by DAN GREEN
Wollaton Park is a 500 acre park in Nottingham, England, centred on Wollaton Hall a classic Elizabethan prodigy house. It is additionally famous for the filming there of key scenes in the final movie of the Batman trilogy ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in 2011, the Hall being featured as Wayne Manor. Wollaton Park is also, although not so widely known, for one other thing. People keep seeing fairies there, gnomes to be exact…..
Pics 1 & 2. Wollaton Hall and Park
On 23rd September 1979, at about 20:15 the evening of the Autumnal equinox, several young children witnessed a number of gnome-like figures leaping over fallen logs in small cars (with no sound of engines) coming from out of the bushes in a swampy part area South of the lake there. This is the sort of account you would expect children to have made up, but the story eventually made it onto national news in the UK, owing to the fact that when interviewed separately all the children managed to remain consistent in their account in a situation whereby you would expect young fabricators to fall apart under the psychology of intense adult scrutiny.
Pic 3. A gnome and his car drawn by one of the children
Casually and without worthy of a mention, the children had glimpsed the gnomes in the same place six weeks earlier. In the summer of 2021 I tried to locate any of these children, now adults, to see if they would still stick with their story, or come clean about a hoax. An appeal in the local newspaper in Nottingham and local BBC Radio brought no result. Where they hiding away, or had they moved county? Another Wollaton Park account, chronicled in the excellent Fairy Census, – at www.fairyist.com/survey/ – an attempt to gather, scientifically, details of fairy sightings from the last century – detailed how another young witness had also seen a number of laughing gnomes driving around in little cars that seemed to hover above the ground jumping over logs and fallen trees, the cars making a buzzing humming noise. He had been so scared that he hid up a tree.Yet another account from another contributor witness mentions seeing a ‘small, shiny white humanoid creature about 18 inches tall about half a mile away from the Wollaton Park main gates at a dried out canal.’
Pic 4. The 1979 location
Interestingly enough, two years prior to the 1979 encounter, upon Studham Common in Berkshire, another group of children witnessed during a school lunch break what they described as a ‘little blue man about 3 foot tall’ in the low valley of Dell, a place surrounded with bushes and trees. Like the Wollaton affair, the children were taken serious by their sympathetic school teacher.
Wollaton Park, however, has a history of fairy sightings, as collected in the book ‘Seeing Fairies’ by Marjorie Johnson, who herself thought that there were an ancient tribe of gnomes in the park. In 1900 a woman whilst passing by the gates at the park saw ‘little men, dressed like policemen standing just inside the lodge entrance, height between 2-3’. She also recalled fairies having been seen dancing around the lake.
As rationally thinking beings, what are we to make of all of this? Are so many individuals years apart and of different ages all simply lying, deluded or somehow being mistaken? In both Wollaton and Studham accounts involving children there were multiple witnesses which rules out an individual having a hallucination.Is it, perhaps, a case of where gnomes-like figures play on repeat similar to what is called ‘Stone Tape Theory’, a recording of an event playing out what the earth has recorded? Are the Wollaton gnomes showing us an event? It is well chronicled that children see fairies and that fairy activity is tied to a spot or what might be considered their territory.
My investigation inspired a lady member of an assembly of credible dowsers familiar with the area and also sympathetic to fairy attunement, therefore with a degree of psychic ability, to visit the area south of the lake where the 1979 encounter is thought to have taken place, and information arrived at by her methods had this to say; ‘The gnomes are only allowed to play after dark as the Fae regard them as troublesome elementals and have confined them to inside a mound to the south of the lake during the day. They come out of hollows in the base of the trees and whizz down the slope in their little cars into the open area at the edge of the lake.’
Assisted by other members of the group upon a later visit, the consensus is that the whole area may have been a sacred landscape in ancient times. I wondered, imaginatively, if the place name ‘Wollaton’ as it is currently pronounced and enunciated, may have been an age old corruption for HOLLOW-ton bearing in mind the association with the Fae appearing from hollows in trees, or even, perhaps, HOLE-aton, a crude reference to a ‘hole’ or portal through which the Fae manifest. The hall itself is built on a mound with a huge amount of pure water beneath suggesting it may once have been a holy well. Even earlier dowsers have reported finding the energy signature of an old church under the eastern corner of the hall with the suspicion that several megaliths may be buried underneath.
Pic 5 & 6. The Fairy Mound, and a tree hollow
Does the belief system of a dowser combine with what is lurking in their subconscious and so largely dictate what they dowse? To dowse something you have to first visualise it in your mind, so if you are trying to find water you visualise an underground stream and walk along asking to be shown that until the rods react.
Ghost or UFO encounters are usually given more credibility but when we speak of fairies it is usually treat with absolute scepticism, disregard and laughter, and yet researchers for some time now have shown how whatever phenomenon is at play here, it has slowly over centuries evolved from angels to fairies and now, Ufonauts and extraterrestials, in that order. On many occasions the encounters blur between fairy and UFO representation and are hard to distinguish although small entities are a common denominator. However, and it was to my surprise, fairy sightings now seems to be on the ascension again or at least more people are daring to report them. It is beginning to look like whatever unknown and beyond the normal senses phenomenon we are dealing with will present itself to an onlooker in the best way they might like to comprehend, expect, resonate or be able to understand in appearance. Historically, fairy folklore was the originator of the ‘shape-shifter’ capability of such otherworldly beings. Interestingly, and perhaps significantly here on a much deeper level than simply gnomes in cars, the Egyptian word ‘Ka’ means ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’.
Pic 7. Enid Blyton’s Noddy – totally fictional or an unconscious representation of the Fae?
I was intrigued by what is clearly an outrageous account of suddenly appearing gnomes driving what might be their own version of our cars. I know of no known record of fairy folk associated with such a means of transport. Were they mimicking what they had seen from our own society and presenting them for our benefit? One of the child witnesses from 1979 said that the gnomes reminded him of Noddy, reminding me of the work of the inspirational world’s best-selling authoress Enid Blyton who back in 1949 gave us this fictional character and whose best friend, Big Ears, is a gnome. Blyton often wrote about children being transported into magical worlds in which they met with fairies, and in 1923 published a collection of 33 poems entitles ‘Real Fairies’.
One wonders, did the Wollaton children have Noddy and Big Ears and his adventures lodged in their mind prior to their sighting? It is quite feasible that they will have come across his books as even younger children. Noddy drives a car, not unlike the ones described at Wollaton. As I am aware of how often the unconscious mind surfaces in the world of art, literature and even in all of us all of the time, I wondered if perhaps this had happened to Blyton and the source material for her fictional Noddy had been borrowed from an actual realm of fairy without her knowledge. Noddy even has a policeman friend reminding me of the sighting of ‘small policemen’ near the Park gates! All this then had me then musing about when a Victorian and often gnome-like Santa and his sleigh also motorised.
Pic 8. Victorian Santa and his car
As I accept that all things are connected I often like to have fun trying to work out my own involvement in things and so with Wollaton I came up with the following. The singer-songwriter and leading figure in the music industry David Bowie recorded a novelty song in 1967 called ‘The Laughing Gnome’. I met with Bowie in 1978. His record label up until 1983 happened to be RCA records, RCA easily being rearranged to read ‘Car’. One of David’s closest friends was the musician and singer Marc Bolan (whom I’ve also had dealings) whose Fae influence was pervasive, in fact he liked being known as ‘The Boppin’ Elf’. Marc even died in a tragic car crash. He is best remembered for his band’s dinosaur titled T-Rex. When I visited Wollaton Park this summer it was their opening week of displaying an extraordinary exhibition showcasing the first Tyrannosurus Rex to be displayed in England for over a century! Keeping within the music industry, one of the founder members of the British soul ban Hot Chocolate was bass player Patrick Olive – the same name as one of the Wollaton children – and their record label was another simple anagram of ‘Car’ this time RAK.
Pic 9. A Mithraic Temple under the Hall?
Perhaps this had been my entanglement? I also thought about what deeper circumstance than imagined had drawn the gothic Batman movie to be filmed at Wollaton Hall and with that had it pointed out to me that there is an underground reservoir or well hewn out of sandstone under the Hall. There is no doubt that it at least resembles a Mithraeum, a sanctuary or temple of the god Mithras and the Mithraic mysteries. Although it is always hard to distinguish fact from hearsay, it has been whispered that the infamous 18th century ‘Hell Fire Club’, exclusive for high society rakes, met at Wollaton Hall.
The Dowser group told me that there are 10-12 ley lines that radiate out from a sundial behind the Hall, one of them going along an avenue of trees to reach the slope where the gnomes came down, its energy flowing fast from the Hall and up onto the fairy mound. Perpendicular to this,another, running along the bottom of the mound. Where these two energies collide seems to announce where the ‘gnome’ encounter occurred.
Research shows that on 23 September 1979 the Autumn Equinox was at 04:19, sunset at 19:02, dusk at 19:36, and a setting moon at 20:04 (two days after the New Moon) therefore it would have been very dark. My dowser friends surmise as a possibility that combined effects of the Equinox sunset, moonset, marsh gases and fluctuating earth energies may have caused an ‘energetic phenomena’ rationalised by the children with Blyton memories of Noddy, his car and gnome accomplice.The dowsers have also informed me that there is a huge amount of paranormal activity and detrimental energy associated with the Hall, purposely disrupted or manipulated. The Hall apparently, and if so, curiously, has 365 windows and 52 doors. Perhaps it was more than a routine accident that whilst preparing for the filming of the Dark Knight Rising (once operating under the working title of Magnus Rex) a large tractor-trailer crashed into the main entrance of the Hall.
Had some of those troublesome elementals been playing out after all….?
Copyright 2021 by Dan Green