A Review of ‘Ecology of Souls: A New Mythology of Death and the Paranormal’ by Joshua Cutchin

Ecology of Souls: A New Mythology of Death and the Paranormal (2 vols) by Joshua Cutchin (Horse and Barrell Press, 2022). ISBN 978-1-7339808-5-2 & 978-1-7339808-6-9.

Ecology of Souls is a monumental work. Joshua Cutchin has pulled together many strands of traditional and modern folklore, UFOlogy and philosophy to produce a book that digs deep into the mythology of paranormal activity, while always linking it to the common thread of our most pressing concern: death. It is expansive, ranging over nearly 1500 pages in two volumes, with a separate volume of source references, which guide the reader towards a wealth of data on all the subject matters discussed. The first volume is primarily concerned with the faerie phenomenon, explaining why the concept of death is at the heart of so many of the traditional belief systems and how it might inform our modern conceptualisation of what faeries are. The second volume turns towards aliens, and how this particular paranormal subject is linked deeply with the faerie phenomenon, and ultimately with consciousness and death. The book draws heavily on the works of Terence McKenna (the title is taken from McKenna’s description of the entities experienced under the influence of DMT) and Carl Jung, and manages to clarify much of their, sometimes, ambiguous writings into a satisfying, holistic assessment of why death is at the heart of so much paranormal activity, producing a work that is truly a new mythology.

The first volume begins, somewhat surprisingly, with a chapter on the Near Death Experience (NDE). This consists of an overview of what this phenomenon tells us about the link between death and the paranormal, and sets out the stall for the rest of the two-volume book. Cutchin makes clear in this chapter that the NDE is an essential element for understanding the hard problem of consciousness, and that such a numinous experience (usually involving incorporeal entities) has much bearing on how human consciousness interacts with the paranormal subjects of faeries and aliens. For those unfamiliar with the NDE literature, this chapter acts as an excellent primer, with a wealth of references for further reading. Cutchin comes down hard on the reductionist interpretation of NDEs being nothing but an hallucinatory state caused by hypoxia: the ‘Dying Brain Hypotheses’. He quotes Christof Koch from the Scientific American, who, while determined to push the reductionist position is forced to conclude: “Why the mind should experience the struggle to sustain its operations in the face of loss of blood flow and oxygen as positive and blissful rather than as panic-inducing remains mysterious.” Cutchin also calls out reductionist scientists for their special pleading on the subject:

Scientists also appropriate research they otherwise criticize. Many suggest NDEs arise from a pre-mortem dump of endogenous, or internally-generated N,N-Dimethyltrytamine (DMT), a chemical with psychedelic properties. While both DMT and dissociative states can model NDEs, this is a poor scapegoat for their mysterious nature: reductionists assume these factors cause hallucinations, rather than alter perception. Scientists may be mistaking the metaphorical key for the room it unlocks.

The point about hallucinations vs. altered perception is important, especially when extended to paranormal experiences outside the NDE; an issue that is explored throughout the rest of the book. The following two chapters, ‘Psychopomps’ and ‘Soul Traditions’ outline the importance of both the dying process and the entities that may aid it in traditional folkloric belief systems, religious doctrines and shamanism. This leads us in to the meat of the first volume, explored over two chapters: the relation between the faeries and death.

In traditional folklore there was certainly a tight relationship between the faeries and the dead. Cutchin quotes the folklorist Simon Young: “Traditional fairy-believing communities in the nineteenth century tended, if they thought about the meaning of the fairies at all, to associate them with the dead; and it is even possible that fairies were originally born from an attempt to make sense of death.” In WY Evans-Wentz’s study of faerie belief in early 20th-century Celtic communities there is a strong resonance of the faeries being the ancestral dead. This was especially true in Ireland and Brittany, where there was a deep association. Evans-Wentz’s respondents did not usually view the faeries as ghosts, but rather as representatives of the ancestors, changed into a different form; non-corporeal and liable to carry messages, warnings and advice to those who interacted with them. Cutchin explores this relationship throughout the chapter, taking examples from around the world, which suggests a global traditional belief that not only do faeries often correspond with the dead, but that visitors to faerieland, are accessing the same ulterior dimension as those who have died. The descriptions of the NDE reality often transpose smoothly over the details found in folkloric accounts of visits to faerie realms.

Cutchin explores in some detail how folkloric faeries are often associated with places and rituals of the dead. This, of course, includes prehistoric burial sites: “They [The faeries] also favour Neolithic monuments. This distinction might clarify which beings hold nature spirit status and which more closely align with the dead… Many man-made faerie sites are sepulchral places like barrows, burial mounds, passage tombs, grave cairns, cemeteries and graveyards, all clearly connected with internment.” But the ritualised quality of the folklore also connects the faeries, intimately, with death. The association of the colour green with the faeries is especially important:

Green is not only a vegetal colour, but is associated in Celtic lore with the dead… The presence of green NDE meadows reflect the afterlife as a place of fertility and rebirth. In something so simple as the colour of their clothing, faeries reveal their dualistic roles as nature spirits and the dead.

The connection between the faeries taking, or abducting, humans and death is also made explicit. Whether it is the consciousness or the physical body that is, by whatever means, taken to a faerie realm, much folklore clearly signifies that the faeries and the ancestral dead are clearly aligned. Sometimes the folklore directly specifies that the faeries are inhabiting a realm separated from physical reality and reserved for the dead, such as in the Cornish tale of The Fairy Dwelling on Selena Moor (collected by William Bottrell in the 1870s) where a farmer (evidently in some form of altered state of consciousness) finds himself in a world populated by faeries who once lived as humans, as well as his former sweetheart, Grace, who had apparently died three years previously. Grace’s intriguing descriptions (somewhat unusual in folklore collected at this time) certainly confirm them to be inhabiting a land of the dead:

Their mode of life seemed somewhat unnatural to her, for all among them is mere illusion or acting and sham. They have no hearts, she believed, and but little sense or feeling; what serves them, in a way, as such, is merely the remembrance of whatever pleased them when they lived as mortals — maybe thousands of years ago… ‘For you must remember they are not of our religion, but star-worshippers. They don’t always live together like Christians and turtle-doves; considering their long existence such constancy would be tiresome for them.’

The suggestion here that the faeries may be ancestors from thousands of years ago, segues into Cutchin’s discussion of a theory generally dismissed by folklorists, but which may contain some esoteric truths, if the theory is stretched somewhat beyond its original, literal intent. This is The Extinct Race Hypothesis (ERH). This became a popular idea in the 19th century, and posits that the faeries are either survivors of displaced human races, or that they are memories of the same. The first of these ideas is based primarily on the association of faeries with ancient sites, and the connection of artefacts such as flint arrowheads with a living race in traditional folklore. Cutchin quotes Evans-Wentz’s interview with an Irish college professor: “The faeries of any one race are the people of the preceding race – the Fomors for the Fir Bolgs, the Fir Bolgs for the Tuatha Dé Dananns, and the Dannans for us… The old races died. Where did they go? They became spirits – and faeries.” This idea became enmeshed in some racial stereotyping to explain the ERH, an idea that is unacceptable to modern folklorists and anthropologists. But the hypothesis of the faeries as memory is explored in more depth by Cutchin, and he is able to set up subsequent chapters in the book by suggesting that faeries may well be the representation of a collective human memory, manifesting as both ancestral spirits and entities appearing in real time of their own volition.

What could cause this volition? In the chapter ‘Altered States of Consciousness’ Cutchin investigates how altering normal states of consciousness has been responsible for many interactions with faerie-type entities. These states may be induced by meditation, trauma, illness and through dreams. But the most reliable tools for bringing about an altered state of consciousness (ASC) are psychedelic compounds. The wisdom of Terence McKenna is utilised extensively to flesh out the utility of using psychedelics to come to terms with reality and death. McKenna was an enthusiastic user and proponent of the potent psychedelic compound N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and famously described the entities he encountered while using it as self-transforming machine elves. Cutchin quotes the lines that inspired the title of his book: “So the testimony of DMT for me is that there is a nearby dimension teeming with intelligence that, from one perspective seems like an ecology of souls. It seems as though that what the shamans always said they were doing was, in fact, precisely what they were doing.” This appeared to McKenna, to be contacting the dead; the ancestors who had been translated through the lens of human consciousness in to aberrational entities, which are often interpreted as faeries.

Since McKenna wrote and spoke about the DMT experience, there has been a deluge of studies, surveys and clinical trials investigating the phenomenon (described in detail in a previous post: Faerie Entities and DMT). But perhaps the most parsimonious description of why DMT may be so important in getting under the skin of modern faerie encounters is by another enthusiastic proponent of the compound, ‘Zarkov’, quoted by Cutchin: “You give DMT to ten people. They’ve never had DMT before, and you tell them only that they might see something. If nine out of ten of them come back with descriptions of elves, and four of them use the word ‘elves’ unprompted, we think you should investigate the phenomenon of elves seen on DMT.”

Cutchin’s extensive discussion of how altered states of consciousness have a fundamental bearing on the faerie phenomenon is an important addition to our understanding of how and why these particular entities have endured in our cultural tradition for so long. The faeries of traditional and most modern folklore were/are not encountered via DMT (although an endogenous release of DMT may account for some of the episodes), but they do often appear to have been experienced by people in an altered state of consciousness, however induced. And there is an overwhelming connection to death, something that is perpetuated in the most recent iteration of contact with non-human intelligent entities: aliens.

It is difficult to do justice, in such a short review, to the wealth of research into the UFO phenomenon Cutchin has managed to pour into this book. While the last three chapters of volume one tease out some strains, in a discussion of shamanistic ideas of death and the paranormal, volume two is perhaps the most complete assessment of the alien/UFO phenomenon in literature to date. The connection between faerie and alien entities is highlighted throughout, but it is much more than a facile connection between folkloric faeries and modern aliens – the connection is always overlain with the assumption that death is at the heart of both phenomena, and that our understanding of any paranormal activity requires us to adjust our concept of what death is. Cutchin explains that volume one was simply a primer to understanding the fundamentally important role UFOs/aliens have in an explanatory model of humanity: “In short, all roads lead to the UFO. Having finally exhausted other avenues of research, we are at last able to address our primary question: What role do UFOs, and alien abduction in particular, play in what we call death.” He then quotes Whitley Streiber: “In fact, it has to [do] with the next state in the evolution of the species, which involves a leap ahead into a completely new relationship with ourselves, in which mysteries like death take on an entirely new meaning.”

Cutchin spends some time examining what has become known as The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) – the idea that all UFO and ‘alien’ contact is the result of entities visiting Earth from elsewhere in the universe. This remains the pervasive explanation of the phenomenon. Suffice to say, Cutchin is not an adherent, and suggests that the reductionism of the ETH is holding us back from a true understanding of how UFOs can help us understand a deeper reality; in the same way as the faeries may. Both are immaterial entities that somehow interact with our physical reality, while at the same time being fundamentally different from it. He quotes Jenny Randles (a UFO researcher) from her 1994 book Star Children: “I have noticed that researchers in the USA run a mile from paranormal revelation. They seem terrified by the dissipation of their phenomenon through psychic experiences… For them aliens and extrasensory perception just don’t make good bedfellows. What this curiously ignores is the fact that every alien contact is steeped in psychic phenomenon.” This sets the scene for Cutchin to pin down UFOs within a more Jungian context, via luminaries such as John Keel and Jacques Vallée, and suggest that aliens, like faeries, are an intrinsic part of the collective human consciousness – they are within not without.

One of the closest comparisons to faerie experiences and UFO encounters is the alien abduction phenomenon. Cutchin has written about this previously in his 2018 book Thieves in the Night, where supernatural abductions through history are discussed. But the analyses in this second volume take the subject much further, always with the assumption of a link with death, and its precursors: Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) and NDEs. It is clear from the literature assessed by Cutchin that once again, altered states of consciousness predominate in alien abductions and that, while there are many physical aspects to the phenomenon, the main attribute is that of consciousness experiencing something removed from physical, material reality. The experiencers are having an OBE and leaving their bodies behind. This, of course, is a key breaking point in the reductionist paradigm. Here, OBEs are impossible, because consciousness is simply an epiphenomenon of the brain, and cannot operate outside it. If this materialist mindset is incorrect, and consciousness is primary, then OBEs become more credible, along with alien abductions, faerie encounters and a host of other paranormal activity. The evidence that Cutchin surveys over the nine chapters in volume two present a convincing argument for consciousness being non-dependent on physical bodies for its existence, which then makes death, as we call it, a transition rather than an oblivion. This brings us back to the numinous reality of the NDE experience, while linking all paranormal experiences to an inherent ability to escape the physical self. Cutchin, unashamedly, uses the term ‘soul’ to describe how previous societies recognised this ability, and how this may explain encounters with non-human, and non-material intelligent entities: “Our souls have always wandered in the company of such beings, joining witches’ sabbaths, riding among the Wild Hunt, weathering the trials of shamanic initiation, visiting faerieland, and, most importantly, penetrating the border between life and death.”

The intrinsic links between the alien abduction phenomenon and NDEs are explored further, and convincingly, making it clear why Cutchin opened up his book with a discussion of the NDE. The remainder of volume two is comparable to an old-school philosophical text, where thought-experiments are set up and then broken down to see how much credence can be placed in them. The chapters ‘The Soulcraft of UFOs’, ‘Aliens as the Other’ and ‘Aliens as Ourselves’ are deep explorations into how we understand ourselves, and how we comprehend something outside of ourselves, whether that be paranormal entities or the concept of death itself. And throughout the second volume, Cutchin consistently reminds us that while his main concern here is ‘aliens’, this noun can be easily transposed to ‘faeries.’ They appear to be coming from the same place, and that location is inevitably connected with the dead. Our ancestors are communicating with us through multifarious means, and in order to understand what they might be attempting to communicate, we need to expand our awareness and conceptualisation to include an ecology of souls. Joshua Cutchin’s magnum opus certainly helps us on our way to doing this.


Joshua was recently interviewed by Kate Ray and me on Kate’s Hare in the Hawthorn YouTube site, where we talk about the book and all things faerie…


Dead but Dreaming the novel is available now…


Faeries and Aliens: A Review of ‘Thieves in the Night’ by Joshua Cutchin

THIEVES IN THE NIGHT: A Brief History of Supernatural Child Abductions by Joshua Cutchin (Anomalist Books, 2018) ISBN: 9781938398957

This book comes just at the right time. The debate about the possible connections between the folkloric representations of faeries abducting children and modern alien abductions has reached the point where there seems to be a divide between writers who have been highlighting the connection for decades, and (mostly) folklorists who have been reacting against the proposition, with the view that the phenomena are not related. Likewise, there are UFOlogists who do not want to engage with the possibility that alien intervention into consensus reality has anything to do with the amorphous storytelling about folkloric faeries. Joshua Cutchin approaches the issue in an extremely even-handed manner, made all the more incisive by his ability to speak in the language of folklorists, while still retaining a left field Fortean perspective. Thieves in the Night pins down the folklore of child abduction in great detail before attempting to relay it onto the contemporary phenomenon of alien abductions, giving it an intellectual gravitas that commands attention. Despite chapter forays into the phenomenon of Sasquatch abductions and the recent cases of people going missing in national parks, this is primarily a book about explicating the link between faeries and aliens (in relation to abduction scenarios), which Cutchin does by using a wide range of data from historical sources and modern testimony. Sometimes the data is uncomfortable – we may not want the faeries of our folkloric past to become the invasive aliens of contemporary culture – but when enough evidence begins to accrue, we are obliged to accept the possibility that we might be dealing with a single phenomenon that stretches back thousands of years, and suggests that there are metaphysical entities (from the same source) who consistently intrude into our own physical reality, even extending their remit to the abduction of children. This is not subject matter easy to write about. Apart from the special-interest debate about the ontology of historic/contemporary supernatural child-abductors, there is a difficulty in discussing child abduction in general – it has become (perhaps has always been) a taboo subject, that is only allowed to be approached within certain structured codes. In this book Cutchin skilfully bypasses the taboos and grounds his hypotheses on a wealth of folklore, history and contemporary accounts, which makes a very convincing case for the faeries being one and the same as 20th/21st-century aliens, at least when it comes to abduction cases.

The link between the faeries of folklore and contemporary alien encounters was first made In 1969 by the astronomer and computer scientist Jacques Vallée, in his book Passport to Magonia. He suggested that there is a commonality to the experiences reported in alien abduction scenarios, and the reports of interactions with faeries in folklore, especially in abduction stories and anecdotes. He asserts that the aliens and the faeries are essentially the same phenomenon, tuned through the cultural receptors of the time and then interpreted accordingly. This metaphysical link was investigated further by Graham Hancock in his 2005 book Supernatural, where he details the striking similarities between certain faerie and alien encounters, again concentrating on data concerning human abduction by these entities. Both these works have been highly influential for those writers attempting to get under the skin of these phenomena, but Thieves in the Night is without doubt the most extensive assessment to date, albeit concentrating on a sub-set of the whole: child abduction. Cutchin summarises his remit thus:

“This book marks the first interdisciplinary attempt to compare child abduction from antiquity through the modern era. Predominantly, this means focussing upon Western interpretations of faerie folklore and the pernicious alien abduction phenomenon, particularly the means and motivations behind kidnapping, but multiple detours cover global traditions, Sasquatch abductions, and the recently popularised subject of disappearances in national parks.”

The focus is arranged over twenty-one chapters (profiled at the end of this review), which move first through incidences of child abduction from historic texts and folklore, and then on to the tangled web of alien abduction testimony. Cutchin marshals a vast range of documentary evidence to investigate the faerie abduction phenomenon, although restricting himself to mostly Western texts and sources. This is quite difficult to pull off without the end result being just a strung together collection of folkloric anecdotes. But even though the book does not take a strictly chronological approach, the sub-themes are arranged in such a way that the reader is immersed in the folklore, and is presented with a holistic view of how faerie abductions were understood by the people involved as well as by those reporting on the encounters. Cutchin makes extensive use of some core texts such as WY Evans-Wentz’s 1911 classic The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries and the writings of WB Yeats and Katherine Briggs, but, as the 1,572 endnotes and extensive bibliography suggest, he is mining some deep seams of folklore to present his case. This gives the work an ingrained authority – it’s not a collection of cherry-picked examples to support a hypothesis, but rather an attempt to genuinely convey the richness of the evidence, which demonstrates unequivocally that one of the main activities of folkloric faeries was abducting children.

The predominant method of abducting children by the faeries was through the exchange of a changeling for the human child. The worldwide stories of faerie changelings come under a group of folklore motifs recorded in the Aarne-Thompson Index of Folk Literature as F321: ‘Faerie steals child from cradle and leaves faerie substitute.’ The basic premise of these motifs is that the faeries, through supernatural means, are capable of abducting babies from humans, while replacing them with one of their own, usually a wizened old faerie who would proceed to eat and drink voraciously, and maintain a surly silence. With external advice the parents are usually advised of how to rid themselves of the changeling and restore their own baby from the faeries. The ruse is carried through and (usually) works. Cutchin devotes several chapters to changeling folklore while commenting that “… a remarkable feature of the changeling narrative is its stability… It is not only consistent in its narrative beats but also in its description of changelings.” He also notes that the changeling motif is something of an anomaly in faerie folklore. By its very nature there needs to be a component of physicalism in any changeling story; the faeries seem to be interacting directly in material reality and the changelings appear to be embedded within that reality. This is not often the case with faerie motifs, where stories and anecdotes can often be interpreted as metaphysical encounters, and the faeries seem to be interacting with humanity at the level of consciousness rather than as material entities. This is an important distinction, and also remains vital in any interpretation of alien abductions; are these supernatural beings manifesting themselves in consensus material reality as physical beings, or are they interacting with us within consciousness, leaving no corporeal residue. Cutchin is uncommitted on this point, and allows the folklore to speak for itself without imposing ideological narratives into the text.

The author also rounds up his assessment of the changeling phenomenon with a discussion of it as a folkloric device that attempts to make sense of child illness and disability in pre-modern societies by laying the blame squarely at the door of the faeries. The work of John Lindow, Carole Silver, Susan Eberly and RU Sayce are utilised to give one possible modern perspective on what the changeling stories may be:

“Descriptions of the changeling’s appearance and behaviour pointed to developmental disability and disease long before modern medicine eclipsed superstition. Viewed through contemporary eyes, most changeling stories transform from horrifying to tragic, unsettling tales of an inhuman other reinterpreted as heart-rending stories of abused children in dire need of medical assistance.”

The attempt to explain the injustice of infant sickness through the introduction of a supernatural agency into the folklore may well help us understand the deeper meanings of the stories. People sought and created a certain type of story, with defined motifs that would help to explain why children might be infirm, and the pressures it put on a family, especially in a subsistence economy. Unfortunately, many of the changeling stories include some radical solutions for dispatching the faerie and securing the return of the human baby. This frequently involves throwing them on fires, exposing them on hillsides or drowning. Sometimes the threat of these sanctions is enough to get the desired result, but there is usually some viciousness in the stories, at the expense of the changeling. Cutchin goes into some detail as to the means of dispatching changelings, and in light of the possible interpretation of the stories as justification for infanticide it makes for difficult reading.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the changeling motif was mostly relegated to the folklore of what happened in the past, but which doesn’t happen anymore. Improved hygiene and greater access to medicine, raised life-expectancy in rural populations and lowered child infirmity. At the same time the development of universal education ensured the new scientific view of child infirmity and disease replaced many of the folk beliefs that had previously attempted to explain why children became ill, and what could be done about it. But by the second half of the 20th century new culprits became the perpetrators of supernatural abduction, culturally coded to our technological sensibilities: aliens.

“Stories resembling the changeling narrative persist into the modern era, but they are rarely attributed to anything other than UFOs and extraterrestrials – regardless of how obstinately the faerie-faith bleeds into the case files of modern UFOlogy.”

These case files are derived from extremely diverse sources; unlike faerie folklore, alien abductions are primarily related by the person affected, before being viewed through a variety of interpretative lenses. Once again though, the crux of the phenomenon is whether the alien abductions are physical or metaphysical. Are there real extraterrestrials visiting earth and abducting people for their own agenda, or are these experiences acting out within the minds of the abductees, perhaps due to an altered state of consciousness? UFOlogist heavyweights such as the late Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs present the case for the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), based on many years of research with thousands of abductees, much of which has been derived from hypnotic regression. They suggest that off-world aliens are physically abducting adults and children, with the agenda usually seen as carrying out a programme of hybridisation through a variety of means. This interpretation certainly represents the prevailing view of most abductees and probably most UFOlogists. But Cutchin promptly introduces a note of caution for this hypothesis:

“In reality, the ETH is but one of many possible explanations, and a handful of researchers staunchly propose alternative theories: UFOs could be faeries, time travellers, Jungian archetypes, manifestation of psi effects, unexplained natural phenomena, or even top secret human aircraft. Any one explanation may not even explain the entire phenomenon.”

This is more in line with the work of the late Harvard psychiatrist John Mack, who, from a very large number of case studies, came to see the alien abduction phenomenon as primarily metaphysical. This doesn’t mean that the encounters are not real, but rather that they are operating within consciousness, where the abducting entities are able to interact with humanity at a non-physical level. Cutchin remains cautious about any absolute interpretation on this and relates several cases where the aliens do seem to manifest as material creatures, with physical properties able to interface with humans and the environment. This echoes the current thinking of the most famous alien abductee, Whitley Streiber, who suggests that the aliens are functioning at a non-corporeal level of reality – pure consciousness – but that under certain circumstances their essence ‘leaks through’ to become material reality, leaving genuine material effects. Cutchin suggests this hypothesis may well be a tangible explanation for both aliens and faeries.

Chapters 11-16 go into a detailed assessment of child abductions by aliens. It is quite clear that children are more prone to be abducted than adults, but also that the abductions are rarely one-off events. Many of the adult case-studies derived from hypnotic regression show that the abductions often started in childhood and continued throughout the lives of the people reporting them. But there are also many abduction testimonies direct from children, and Cutchin investigates their legitimacy: Are they false memories? Do they represent various types of trauma transferred to a supernatural event? Or are children’s developing minds simply more malleable and accepting of a metaphysical reality than those of adults, and therefore able to describe what has happened to them without the psycho-cultural restrictions imposed on adults? Children certainly seem more willing to accept faeries as existing in reality, and so why not aliens?

The case studies are well chosen, and routinely raise questions as to what is really happening to these children. There are many ontological consistencies in the abduction reports, such as the recurring theme of being levitated from bed and ‘beamed’ into an alien vehicle, which is highly suggestive that the abductee is caught up in an Out of Body Experience. But (as in adult abductions) there are frequent absurdities within the reports, such as the aliens’ penchant for using old-fashioned surgical procedures, the appearance of dead people alongside the aliens, and their proclivity for playing games with the children, such as in a report from Tynset, Norway in 1985 when “doll-sized entities in helmets allegedly emerged from a UFO to play hide-and-seek with village children for several hours.” The incongruity of many abduction scenarios is summed up by a report from England, which also demonstrates that many of the components of typical abductions were in place well before the phenomenon began to be mainstreamed from the 1970s:

“In July 1953, twelve-year-old Gerry Armstrong blacked out while skipping school in the woods. His next memory was of an angry teacher rousing him. Under hypnosis, Armstrong revealed watching a light descend into the forest, followed by two short, grey, large-eyed figures approaching him. A voice in his head urged him to not be afraid. The beings floated Armstrong to the ladder of a landed craft. After boarding, he felt the craft take off and roamed its bright interior, where he saw a large dome full of children. Armstrong’s experience ended when a woman in red ripped the cross off his necklace, telling him, ‘It’s not right to worship.’ Like the queen of the fae folk, she seemed offended by the icon.”

Thieves in the Night represents the most detailed attempt to date to collate both folklore and contemporary testimony in order to understand the phenomenon of supernatural child abduction, which has been reported as a reality for centuries. Cutchin’s assessment that there is strong evidence to link the historic stories of abductions of children by faeries and modern alien abductions is convincing, primarily due to the quality of the author’s research and ability to marshall the diverse data into interpretations that are free from any ideological agenda. He brings together folklore and UFOlogy with great dexterity, and delivers a book that suggests that while we will probably never get to bottom of the reality of supernatural child abductions, there is a strong thread of commonality running through the phenomena, which may identify the perpetrating entities as coming from the same source. Whether that source is metaphysical, psychological, cultural or a currently unknown aspect of physical reality is still open to question, but Cutchin’s wide-ranging evaluation is a real gift for future researchers into this complex subject. The last word is his:

“The parallels between aliens and faeries are remarkable and extend deeply into the lore surrounding paranormal child abduction. The means and motivations behind both phenomena imply a shared ontological reality…”

Chapter Profile:

1. THIEVES IN THE NIGHT An Introduction
2. TOO BAD FOR HEAVEN & TOO GOOD FOR HELL A Primer on the Fae Folk and Faerie Abduction
3. CHIEF VICTIMS OF THE FAIRY STROKE Risks, Methods of Abduction, & Destinations
5. FRESH BLOOD AND HUMAN VIGOR Motivations Behind Faerie Abduction
6. MASTERY BEYOND THE LIGHT OF THE CAMPFIRE Preventing and Thwarting Child Faerie Abduction
7. THE ACORN BEFORE THE OAK Changeling Confirmation & Resolution
8. MARVELOUS OR DIRE Restoration or Resignation
9. HORRIFYING TO TRAGIC Medical & Psychological Perspectives on Changelings
10. NOTHING MORE FAMILIAR Paranormal Child Abduction Worldwide
11. GOING BUT NEVER GONE—COMING BUT NEVER HERE Modern Modalities of Paranormal Child Abduction: An Introduction
12. A ‘TAGGED ANIMAL’ Child Alien Abduction
13. CHILDREN OF THE NORTHERN PEOPLES Risks, Methods of Abduction, & Destinations
14. IT’S TIME TO TAKE IT Missing Foetuses
15. WE NEED BABIES Motivation & the Hybridization Theory
16. YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE! Preventing, Thwarting, Confirming, & Resolving Child Alien Abduction
17. JUST OUT-OF-FRAME UFOlogy, Hybrids, Faeries, & Changelings: An Intersection
18. COME OUT TOWARDS THE WOODS Child Sasquatch Abduction
19. AS A BABY IN MY CRIB The Crib Creepers
20. STORM CHILD Missing 411
21. WE NEED SHAMANS Seeking Answers
About the Author

Thieves in the Night official release trailer

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