It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The girl enjoyed continual good health; and becoming accustomed to various kinds of food, lost completely that green colour, and gradually recovered the sanguine habit of her entire body. She was afterwards regenerated by the layer of holy baptism, and lived for many years in the service of that knight (as I have frequently heard from him and his family), and was rather loose and wanton in her conduct.Being frequently asked about the people of her country, she asserted that the inhabitants, and all they had in that country, were of a green colour; and that they saw no sun, but enjoyed a degree of light like what is after sunset. Being asked how she came into this country with the aforesaid boy, she replied, that as they were following their flocks, they came to a certain cavern, on entering which they heard a delightful sound of bells; ravished by whose sweetness, they went for a long time wandering on through the cavern, until they came to its mouth. When they came out of it, they were struck senseless by the excessive light of the sun, and the unusual temperature of the air; and they thus lay for a long time. Being terrified by the noise of those who came on them, they wished to fly, but they could not find the entrance of the cavern before they were caught."
At length, by degrees, they changed their original colour, through the natural effect of our food, and became like ourselves, and also learned our language. It seemed fitting to certain discreet persons that they should receive the sacrament of baptism, which was administered accordingly. The boy, who appeared to be the younger, surviving the baptism but a little time, died prematurely; his sister, however, continued in good health, and differed not in the least from the women of our own country. Afterwards, as it is reported, she was married at Lynne, and was living a few years since, at least, so they say.
Moreover, after they had acquired our language, on being asked who and whence they were, they are said to have replied, 'We are inhabitants of the land of St Martin, who is regarded with peculiar veneration in the country which gave us birth.' Being further asked where that land was, and how they came thence hither, they answered, ' We are ignorant of both those circumstances; we only remember this, that on a certain day, when we were feeding our father's flocks in the fields, we heard a great sound, such as we are now accustomed to hear at St Edmund's, when the bells are chiming; and whilst listening to the sound in admiration, we became on a sudden, as it were, entranced, and found ourselves among you in the fields where you were reaping.' Being questioned whether in that land they believed in Christ, or whether the sun arose, they replied that the country was Christian, and possessed churches; but said they, ' The sun does not rise upon our countrymen; our land is little cheered by its beams; we are contented with that twilight, which, among you, precedes the sunrise, or follows the sunset. Moreover, a certain luminous country is seen, not far distant from ours, and divided from it by a very considerable river.'
In 1997, astronomer Duncan Lunan, assistant curator at Scotland’s Airdrie Observatory, offered a much more dramatic solution. Speaking in London at the annual conference (UnConvention) held by the popular British magazine Fortean Times, he proposed that the green children were actually aliens who had accidentally been transported to Earth from another planet by a malfunctioning matter transmitter.
Other theories proffered at one time or another include:
• The possibility that our planet is hollow and that the green children had emerged from a hidden world contained within Earth’s interior.
• They were immigrants from northern Scandinavia, where there is less light than in sunny Suffolk.
• They are personifications of Nature, hence akin to the Green Man or Jack-in-the-Green.
• Traditional Woolpit belief claims that they were real-life “babes in the wood,” having been abandoned in the nearby forest by an evil uncle seeking to claim their inheritance for himself.
According to their most persistent researcher, however, the origin of the green children is much more straightforward, and local, than any of those mentioned above. In an extensive paper published by the scholarly periodical Fortean Studies in 1998, Paul Harris produced the following scenario as a comprehensive explanation of the green children episode:
Prior to the time of Henry II (and the most popular date for the green children’s appearance is 1173, which falls within his reign), eastern England had witnessed a steady influx of Flemish merchants and weavers from Belgium. Once Henry II became king, however, they suffered great persecution, and at a battle near Bury St. Edmunds in 1173, many were slaughtered. Harris proposed that the green children were of Flemish parentage and had probably originated from or near the village of Fornham St. Martin (thus explaining their mysterious St. Martin’s Land), situated just a few miles northwest of Woolpit and separated from it by the River Lark.
According to Harris’s theory, it could be that their parents had been killed, but the two children had successfully escaped the carnage by fleeing into Thetford Forest. Its shadowy depths would certainly seem like twilight to two young, scared children. And if they had lingered there for any length of time without obtaining much food, they may well have suffered from malnutrition-one effect of which, called chlorosis, is a gradual greening of the skin.
Eventually, following what Harris believes to have been the sound of the church bells at nearby Bury St. Edmunds, they may have wandered into one of the many underground mine passages associated with Thetford and ultimately leading to Woolpit. Here, when they later emerged in a bewildered state, with starvation-induced greenish pallor, disoriented by the bright sunlight after having spent so long in the forest and underground passageways, dressed in unfamiliar Flemish costumes, and speaking an equally unfamiliar Flemish dialect, they would certainly have presented a very strange spectacle to the Woolpit villagers.
Harris’s theory is very interesting and provides convincing explanations for many of the story’s enigmatic facets. Today, the green children, like the wolves, are long gone from Woolpit, but their memory lives on in a beautiful village sign here, and also in the banner of Woolpit’s church. They may also live on in a much more literal manner. While conducting his own research, Duncan Lunan was contacted by an American who sent him a copy of his family tree, which suggested that he was a descendant of Agnes. If this is indeed true, then the saga of Woolpit’s green children may still have some notable surprises to unfold even today.