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This sign for the city of Woolpit, was erected in 1977, in memory of the green skinned chileren.

This sign for the city of Woolpit, was erected in 1977, in memory of the green skinned children.

Some of you may recall, my recent story about the Blue Skinned People of Kentucky. After writing that, I recently came across a story even stranger than that; the mystery of the green skinned children.

First Discovery!

In a village known as Woolpit, located in Suffolk, England, two children were discovered beside a wolf pit, from whence the village got its name. Wolf pits were deep pits into which offal, intestines and anything not eaten, was thrown and covered over with branches, as a trap for wolves. The children seemed to be brother and sister, and alarmingly, their skin was green. They were said to speak an unknown language and they would eat nothing but beans.

Respected Writers Reported The Event

Two writers of the time, Ralph of Coggeshall (died 1226) and William of Newburgh (1136–1198) wrote about the abrupt appearance of the two green skinned children during the summertime of one year in the 12th century. These men were respected religious people, whose word was not subject to disbelief. William wrote an account in his Historia rerum Anglicarum that, he said, was “based on reports from a number of trustworthy sources.” However, Ralph’s version in his Chronicum Anglicanum was taken from a report given by Sir Richard de Caine of Wykes, who was said to have given the green children shelter in his home, north of Woolpit.

Visitors From An Underground World?

The boy was not well, and a short time after they were found, sickened and died. The girl went on to learn English, and explained she and her brother had come from an underground land known as St. Martin’s Land. According to her account, everyone there was green. She said they became lost through an underground tunnel, after following cattle into a cave.They then found themselves beside the wolf pit.

Wedded Respectably In Spite Of Reputation

As she matured, she was said to be rather wild and loose in her behavior, however she eventually married a local royal official, Richard Barre. She was given the Anglican name of Agnes and worked as a servant in the household of Richard de Caine, who had taken her in. It’s said that her skin lost its green sheen as she grew older. There is also no record of children she may have born.

Differing Hypotheses

Fast forward to the present day: there are hypotheses that the green children were symbolic of a “green” spirit in Celtic literature, which means a sinless young woman married an “evil” man; or that it is a way of referring to racial differences obliquely, not directly. Some lay their appearance to extraterrestrials, people from another planet. Other scholars have differing theories; one being that the children suffered from chlorosis, a deficiency of the blood which gives one the appearance of green skin, another being that it’s simply a fantasy story. Their language difficulty could have been that they were from another country, but even then, there were educated people who could have spoken their language. None, evidently, were found.

Is The Story True? What Do You Think?

In any case, the folks in Woolpit, in Suffolk, England will be happy to tell you it’s true. But then, why shouldn’t they? It makes an interesting tale for a visitor.

Other Stories, Plus This One, Available In Book Form

Celts have long believed in “The Green Man,” which could be another part of the story of the green skinned children. Yet another author has written a fanciful story about a “Green Child.” Still another has written the actual story about Woolpit’s green children, “Children From The Sky.” I submit both of them here for your pleasure.

Children from the Sky

The Green Child