blather.net
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Paul Harrison, a 'Loch Ness Monster researcher' is said to be on the hunt for 'personal sightings, photographs or family stories' concerning Nessie in general, and a copy of the elusive 1930s MacRae film of the beast in particular. A shroud of doubt and obscurity surrounds this film since F.W. Holiday talked about it in his 1968 book *The Great Orm of Loch Ness*. I haven't myself read this book, but I have read variations of the tale -- Dr. MacRae, a retired doctor residing at Loch Duich had managed to capture the alleged beastie on film, at 100 yards or so. I recently perused Holiday's *The Dragon on the Disc* (ISBN 0-8600-7056-5, Norton ISBN: 0393063364), an interesting book, especially the accounts of Lionel Leslie planting 5lb of gelignite in Lough Fadda, Co. Galway in October 1965, in order to raise the beast witnessed by Georgina Carberry. Of Dragons *The...

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It was but a fortnight ago, on June 5th, that Blather casually predicted that an Irish UFO summer flap had begun, following rumours of UFO sightings in Co. Tipperary. That lackadaisical forecast proved to be surprisingly accurate, with reports of *more* allegations of HibernUFOs popping up on page 1 of the Roscommon Herald on Wednesday June 10th, 1998. The small sidebar mentions the newly formed *Western UFO Society* , who have already been deluged with reports of "flying saucers" in the sky above the Ballymote Road out of Boyle, Co. Roscommon, which could be seen for many miles around on the night of the 6th and morning of June 7th. The Herald claims to have come across several reports of 'three bright blue lights moving back and forwards slowly in the heavens'. No witnesses were named. More as we hear about it. Highly respected Thanks to the kind opitulation of...

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Having finally read previously neglected copy of John Keel's 1975 fortean classic The Mothman Prophecies, Blather would care to share with you a smidgen of its worth. Reading this thoroughly enjoyable book at this late stage has caused me no real loss either -- if I had read it back when I began delving into murky fortean literature, I may have enjoyed the book less, as I would have been very conscious of how to deal with the material therein -- after reading it now, it has allowed me to put many predominant cultural motifs into chronological context and mythical perspective. So what's it all about? Seen the movie Men In Black, or ever noticed all those eerie West Virginia episodes of the X-Files? I'm not a regular viewer of that particular TV programme, but according to what I'm told, there was episode which mentioned the Mothman, called Detour. Many...

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Previously on Blather, in *Baaaaah-Humbug*, and *Rocks from Irish Skies* , we mentioned the ongoing debacle at the Achill Island House of Prayer. Alleged stigmatic Mrs. Christina Gallagher and what appears to be a cult following of sorts have been claiming minor miracles there. Back before Christmas 1997, the Archbishop of Tuam held an inquiry, concluding that there was no evidence that "supernatural phenomena of whatever kind" was taking place at The House of Prayer. (Irish Times, December 17th 1997) Surrender to the Bishop On May 6th, The Connaught Telegraph told of a newly enforced Sunday Mass "ban" at the House of Prayer. Now, to cap it all, the House, which, according to the Irish Times, attracts 10,000 pilgrims and generates £500,000 locally ever year, is to close. Mrs. Gallagher announced that this is due to the restrictions placed on the centre and the prying involvement of the church, saying...

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A few months ago, Blather spent two issues telling the tale of the Irish Hell-Fire Club of the 1730s and 1740s, whilst exploring the available (and often apocryphal) evidence of the alleged 'satanic' behaviour of the ruling classes of the time. We now turn our attention to the English Hell-Fire Club, which operated from the late 1740s and into the 1760s. Ironically, this Club never really called itself a Hell-Fire Club - it had various other names dreamt up by its founder, Sir Francis Dashwood (later Lord Le Despencer), such as 'The Knights of St. Francis of Wycombe', or 'The Monks of Medmenham', but seems to have attracted the 'Hell-Fire' label through the organisation's reputation, echoing that of earlier clubs - suppression of 'Hell-Fire Clubs' had been enforced (quietly uselessly, it would seem) since 1721, suggesting that the clubs of later decades were more exclusive, and perhaps a little more...

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Photographs from the Hellfire Club, West Wycombe These photographs are quite old - for newer, better photographs, check out my photographs (2006) of the English Hellfire Club - Medmenham Abbey and the tunnels at West Wycombe Back to article... All photographs © Dave Walsh, and are available to purchase in high resolution format. For more details, contact us » Map of the West Wycombe Caves Entrance Tool Store Whitehead's Cave Lord Sandwich Circle Franklins Cave Children's Cave Banqueting Hall Triangle Miner's Cave River Styx Inner Temple ('XXII' refers to a marking on the wall, mentioned in a poem of the time... ) Sir Francis Dashwood The Entrance to the Caves Once more into the breach The Only Living... "Daemonic features abound... Hell-Fire Francis? Note the cross on its forehead... West Wycombe Church - 300 ft (91m) above the tunnels The Golden Ball The Dashwood Mausoleum photographs (2006) of the English...

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After an unreasonably quiet winter, we would appear to be on the cusp of the National Annual Summer Irish UFO Splurge. After the Blanchardstown report from April, we managed to remain calm and collected, but thanks to Paul Collins in The Munster Express of May 22nd any unfounded illusion of national sanity has been since been scuppered. Collins confides that he is "very sceptical about such matters and tend to make fun of them, but, in the interests of balance, I feel bound to mention a story from the front page of last week's Tipperary Star. A couple, described as 'highly respected members of the community' told the newspaper they saw an object in the sky between Derrynaflan and Killenaule on the night of February 28th last. "Because they did not want to face ridicule and be the butt of local jokes they decided to remain silent about their experience...

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On last week's show, Blather dealt with two reports of alleged Irish meteorite hits - both of which seemed to be accompanied by a considerable amount of spurious baggage. The Fermanagh incident With regard to the Co. Fermanagh incident of December 13th, I spoke to David Moore of Astronomy Ireland last weekend, who referred me to a full page article in the March 1998 issue of *Astronomy & Space* (available through the AI website), which I had somehow overlooked. The magazine has a photograph of the crater, showing a *very* boggy waterlogged field, with a muddy water-filled hole in the foreground. The hole is surrounded by clumps of wed sod, *suggesting* that they had been blown outwards from the hole. According to the article (which concurs with the Irish Times on the size of the hole, therefore hinting that this too is the correct measurement as measured by Armagh Planetarium),...

blather.net
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Not one, but *two* alleged Irish meteorite sites have come to the attention of Blather this week. Firstly, UFO Roundup, via the UK UFO Network (who are now presumably claiming responsibility over rocks that fall from the sky), reported on a 'mysterious crater' discovered on farmland near Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, in January 1998. Armagh Planetarium apparently investigated, where they are said to have found a 'circular crater six feet in diameter filled with water', along with a 'badly-damaged milk churn'. The report went on to state how 'investigators found a 1.5 millimetre bead of glass' which was possibly from the meteorite. Blather was a little suspicious about such news -- but did a little back-tracking, and discovered an Irish Times report on the incident. It was from the 'In the North' section of the Thursday, January 29th, 1998 issue, and stated how, based on investigations by Planetarium director Tom Mason...

blather.net
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Irish UFO After what seems to have been a lull, a new Irish UFO report has come to our attention, this time in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Blather would have reported this much earlier, but a) there was no real hurry, and b) we were far too busy regaling you with tales of the UnCon. The reports state that on April 2, 1998 at around 5pm, a certain David Martin was perambulating towards *The Bell* public house, when he saw "an object flash across the sky. It stopped and hovered over my head. It seemed circular in shape. It flew off to the east in the direction of Raheny". According to one report, the object was red. While a 'typical' sort of report, Blanchardstown is a well populated suburban area in North West Dublin, and I've yet to hear any more reports of UFOs in broad daylight there. Blather shall look into...