Do Fairty Tale Creatures Actually Exist?

Do fairies, gnomes and goblins really exist? Suspend your disbelief for a moment, and consider these real-life encounters with creatures from the land of make-believe.

Most of us have grown up with the timeless fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. They are wonderful stories populated by fairies, gnomes, trolls, goblins and other strange creatures that inhabit dark woods, foggy swamps, mystic meadows and mysterious mountains. They are also powerful stories that stay with us our entire lives because they tap into our primal fears of the unknown – creepy little archetypes of the human collective unconscious.

But are these creatures only the stuff of folklore and imagination? Do they have a basis in reality? Is that an idea too crazy to even consider? People around the world have claimed to have actually seen and even interacted with such beings. In moments of stress and unfamiliarity, are their minds merely recalling the fairy tales of their childhoods… or are their experiences real? Read the following accounts and decide for yourself.


I am now 22 years old, but when I was 17 I saw a gnome, and this is how it happened. My mom and I just moved to Puerto Rico. She bought an old house on a hill that she fixed it up, and soon we moved in. One day I came home early from school. No one was home, so I went to take a shower. I could hear my dog barking and chasing something, so I got out of the shower, ran to the window and saw what he was barking at: a gnome! He was standing behind a tree. He was very small, wore a white, cone-shaped hat and pointy shoes. Everything he wore was white. He saw me and we looked at each other. When I blinked, he was gone.

I decided not to say anything to anyone. Then a couple of days later when I saw him again outside my window, smiling at me… then he disappeared. The next time I saw him I yelled out, “What’s your name?” To my surprise, he yelled back and said, “My name is Sebastian Polizar.” I told my mom and she was like, “Yeah, right…” I told her that I would prove that it was true. I yelled his name out loud and told him to come see my mom. At 1 o’clock in the morning, she saw him. She screamed and she made me promise never to call him again. But to this day I still see him. We moved out of that house because a lot of weird things kept happening, like doors slamming and voices that just didn’t belong. – Lynn


This happened to my girlfriend when she was seven or eight years old. Here in Sweden we have old folklore stories of, among other things, gnomes. I do not have a better word for them – you know, those small little buggers with red caps and beards – kind of like those from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but smaller and more mysterious. The Swedish word is tomte. When my girlfriend was sleeping with her mom and dad in their bed one night, she woke up, but didn’t exactly know why. She wasn’t afraid, but noticed that something was in the room. The atmosphere was kind of gloomy, grayish dawn-like light, and the air was thick.

She looked around and noticed a small cap moving from one side of the bed to the other. She was small and could not see to the floor, but what she did see was that a tomte was moving to the door… and then vanished. He looked as I described above, but gloomy – kind of Hollywood movie-dream style gloomy. It all lasted for about two minutes. These kinds of meetings point to the fact that old folklore shouldn’t be ridiculed. – Henrik L.


This happened in 1967. The weirdest part of this story is that my younger sister and I never knew that our older sister had seen the demon elves too until all of us were grown with kids of our own. My younger sister Clarice and I loved to ride horses. Almost every day in the summer we would set off to the stables. We left very early in the morning, so it was our habit to climb out of our bedroom window so that we would not wake the rest of the family.

One morning Clarice was part way out the window, when she let out a god-awful scream and started moving in reverse, quickly! I was trying to push her forward, but she came crashing back into me and we landed in a heap on the bedroom floor. Clarice was white, and I could tell she was really frightened – almost in shock. I kept asking her what was wrong, but it took her a while to be able to tell me. When she finally told me what she had seen, I didn’t believe her.

She said there were four little men outside in the bushes and they looked like little demon elves. She said she could tell they were evil. I didn’t believe in the supernatural at the time, so to tease her (and because I couldn’t see any demon elves outside) I leapt out of the window and ran over to the bushes and started crouching down calling for the evil elves to show themselves. They didn’t, and I wrote the whole thing off as a very vivid imagination on my sister’s part.

Years later, we three sisters were together visiting and talking, and Clarice asked me if I remembered the demon elves. At that, our older sister Cristi turned as white as a ghost and said, “You saw them too?” It turns out that on the very same morning Clarice had seen them, those evil elves had awakened Cristi by scratching at her window, laughing evilly and calling her name. She said when she got up to see who was at her window, she almost fainted – it was the same evil elves Clarice had seen. She screamed at them to go away, and after some time of tormenting her they backed into the bushes where the unfortunate Clarice saw them. The scariest part was when Clarice said, “Remember that you couldn’t see them?” I nodded my head. She continued, “When you ran up to the bushes, they were still there. You were just inches away from them, and then they disappeared.” We never saw the demon elves again, but to this day, we three sisters all agree they really were there. – Tyler Z.


I live in Beaverton, Oregon. There are still some areas on the outskirts here that have forests, farms and the like. There is a road called Cornelious Pass, which is where this event occurred. Cornelious Pass is mainly a back road used for truckers or people looking for shortcuts, and I had a habit of driving that road at night. I was driving one night with a friend of mine, and he was skeptical to the core – a person who did not believe in anything “mysterious” or “unexplained.”

As I was rounding the corner on this dark night, my headlights caught something odd. I didn’t see it as well as I would have liked, as my eyes were on the road. What I did see was burned into my memory and has been there ever since. There was something on the side of the road; it had been walking on its knuckles, like a gorilla. It reared up and looked at us as the headlights hit it. It was about four feet tall, the size of a child. Its arms were long enough that when it stooped it touched the ground, even though it was standing up. Its face – one of the images that remains hazy – I only remember as incredibly ugly. It was wearing clothes – and a pointed hat! I swear it. That’s what got me when I saw it, what my mind focused on. A little pointed, cone hat standing straight up – like a witch hat without the brim and smaller.

The moment it saw us, it turned and shot into the grass on the side of the road. As it turned, I saw what I can only describe as a backpack. I slammed the car to a halt and turned to my friend, who was pale white and staring straight ahead, in shock. “You saw it too?” I asked. He nodded. I put the car in reverse and started to back up.

My friend screamed at the top of his lungs, “What in the HE** do you think you are doing?”

I screamed back, “Going after it!”

He slammed down his lock and reached over me, locking my door. “You are not getting out of this car.” He said through gritted teeth. “Drive!” He screamed. I didn’t, calmly looked at him and asked him what exactly he thought he saw. “A TROLL! A GNOME or something! I don’t care! Just DRIVE!” I knew my friend had gotten a better look at it than I, and afterward tried to ask him about it. He refused to talk about it again, or even acknowledge what had happened. I remember it, though – clearly. – Jovet


This happened to me in the early 1970s. I was in my late teens and still living at home with my parents. I was in bed and had just drifted off to sleep when I felt someone pulling my pillow from me. I looked up to see a man’s hand on my pillow. It was even wearing a man’s ring with a black stone in it. I looked up properly at it to see a monk! He was wearing a habit with his hood up. He had no facial features, just skin. He stood now at the end of my bed and he crossed his arms then disappeared.

A few months later, I was going to work. An older woman sat next to me and we began to talk about anything really. Then we started on the supernatural. We started to tell each other our experiences. This lady told me about a monk waking her up who had no facial features and crossed its arms and disappeared, just like mine, with the only difference was that hers thumped her gently in the back to wake her up. I was shocked as I didn’t know this woman, yet she had exactly the same experience as I. We came to the conclusion that it must mean something. – Cathy A.


When I was about four years old, we lived in an old trailer, and I had to share a room with my two other sisters. My parents were already divorced, but arguing frequently about visitation rights. Then “he” started to appear to me. I had trouble sleeping at night and would toss and turn and always end up at the end of the bed staring at my door and the light that emitted from the hall. One very restless night, I laid staring in the same spot when suddenly a little man about four feet tall dressed in a brown monk’s cloak entered my room. He carried with him a small lute (I’m not sure how else to describe the item), and his face was hidden by the dark hood. He would stand at the foot of my bed and stare at me.

I wasn’t afraid, and I actually quite enjoyed his presence. He would then play me a beautiful melody (to this day I can still hum the odd tune) and it would send me sleeping within minutes. He visited me as often as three times a weak, or whenever I had trouble sleeping, all the way up to first grade and then he disappeared from my life. He helped my through tough times with my parents, and then when things got better (my parents came to an agreement), he left. When I was 17, my mother and I were having one of our “little chats” when I decided that I would tell her about my monk friend. She looked surprised and pleased at the same time. She then began telling me about her incident with the monks that visited her. – by Rachel H.


Shortly after my daughter was born in 1978, we moved into an old farm house that was creepy to begin with. Visitors who spent the night would always tell us the next day, “I am sorry, but your house is creepy.” “I felt like someone was watching me all night long!” One night I awoke suddenly, able to see everything in the room: my tiny daughter in her crib at the foot of our bed and my husband sleeping contentedly beside me, but I could not move. I felt a presence beside me that was communicating with me. It was strange and I was terrified. The visitors were telling me to come with them. This was strange considering they had no faces, only black-hooded robes and darkness where their faces should have been.

I was telling them NO, even though I could not speak aloud. I tried to move, to wake my husband, but all I could do was to make strange guttural sounds. They finally left and went out past the foot of our bed. I must have fallen asleep or passed out. I awoke very shortly after that, still very frightened and the room was freezing. I woke up my husband to tell him what happened. He comforted me went to our bedroom to get another blanket and to check on our daughter. He covered her with one and got back into bed and told me everything was all right, to go back to sleep. When we awoke later in the morning, my husband said, “Honey, remember when I got up to get the blankets? Well, don’t be alarmed, but our front door was standing wide open.” All I could do was stand there with my mouth wide open feeling the shock spread through my body. I know the door was closed because we checked doors together before we went to bed. – Vicki L.


In the 1920s in the wilds of County Donegal, Ireland, my great grandfather was a police officer. One night on returning home through a lonely road, he began to hear some of the most beautiful music he had ever heard. He then saw a circle of figures in a nearby field dancing to the music, which he watched for a while before being overcome with an urge to escape from the area, which he believes the fairies induced on him. Despite being laughed at and being joked at, he swore what he saw was real and genuine.

In a separate incident in the same area, he was riding his horse along another lonely road when the horse, which had been calm for the whole way, suddenly bolted and became very scared and hesitated before making an enormous jump over something unseen in the darkness. It then threw him off and galloped away like the wind, leaving my great grandfather to get home in the darkness on his own. He always claimed that the horse had sensed something like a demon or evil spirit and jumped over it. – JBPWALSH


When I was a kid, I would go to my cousin’s house to play. One day I was at her house and she told me that there were little black figures about three feet tall playing in a hay stack that my uncle had. I didn’t believe her at first, but when I looked, sure enough there they were. We began to see them every time we would go in the woods at her house. My cousin was a tomboy and we would go in the woods to play with our b-b guns and go to a little hideout we had down there. We would see them peek around trees and they would run to another tree and peek around that one. Then one day we were in the woods and we saw them again.

My cousin shot her b-b gun at one, and the next thing we knew there were about 10 of them standing around us. So I shot my b-b gun at one and they started to chase us. They chased us all the way to the top of the hill where her house was, but they didn’t come out of the woods. So we turned over a picnic table that was on her porch and got behind it and shot our b-b guns into the woods at them. The next thing we knew, they were throwing rocks at us and they were hitting the picnic table. That night I told my grandma about it and she just laughed at me. So I went to bed and I was lying there. I looked beside me and there was a tall black figure about six feet tall standing beside my bed. I just laid there scared to death all night long. – David P.


The encounters started shortly after I moved into a second-story apartment. All my encounters happened late at night. I never knew why I would wake up, but when I did I saw some very disturbing things. Every time it was the same thing: short (about 3-1/2 ft.) and fat creatures walking quickly up and down the hallway. Being very dark I could only see their outlines. The closest thing to compare them to are trolls. They never paid any attention to me; they seemed to be very busy – at what I don’t know.

I would get the feeling that they were taking something that belonged to me and knew I had to stop all of them and get it back. When I would try get up, I was always paralyzed and unable to speak. I would try to yell but could only get out little grunts. I had this experience about 20 times in a three-year period. The only time I wasn’t paralyzed was the first night. I was asleep on my sofa, woke up and saw the first creature. Of course, I didn’t believe my eyes, but then three more went scurrying by and I jumped at them. I forgot about my coffee table and fell over it smacking my shoulder into the door jamb (better than my head, I guess). When I landed, I saw about 10 of these things 10 feet away. They walked away farther down the hall and vanished.

On another night I woke up with the feeling that the little guys were back, but I didn’t see anything. I closed my eyes, briefly opened them again and saw a taller, dark figure peering at me, leaning its upper body around the door frame. I jumped up and was surprised I wasn’t paralyzed, and so was the figure in the door. My heart was beating so fast and I felt strong. I chased the figure down the hallway toward the top of the stairwell. I saw the back of figure the whole time I was running down the hall like a linebacker until it vanished into the outside wall. I still don’t know what was in my apartment, but I think they were evil. – Roy


This happened when I was camping with my friends at Mt. Crawford, which is in South Australia. We were doing filming for a web page we were working on. We were all aged between 16 and 21. It was getting dark and I decided to go for a walk. It got darker and darker until I realized I was lost. Me being 16 years old, I was very scared. I heard footsteps about 10 meters behind me. I turned and felt my heart thumping through my ears. I looked carefully into the distance and I saw a figure dressed in black clothing.

As it got closer, it started whispering. It was a male voice. It said that it was going to take me back to its lair in the mountains and eat my flesh and see what my body was made of. I was frozen and wanted to run. I was too terrified to go anywhere. As it came closer, its face was red and had a long nose. His eyebrows were thick and he talked without moving his lips. Then I heard my friends scream out my name. I turned to see where they were for a split second, and when I looked back, it was gone. I rushed back to my friends and told them, but they didn’t believe me. Later that night, when we were all asleep, I was awoken by footsteps again. I didn’t want too move. I curled up in a ball and closed my eyes tight. The whispering started and told me he would return for me when I was alone. None of my friends heard it, but until this day I’ve never been back there. – J. Pettina


This took place in the woods near our house in Iowa. I was out walking around on the grounds of the land that we live on around nine or so at night. It was a very clear night, and the stars were out. I was upset about something earlier in the day, so I wasn’t paying much attention to where I was walking. I was at the edge of the forest, when I noticed a bright red-blue light hovering softly in the wintry sky. At first, I thought it was a helicopter or an airplane taking off from the town nearby. But as I watched, the light hovered and zipped around the tops of the trees for awhile.

It came closer to me, and as I watched, frozen to the ground, I saw an indistinct human shape that had alternating blue and red wings. I say blue and red because it was a very brilliant color of white that is indescribable, its wings moving like that of a humming bird. I could even hear a soft whisper of sound coming from it. I watched as long as I could, even ran after it, but it soon flew off into the forest, shyly hiding behind trees until it was gone. It seemed curious, but not ready to come very close.

I went home and kept what I saw to myself for awhile. But one clear night as I was walking home, I saw the faerie tracing its way through the tops of the trees again. I pulled my family outside, and we all watched with breathless wonder. No helicopter could move the way this small light moved. We all agreed that it must be a faerie or an angel or something to that effect. I saw the faerie only twice more that winter.

This winter, the faerie has appeared again, and it has become a familiar, if distant friend. It has almost become a normalcy; on clear, beautiful nights, I can see it traipsing its way through the tops of the trees in the forest next to our house. I’ve considered taking pictures or filming it, but I feel that I would be somehow violating a trust. It is very beautiful – and believe it or not, my family and I have seen it numerous times. There might even be a perfectly reasonable explanation for it all. But how do you explain five people seeing the same thing numerous times? You could call it paranormal, but I’d call it wonderful. – Sade R.


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).