There are literally hundreds of records from the last five hundred years where individuals claim to have seen fairies, have talked to fairies, have killed fairies, have slept with fairies and, in some cases, have, they say, gone to live fairies and raise children with them. According to tradition these associations rarely end well. Perhaps then the question should be how do I avoid fairies? However, as you’ve clicked on this link, you deserve a proper answer to a dangerous question.
The first rule for seeing fairies is the children rule. When we collate fairy sightings a striking number involve children who are younger than ten. Likewise many people who claim that they saw fairies when they were children also claim that they saw fairies less and less: lots in infancy, a few in their adolescence and then rarely if ever by the time that they reach adulthood.
The second rule for seeing fairies is the bed rule. Again a striking number of fairy sightings (like ghost sightings and other ‘visions’) take place in bed either before, during or immediately after sleep. For obvious reasons there is the suspicion here that the sighting is connected with some sort of dream state.
The third rule for seeing fairies is the night rule. Even if you are not in bed more fairies and supernatural creatures are seen at night. Believers explain this with reference to fairy tradition that claims that fairies prefer the night. Sceptics point to the excess of shadows and the possibility of confusing small visual stimuli at midnight.
The fourth rule for seeing fairies is the repetition rule. An unusual number of sightings involve individuals undertaking some kind of repetetitive agriculture work: e.g. hoeing a field or picking blackberries. Again there is the suspicion that there is some kind of mental state that either brings down the curtain between our and another dimension (the believer) or creates the necessary conditions for some kind of illusion (the sceptic).
The fifth rule is the country rule. Fairies are seen in cities, but even there fairies tend to be seen in parks and gardens. It is much more common for fairies to be seen in the countryside out in fields, in woods or on the moors than in an urban setting. Is this because fairies prefer the countryside or because the country creates a particular state of mind?
The sixth rule is the habit rule. Fairies are traditionally seen in certain places: on that hill rather than on this hill, for example. If you are a fairy believer you will conclude that this is because fairies live in the fairy hill (or plain or wood) in question. If, on the other hand, you are a sceptic you will deduce that certain places create conditions conducive to optical illusions or special psychological states.
The seventh rule, the lone rule. Fairies are rarely seen by groups of people – though there are a few fascinating cases – they are typically seen by individuals on their own.
The eighth rule. As with other supernatural visions those who see fairies may be under stress or they may be worried or they may have recently suffered a tragedy.
Summing up then the ideal circumstances for seeing a fairy would be to send an emotionally-disturbed ten-year-old blackberrying at dusk on a hill associated with fairies on his or her own. If that doesn’t sound like good parenting then we return to the point that perhaps meeting fairies is not the safest activity.