What is a 'fae trap'? Meaning explored as mythological term goes viral

Eve Edwards October 3, 2022
What is a 'fae trap'? Meaning explored as mythological term goes viral
Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

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If you’ve been on TikTok and stumbled across a ‘fae trap’, then you might be surprised to learn the phrase’s origins date back centuries – let’s take a look at its meaning.

Last month saw a video go viral on TikTok of two girls stumbling across an ‘obvious fae trap’. This was a new concept to many TikTok users who hadn’t come across the phrase before.

In light of this video, some have fallen down a folklore rabbit hole to understand what a fae trap is and its significance in fairy folklore over the past centuries.

1825-1909

What is a fae?

Fae are a mythical or spiritual creature found in folklore around the world. It can also be spelled fay, fey, fair folk, or faerie. They take many forms dependent on the folklore in which they are found. But they are best known to be associated with nature and inhabitants of natural spaces.

The most common fae we hear about in spiritual folklore are pixies and elves, but there are many more fae folk. It serves largely as an umbrella term for the fae folk that is rooted in the Otherworld.

Some folklore suggests there can be ‘house fae’, an example of this being brownies, a household spirit of Hobgoblin found in Scottish folklore.

Meaning of a ‘fae trap’ explored

Like humans, the fae can be benevolent or malevolent. In general, they prefer to avoid contact with humankind, although those who do sometimes like to be meddlesome and set traps.

A fae trap is one set by the fae to trap humans in. They usually appear in nature and wild spaces where the fae rule supreme.

If caught in a fae trap, you can be kidnapped and taken to the fairie realm or the Otherworld. Other reports say you can be forced to dance until you lose your mind or perish from exhaustion if caught in a fae trap such as a fairy ring.

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Examples of fae traps

Whether you know it or not, there’s a high chance you’ve unknowingly stumbled across a fae trap throughout your life – be that in person or through media.

Examples of fae traps include fairy rings (a ring of mushrooms) and something natural that appears to catch your eye, for example an orb of light or a plant moving irregularly.

TikTok users have taken to the internet to share examples of fae traps they’ve come into contact with.

TikTok user avoids ‘obvious fae trap’

Earlier this summer, a TikTok user shared a video in which you can hear them say: “The most obvious fae trap I’ve ever seen.” This is then followed by her warning her friend not to touch the trap – which was a coffee cup placed in the middle of a walking path. “No Maria, you’re going to get kidnapped,” one of the video creators says to the other.

This quickly became picked up as a viral sound on TikTok. Soon after, other users began creating videos of fae traps they’d stumbled across using the audio: “The most obvious fae trap I’ve ever seen.”

The latest viral video of a fae trap was published in September. A TikTok user stumbled across a dancing fern while on a walk, believing it to be a fae trap.

Check out some more fae traps TikTok users have stumbled across below:

@calamity_payne

This is a little weird #altar hidden in the corner of the property. No one knows how it got there or when it appeared #faetrap#mostobviousfaetrap#fae#faethings#goblinkin#calamitypayne

♬ mAHrEiAhNOoOooOOo – Duck boi 🦆
Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.