Otherworld entities encompass a huge range of seemingly disparate manifestations. On the one hand we have the traditional fairy lore of elves, gnomes, pixies, water sprites and so on. On the other hand, we have ghosts and other spooky things that go bump in the night. We also have werewolves, vampires and a vast array of cryptozoological creatures such as black dogs, yetis, and lake monsters, along with mystery cats that allegedly roam our countryside. To add to the confusion, we also have UFO's and aliens, which have appeared in a variety of guises, some humanoid, some exotic, and others totally bizarre. These are mentioned because UFO's and their alleged occupants are no longer regarded by serious students of the subject to originate from other planets and far-flung regions of the universe. Studies over the past half-century suggest that these manifestations probably have a psychic or inter-dimensional nature.
To most individuals with both feet planted firmly in this world, the very mention of Otherworld entities may sound nonsensical. But interaction between the human race and alien entities appears to have existed since the dawn of humanity. Many researchers insist that such interaction continues to the present day. In fact, despite the rather fanciful claims of some sensationalist writers who assert that God is an astronaut, there is indeed evidence to suggest that many religious systems came into existence as a direct result of what was perceived to be contact with alien entities, but possibly entities from some unknown reality rather than from outer space. It is said that these entities are able to manipulate energy in such a way that they can enter our reality and assume temporary physical form. Some regard them as angels and others regard them as demons, depending very much on one's personal religious viewpoint. Unfortunately, the entire issue of Otherworld entities is often surrounded by fantasy and exaggeration, and the matter is not helped by some writers who persist in citing examples long since exposed as hoaxes or which have been satisfactorily explained in more prosaic terms. But putting aside misinterpretations, misinformation, hoaxes, and sensationalist books based more on fiction than fact, then how do we begin to make sense of the issue of Otherworld entities? Some might say that we should not even bother; that it is all nonsense, which is all very well as long as you yourself never come face to face with an entity from another world.
What exactly is this Otherworld? Clearly some understanding of it is necessary when attempting to understand the various entities associated with it. Self-confessed atheist and arch-sceptic Professor Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and believes that the human brain has evolved to interact with what we call the 'real world' in a way we can make sense of it:
'What we see of the world is not the real world but a model of the real world, regulated and adjusted by sense data; a model that is constructed so that it is useful for dealing with the real world'. Richard Dawkins
If there is a reality beyond the world that we acknowledge as the 'real' one, is it a spiritual domain? One of the problems with assuming there is a world of spirit is in explaining how spirit can interact with matter, when the two are perceived as fundamentally different in nature. But drawing a distinction between so-called spirit and matter is a product of dualistic thinking; perhaps reality is far more holistic than most humans can imagine. What has long been understood, is that certain geographical locations on the temporal plane are predisposed to paranormal manifestations. In other words, there are places on this planet where the veil between the mundane world and other levels of reality is believed to be quite thin. The UFO researcher John Keel described them as 'window areas', through which entry to and from this world can be achieved. Many of these window areas are said to be located around the site of stone circles, sacred wells and other ancient sites, or where ley lines cross, which is why these places tend to exhibit a fairly high incidence of paranormal activity and unexplained phenomena.
Window areas are also portals into the realm of faerie. The Fey are said to be non-human entities with certain magical abilities who are able to become visible or invisible at will and have the ability to shape-shift. They are believed to inhabit a world that in some way is quite close to the human world. Under normal conditions, however, humans cannot enter the realm of the Fey unless by accident or by being taken there, hence the expression 'pixie-led'. But once a human has gained entry into that realm it is fatal to consume any food or drink offered by the fair folk or one will remain a captive in their world forever. If one is fortunate to escape back into the so-called real world then one discovers a loss of time, suggesting that the passage of time between this world and the world of the Fey is quite different. An example of this is highlighted in the folk-tale of Rip Van Winkle who, on returning home after what seemed an overnight encounter with certain fair folk, discovered that 20 years had passed.
Are witnesses deluded when they report encounters with Otherworld entities? Are such experiences all in the mind? The phrase 'all in the mind' is quite a misleading one, which is why many modern psychologists have questioned the concept that there is a mind 'inside' us separating us from the so-called ‘external’ world. Sir Walter Scott, who was something of an authority on the paranormal, noted that human visitors to the realm of the Fey soon discovered that its grand palaces turned out to be dank caverns, its beautiful princesses wrinkled and hideous hags, and that the whole experience lacked any substance at all. Were such experiences ‘all in the mind’? However, a less cynical way of looking at such a paradox might provide us with a deeper understanding of the Fey. A well-known folk-tale, of which there are different versions, tells the story of a midwife who is approached by one of the Fey requesting that she goes with him to deliver the child of a fairy woman. After having successfully delivered the child the midwife is given a small pouch as a reward. On no account, she is told, must she examine the contents of the pouch until she has arrived home again. If she complies with the conditions then the midwife discovers to her delight that the pouch contains gold. But if on the way home she is tempted to look inside the pouch, then to her dismay she discovers that all it contains are pebbles or some other worthless material.
This tale is rather interesting because of its allegorical connection to the uncertainty principle in quantum science. At the quantum level waves become particles and particles become waves, depending on how they are perceived. Therefore, when we look into the quantum field, we see only one outcome based on the expectation of the observation. Consequently, if choosing to disobey the Fey, then the midwife sees only that which is worthless. On the other hand, if she complies with her instructions then what she sees is pure gold. This tale suggests that the contradictory and fickle nature and the mischievousness associated with the Fey might be undeserved. As quantum science confirms, our own participation is vital to the outcome and the laws that govern our relationship with the Fey may indeed be the same laws that govern reality at the quantum level. Perhaps our ancestors knew this intuitively.
Generally speaking, the human race tends to cut itself off from any awareness of mystical matters, preferring to take the seemingly obvious but entirely false view that the temporal world is the sum of all existence. One thing we can be sure of: the human race is facing a grim future along with ecological disaster if we continue selfishly to exploit the planet for short-term gain. If humanity vanished off the face of the earth tomorrow, most likely it would be because our shallow and exploitative nature engineered our own downfall.