I believe in fairies

Don’t write this off too quickly. My childhood was rich in fairy lore, and I think maybe there’s some truth to it. Here’s why.

Fairy stones

Where I grew up in Virginia, we sometimes traveled to Fairy Stone Park to swim and hunt for fairy stones, which are cross-shaped rocks.

They’ve been manufactured and sold as good luck charms. But finding one in the wild is supposedly the best way to bring about blessings and fortunes from the fairies.

They’re abundant in certain areas, and there is a scientific explanation for why they occur. But the local legend says ‘pshaw!’ to science and suggests the rocks were formed by the tears of fairies when Jesus died.

Here’s the legend:

“Hundreds of years before Pocahontas’ father, Chief Powhatan, reined over the land that is now Virginia, fairies danced and played around springs of water with naiads and wood nymphs. One day an elfin messenger arrived from a city far away and brought news of the death of Christ. When the fairies heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept and as their tears fell upon the ground, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses.”

The legend of the fairy stone, per the Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

Not to disappoint anyone, but I most respectfully can’t say I believe that.

So, here’s the scientific explanation:

“Formed and found within the park’s boundary, these stone crosses are composed of iron, aluminum and silicate. The name of this mineral compound is staurolite, and like many other minerals, the staurolite formed in regular crystals. Single crystals are hexagonal or six-sided, and singles often intersect at right angles to form the Roman or Maltese shape. In other instances, the singles intersect at forty-five-degree angles to form St. Andrews crosses. The formation of the staurolite crystals involved an exact combination of heat and pressure provided by the folding and crumpling of the earth’s crust during the formation of the Appalachian Mountains. During the crystals’ formation, mineral deposits surrounding the crystals were also subjected to the same conditions and formed what is known as schist. The staurolite crystals are usually harder than the surrounding schist and less easily weathered. As the staurolite-bearing schist is weathered away, the more resistant crystals are uncovered and are found exposed at the earth’s surface. Occasionally staurolite can be found still embedded in its schist matrix.”

The science of the fairy stone, per the Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

Whether fairy stones come from fairy tears or science, there’s something magical about the woods around Fairy Stone Park. It sounds simple, but the plants are lush and green, and the air and water are clean. And there are plenty of gifts for the fairies to remind you that they’re supposed to be nearby.

It’s easy to picture the tiny creatures trooping about freely when they get the woods to themselves.

A fairy door in the woods near Fairy Stone Park | Photo by Katie Rook

A brief history of fairies

I have to reach far back into my childhood memories now, but I remember my grandma talking about the antics of “little people” in her house, which I gathered were fairies. The general impression I received was that they can be helpful or mischievous.

They could be behind your finding money somewhere unexpected, or they might move something to a place you have difficulty finding. Things some people might chalk up to poor memory. But blaming fairies is way more exciting and fun to think about.

According to the World History Encyclopedia, “The history of fairies and fae folk is incredibly long and can be traced back to multiple different origin points around the world. The fairy or fae developed independently in a number of cultures including Slavic, English, Persian, French, German and Celtic…”

It makes me wonder how all those places independently created something that sounds similar in description and behavior but is also entirely fictional.

And how could that something stay alive in our collective imagination, passed through cultures and generations, for so long if it never really existed at all?

I don’t have any of the answers to my own questions. But I know what I believe. And it’s not that far-fetched to think some places are rich in fairy lore because they were once, or maybe still are, preferred by the fairies.

Fairy Stone Park is the perfect place for fairy lovers like me

Circling back to Fairy Stone Park. My mom lives close by, so my husband, Derek, and I have stayed in a rustic cabin on the lake twice. That would be the beauty that is cabin number 7, an efficiency that overlooks the water.

It’s intimate and perfect for a romantic getaway. But, even if you’re not feeling very oh la la, it’s also an excellent location for hiking, swimming, fishing, trying to spot a fairy, and other outdoor activities.

I can only speak for cabin number 7, but it’s a heavenly place to unwind, sit on a rocker on the porch, and watch the water.

Plus, the cabins are heated, but they also have fireplaces. So, cold-weather stays are nice and cozy. Optimum for snuggling spouses and/or dogs.

Fairy Stone, VA, early spring | Photo by Katie Rook

My only complaint is that it gets dark out there at night. And that is scary when it storms. But I am also generally a wimp about the dark due to a lifelong, highly irrational fear.

The cabins are also not great for working from home because there’s no wi-fi, and it’s hard to get a cell signal. So, plan on totally unplugging, which is a better idea anyway.

Fairy Stone, VA, early summer | Photo by Katie Rook

In the spring and summer, everything comes to life. The woods are green and beautiful. The beach opens up, and visitors can rent paddle boats. They even hosted a ghost tour by canoe during one of our stays, but we didn’t go. As I said, it’s very dark at night.

But if you’re looking for a place to look for signs of fairies, I recommend stopping by Fairy Stone Park. Even if you don’t find a new good luck charm, you’ll definitely experience all of the enchantments of mother nature.

READ MORE: What I wish I’d known about c-sections


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