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Keightley, Thomas - Miners seeing dwarfs



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 1


A description of the experience

Thomas Keightley from his World Guide

There is, chiefly in Southern Germany, a species of beings that greatly resemble the dwarfs. They are called Wichtlein and are about three quarters of an ell high. Their appearance is that of old men with long beards. They haunt the mines and are dressed like miners, with a white hood to their shirts and leather aprons and are provided with lanterns, mallets and hammers. They amuse themselves with pelting the workmen with small stones, but do them no injury, except when they are abused and cursed by them.

They show themselves most especially in places where there is an abundance of ore, and the miners are always glad to see them. They flit about in the pits and shafts and appear to work very hard, though in reality do nothing. Sometimes they seem as if working a vein, at other times putting the ore into buckets, at other times working at the windlass, but all in mere show. They frequently call and when one comes there is no one to be seen.

At Kuttenberg, in Bohemia, the Wichtbein have been seen in great numbers. They announce the death of a miner by knocking three times and when any misfortune is about to happen they are heard digging, pounding and imitating all other kinds of work. At times they make a noise as if they were smiths labouring very hard at the anvil.

The source of the experience

Keightley, Thomas

Concepts, symbols and science items





Science Items

Activities and commonsteps