There are millions of square miles of land we've never stepped foot in. There are many millions more we have only the faintest experience in. The same goes for our oceans- we're still struggling to explore the endless depths- 71% of the surface of the world is water- and are physically limited in our ability to do so. And we've barely touched the unimaginably vast network of caverns beneath the Earth.
Earthquakes, floods and tsunamis make mockery of our technological pretenses. The same great scientific minds who claim dominion over the planet would wilt in panic like frail flowers in a half-decent thunderstorm, never mind a typhoon. Though we try to ignore them, the nuclear flames of Fukushima are nothing less than a slap in the face of our Technocracy.
And yet we claim to have fully mastered and cataloged our environment and everything in it.
Since the dawn of time, humans have recorded encounters with strange beings with weird powers and even stranger means of transportation. They've been identified in various cultural trappings. Our tech-minded age chooses to see them as extraterrestrial technocrats, coming to Earth to conduct their experiments.
Those who seem to know them best didn't rely on charts and graphs but another kind of knowing. A more elusive kind of knowledge, if you will, for our elusive companions. Legendary UFOlogist Jacques Vallee wrote a book about these historical perceptions called Passport to Magonia: On UFOs, Folklore, and Parallel Worlds.
I'm quoting his citation of a landmark work on Celtic mythology. Since it's not illustrated I added in some examples of our modern folklore, which as we've seen on this site is often brought to us by individuals who often seem to know things they shouldn't know...
EXCERPT FROM PASSPORT TO MAGONIA
BY JACQUES VALLEE
BY JACQUES VALLEE
In the last half of the seventeenth century, a Scottish scholar gathered all the accounts he could find about the Sleagh Maith and, in 1691, wrote a manuscript bearing the title: The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies.
The Secret Commonwealth was the first systematic attempt to describe the methods and organization of the strange creatures that plagued the farmers of Scotland.
The author, Reverend Kirk, of Aberfoyle, studied theology at St. Andrews and took his degree of professor at Edinburgh. Later he served as minister for the parishes of Balquedder and Abcrfoyle and died in 1692. It is impossible to quote the entire text of Kirk's treatise on the Secret Commonwealth, but we can summarize his findings about elves and other aerial creatures in the following way:
1. They have a nature that is intermediate between man and the angels.
2. Physically, they have very light and "fluid" bodies, which are comparable to a condensed cloud. They are particularly visible at dusk. They can appear and vanish at will.
3. Intellectually, they are intelligent and curious.
4. They have the power to carry away anything they like.
5. They live inside the earth in caves, which they can reach through any crevice or opening where air passes.
In modern fairy-lore this divine branch or wand is the magic wand of fairies; or where messengers like old men guide mortals to an underworld it is a staff or cane with which they strike the rock hiding the secret entrance.- The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries
6. When men did not inhabit most of the world, they used to live there and had their own agriculture. Their civilization has left traces on the high mountains; it was flourishing at a time when the whole countryside was nothing but woods and forests.
7. At the beginning of each three-month period, they change quarters because they are unable to stay in one place. Besides, they like to travel. It is then that men have terrible encounters with them, even on the great highways.
8. Their chameleon-like bodies allow them to swim through the air with all their household.
9. They are divided into tribes. Like us, they have children, nurses, marriages, burials, etc., unless they just do this to mock our own customs, or to predict terrestrial events.
10. Their houses are said to be wonderfully large and beautiful, but under most circumstances they are invisible to human eyes. Kirk compares them to enchanted islands. The houses are equipped with lamps that burn forever and fires that need no fuel.
11. They speak very little. When they do so, when they talk among themselves, their language is a kind of whistling sound.
12. Their habits and their language when they talk to humans are similar to those of local people.
13. Their philosophical system is based on the following ideas: nothing dies; all things evolve cyclically in such a way that at every cycle they are renewed and improved. Motion is the universal law.
14. They are said to have a hierarchy of leaders, but they have no visible devotion to God, no religion.
15. They have many pleasant and light books, but also serious and complex books, rather in the Rosicrucian style, dealing with abstract matters.
16. They can be made to appear at will before us through magic.