Little People

One of the pleasures in reading mid-20th century autobiographies is the easy candor with which they report supernatural experiences.  This is from The Autobiography of William Allen White, ©1946:

One thing I remember– a strange thing and quite mad.  The August harvest moon, under which a few nights before I had come home feeling most poetical from my day’s fishing with my visiting editors, was still shining high in the sky when I walked home another night, either from the Imperial Club dance or from our serenading, or from an evening on Walnut Hill with Alice Murdock, her family and maybe two or three young people sitting on the porch, not unconscious of the night’s splendor.  I turned in and slept deeply.  Then I remember waking up, when the moon’s beams were slanting and the dawn must have been but two or three hours away.  Now this is sure:  I did wake up.  Something– it seemed to me the sound of distant music– came to my ear.  The head of my bed was near a south window, and I looked out.  And I will swear across the years during which I have held the picture, that there under a tree– a spreading elm tree– I saw the Little People, the faeries.  I was not dreaming; at least I did not think so then, and I cannot think so now.  They were making a curious buzzing noise, white little people, or gray, three or four inches high.  And I got up out of bed and went to another window, and still saw them.  Then I lay on my belly on my bed and kicked my heels and put my chin in my hands, to be sure I was not sleeping, and still I saw them.  For a long time, maybe five minutes, they were buzzing about, busy at something, I could not make out what.  Then I turned away a moment, maybe to roll over on my side or get up on my knees, and they began to fade away; and instant later they were gone.  And there I was, like a fool, gawking at the bluegrass under the elm.  I got up and sat in a chair.  I was deeply upset, bemused, troubled.  I thought maybe I was going crazy!  I knew well enough of course, even then, that what I saw I did not see; but when you are cold sober, and have the conviction spread over you that you are mad, you are bothered– and I have been bothered ever since.  It is not impossible.  Nothing is impossible.  Many years later I heard of transparent fish; with other eyes, other creatures see other things; with other ears they hear much that escapes our human ears.  Perhaps in our very presence are other beings like the transparent fish, which we may not feel with our bodies attuned to rather insentient nerves.  Heaven knows!  For an hour I thought I was crazy.  And when I recall that hour, and am so sure that I was awake, I think maybe I am still crazy.


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