The Fairy Investigation Society, dedicated to tracking down modern accounts of the Little People, must rank as one of the strangest British organisations ever to come into being. Simon Young tells the story of this curious enterprise through five key episodes – from a Fairy Census to a tabloid scandal – in its eccentric and largely forgotten history.
One hundred years ago the great European powers were drawn into the first war to be fought on a truly global scale. Four years of conflict produced an outpouring of literature and art, and many caught up in the carnage found sustenance in religion and other types of supernatural belief. There were national calls to prayer and the notion of 'God With Us' encouraged the idea that troops had divine protection.
Despite the ease with which many people claim to effortlessly find paranormal manifestations, ghosts and hauntings do not come to order. But every so often a haunted site known from a generation or more ago suddenly produces a fresh crop of paranormal reports. Exactly this seems to have happened during the summer at the Langham Hotel, near Oxford Circus in London, where members of the English cricket team, and their wives and girlfriends, have been troubled by spooky goings on.
In the 1980s and 1990s, families in the UK – and to a lesser extent the US – faced an unusual threat: the Bogus Social Worker (BSW). By the late Nineties, though, these strange visitors were becoming less common. A 1995 police investigation into the phenomenon concluded that there had been only a handful of genuine cases and that the majority of reports were the result of misunderstandings and a subsequent panic or mania.
1974, Linda Blair became a household name for her portrayal of possessed child Regan in The Exorcist. It was a controversial role that she would never escape, but these days it gives her an opportunity to promote the work of her animal welfare foundation. She talked to FT about her most famous role, her odder experiences and her spiritual beliefs.