Changelings || Baby-Stealing Fair Folk

Hello! I wanted to share some interesting information with you today about changelings :fairy:


What is a changeling?


In short, a changeling is a member of the sídhe (pronounced shee) that steals away human babies and new mothers. Why would the Fair Folk do that? Well, there are two different reasons that I found in folklore.

  1. The Fair Folk wanted to take the human babies and raise them as their own.
  2. The Fair Folk needed human breastmilk to raise their own children.
  3. The Fair folk would exchange their own sick babies for healthy human babies.

It may be crazy to think about, but in my belief system, changelings are a 100% legitimate concern. So, how do you get rid of one?

I’ll give you a hint:fire: :fire: :fire: :fire:

There are many methods of getting rid of a changeling and getting your own baby back - and most of them involve fire! I give more detail in the video I’ve included below, but a brief description of the methods of keeping them away include…

  • placing the changeling on a hot pan over a fire
  • threatening a changeling with hot tongs
  • starving and beating a changeling until it runs away

But how do you know if your baby is a changeling?

Honestly, you don’t? Or you do? The folklore isn’t very clear because every story is different. Some stories say that you can tell when a baby is a changeling because it looks different or it acts different. Some stories say that changelings are inconsolable. They do nothing but cry, scream, and be generally fussy.

Keeping them away…

The number one way to keep a changeling away is to keep iron around the home. The Fair Folk have a natural aversion to iron and would generally not risk getting hurt to steal away a baby. Some stories say that an open pair of iron scissors was kept hanging on the wall above a baby’s bed. Some say the same thing about iron tongs over the cradle. In any case, iron is a definite way of keeping the Fair Folk - and the changelings - away from your baby.


Want more info?


I definitely recommend watching the above video and checking out the links I’ve got for you here.

Have you ever had an experience with a changeling? Have you ever heard of them?


Links and More Reading

Are the Tuatha de Danaan Sidhe? - Lora O’Brien

Heather Dale - Changeling Child

The Science of Fairy Tales: An Enquiry Into Fairy Mythology by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1891]

Fairy Legends and Traditions by Thomas Crofton Croker [1825]

Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland by Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde [1887]

Sidhe Faerie Folk
[] Changeling Stories

Belief in Fairies - National Folklore Collection