"A British folklore writer is trying to track down witnesses to the famous Wollaton Park gnomes sighting nearly 40 years ago.
"The extraordinary encounter, where six primary schoolchildren claimed to have seen gnomes with Noddy-style caps driving bubble cars around the park, was widely reported by the Nottingham Post and national press and has long fascinated enthusiasts of unexplained phenomena.
"Now writer and historian Dr Simon Young wants to conduct an in-depth study into the tale, which happened in September 1979.
"The children - Angela Elliott and brother Glen, Andrew Pearce and his sister Rosie, Patrick Olive and Julie (surname unknown), all aged between eight and ten, were on an early evening walk when they claimed to have spotted 60 little men, half their height, with long white beards wearing blue tops and yellow tights. The youngsters spent 15 minutes with the 'gnomes' whose little cars could jump over logs and any obstacles in their path.
"Dr Young appealed to the children, who would now be in their forties, to get in touch.
"He said: 'The Wollaton Park sightings badly needs a longer study. I would like to interview them about their memories. I will guarantee absolute anonymity. People are understandably very sensitive about these matters.'
"Some of the youngsters were interviewed on tape by their headmaster Robin Aldridge at Southwold Primary in Radford and Mr Young has acquired a transcript.
"He said: 'The experience was interesting in several respects. There are many instances of children coming face-to-face with fairies, but I know of none where six saw the fey together.
"'So many Fortean experiences depend on a single shaky witness or poor chain of custody for the evidence: this was not the case with Wollaton.'
"As well as the children, Dr Young would like to talk to their headmaster, parents, uncles and aunts, plus people in the area to find out if there were legends about the gnomes before or after the events in the park.
"Dr Young added: 'I find the case equally interesting even if it was, as one researcher suggested, got up by the kids to explain a fall in some mud! It is a part of Notts history and the history of children's psychology whatever the original motivation.'
"The 1979 incident wasn't the first report of gnome sightings in the park.
"Prior to the schoolchildren's adventure, Jean E. Dixon had an equally unusual experience in Wollaton Park, according to Nottingham woman Marjorie Johnson, who wrote of sightings in her book Seeing Fairies.
"'She was walking there alone, in a pensive mood, when she became aware of the presence of gnomes, who seemed eager to show her some of the various scenes and objects that delighted them. Jean does not see the gnomes but she is given gifts by them: feathers etc,' she wrote.
"And in a further passage there is another account by Mrs. C. George, of Stapleford, as long ago as 1900.
"'She was passing Wollaton Park's gates when she saw some 'little men' dressed like policemen, standing just inside the lodge entrance.
"'They were smiling and looking very happy. They hadn't any wings, and as far as I could remember they were between two and three feet in height,' said the report. She also recalled that fairies had been seen dancing around the lake in the park.'
"Anyone with information about the Wollaton Park gnomes can email Dr Young at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Even though I haven't looked into the subject of fairies, gnomes, etc. (yet) in my research of strange creatures, phenomena, and beings, I find the notion of them quite fascinating. It will be interesting to see if Dr. Young manages to get in contact with any of the witnesses or not.
|The original story from the Nottingham Post in Sept 1979|