‘Were the Gnomes of Wollaton Park Intelligent Light Forms?’ by Mave Calvert

Deadbutdreaming is delighted to welcome guest author Mave Calvert. Mave is an experienced dowser and in this article she turns her attention to the perpetually mysterious case of the Wollaton gnomes. It is an incident that has been covered here in several previous posts, including Faeries, Children and Altered States of Consciousness and Revisiting the Wollaton Gnomes by Dan Green. And in 2022 Simon Young published The Wollaton Gnomes: A Nottingham Fairy Mystery, which includes all the known source material, as well as several articles from researchers. In the following essay Mave takes a dowsing perspective on the event, resulting in some intriguing interpretations as to what may have been happening. Thanks to Mave for giving her permission to publish on deadbutdreaming.


Simon Young’s recently published book The Wollaton Gnomes: A Nottingham Fairy Mystery contains source material and a number of essays from various researchers discussing the sighting of gnomes driving floating cars by children who were trespassing in the grounds of Wollaton Park in Nottingham around dusk on the Autumn Equinox of 1979. My own entanglement in the mystery started in Autumn 2021 when my friend Dan Green, who describes himself as a researcher of high strangeness, persuaded me to investigate the mystery from a dowsing perspective.

The encounter was described in the 2014 book Seeing Fairies by Marjorie Johnson (1911-2011), who lived in Nottingham all her life and collected accounts of faerie sightings, having had encountered the little people herself on many occasions. Although the publicity centred around this one particular encounter in 1979, it became clear from further research that the phenomena had been encountered at various locations around the park on several different occasions including faerie sightings around the lake by adults. There are also prolific accounts of paranormal phenomena associated with Wollaton Hall, the Elizabethan mansion that stands on a sandstone mound in the middle of the 500-acre deer park. Below this mound is underground water that dowsers would describe as a ‘Blind Spring’ where a dome of water rises from deep underground but does not break the surface, with numerous underground water veins seeping away from it through fissures in the rock strata.

Since the book containing essays by myself, Dan Green, Frank Earp, Neil Rushton, Kate Ray et al. was published in January 2022, further dowsing research has been undertaken that appears to link the phenomena to both the underlying piezoelectric sandstone geology of the park and the underground water which, when combined, produce ideal conditions for the production of the self-illuminated conscious plasma orbs that are often associated with so-called paranormal phenomena.

High Strangeness in Yorkshire
I am a member of the Ridings Dowsers and in November 2020 we had a Zoom talk by paranormal researcher Paul Sinclair from Bridlington. He described multiple strange phenomena that take place around the Bempton Cliffs and Flamborough Head areas and the surrounding Yorkshire Wolds. The geology of the area is predominantly chalk, similar to that of Wiltshire where Avebury Henge is located and where high strangeness is also reported. The area is also intersected by the huge geological anomaly known as The Bempton Fault, with faulting and magnetic anomalies extending under the North Sea. Moreover, there are many ancient burial mounds and other earthworks in the area as well as the tallest standing stone in Britain, the Rudston Monolith.

Having taken a great interest in Paul Sinclair’s Zoom talk and read all the books he has written on the subject, I was struck by the similarities in the children’s accounts of the Wollaton Gnomes encounter and what Paul Sinclair calls Intelligent Light Forms (ILFs), which he defines as “Unexplained lights in the sky that move with an awareness that implies intelligence.” Sinclair also tells us that “These things are often seen around ancient earthworks and standing stones, locations renowned for all aspects of the paranormal.”

As the well-known researcher Paul Deveraux commented in his latest book, The Powers of Ancient and Scared Places (2022): “These fractures in the Earth’s crust caused by seismic action not only can be sites of radiation and magnetic anomalies, but around these geological discontinuities are also various other phenomena, such as gaseous emissions, electrical effects associated with mineral enrichment around faulting, and the occasional occurrence of strange lights … The lights are presumably some exotic form of plasma. Plasmas can appear metallic in daylight – somewhat like air bubbles under water – and shine in the dark … Some light balls seem to react to onlookers … Plasmas may possess rudimentary intelligence, often displayed as animal-like curiosity … disappearing then reappearing instantaneously at another location or stopping seemingly without deceleration as if having no mass.” Again, this sounds very similar to the ILFs that Paul Sinclair describes in an area intersected by faulting and ancient sites.

Intelligent Light Forms meet Noddy and Big Ears
The Wollaton children’s comments that reminded me of the East Yorkshire ILFs included: “When we looked up there was a light in the trees”; “You could see them in the dark, they showed up”; “Some up in the trees and some on the ground”; “When we went to the trees, they went back in; when we went away from the trees, they come back out again”; “When they come out, we seen a light in the trees hanging and we could see the faces “; “They kept chasing us”, “Very fast”; “They don’t come out in the light.” Asked how the cars moved, the children said: “They could kind of jump over the logs.” Typical of witness accounts in Paul Sinclair’s books are statements such as: “It seemed to be following the contour of the cliff path and smoothly dipped rose with the land” and “it … moved so smoothly, as if it was on rails….” Some of the children felt threatened while others described the gnomes as friendly and joyful. Paul Sinclair echoes this stating that: “In some cases a wave of fear descends on some who witness the phenomenon, others are left awestruck.” He goes on to say: “I have noted that these light forms seem to be somehow able to tap into human emotions – since at times the observers can either feel extreme fear or extreme excitement. Even the visual experience seems to connect with a person’s beliefs or experience – whether it be religious or alien. These sightings seem to fit with the mind-set of the observer.”

When asked about the headlights on the floating cars the children made comments such as: “Kind of funnyish lights on the cars, triangularish.” In several of the accounts in Paul Sinclair’s books witnesses describe triangular shapes within the ILFs and one witness described an ILF as: “The size and shape of an old Mini car headlamp.”

Dowsing for Gnomes at Wollaton Park
At Dan Green’s request, I visited Wollaton Park in October 2021. I asked my dowsing rods to take me to somewhere where I could learn more about the phenomena. I was taken to the lake in the south of the park. Behind this was a tree-covered mound. When I walked up onto this mound, I felt straight away that I was in a liminal place and instantly experienced an altered state of consciousness. After standing still for a while I felt the presence of plasma orbs around me. They seemed translucent in the dappled sunlight, similar to the soap bubbles blown by children. After a few minutes some of these orbs seemed to me to morph into nature spirits, a phenomenon that I had recently been researching. I began referring to the area as the ‘Fairy mound’. I suspect that if someone else with an interest in extra-terrestrial lifeforms or ILFs had been there perhaps that is exactly what the plasma orbs would have shape-shifted into. It therefore follows that when witnessed by 8 to 10-year-old children brought up in the Noddy and Big Ears era who regularly saw fairground bumper cars set up in Wollaton Park, that these plasma orbs might appear to morph into something like gnomes driving floating cars.

On a subsequent visit I went to the area in the north of the park near the school and marshy area where Frank Earp suggests that the September 1979 encounter took place. My dowsing suggested he was correct. Although I couldn’t enter the marshy area without trespassing as it is fenced off, just as it was in 1979, I found that walking around its perimeter I once again felt I had suddenly entered a liminal space and was in the presence of translucent plasma orbs that morphed into nature spirits, similar to my experience on the ‘fairy mound’ on my previous visit.

After reading Frank Earp’s comments about the faulting in the Wollaton coalfield that extends under Wollaton Park, I decided to investigate the geology of the area using maps on the British Geological Society (BGS) website. The geological maps showed the marshy area to the north of the park area to be where the geology changes from piezoelectric quartz sandstone to coal measures. It also showed that what I was referring to as the ‘fairy mound’ was directly above a geological fault. So, both the areas I had felt to be liminal spaces exhibited ideal conditions for the manifestation of plasma orbs, both being over geological anomalies and one being near a lake and the other a marshy area.

Faeries, Ectoplasm and Plasma Orbs
In the chapter about the Wollaton Gnomes in Seeing Fairies Marjorie Johnson points out that in her experience nature spirits can create something by visualising it out of universal thought-substance. This may be what early mediums referred to as ‘Ectoplasm’ which appears to be a plasma-like substance. She also points out that faerie visions are often coloured by the observer’s personality. From personal experience, Marjorie found the materialised bodies of nature spirits to be self-illuminated, all of which fits in with what we are now coming to understand about plasma orbs and their relationship to the phenomena often termed paranormal.

Several well-known researchers, including Paul Deveraux, Gary Biltcliffe, Andrew Collins, Greg Little and Robert Temple, have recently been paying a lot of attention to self-illuminated intelligent plasma which appears to have its own consciousness that interacts with human consciousness, morphing into the orbs and other forms often associated with paranormal activity. As Greg Little points out: “When the plasma forms it creates an electromagnetic shell or bubble around itself. When one of these forms appears near a human, the electromagnetic bubble surrounds both the plasma and its percipient. The electromagnetic field creates an energy wall forming a consciousness interaction field, meaning that the beliefs and mental state of the human inside the bubble interact with the purposes of the plasma.” This is exactly how I felt in the areas of Wollaton Park where I experienced translucent plasma orbs that seemed to shape-shift into the elemental nature spirits that I had been hoping to encounter.

As ever, the debate will continue as to the nature of so-called paranormal phenomena, and the possible existence of trans-dimensional intelligences. However, it seems rather synchronistic that several well-established researchers in the field have in the last year or so published new books linking the phenomena to that of conscious or intelligent plasma, and that encounters from back in 1979 have suddenly resurfaced for further examination. Perhaps the collective unconscious or the luminous plasma beings themselves are at long last steering us towards a better understanding of these phenomena. We wait and see.

Further Reading:

Collins, Andrew – Lightquest: Your Guide to Seeing and Interacting with UFOs, Mystery Lights, and Plasma Intelligences (2012)

Deveraux, Paul & McCartney, Paul – Earth Lights: Towards and Understanding of the UFO Enigma (1982)

Deveraux, Paul – The Powers of Ancient and Sacred Places (2022)

Johnson, Marjorie – Seeing Fairies (2014)

Little, Greg & Collins Andrew – Origins of the Gods (2022)

Sinclair, Paul – Night People: The Truth that Leaves No Proof (2020)

Sinclair, Paul – Truthproof: The Truth that Leaves No Proof (2016)

Sinclair, Paul – Truthproof 2: Beyond the Thinking Mind (2018)

Sinclair, Paul – Truthproof 3: Bringing Down the Light (2019)

Sinclair, Paul – Truthproof 4: Beyond Reasonable Doubt (2022)

Temple, Robert – A New Science of Heaven: How the New Science of Plasma Physics is shedding light on Spiritual Experience (2022)

Young, Simon – The Wollaton Gnomes, A Nottingham Fairy Mystery (2022)


More details about Mave Calvert and her work can be found here on The Ridings Dowsers website.

The cover image is commissioned artwork by Tracy Vincent.

Kate Ray and Neil Rushton discuss the case of the Wollaton Gnomes on Hare in the Hawthorn


Dead but Dreaming the novel, is available now.


Author: neilrushton

I write about my subversive thoughts... a lot of them are about those most ungraspable of metaphysical creatures; faeries. I published my first novel in 2016, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", and my second novel was published in 2020 - 'Dead but Dreaming', where some very cosmic faeries are awaiting the protagonist at an English psychiatric hospital in 1970...

6 thoughts on “‘Were the Gnomes of Wollaton Park Intelligent Light Forms?’ by Mave Calvert”

  1. What an interesting perspective! Dowsing is something I know very little about. When I was a child, my father did teach me how to dowse for water ( “water divining” as he called it. It’s a useful skill when living out in the sticks!), but using the technique to apply to other more subtle, less tangible, things is something I’ve never looked into.

    The idea of our own individual, subjective, experience of the world playing into ( or “co-creating”) the way entities ( or any otherworldly experience) present to us is one that has always deeply resonated with me. If it’d been a group of UFO obsessed adults at Wollaton Park at that time instead of a group of children, might what have been witnessed there been something different altogether? Aliens, perhaps?

    Fascinating, anyway! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think John Keel’s superspectrum idea adquately explains these sorts of encounters. At base there is a range of perception humans are capable of, with some people able to see further along than others. Those who can’t see into the edges of the spectrum beyond “visible light” see nothing and might not even be sensitive enough to feel anything; then there are those who see a smear of light; then those who not only can discern a specific shape but who, interacting with the plasma life-form (or to give it a common name, the Jinn) give it its current form. The fields of the plasma life-form conform to what the viewer is thinking of or fears or loves and the experience begins. Nonsensical on its face, each encounter is designed to generate frequencies on which the life-form feeds. This done, like a bee finished with a flower, the life-form either moves on to a new “flower” on which to feed or vibrates back into its own part of the wider spectrum, “disappearing” in the process.

    We see what we expect to see, desire to see, or are afraid of seeing. Dreams and nightmares form the basis for the temporary form the balls of light assume.

    I put my own distillation of this theorem in my roleplaying books, specifically SKY PIRATES OF SUBURBIA:



    I use real-life examples such as Mister Apol, and fictionalized versions taken from real encounters such as the Fear-Feeder and “Mothman.”

    It’s difficult to see a better theorem than that advanced by John Keel (and many others) at this stage, even if it is less satisfying than imagining a thousand different fairy dimensions each with its own ecology. The experiences conform more closely to a single ecology, alien to our own, where shapes are assumed from time to time and doffed as the need arises.


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