Fairies in America: Fairy Folklore in the U.S. and Canada

The belief in fairies is a worldwide phenomenon. Enchanting stories of green elves, pixies, trolls, and sprites abound in countries like Ireland and Germany. We don’t hear many stories of Native American fairies or different types of fairies in America. But remember – fairies are everywhere! Because fairies are nature spirits, they’re typically seen in undisturbed, natural places. The Native Americans tell stories of encounters with the little people – how they helped children or taught shamans. The fairies in America can be territorial depending on the type. Come with me on a journey to find fairies in America.

Fairies in America: Green Elves & Pixies

Elves come from Scandinavian and Celtic mythology. According to the Prose Edda, there are two types of elves – light and dark. In America, the elves are earthly beings who are dressed in green. In A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk, Edain McCoy refers to this kind as green elves. Green elves have green-tinted skin and sometimes wear green caps on their heads. The green elves in America are shorter in height and are encountered on the edges of forests and in graveyards. They’re similar to elves in Irish folklore. These beings live in the trees and so protect their home and surrounding wildlife. In Ireland, they are seen near ancient burial mounds, which could indicate their connection with the dead or confirm that “fairyland” is somewhere underground.

When I lived in Maryland in my teens, we had large trees on our property. One tree in particular always felt incredibly magical to me. One day we had a psychic visit the house and mentioned the “tiny winged fairies” flitting around this oak tree. My mom and I agreed that it was indeed a fairy tree. Because of this experience and other experiences with a grapefruit tree in my Florida backyard, I believe there are small, winged fairies like pixies in America as well as in Europe (and maybe worldwide!)

Green Elves have green skin and clothing.

Green Elves are fairies in America that reside in forests and have green skin and clothing.

House Fairies in America

It is possible that certain fairies traveled to America with our ancestors. The Brownie, a Scottish house fairy, is thought to have been brought to Canada and the U.S. with Scottish immigrants beginning in the seventeenth century. Tales are told online from various Americans of signs of brownies living in older Colonial homes. It’s not often they’re discovered living in a modern or newly constructed house – they like to stick to one family and most are attached to the first Scottish immigrant families that settled here. However, some Scottish American people claim to have attracted them into their homes using offerings and other tactics.

The Tomtra: Finnish House Fairy

The Tomtra is a house fairy that’s been brought to America by Finnish immigrants. Similar to the Brownie’s attachment to Scottish immigrant families, the tomtra is attached to the Finnish immigrants. If you are Finnish American or have Finnish blood, the tomtra may take up residence in your home. The difference between the tomtra and brownie is the tomtra is a bit more mischievous. He will protect your home from invaders, spiritual and physical, but he will also play tricks when he is bored or irritated. One American woman claims she’s had small objects like jewelry and pebbles thrown at her while in her bedroom.

Menehune: Native Hawaiian Fairies

The Native Hawaiians have their own legends of little people called the Menehune. The Menehune were a small indigenous people who lived in Hawaii before the Tahitian people came to reside there. Hawaiian legend tells of these little people building some of the islands’ sacred places such as certain ponds and mounds. They were thought to live deep in the forests and valleys. Compare the Menehune to the Native American legends of little people – there are striking similarities. The Menehune were between six inches and two feet tall, according to legend, and despite their small stature were able to build entire structures over night.

Scholars believe the Menehune were the first people of Hawaii, present before the Tahitians, and were driven into the forests during the Tahitian invasion in 1100 AD. Were the Menehune small in stature or were they small in the eyes of the Tahitians? Some claim to see the Menehune, but often the sightings are discredited because they are children. In my opinion, children see fairies in America easier than adults because their minds are still fresh and open.

Shoshone and Cherokee Fairy Legends

Just as the Scottish and English have their fairy folklore, the Native Americans have theirs. The Shoshone tribe believed in a race of tiny people they called the Nimerigar. These tiny people lived in the Rocky Mountains and were aggressive to outsiders. If anyone came near their territory, they’d shoot poisoned-tip arrows at them. The San Pedro Mountain mummy called into question the legitimacy of the Shoshone’s fairy legends. This mummy was a small being discovered in the mountains in 1932. The mummy’s body disappeared in the 1950’s, so we might never know if it was a real fairy body or not.

The Cherokee tribe believed in three kinds of little people: the rock people, the laurel people, and the dogwood people. They each had their own temperaments and each taught the Cherokees different lessons. The rock people hurled rocks at anyone who got close, similar to the nimerigar of Shoshone legend. They were territorial and aggressive. The laurel people were mischievous and played tricks on people for fun comparable to many of the European fairy legends. The dogwood people were good-natured and known to help heal. There have been fairies in America for just as long as they’ve been in Europe.

Real Encounters with Fairies in America

Fairies in America don’t just live in legend and lore, they’ve shown themselves to lucky individuals. In the late 1800’s, an entire group of people saw fairies flying above Chimney Rock in North Carolina. It was documented by the nearest town’s scholars. An American woman claims she’s seen numerous fairies during paranormal investigations including a green elf in a cemetery, a sylph (air fairy) that flies by her house, and even has photographic evidence of the existence of the Green Man in America. Real encounters with fairies in America have been happening for hundreds of years and still happen today. Because of my articles on fairies, I receive emails from people who have pictures of fairies in the forests of America. Whether fairies are real, physical beings or spiritual beings, I cannot decide. But I know they exist in one form or another and they are prevalent in America.

The types of fairies in America - legends and lore

More on the Fay:


  1. JP

    March 26, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Brownies aren’t ‘house Faeries’. They have important work in middle Earth, thus the name. They’re mostly underground. Faeries exist all over the world. They weren’t brought to the United States by anyone. They exist all over the planet just like humans, except they’re primarily in a different realm that coexists with us. That’s why it’s so important to take care of the planet. What we do here affects them too. I hope this makes sense to you.

    1. kitty fields

      April 4, 2022 at 7:45 pm

      JP, I think you’re getting your information based on video games and not actual folklore. Please do your research further. I recommend Fairy and Folk Tales by WB Yeats, The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by Evans-Wentz, both of which you can find for free on sacred-texts.com.

  2. Alice

    March 30, 2021 at 2:20 am

    What is the fairy capital of the United States? Would it be Boulder, Colorado? I hear alot of fairy siting stories there.

  3. Alexeneshore@yahoo.com

    December 29, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    I think I have an infestation? Got pictures to prove

      1. Katherine Williams

        October 25, 2020 at 8:16 pm

        We have a spirit called Lonesome. My kids have played with him while they were little. He is the spirit that steals an item you are looking for. After looking in the same place several times we ask Lonesome to please bring it back. Then we look in the places we looked before and it is returned. We have moved a couple of times and Lonesome goes with us.

    1. Becky Raye

      April 4, 2020 at 7:26 pm

      I’d love to see the pictures… I believe I have a mischievous something in my apartment…

    2. Joshua

      August 29, 2021 at 12:18 am

      Do you mind emailing them to jmokry51@gmail.com
      Id love to see the pics sounds cool af

  4. Douglas

    August 17, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    In southwest Tennessee, on the Mississippi River, there are a couple of heavily forested islands that are teeming with Fairies. Nearly thirty years ago I happened up on one of the islands, searching for medicinal plants. One day, I ran into a hunter who told me the island was haunted. I had found out earlier that there had been a pre-columbian Indian town on the North (upriver) end of the island, complete with a

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    1. Amanda

      February 9, 2022 at 5:44 pm

      I live in Maryland and have always felt there were fairies here. I have come across your site multiple times in the last year or so, but it’s cool to find out there is that Maryland connection.

  6. Alicia

    May 20, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I have one on video that is in my home. Never really believed until now.

    1. admin

      May 21, 2019 at 11:43 am

      Wow! I’d love to see it!

    2. Shannon

      June 7, 2019 at 12:31 pm

      Omg ME TOO! NEVER in a million years would i believe in FAIRIES but once you SEE IT WITH YOUR EYES … You now have to believe it! Im still in shock. I have it on video too

      1. Anonymous

        April 25, 2020 at 10:05 pm

        Please show us it

    3. Taffy

      August 8, 2019 at 5:29 pm

      Is there a book you might recommend that discusses faes in America?

      1. Margaret Horrocks-Mustard

        October 23, 2021 at 10:41 pm

        You can find many books, even if you are just googling it on fairy legends.

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  10. Patricia

    January 8, 2019 at 12:08 am

    I live fairly close to Chimney Rock in North Carolina, and that area has a truly magical, special feel to it. Even before I became aware of the lore, I often felt observed while hiking some of the trails. The energy felt old and well established, yet it felt different than human spirit energy. I have some sensitivity in these things and have had many hard to debunk happenings in my six decades. Perhaps it is because of being over 80% Irish. I think I may have observed “the good people” on a couple of occasions in Northern New York while growing up.

    1. admin

      January 8, 2019 at 11:30 am

      I’ve felt their presence but never “seen” them. I felt them quite often in a house I used to live in, but haven’t since we moved. Thanks for sharing your story!

      1. Ambria

        September 7, 2020 at 7:25 am

        You can call them to you. But be very careful because some are very mischievous. I was going through a rough time during Covid, so I called upon Fairies and they came and took care of me while I was sad. They cheered me up, made me laugh and once I was ok again, they left. Y’all should try it.

  11. Chelsie

    January 5, 2019 at 1:36 am

    I’ve been really enjoying your articles. I’m interested in learning as much as possible about farries of all types.

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