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Mythology & History
Here you will find background on myself , the urban-fairies project and the fairy doors phenomenon.
Who am I and what am I doing here?

I am Jonathan b. Wright, a life long resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The following is a true story which gives a bit of history of the Urban Fairies.

An Urban Fairy Tale

In a transient town such as Ann Arbor, it often seems that the concept of a “local” Ann Arborite is a fairytale. This is a true tale. I was born and raised here. I even met my wife at the University of Michigan. Our fairytale home on the Old West Side came as a wonderful backdrop for a child’s story. At over 100 years old, the floors creaked. Actually, the floors tipped. The center rooms of the house changed elevation by about 2 inches for every 4 feet. Though the Historic Commission deemed there to be “no historical significance” to our home, we began repairing, renovating and expanding it.



With each new home improvement there appeared a surprise. As part of that expansion, I put in a closet door under the stairs and adjacent to it, a child-size one to access the wedge of space there. Just to the right of the junior door, down in the baseboard, kids discovered yet another door about 6 inches high. When it was open, one could see an equally small staircase and railing leading up to a second door. The upper door, as far as we know, is always locked. Children were fascinated and would report their sightings, including that of a Lion-Mouse!



After I built our fireplace, our daughters discovered one more door. It opened onto a room with its own tiny fireplace, and a curving stairway leading to a balcony sporting a door. There was yet another door leading off of the first room, which when opened, revealed a landing and a checkered floor beyond. A small window looked into the space from the end of the mantel. On some days, a light goes on in the far room. The day of the discovery our youngest, Delaney, shouted, “Look, it’s their trash day!” and held up a transparent plastic bag filled with sawdust and other diminutive construction waste. Our eldest, Samuelina, made an ingenious probe of two pick-up-sticks and a keychain light bound with rubber bands to explore the depths.



At the time our kitchen was remodeled, it was less surprising that a Lilliputian room was found below one of the new columns. This was a room with a double hung window giving a view of our breakfast area. In the room, there was a wee black chair with a red cushion, matching our human sized ones. Again, this room had another door leading to some unknown chamber, hall or space.


Recently, I heard muffled noises in the gabled end of the breakfast area. Squirrels? Mice? Birds? Super-chubby-sewer-dwelling Raccoons? I don’t think so. I am keeping my eyes peeled for Urban Fairies.

It’s all about building homes.

Of course, since this was written, the balconey with french doors appeared in that part of the breakfast area. ~jbw 6.08.06

fairy door jonathan b wright
Here I am at Sweetwaters Café with a double mocha, wondering if anything exciting will ever happen in this town.
Some thoughts and history about fairies:

I have spoken with a few people who are passionate about the "Fae".

I think it is wise to post some terms, facts and opinions here. There are also some wonderful links and books to check out. We have a fair (pun intended) library of our own.

First... the spelling:

Many people use an old-world spelling: faery or faerie or even faeree. This spelling is perhaps more "authentic" as it comes from the French around the Tudor period .

I live in the "new-world" so I have adopted a new-world spelling: fairy....besides I like the dangley "y" and dotting the "i".

Some other traditional spellings are: fayerye, fairye, fayre.

I have also noted MANY more variations...especially from the younger contributors to the journals/guestbooks. Keep in mind that this group has the highest percentage of fairy sightings, so I would not discount their interpretations out of age bias.
The list includes:

Fary, Faries, Fairys, Fairieys, Farie, Faires, Fiairys, Fare, Fareys, Farys, Fairey, Fariey, Fairs, Fire, Firye, Faireas, Faeires, Farries, Fers, Fiary(s), Farees, Fariys, Fearies, kabouter (Dutch).

Other than the Dutch contribution...the unifying elements are an "F" followed by an "R" and one or more vowel; a, e, i and/or y....with an "S" for pluralization.

Fary & Faries are the second most common spelling(s) in the journal/guestbooks
after the "common" spelling: Fairy or Fairies.

Second... definitions, catagories:
Now don't go and get anything all bunched if my definition doesn't match yours
or if someone/something is omitted.

The Fae or the Fey; The WORLD of the Faerie
and the inhabitants which include, but not limited to:

Fairies (regardless of spelling): At one time a "fairy" was a woman with magical powers. Later "fairy" also meant "elves". Early on "fairies were much larger (4-5 feet tall...some MUCH larger) than our popular conception. Some say that the notion of little winged Fairies is a literary embellishment from the Victorian period. Regardless, as with most things of the magical-imagined world...they change. Folk tales/songs change with telling...they grow and shrink and become richer with time.

ALL of the following beings exist in the Fairy Rhelm. Their attributes and characteristics can be debated ....(elsewhere).

Elves, Pixies, Brownies, Gnomes, Sprites, Leprechauns, Goblins, Trolls, Dwarves, Ogres.....etc

Books, Illustrators and sites:

pictured are a few of the books I had sitting near me just now.
• "FAERIES" ;
Brian Froud & Alan Lee, Peacock Press/ Bantam Books 1978
This one of my favorite books on the topic. I believe it is reprint.... YEP...
Note also the spelling with the "ae"...of course Brian is British and SHOULD use that spelling.
The 25th ANNIVERSARY edition, Harry N Abrams © 2002..with 20 NEW illustrations.

Actually ANY of the Brian (and/or Wendy) Froud books are great!

• "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide To The Fantastical World Around You":
Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black, Simon & Schuster ©2005


• "Fantasy Encyclopedia" :
Judy Allen, Kingfisher Publications ©2005


• "

I will be working on this....
(gathering references...hardcopies and internet...I have some fun-informative links)
~jbw 6.08.06

HMMM...as I dig into this...I am not so sure that I want/need to indentify mythical beings. There is a HUGE amount of information.... often conflicting. I think that I will leave the "fact" proclamations to others. I'll ammend what I started and give referrences to better sources ~jbw 6.09.06

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This is all about the Fairy Doors in Ann Arbor, Michigan and what illustrator, Jonathan b. Wright discovers about them. It includes photographs of the Fairy Doors, comments in the Fairy Journals, Observations and speculations about the Fairies. Tiny Doors, Urban Fairies, Faery, Faeries, Fairy, Fairies, miniature doors, tiny doors, little doors, tiny fairy doors, little fairy doors, little faery doors, tiny faery doors, weensy doors, Sweetwaters Cafe, Peaceable Kingdom, Jefferson Market, The Ark, The Ann Arbor Framing Company, Selo Shevel Gallery, Lakewood Elementary Kindergarten, Fairy ticket window, fairy entrances, fairy windows, fairy spaces, fairy store, fairy shop. The site will be updated frequently with new excerpts from the Fairy Journals, New fairy sightings, Specifics about each location a fairy map. Any new knowledge of the fairy activity will be passed along by Jonathan. Also on this site are some hidden fairy surprises a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Fairies. There is a brief history of how Jonathan became involved with the Urban Fairies. There are links to local publications about the Urban Fairy phenomenon. Jonathan is currently writing several books on the fairies in collaboration with his wife, Kathleen, who coincidentally has found a fairy door in her kindergarten classroom. Hopefully it will be fun and informative to come back and see what's new with the Urban Fairies of Ann Arbor.