By Olav Phillips
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth
Myths, we are told, are apocryphal stories used to convey a meaning. In some cases that meaning is a life lesson like – Don’t be too curious, or maybe be kind to others. But in general those stories are just that stories which we are to learn from. In some cases those stories are based in fact and in others they are simply stories.
In the world of the Fortean you run across many such myths. Odd stories told and retold through history. Sometimes the source of those stories are lost to time, and other times those stories sources can be discovered. But sometimes those stories tell us something all the more interesting either directly or through parallels to other stories and sometimes the implications of those stories are truly powerful which is the case, I believe, with the Green Children.
As a fortean researcher my knowledge of “The Green Children of Woolpit” came mainly through the retelling of the story in books of the odd. Be in one of Brad Steiger’s many books or just a simple paperback off the shelf. I always thought to myself – well thats interesting and I filed it away along with other mysterious stories like that of Kasper Hauser etc. So it was with that in mind that I stumbled across an old book by John Macklin called “Strange Destinations” which kind of threw my mind for a loop.
First things first – The basis of my mind explosion – The Green Children of Woolpit. Now there have been many books written about the Green Children and their strangeness but here’s the basic story. In the 12th century a farmer was tending his field when he came across two oddly dressed children crying in his field near the town of Woolpit in the United Kingdom. When he approached them he found they had strange clothing on and their skin had a odd greeness about it. When he tried to console them he discovered they spoke no english and seemed very confused. Confused himself he took the children to Sir. Richard de Caine in Woolpit to get help. For several days the children refused to eat any kind of food until they were presented with beans which, after being taught how to remove them from the stalk, they consumed ravenously.
Over time the boy grew more sickly and eventually died. The girl on the other hand grew stronger and eventually lost the green hew on her skin. She was later baptized and learned to speak english. When asked about where they had come from the girl would say they had come from St. Martin’s Land where there was no sun and everyone had green skin. She went on to say that her brother and her would exploring a cave and were separated from their parents. When they emerged from the cave they were both overcome by the heat and light of the surface and became very scared at which point they were found.
No by itself the story is odd enough and spawned many questions about where is St. Martin’s Land, why were they green etc. None of which ere ever completely reconciled. Some believe they stepped through a dimensional hole and were brought to our world from their own. The truth is we’ll never know.
Ok so here I am with some basic knowledge or maybe awareness of the Green Children when I pickup Strange Destinations by John Macklin and I’m reading when I come to a section called “Were these children from another world?” Well obviously I need to read it so it turns out that in 1887 near the town of Banjos in Spain, a second pair of children emerged from a cave with strange clothing, and green skin. When they were found – they too refused to eat anything but green beans and again their recounted a story of entering a cave but this time they were taken by a whirlwind which left them in Spain. Much like the children of Woolpit, the boy grew sickly and died while the girl made a full recovery and learned Spanish. Just like the Woolpit case when questioned about their origin the girl said they had come from a sunless land and had entered a cave. The girl died a few years later in 1892.
So there we are. Two stories, almost identical separated by distance and almost 700 years. So what does this mean? Could the myth of the Woolpit children have been retold in Spain 700 years later? Or could this have possibly happened twice. The easy answer is that the myth was copied and localized, but the more interesting answer is that on two separate occasions a dimensional vortex, in a cave, and brought to our reality from a sunless land called St. Martin’s Land. If both stories are actually true it would seem to support the idea of not only two dimensional gateways being formed but that out there – there is another flourishing group of humans existing in a sunless land.
One thing that is for sure both stories leave a lot of questions. Questions we will never answer, but that’s Forteanism in a nut shell. What do you think?