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Liverpool Leprechauns: part of the Phenomenon?

Updated on May 11, 2013

caught on camera in mexico: Gnome, elf, or leprechaun

Liverpool, home of the Beatles houses the oldest Black African community in Britain and the oldest Chinese community in Europe. It is also famous for having a strong Irish community. Which perhaps makes its invasion by leprechauns in 1964 (just as the Beatles were becoming famous)[1] slightly less surprising. However it looks like the invaders were not leprechauns and had more similarity to the inhabitants of UFOs

The Leprechaun

The Irish Leprechaun is a fairy, usually appearing as an old man, about the size of a small child, wearing a red coat ( before the 20th century )with a beard and hat and who likes causing mischief. They make shoes and store their money in a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The derivation of the name is ambiguous but all likely derivations are from terms referring to the leprechaun's small size. There seems to be no description of female leprechauns, According to folklore they are hard to catch and harder to keep hold of.

Leprechauns in Liverpool and Newcastle

On July 30th 1964 someone saw a bunch of little green men in white hats in Liverpool's Jubilee park

throwing stones and tiny clods of earth at each other. The next day as soon as school ended hordes of children aged from 4 to 14 rushed to the park and caused havoc and damage in the attempt to capture a real live leprechaun.

Note that these beings were green men not men dressed in green, according to the local paper although this may have been sensationalist reporting since an unnamed 9 year old boy who claimed to have started the rumour only mentioned they were little men in white hats.

On 13th July children in Kirkby, in the North East of the city were invaded a churchyard to hunt for leprechauns. The report in the local paper on 2nd July joked (?) that strange objects had been seen in the sky heading for the city from the Irish Sea and the children may have believed this statement for on 10th July crowds of excited children invaded a local newspaper office talking of a strange object in the sky which changed the colour of its lights from silver to red and accelerated rapidly. Others talked of seeing leprechauns about 8 inches tall in red and green tunics, wearing knee breeches and talking with a strong Irish Accent.

About a month beforehand on the other side of the country, in Newcastle on Tyne a 14 year old boy reported seeing half a dozen two feet tall dwarf-like creatures dressed in green and with hands lit up like light bulbs, digging into a haystack as if searching for something. It was not long before tales of miniature fairy like space men in egg shaped craft were doing the rounds. It is possible that news of this leaked to Liverpool and influenced the panic there.

In 1982 a man called Brian Jones claimed to have been the original leprechaun, having scared some children who were watching him gardening by pretending to have been a leprechaun. This he claimed led to a panic that meant he had to divert the crowds of children coming to hunt the leprechauns away from his garden. Unfortunately his account does not add up or tally with the original reports.

Were the leprechauns "real"

All the mundane explanations of the panic are unsatisfactory so it is necessary to consider that the Leprechauns were real, or at least related to the Phantom Clowns that appeared in America between 1981 and 2011 or the numerous reports of miniature spacemen in later years, mainly in the USA.

To ask if the leprechauns were real is to open up questions about the nature of reality, or at least what we mean by real. This will not be discussed here, but the evidence for them being real is negligible, or at least as convincing as that for the Brentford Griffin[4].

The descriptions of the “ leprechauns” seen in Liverpool do not match Irish descriptions of leprechauns. This implies that of real they were something else

The Wrap

The Liverpool Leprechauns are and will remain a mystery. The simple explanation of a rumour followed by a panic leaves the question of the origin of the rumour, and the similarity of the reports to reports of miniature UFOnauts elsewhere at other times. Brian Jones' account is not credible. And this case can be compared with other panics.

The fact Leprechauns were seen may have been related to the large Irish community in Liverpool, though many were fourth and fifth generation at the time and so may have had only a shaky grasp of Irish legends, It may also explain the difference between the characteristics of the Liverpool beings, reports from Ireland and the Traditional Irish Leprechaun. However it is easiest to believe the creatures were not leprechauns but identified as such.

In his book Supernatural Graham Hancock cites hallucinations after taking DMT which tend to involve small clown like figures. It seems unlikely that DMT, which apparently occurs naturally in the brain, could have caused any hallucinations.

If the explanation of a collective panic is abandoned it seems better to look at this case in terms of the wider picture of sightings of anomalous creatures such as big cats, hairy monsters, phantom clowns or aliens in spacecraft or the 19th century sightings of airships.

Further Reading

[1] Fortean Times April 2013 Page 26 Invasion of the Diddymen

[2] Clowns

[3] The Brentford Griffin

[4] The Liverpool Leprechauns: Magonia blog

[5] Leprechauns, Fairies, Dwarves and Elves.

[6] Wikipedia


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