Fairies, Phantom Ships, and Neo-Shamans: Framing Engagement With the Supernatural

This presentation synthesizes key findings from three research papers; two analyses of supernatural narratives found in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore Archive and one ethnographic belief study of six women who practice Northern European-inspired neo-shamanism. Homogeneity of community discourse about the supernatural is contrasted with heterogeneity of personal belief in the contexts of place and religious practice. Also discussed are the ways these archival and ethnographic materials reflect various levels of engagement with supernatural experiences, from that of sailors who witness the passage of phantom ships through Newfoundland coastal waters to that of neo-shamanic practitioners who seek insight from divination and dream interpretation. Both sets of materials point to contemporary engagement with the supernatural by communities in Newfoundland and by the Neo-Pagan religious communities from which my study participants were drawn, inviting further folkloristic research of supernatural belief in these areas.

Delivered at the Folklore Studies Association of Canada Conference on May 26, 2018 and available for download on Academia.edu.

Published In: 
Fairies, Phantom Ships, and Neo-Shamans: Framing Engagement With the Supernatural
Bibliographic Entry: 
Fairies, Phantom Ships, and Neo-Shamans: Framing Engagement With the Supernatural. Carried on the Waves: Contemporary Currents in Folklore and Ethnology, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.