This week it looks like the silly season has really kicked in, this time with an army boot.
On page 29 of The People (British newspaper), Sunday, July 13, there was an article entitled ‘SAS In Alien Riddle’, which told of the experiences of eight SAS soldiers waiting to ambush IRA gunmen in south Co. Armagh, in Northern Ireland. They were lying in wait, by an arms cache, when they saw ‘up to four grey figures’. The ‘aliens’ and the soldiers exchanged stares, then the ‘aliens’ disappeared, and seconds later the soldiers witnessed a ‘flash in the sky’.
The SAS men were so freaked out by the situation that the ambush was aborted, and they left the scene. Their commander (who doesn’t seem to have been present) was understandably livid, and accusations were levelled concerning drug use (If someone has managed to invent a drug that causes consensus hallucinations, i.e. that it could cause eight SAS men to have the same hallucination, wouldn’t you reckon that one of the big entertainment companies would want to sell it? It would make cinema obsolete. ‘What are you doing tonight?’, ‘Oh we’re having a family night in, we’re going to have a Dinosaurs From Outer Space hallucination’).
Interestingly, Blather had to dig halfway through the 300 word article to discover that the alleged incident took place four years ago, and only now has it been unearthed by a former army intelligence officer to a Ulster UFO study group.
As the purported incident happened in South Armagh, we are given to wonder about the involvement of The Irish Centre for UFO Studies, who have already been mentioned in Blathers 1.3, 1.8 and 1.9.
Speaking of Northern Ireland — as if it wasn’t in the news enough already — Fortean Times [FT101:24] recently reported the shooting dead of an African caracal lynx in Fintona, Co. Tyrone on February 17th. It was wearing a collar, and was reckoned to be an escaped pet. A great pity it was shot, as the lynx is now a seriously threatened species, and action is currently being taken in Norway against the hunting of the Eurasian lynx . In the same issue of Fortean Times (FT101:54), Alan Pringle of Somerset, U.K. writes that the the antelope found in Co. Wexford (See Blather 1.4 ) was a Sitatunga — Tragelaphus spekei and not a a Nyala — Tragelaphus angasii.
The Sitatunga is a semi-aquatic species easily purchased from exotic animal dealers, and apparently Belfast zoo has some. It’s supposed that the Sitatunga or Nyala or whatever it is escaped from a collectors menagerie, although Mr. Pringle ponders on the possibility of the antelope swimming here.
Coincidentally, the July 1997 issue of the BBC magazine ‘Wildlife’ has a rather hyperbolic cover story entitled the ‘Beasts of Dublin — Craze for macho pets lets loose wild animals on the streets’, written by Mark Bristow. The article shows a picture of what appears to be a panther with the caption ‘Guard cat. Dangerous wild animals are now status symbols in Dublin’s back streets’.
The article goes on to discuss the British ‘Dangerous Wild Animals Act’ which for some weird reason leaves Northern Ireland exempt, and that Ireland has no laws regarding this at all. While the lack of legislation is certainly, to the best of Blather’s information, true, your humble Blatherskite is a resident of Dublin’s city centre, and the only wild animals I’ve come across in the back streets are the odd deranged domesticated primate (homo sapiens), and perhaps the occasional fox or squirrel.
Although there does seem to be a growing market for exotic animals, it’s much more subtle than Wildlife magazine claims it to be. The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has rescued dozens of animals which were being badly treated and kept in confined spaces. In one seizure alone, in 1995, two baboons, a pair of breeding tigers with a cub suffering from rickets, and a Canadian black bear were taken from a ‘large’ house in Co. Limerick.
Last year during a ‘routine’ drugs raid in a Dublin suburb, a jaguar and a serval were found in the garage of the house being raided. At Christmas, in Swords in North Dublin, a tiger cub was rescued and sent to a sanctuary in the USA. Apparently one can purchase a lynx for about IR500 pounds and cougars for less, at IR300-IR400.
Them Big Cats
Keeping dangerous animals as pets (and their escapes) is by no means a problem restricted to Ireland. Paul Sieveking of Fortean Times does an annual round-up of Alien Big Cat sightings in the UK. See the most recent issue (FT101:23) for the 1996 survey. I’m not going to go into it here — see the webpage — but there are dozens of reported sightings of big cats wandering about the UK.
Blather has received all sorts of interesting mail recently. Kevin O’Callaghan of the Celtic Chronicles in Oregon, USA, (which recently reprinted Blather 1.3 ‘Intergalactic Tourists Hit Cork?’) wonders if the Bantry UFO sightings were linked to a new batch of poteen (illicit whiskey) having arrived on the market. Brant Boucher, in Canada, reckons that ‘THEY have gotten to the local sheep farmers.’
Brother Blue, B:.B: of the Sublime Lodge of the Holy Blue Brethren contacted us concerning the Raining Toad Phenomena , and told us that he ‘could not help but wonder if this were some not sort of Act of God — as if to inform the Mexican Pharaoh and his Legion of INS Agents that it is time to “Let My People Go”.’
In conclusion, there’s been a deluge of new subscriptions to Blather recently, and many folk are just coming on board to catch this issue, the tenth Blather. We often make references to earlier issues, all of which can be found in the archives
Happy Hunting. . .
Dave (daev) Walsh
17 July 1997