For this week’s final post, I’m giving you a list of books, stories, websites, and other resources which you can use to dig into folklore and fairy tale magic a bit further. It’s not comprehensive, but just a few things to scout for at libraries and book stores, and which have something to say about magic without being tucked into the “New Age” section.
Haints, Witches, & Boogers, by Charles E. Price – This book is chock-full of neat ghost stories, plus a few witch tales and some bits about magic in the Appalachian region. It definitely focuses more on the paranormal than the purely “fairy” aspects of things, but it also gives you locations for each of the stories, so you’d be able to visit them and connect the tale to a particular place, which I like.
Fairy & Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, by W.B. Yeats – So why am I including this book on a blog about American fairy tales? Well, if you look at these stories, and then look at fairy tales from the Appalachians (or anyplace where Irish immigrants settled), you’re going to see uncanny similarities. This book provides a lot of good stories about “fairy doctoring,” too, a practice which resembles the root work, shamanism, and witch doctoring found in North America.
The Granny Curse and Other Ghosts and Legends of East Tennessee, by Randy Russell – This is another one that is focused mostly on ghosts, but also has some really wonderful stories about magical beings, too. “Greasy Witches” is especially worth noting, because it is one of those stories that parallels an Irish tale found in the Yeats collection I previously mentioned.
Silver Bullet, by Hubert J. Davis – I discussed this book in Tuesday’s post, but I will reiterate that this is a book worth getting if you can. The stories are all sourced to their original tellers (mostly American sources east of the Mississippi) and provide a good overview of witchcraft in America (non-religious witchcraft, that is). Definitely worth scouting for at used bookstores.
Favorite Folktales from Around the World, by Jane Yolen – Again, not one specifically devoted to America, though there are several Native American stories here. What I like is that this book is a lot like North America in that it takes many disparate cultures and mixes them all together by common thread. If you’re looking for stories about magic, check out the sections “Not Quite Human,” “Shape Shifters,” and “Fooling the Devil.” They all have lots to say about witchcraft, without ever actually having to tell you that’s what they’re about.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm – If you like fairy tales, you probably already have this. If you don’t, you should, in my opinion. Just try to find an unabridged copy, as there have been numerous versions which “clean up” some of the scarier bits of the stories (where the witchy stuff lies, usually).
Spooky America Series, by S.E. Schlosser – This may be one of my favorite book series ever. S. E. Schlosser also runs a great website devoted to American folklore which will give you a good idea what her books are like. There are individual books for multiple American regions, including Spooky South, Spooky New England, and Spooky Southwest, as well as titles on individual states like Spooky New York or Spooky California. I love this work, and while it is somewhat more focused on ghost stories, there are plenty of tales about magic, witches, and mystical beings to be found. I cannot recommend this series highly enough.
I’m not mentioning Vance Randolph’s Ozark Magic & Folklore in detail here because I think I’ve said a lot about it already. But it is also worth reading for witchy folklore (albeit in less of a “story” format).
Sur la Lune – This is one of my favorite sites for fairy tales. It contains annotated versions of classics like Snow White and Red Riding Hood, with references to variant versions and symbolism interpretation. It doesn’t have just tons of stories, but there are at least a couple dozen of the best, and they’re wonderful. Plus, the art on the site is gorgeous.
Nursery Rhymes: Lyrics, Origins, and History – I referenced this site a few times in the post on Mother Goose, and it’s certainly a site worth checking out. It has little historical or folkloric notes on each of the rhymes it presents, as well as the words to the rhyme and some accompanying illustration.
Faerie Magick – This site, hosted by Fiona Broome, a paranormal researcher and enthusiast of the unseen, has a lot of interesting information on different kinds of fairies. Most of what she writes, she relates back to folklore, which is a big plus for me.
That’s it for this week! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray in to folklore. I’ll probably come back to this topic eventually, so if you have any questions or topics you’d like to know more about, please leave a comment or email us and I’ll be happy to try and work them in next time around.
Thanks for reading!