Nevada City man seeks to prove fairies are the elusive but real denizens of Ireland |

Nevada City man seeks to prove fairies are the elusive but real denizens of Ireland

Mark Lyon
Submitted photo |

Mark Lyon is conducting a census, although perhaps not for what one might think.

Lyon, a Nevada City resident, is conducting an “Irish Fairy Census.” The existence of leprechauns, banshees and other mythical creatures has long been a topic of particular discussion, especially in Ireland.

Lyon is endeavoring to identify instances of firsthand sightings of any of these magical creatures.

Lyon, who runs haunted ghost tours in Nevada City and Grass Valley, says that reliable accounts of interactions with fairies and other beings known as “fairy folk” and his own experiences on several trips to Ireland give compelling evidence to the existence of such creatures.

The lack of evidence and reliable accounts of these beings inspired Lyon to pursue this project. He hopes to write a book on the accounts he receives, as well as produce a documentary about the subject.

“There’s the possibility that they’re aware of us, but we aren’t aware of them,” said Lyon.

Although there are various legends and renditions of fairies across the world, Lyon says the unique Irish culture and traditions of being close to the land create the circumstances for higher activity of fairies.

In his exploration of Ireland, Lyon found that a strong majority of those he spoke with said that fairies are indeed real, recalling one story about an older Irish woman who told him to be careful not to refer to leprechauns as such, but rather as “the good people,” as leprechauns have been known to cause considerable trouble for those who treat them with disrespect.

Some of the specific stories that have been submitted to Lyon recall, “what appears to be a leprechaun being seen for a couple of seconds, becoming aware of being seen, smiling very broadly and then disappearing.”

Another story involves leprechauns being spotted on a “fairy fort,” or a small hill often with a thorn tree that is sacred to fairies on top of it.

Lyon says that many of the accounts he heard while in Ireland came from people who purported not to believe in such things, but whose accounts and stories described perfectly the appearances, actions and features of leprechauns, banshees and more.

Another account involving a fairy fort told of a man being followed by what sounded like a large dog.

Lyon says that this account of the puca, a demon dog that guards fairy forts from intruders, given without knowledge of this lore was a definitive proof of the existence of supernatural beings.

Several similar accounts, given with descriptions consistent with lore and legend but with no knowledge of these legends, solidified Lyon’s belief in the fairy folk.

“One girl I met in Ireland told me, ‘just because I haven’t seen them doesn’t mean they don’t exist,’” said Lyon, who added that he has received many accounts of fairies already but is hoping for far more.

Anyone who would like to share accounts of such encounters may contact Lyon at

Kael Newton is a journalism student at the University of Oregon interning with The Union; he can be reached at

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