In folklore, fairies hate iron. Fairies, ghosts, goblins, pixies and even witches, any beng that is supernatural hate iron. The stories are very ancient. All over the world, supernatural beings stay away from iron as it's like poison to them. So people use iron as a form of protection against the paranormal. Horseshoes made of iron were placed above doors in peoples houses. Some wear pendants made form iron. Iron fences are found enclosing graveyards and cemeteries to keep the dead inside. Why is that? Why are supernatural entities frightened of iron? Where does this idea come from?
It's possible that these stories originate with the idea that different tribes used iron weapons against their enemies. It may come from the Iron Age itself when humans started being cut off from nature, and this is symbolic. Iron (humanity) vs the supernatural. Is there more to it? Why iron? Well other elements are good to ward off ghosts, monsters and fairies, such as silver and salt. Silver bullets put an end to demonic entities and ordinary bullets have little effect, according to legend. Iron seems the oldest protector against magical, elemental and paranormal things. When I hunt around for more info, checking out sites and forums on fairies, the paranormal, ghosts and so on, all I get is "iron protects against them" but no actual evidence. I don't want to think of this as just symbolic made by people telling stories or that it is just another telling of barbarians using axes and swords against weaker people! I need facts. I haven't found it but I did my own digging.
By the way, I've been reading some exciting novels about fairy folk but there's just one problem I have with them. I'm disappointed with the authors (I'm not mentioning who they are as these are talented writers, to be fair) because they didn't do much research. Some of the fairy folk (and in some books, beings who are similar) all hate iron because it's poisonous to them. Yet the characters have a regular diet of things that I know contains iron in real life! Oops. I look for little things like that because I'm being practical and can't help it. Why do these modern day fairies eat iron stuff if the cold iron metal hurts them? I'd love to ask one of these fictional fairies why. Sorry but to me, fairies don't eat anything we eat. However, another thing to consider is that fairies might be just like us. Yet where does the iron myth still come from?
Iron is a vital sustenance but at low levels. Iron is found in red meat, liver, turkey, chicken, egg yolk, spinach, dried fruit, broccoli, mollusks, beans and artichokes. Too much iron may cause illnesses. I didn't really look in the fairy paranormal subject for an answer to the origins of iron being their poison. I looked deep for clues into the subject of iron as a metal. I researched this element and found a host of things that gave me a very important clue as to the origins of the fairy and iron idea.
Iron is a heavy metal. It resides in the earth at it's centre, and every animal has some traces of iron. There is iron in blood, red ochre and plants. Too much iron production within the body is lethal. A recent case of a doctor who died of the Black Death was also suffering a hereditary condition called hemochromatosis, that is genetic and a disease that causes too much build up of iron. This disease is often common amongst people who are a cross section of north European people from the Irish to the Swedish. Why this abundance of iron mainly appears in Nordics could be because of ancestral genetic history, from diet to industry and surviving plagues. The body has had to build up an immunity with its own drawbacks.
For more info on that read "The Iron in Our Blood that Keeps and Kills Us".
Now iron is said to come from outer space.There is meteoric iron, and these are meteorites that are made of iron. Unlike other meteorites made of rock, meteoric iron is considered "resistant to weathering" and don't break up in the atmosphere as easily as others. They can enter the earth's atmosphere as huge chunks! Meteoric iron has been used to forge into weapons. Meteoric iron has caused the orange bands across the earth's atmosphere on entry (source).
Images HERE showing a crater with iron fragments, caused by a huge iron meteor. Ancient people were afraid of the "sky falling". Perhaps in early history, impacts from large asteroids and meteorites could've started the chain going. When people found that fragments of some meteors contained iron, and smelted them as tools and weapons, against other tribes and animals, it makes sense. History passed down orally distorted into folklore.
Also what I found was that iron kills stars. Check out this fantastic article about the subject here called "Iron: the most dangerous element." It heads one paragraph with "What do stars and faeries have in common." When stars and suns produce iron, it grows like a cancer and degrades the energies of stars and suns. Eventually the stars and suns will die. Stars have a lifespan. They're made of plasma with an iron centre. It lives by a nuclear fusion that is like blood circulation, that generates a power. A young star omits hydrogen. Then later in life, it produces helium when hydrogen has finished its cycle. Later in a stars life, after the helium cycle will be other types of energy such as carbon, neon and silicon. At the end, iron is what's left and this alone degrades the star completely.
In other words, a star begins its life as a protostar in a nebula. The baby star is born as a small brown dwarf. It's developing stage of life with fusion ignition makes it grow into main sequence star, and then a mature red giant star. Then the star becomes a cold white dwarf star with low energy. A dying sun is a black dwarf star because it's not able to produce light or energy and is what remains of a luminous star.
Now onto the subject of fairies not liking iron, I've concluded that the paranormal (which consists of energy) reacts near a piece of iron. Either to recognise that iron is potentially lethal and could seriously damage, weaken or harm these beings as iron will eventually destroy the sun. And iron is found in certain meteorites that are more dangerous because they retain their size on entry. Perhaps the supernatural beings in folklore memory is just a distant genetic memory we have of a time when iron meant death.
Rayna (a.k. Rana Ulfa)
She Wolf Night