Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support the news you rely on from NHPR and NPR with a gift today!

Who Is Putting Tiny Doors On Storefronts In Ann Arbor


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.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.