Friday, December 15, 2023



Author: Dallas Hitt

When you think of fairies , you probably think of this nice and sweet little creatures with wings and an little wand, that has glitter on it. You probably don’t think of little thieves that still children. That is not the case with the Folklore creatures, Changelings. Changelings are fairies that were left in the place of the child that the fairies stole from the humans.

Children would be taken and replaced with a change for one of several reasons. The first reason is that it would be taken is for the child to act as a servant to the fairies. Another reason the fairies would take the child was so that the change could get the love from the humans like a human child, and the last reason would be so that the fairies could get revenge on the humans for something. Sometimes the fairies would replace the child with an elderly fairy so that it could live out the rest of its life in the care of the humans. People would notice their baby become ill or become not bale to properly function and they would assume it had been “fairy struck.” The people would say the children had been replaced by a changeling and they abandoned them or sometimes even killed them.

There were a few ways to identify if your child was a changeling. Irish legends say that changelings might look sick and not grow to full size like normal humans. Changelings also had a very large apatite and would eat a lot more food than a normal human child.

One theory that folklorist and historians studied was that people would substitute their children for changelings during raids and attacks on their villages in thoughts that they might be saving their children by doing this. Another theory about the origin of the changeling was a lot different than the other. Some people believe that changelings came from a very dark part of the mind from pre-industrial Europe. If a family felt that they wouldn’t be able to care for their child, especially if the child that had a disability or had an illness or deformity, it was easier for them to lose their child thinking it had just been talking by fairies, rather than believing they were just letting their child die. Some physical characteristics that a changeling had that you might be able to notice was they had long teeth and scraggly hair.

Changelings would continue to appear again and again in folklore in Europe. Doctors say this list of diseases from today’s time such as: cystic fibrosis, Down Syndrome, spina bifida, PKU, Williams syndrome, Hunter syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, progeria, Hurler syndrome, and Prader-Willi Syndrome, match the description of what changelings might have been like. Now adays in the modern world no one would really believe in changelings, but doctors say that a lot of autistic children might have been labeled as changelings in that time.

Works cited:

Https://Static.Wikia.Nocookie.Net/Mythology/Images/2/29/Changeling2-800x0-c-Default.Jpg/Revision/Latest?Cb=20180713191804. Accessed 1 Nov. 2023. 

Dimri , Bipin. “Your Child Is Not Your Own? The Horrific Tales of Medieval Changelings.” Historic Mysteries , 6 Oct. 2021, 

 Post, Irish. “Exploring Irish Mythology: Changelings.” The Irish Post, The Irish Post, 22 Dec. 2021,

Links for Further Research:

1.     Encyclopedia Mythologica
This website will tell you about different myths from other parts of the world about changelings.

2.      Wikipedia
This website will just give you a very good overview of changelings if you just really want to find out more about them.

3.     BMJ Journals
This website will tell you more about how diseases were in involved in changelings like autism.

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