Who Is Putting Tiny Doors On Storefronts In Ann Arbor

Originally published on July 7, 2013 2:21 pm
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Over the last several years, residents in Ann Arbor, Michigan have noticed a magical phenomenon around town: a series of very tiny doors have appeared around the streets. Sounded like a mystery worth looking into, so we have reached out to Jonathan Wright. He runs a website called Urban Fairies Operations and he knows a lot about this mysterious phenomenon. Thanks so much for joining us, Mr. Wright.

JONATHAN WRIGHT: Thank you, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, when did these tiny little doors start to appear?

WRIGHT: Oh, in 1993 we discovered the first one.

MARTIN: And how many doors are we talking about here?

WRIGHT: Well, they seem to come and go, but currently there are eight doors that are in public places.

MARTIN: And what do they look like? Are they distinct or are they copies of other doors?

WRIGHT: Each is unique and each one looks a bit like a miniature human door. In fact, they kind of blend into the host building. They may match it or at least are homogenous with it.

MARTIN: And how do you know fairies use these doors?

WRIGHT: Well, that's largely speculative but it's based on a lot of circumstantial evidence: sightings by small children that report seeing fairies and whatnot. But it's still open to debate, I think.

MARTIN: I understand that children sometimes leave gifts in front of these doors. Is that right?

WRIGHT: That's correct. That was something that wasn't really anticipated. And I've asked some of the children who left them why they do that, and in general it's a sign of goodwill and also with the hopes of bringing good luck.

MARTIN: What kind of gifts do they leave?

WRIGHT: Ha. There's a large range of gifts that could be as simple as a penny or it might be a handwritten note. There have been miniature socks that have been knitted, a tiny, tiny dime-sized pancake was left at a fairy door, drawings. There's quite the range.

MARTIN: Do fairies like pancakes?

WRIGHT: That's a good question. It disappeared, so I'm inclined to think that they might.

MARTIN: Is there a special element that must exist on all these tiny doors? Is there some special fairy ingredient that must be present to make it a magical fairy portal?

WRIGHT: I think the most important aspect is the imagination of those who are observing it.

MARTIN: Jonathan Wright. He calls himself a fairyologist, and he tracks the appearance of a series of mysterious fairy doors around Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mr. Wright, thank you so much.

WRIGHT: Well, thank you, Rachel.


MARTIN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.