorkshire, in England on one winter morning and had quite the bizarre experience. She claims that as she walked her dog through the wooded area she heard some kind of chattering noises that sounded “ape-like.” Curious, she crept toward the sound and that was when she saw two tiny men standing near a fallen log. The little people were only about 3 feet tall, very muscular and covered with tawny colored hair, with a mane of hair around the neck and with thick beards. One of them was apparently wearing what appeared to be a loincloth, while the other was nude, and the witness said they looked like “small primitive humans” who appeared to be conversing with each other. When her dog started barking and snarling at them, the little men allegedly ran off into some bushes to disappear, too fast for her to be able to take a photograph. 

What are we dealing with in such cases? How could these entities possibly exist? Are these just tall tales or is there something more to it all? Are they perhaps entities from some parallel dimension? Are they some sort of ghost or paranormal or supernatural creatures? Or are they just figments of the imagination? Whatever the case may be, such tales and encounters continue to come in, and it is a peek into a strange world in a realm from beyond our comprehension. 

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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