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Changelings and the possible links with autism

Changelings Autism

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#1 Llyr

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 01:47 PM

As requested -

 

In Celtic folklore there is something called a changeling related to the Fae. Basically a changeling child was believed to be born of the Fae (Fairy child) which had been swapped for a human child by the fairies.

 

It is very common in Fae literature and also aligns itself with children thought to be afflicted with disorders or developmental disabilities.

Following a brief Google search I found –

 

“The reality behind many changeling legends was often the birth of deformed or developmentally disabled children. Among the diseases with symptoms that match the description of changeling in various legends are Spina bifida, Cystic fibrosis, PKU, Progeria, Down syndrome, Homocystinuria, Williams syndrome, Hurler syndrome, Hunter syndrome, Regressive autism, Prader-Willi syndrome and Cerebral palsy.

 

The greater proneness of boys with birth defects correlates to the belief that male infants were more likely to be taken.

It has been hypothesized that the chandelling legend may have developed, or at least been used to explain the peculiarities of children who did not develop normally, probably including all sorts of developmental delays and abnormalities.

 

In particular, it has been suggested that children with autism would be likely to be labelled as changelings or elf-children due to their strange, sometimes inexplicable behaviour.

 

For example this association might explain why fairies are often described as having an obsessive impulse to count things like handfuls of spilled seeds.

 

This has found a place in autistic culture. Some autistic adults have come to identify with changelings for this reason and their own feeling of being in a world where they do not belong and of practically not being the same species as the other people around them.”

 

It was said that you could “trick” the changeling into doing/saying something that shows that it isn’t really a child.

 

I found a story about an autistic boy who is virtually silent most of the time, and the things that he does say are usually difficult to understand. However, he builds incredible lego mansions and fortresses and builds them taller than he is, with attention to colour and detail that seem far beyond a child of his age (7).

 

In history gone would it would be very easy to see a child similar to this where parents or family might see their “dumb” child doing something very advanced or gifted and think that they have “caught” the changeling out.

 

So, were the changelings real and children of the Fae? Or did disorders such as autism play a major part in creating myths and folklore such as this one.


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#2 Christine

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Posted 08 November 2016 - 03:39 PM

All good points, and complicated these days by our growing awareness and understanding of ancient interbreeding among related Homo spp. that led ultimately to our current lineages and may be responsible for some or many of our peculiarities. And let's not forget that there are tales of adult changelings as well. I'm thinking particularly of a man who one day realized that his wife was not his wife, but a replacement whom he eventually slew in the belief that his true spouse would then return.


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#3 Llyr

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 10:59 AM

Yes quite right Christine, I wonder if the idea of the adult changelings came about if someone was struck down with a terrible illness such as motor neurone disease or MS in later life??


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#4 Christine

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 02:46 PM

Perhaps, although what's more likely in the tale I remember is that the husband was ill. There is a kind of brain injury that disturbs its ability to recognize people and objects properly, leading the sufferers to conclude that some or all of the people in their lives have been replaced with exact duplicates, although I think that violence is a vanishingly rare result.


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#5 odalibuc

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 03:22 AM

Its fascinating how far society has come when determining whether something has medical or supernatural origins. I wonder how many legends got started in a similar way; how many demons and possessions were just something like epilepsy or neurodivergent disorders.


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#6 Llyr

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 01:26 PM

Its fascinating how far society has come when determining whether something has medical or supernatural origins. I wonder how many legends got started in a similar way; how many demons and possessions were just something like epilepsy or neurodivergent disorders.

 

It does make you wonder and it is fascinating how far we have come but we haven't come as far as we think we have. Still not far enough though to explain everything. I think the victim of a possession these days would possibly be classed as a medical/mental case and locked away.


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#7 Oroboros

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 02:55 AM

@ Llyr- I'm pretty confident that happens, actually.  


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#8 Solanaceae

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 06:01 AM

@ Llyr- I'm pretty confident that happens, actually.







Yep.

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#9 Llyr

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 11:59 AM

Oh yeah I expect it has. It's frightening really that society has the power to say if you are fit or unfit to be a part of it, and if it decides for whatever reason that you are unfit to be a part of it, be it medical or mental, how little power we actually have over our own existence.


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#10 Oroboros

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 10:48 PM

As requested -

 

In Celtic folklore there is something called a changeling related to the Fae. Basically a changeling child was believed to be born of the Fae (Fairy child) which had been swapped for a human child by the fairies.

 

It is very common in Fae literature and also aligns itself with children thought to be afflicted with disorders or developmental disabilities.

Following a brief Google search I found –

 

“The reality behind many changeling legends was often the birth of deformed or developmentally disabled children. Among the diseases with symptoms that match the description of changeling in various legends are Spina bifida, Cystic fibrosis, PKU, Progeria, Down syndrome, Homocystinuria, Williams syndrome, Hurler syndrome, Hunter syndrome, Regressive autism, Prader-Willi syndrome and Cerebral palsy.

 

The greater proneness of boys with birth defects correlates to the belief that male infants were more likely to be taken.

It has been hypothesized that the chandelling legend may have developed, or at least been used to explain the peculiarities of children who did not develop normally, probably including all sorts of developmental delays and abnormalities.

 

In particular, it has been suggested that children with autism would be likely to be labelled as changelings or elf-children due to their strange, sometimes inexplicable behaviour.

 

For example this association might explain why fairies are often described as having an obsessive impulse to count things like handfuls of spilled seeds.

 

This has found a place in autistic culture. Some autistic adults have come to identify with changelings for this reason and their own feeling of being in a world where they do not belong and of practically not being the same species as the other people around them.”

 

It was said that you could “trick” the changeling into doing/saying something that shows that it isn’t really a child.

 

I found a story about an autistic boy who is virtually silent most of the time, and the things that he does say are usually difficult to understand. However, he builds incredible lego mansions and fortresses and builds them taller than he is, with attention to colour and detail that seem far beyond a child of his age (7).

 

In history gone would it would be very easy to see a child similar to this where parents or family might see their “dumb” child doing something very advanced or gifted and think that they have “caught” the changeling out.

 

So, were the changelings real and children of the Fae? Or did disorders such as autism play a major part in creating myths and folklore such as this one.

-------------------------------------

My step-son is autistic and exhibits impressive psychic knowledge from time to time.  When we all first met he made comments about my daughter's father that he could not possibly know.  Saying he was "mean and a bad guy".  He even made a comment about him being "drunk sometimes", all of which was very accurate.   

There have been MANY incidents like this following:

 He gets stuck on certain subjects and talks about them a lot.  One day he was with his dad where they lived at the time and I was out with my daughters.  Apparently he had been talking non stop to his father (my husband now, at the time we were just dating) about "what happens if you go in an abandoned building."  While this discussion was still being had (unknown to us)- I called my husband and told him about an abandoned building the girls and I had just checked out.  My husband immediately started asking if we had talked to his son- which confused me.  We had not of course.  That type of thing is not unusual with him.

He also tells us how old everyone is going to be when they die, now since according to him we are all going to live into our 90s -this is probably just wishful thinking, but given the rest it is interesting.

 

I have a little theory- which I have no basis for really, but I have wondered for some time if some autistic people are evidence of an evolutionary change in progress.  If you consider things like with my step-son and the fact that many of them are extremely gifted in certain areas.  It makes me wonder if it is forward momentum to humans using more of their brains and in new ways.

 

But, the above ideas are interesting too.  I have very connected to this boy from day one, and felt it had something to do with some things in common that make us different from the masses.

 

I do not have a lot of other experience with children with autism, however I can tell you that while at first glance one may think this boy "dumb" he is in many ways smarter than most of us.  The difference is difficulty in expressing and communicating the way society typically does.  If you pay attention though the ability to express himself and communicate are not so much lessened but different.  And, if you want truth (sometimes profound) and no bullshit- these kids will give you THAT every time.  I consider knowing him to be an honor and a gift.


Edited by Oroboros, 27 November 2016 - 10:49 PM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#11 Oroboros

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 11:00 PM

It does make you wonder and it is fascinating how far we have come but we haven't come as far as we think we have. Still not far enough though to explain everything. I think the victim of a possession these days would possibly be classed as a medical/mental case and locked away.

-------------------

I believe I have seen this at least once.  This was long before I was studying or pursuing craft related things so I had no concept at the time of trying to read this situation on purpose to get a better idea of what I was picking up on.  But during student nursing clinicals there was a psych rotation.  On the psych rotation there was a couple weeks where we were doing psychiatric home health nursing.  There was this one home we went to with a young girl that had a history of religious delusions, violence and self- destructive violent behavior.  This description is not uncommon on a psychiatric profile.  But what we encountered was. I don't usually tell this because frankly you had to be there.  But the darkness and oppression and bizarre alien feeling in that room was incredibly intense.  And something about her was quite terrifying and inhuman.  My literal first thought was- you aren't sick your possessed.  There was absolutely nothing I could DO.  But it was quite an experience and now decades and many (100s) of psych patients later (we get tons in the ER)- she still stands out to me and I still believe that is what was going on with her.  I have wondered this at least a couple other times in the hospital setting, but never anything as intense as this one girl.


Edited by Oroboros, 28 November 2016 - 01:38 AM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#12 IslandBruja

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 11:11 PM

-------------------------------------
My step-son is autistic and exhibits impressive psychic knowledge from time to time.  When we all first met he made comments about my daughter's father that he could not possibly know.  Saying he was "mean and a bad guy".  He even made a comment about him being "drunk sometimes", all of which was very accurate.   
There have been MANY incidents like this following:
 He gets stuck on certain subjects and talks about them a lot.  One day he was with his dad where they lived at the time and I was out with my daughters.  Apparently he had been talking non stop to his father (my husband now, at the time we were just dating) about "what happens if you go in an abandoned building."  While this discussion was still being had (unknown to us)- I called my husband and told him about an abandoned building the girls and I had just checked out.  My husband immediately started asking if we had talked to his son- which confused me.  We had not of course.  That type of thing is not unusual with him.
He also tells us how old everyone is going to be when they die, now since according to him we are all going to live into our 90s -this is probably just wishful thinking, but given the rest it is interesting.
 
I have a little theory- which I have no basis for really, but I have wondered for some time if some autistic people are evidence of an evolutionary change in progress.  If you consider things like with my step-son and the fact that many of them are extremely gifted in certain areas.  It makes me wonder if it is forward momentum to humans using more of their brains and in new ways.
 
But, the above ideas are interesting too.  I have very connected to this boy from day one, and felt it had something to do with some things in common that make us different from the masses.
 
I do not have a lot of other experience with children with autism, however I can tell you that while at first glance one may think this boy "dumb" he is in many ways smarter than most of us.  The difference is difficulty in expressing and communicating the way society typically does.  If you pay attention though the ability to express himself and communicate are not so much lessened but different.  And, if you want truth (sometimes profound) and no bullshit- these kids will give you THAT every time.  I consider knowing him to be an honor and a gift.


That is very interesting about his psychic insights, O.

I've worked with children with all kinds of disabilities and very closely one-on-one with several autistic children, and can say that although there are plenty of "autistic savants" (like the British guy who can take a 15 minute ride in a helicopter over London and then draw from memory an EXACT and precisely detailed, gigantic rendering of the city) not all autistic kids have extra intelligence in other areas.

Most parents of autistic kids would like to believe that their child will manifest some super-intelligence or ability, but statistically there are many simply "ordinary" or even "dumb" autistic people even when you remove the variable of their communication difficulties.

So based on my personal interactions with the autistic population, I wouldn't necessarily look at it as a step in "evolution" but think perhaps those people with genius level abilities stand out even more in the autistic community compared to the general population because it is in such stark contrast to other people's beliefs and perceptions about the autistic person's everyday abilities....

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#13 Oroboros

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 11:57 PM

Well, that certainly makes sense.  And even holds true that the psychic perceptions would also stand out because he is either ON or OFF in communication.  It is either a whole lot of non stop talking or  no talking.  So, when he is talking and the focus is on something that leaves everyone staring at each other trying to figure out how he knew it- Obviously that stands apart. 

 

I know what he is thinking even when he is not communicating much of the time.  Something I can not say is true for most people.  I don't know if because standard communication is difficult if he just uses that part of himself more or if we are feeding off each other in some way.  I have to be careful because I have noticed he becomes agitated in direct correlation to me being agitated even if I am not showing it - which is something I HAVE observed with others very close to me.  But seems more pronounced with him.   It may just be what happens if two "sensitive people" are in close proximity to one another.


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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#14 Oroboros

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 12:29 AM

I will add this.  I allow that this is one kid and therefore may be the exception rather than the rule.  However, I don't think on a day to day school setting type interaction this is something people would easily pick up on.  It tool me a while even living with him.  But I seriously question the ability to test him accurately for this reason.  A lot of times he does things half-assed.  Not because he can't or doesn't know it- but because he finds it absurd.   The whole concept of the expectations of others or societies or doing things because "Your supposed to" but with no reason that he can relate to is a real blank spot for him.

 

"Why are you supposed to be quiet in restaurants- I like to be loud sometimes.  Other people are loud sometimes."

 

"Why do we need to wear uncomfortable clothes for a wedding?  What difference does it make how you dress?  We arnt getting married."

 

"Why do I have to do math?  I don't like math?  I don't do math anywhere else.  Math is stupid."- he is actually fairly good at it when he tries, but when he consistently sees no good reason to try it is hard to learn- kind of a vicious cycle.  And you can't threaten him with normal things.  Being sent to your room to be by yourself is a REWARD to him.  And most things that would be considered punishments or rewards are just not all that impressive to him.  It is a totally different WAY of thinking and looking at things and unless you can find a way in to his shoes- what seems to be going on is NOT what is going on.

 

Now for you and I these questions have obvious answers.  But for someone who just has zero concept of societal structures or expectations it is WAY more difficult.

 

For societal expectations like the wedding example the only tact that works is the idea that otherwise he make "make someone sad."  He does not like to make people sad.  So if you say you have to dress nice because it shows respect. Well that makes no fucking sense.  If you say if you don't dress nice it makes people think you don't care and that might make them sad- because they want you to care- well that actually does make some sense to him.  He doesn't completely buy it.  But is like "okay, thats stupid what does how I dress have to do with if I care, but since I know I don't fully understand you weirdos I'll go along with it any way."

 

Why do people spend hours a day doing things they hate.  We know the answer but it is difficult to explain because on the surface it makes no damn sense.  This is hard to convey but its where he is coming from.  Im not sure there can be accurate testing for someone who functions from this perspective.  

 

 I can honestly say aside from the apparent sensitivity or psychic awareness I see no other special giftedness.  And i know that giftedness is the exception rather than the rule in this population.   I do not think they are CURRENTLY evolutionarily advanced.  But evolutionary changes happen VERY VERY gradually so I wondered if it was the symptom of changes to come, an early glimpse of transition, that leave the person in a not so good way at this stage.  I was not suggesting they are all gifted - not yet at least.  

Many animals communicate in non standard ways and humans would certainly benefit from increased mental connectedness.  So, it would not surprise me if in another thousand years we have gradually increased our ability to tap in to collective consciousness and that connected ness would certainly alter our standard communication techniques.  This is more of a "pass the joint" type conversation than a true theory though:).


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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#15 IslandBruja

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 01:19 AM

:) I definitely wasn't thinking or implying you were one of those wishful thinking type parents, O (it's sad because often it seems like some parents won't accept their autistic kids the way they are and work with them, as you say, from where THEIR CHILD is coming from rather than the rest of the world, and are holding out some hope that their kid will be "special" when they manifest that "talent" but don't accept them the way they are or believe they are special just for being themselves... Not sure if that made sense)

Anyway, I agree with what you mean about "testing" too - I've never been one to put stock in testing and am a firm believer in the fact that everyone has different types of intelligence, and "school" only caters to a couple of types of intelligence leaving everyone else to feel/appear "stupid" in that system! (I worked with disabled children as an art teacher/therapist and had the freedom to make my own curriculum & lessons... Much like your stepson I don't see the point in doing something just because it's "expected" or "the way it's done" and have never taken a job that required me to submit to that kind of (il)logic. So my experience with these kids is different than a "regular" teacher as I'd develop communication and teaching techniques based on what THE CHILD needed in order to learn/express themselves rather than what the school needed to teach. It's definitely not the same as living with a child, but with some of the kids it was literally just me and them, one-on-one the entire school day for months. So I could get a sense of whether something was unwillingness rather than inability, and there is a whole range of intelligence levels within the autistic population, just like there is in the general population.

But it's an interesting idea about the growing pains of evolution...

(although we're going off on a tangent about autistic kids, society & intelligence on Llyr's wonderful thread about Changelings so perhaps we should continue this conversation in a PM if you'd like?)

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#16 Oroboros

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 01:35 AM

I think its wonderful you were able to have that type of interaction and intensity of teaching with your special needs kids.  What you say makes perfect sense-

and yes yes- sorry to derail Llyr.  I am the queen of the mental rabbit trail. :)


Edited by Oroboros, 28 November 2016 - 01:37 AM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#17 Llyr

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 11:04 AM

But it's an interesting idea about the growing pains of evolution...

(although we're going off on a tangent about autistic kids, society & intelligence on Llyr's wonderful thread about Changelings so perhaps we should continue this conversation in a PM if you'd like?)

 

 

 sorry to derail Llyr.  I am the queen of the mental rabbit trail. :)

 

Don't you dare!!! I take great pleasure in reading both of your posts. The original post was put there to inspire public debate and take it wherever it was meant to go. I am fascinated by your stories about your stepson Oroboros and I have to say that much about what you have posted about the way he thinks is absolutely fucking bang on!! He seems to be a very impressive young man.

 

IB your insights having worked with more children with autism has also given me food for thought and a different perspective so whatever you two have PM'd and not included in this thread please add and include for others to read and learn from. I have absolutely no experience with autistic or disabled children of any type and live in complete ignorance of how people with these symptoms live and are treated and how they can think. So please, your posts are educating and adding much more value to people like myself than you realise.


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#18 Oroboros

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 12:25 PM

@ Llyr- Oh good:) I'm glad you feel that way (somebody on here is thinking "Oh God why did he encourage her," lol).   :)

 

Actually, you didn't miss anything, we did not actually continue in PM.  I will certainly share any further  pertinent thoughts, though I am rather blank at the moment.

 

I did think of one thing he does that while it doesn't qualify him as "gifted", is quite impressive.  He knows EVERYONE'S birthday.  Its like a freaking party trick.  Literally, someone can have mentioned great aunt minnie's neighbor's birthday one time 5 years ago in the same room as him and he can tell you what it is now.   

That and other things with dates.  If you said, "what were we doing last year one day ago" he could tell you- accurately where we went or what we did.  He clearly makes no effort to memorize the birthdays and activities - its just obviously stored with absolute permanence.   I have literally went to him on more than one occasion when trying to remember when something happened myself, and sure enough he's got it, date and all. 

(This is useful for selfish reasons- having just married in to a huge Indian family- I have a way to remember folks' birthdays :).)


Edited by Oroboros, 01 December 2016 - 12:30 PM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#19 Oroboros

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 12:36 PM

Does the lore explain what the Fae might have wanted with human children? I'm just curious, if it was thought they were switched out and taken- to what end?  


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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#20 Llyr

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 01:22 PM

Does the lore explain what the Fae might have wanted with human children? I'm just curious, if it was thought they were switched out and taken- to what end?  

 

O, here is a link to an article on changlings and why the Fae might have taken them.

 

https://myndandmist....d-fairy-babies/


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