The Connaught Telegraph of 14th January 1998 tells us that ‘Eerie occurrences haunt Government buildings‘, in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Staff at local government offices have reported regular appearances of a ‘ghost’ clad in an Aran sweater and a hat with a downturned brim. The appearances are apparently linked to a building extension which is being constructed on land once owned by the infamous Lord Lucan, the 7th Earl of Lucan, a British aristocrat and professional gambler. He vanished on 7th November 1974, after apparently bungling a murder of his wife, and rather successfully dispatching his children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, at their London home. He has been declared ‘financially dead’, but his son, merchant banker Lord Bingham (29) insists that his father is dead with respect to peerage, as he wants to inherit the title, and a seat in the British House of Lords. There have been hundreds of unconfirmed sightings, and rumours that he is alive and living in an African country (Namibia has been mentioned).
The newspaper’s article also mentions the proximity of the site to a ‘fairy fort’ – nothing necessarily to do with the paranormal, I’m afraid, more likely a ring or promontory fort.
A porter at Davitt House, a Mr Sean McDonagh, was quoted as saying “Over half a dozen people have seen the strange visitor in recent times. But when they followed it into several offices, it just disappeared into thin air. The ghost has also been heard coughing and making other noises in the building. The situation has become so serious that some female staff members are reluctant to walk the corridors alone, particularly after dark.”
The most recent of the alleged sightings took place on Saturday last (10th January) when ‘strange noises were heard emanating from an unoccupied portion of the building’.
The report closes with a comment by Mr McDonagh reckoning that it ‘was time that the authorities got to the bottom of the uncanny occurrences and put an end to people’s fears once and for all’.
[Thanks to the fabulous Niamh McManus of Local Ireland for bringing this story to our attention.]
See also The Lucan Review
BRING ME THE GLOB ON SILVER PLATTER, PLEASE – NOW
Great assemblages of essays have been recorded in the last week concerning blobs, globs and blubber, most of which was found lying on a beach at Arthur’s River, Tasmania, on Wednesday 7th January. We here at Blather Kontrol pride ourselves by avoiding any symptoms of *ignoramus terriblus* in this regard. Twas only on the 14th of October that the fine people in CNN announced that ‘Mysterious sea creature washes up on New Zealand beach ‘. I’m sure they mean, or meant, ‘washed’.
But the stinking mass of matter marooned sometime prior to January 8th caused many quills to be put to parchment, and all sorts of strange creatures were proposed to have been its original incarnation. Opinions were voiced, and ITV Lunchtime News on the 8th of January reported that ‘experts’ had identified it as whale blubber.
Tom Morten in the The Scotsman told us that it was ‘4.6 metres long, 1.8m wide, hairy with flipper-like arms’, and that it weighed some 4 tonnes. Mr Morten’s comments regarding the interest of the ‘world-wide band of so-called crypto-zoologists’ does not go unnoticed, especially considering it’s spelled ‘cryptozoologist’, without the ‘-‘. The WWWebster Dictionary tells that the word dates to 1969, describing it as ‘the study of the lore concerning legendary animals (as Sasquatch) especially in order to evaluate the possibility of their existence’.
Loren Coleman makes some interesting comments on the history of the word. The word was coined by Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, *after* the publication of his marvellous ‘On the Track of Unknown Mammals’, and its first published use was by Lucien Blancou in 1959, in a book dedicated to Bernard Heuvelmans, master of cryptozoology.’ Dr. Roy Mackal tell us that: ‘… the term ‘cryptozoology’ seems to me particularly appropriate, coming as it does from the Greek work *kryptos*, meaning ‘hidden.’ ‘unknown,’ ‘secret,’ ‘enigmatic,’ ‘mysterious’; hence literally the study of hidden animals” (Searching for Hidden Animals , Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980, p. xi ISBN: 0385148976)’, and Dr. Karl Shuker notes that ‘cryptozoology’ can be literally translated as ‘the study of hidden life’ (The Lost Ark, London: HarperCollins, 1993, p. 11). Coleman expresses the opinion that Shuker is ‘perhaps thus too broadly encompassing plants and other nonanimal forms’.
But I digress.
On the 11th of January 1998, The South China Morning Post reported that the ‘experts’ had done an about-turn. ‘They initially dismissed the find as whale blubber or a giant squid – saying that the coarse white hairs on its skin were the product of exposure to the sun.’
The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service admitted that it had been too hasty with its verdict were refraining from drawing a further conclusion until DNA testing had been performed. Biologist Irynej Skira was quoted: ‘We have no idea what it is. The two rangers couldn’t make head or tail of it. It was just an amorphous mass of connective tissue. It must be from a very big animal.’ Biologist Barry Bruce said: ‘We have a big smelly monster from the deep – it is a mystery’.
Then they about-turned… again…
On 13th January, The Examiner (Tasmania) told that us the story had been finally put to bed by CSIRO marine biologist Barry Bruce, of Hobart, who examined the globster carcass with officers from Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.
‘We can see how some people got excited about the remains based on the initial photographs,’ said Mr Bruce. Yes, and they apparently became terribly confused by the real thing too, Mr Bruce.
‘Before an examination, the most plausible explanations were that it was going to be a piece of whale blubber or shark tissue and once an inspection had been made, it was obvious the remains were blubber from a whale that would have died at sea and decayed before washing ashore.
‘But it is important that we take the investigation one step further to establish the species of whale and therefore provide a more accurate record on strandings to remove some of the mystery in future.
Mr Bruce told The Examiner that the ‘dried sinews on the surface of the remains gave the appearance of matted hair’.
And then Mr Irynej Skira, put us at our ease, by concluding that from ‘an examination of the remains, it was a simple to rule out the monster theory that prevailed in the media for several days’.
Very neat, Mr Skira — and we gather that there is only one Mr Irynej Skira, and not two individuals of wildly different opinions.
Here’s Dr. Karl Shuker’s opinion on ‘globsters’ from Strange Magazine #15, Spring 1995
‘When basking shark carcasses begin to decompose, the entire gill apparatus falls away, taking with it the shark’s characteristic jaws, and leaving behind only its small cranium and its exposed backbone, which have the appearance of a small head and a long neck. The triangular dorsal fin also rots away, sometimes leaving behind the rays, which can look a little like a mane–especially when the fish’s skin also decays, allowing the underlying muscle fibers and connective tissue to break up into hairlike growth. Additionally, the end of the backbone only runs into the top fluke of the tail, which means that during decomposition the lower tail fluke falls off, leaving behind what looks like a long slender tail. The pectoral and sometimes the pelvic fins remain attached, but become distorted, so that they can (with a little imagination!) look like legs with feet and toes, and male sharks have a pair of leglike copulatory organs called claspers, which would yield a third pair of legs. Suddenly, the basking shark has become a hairy six-legged sea serpent!’
Blather, by the way, had fierce trouble trying to locate so much as a vague blurry image of the Tasmanian Glob *anywhere* online. Not a screed of a globster anywhere. We decided to construct a model glob, and the Nua Special Effects Team were duly despatched to Sandymount Strand, armed with a quivering plate of lemon jelly, a tin of tuna, and a disposable camera. We have not heard from them since, and fear the worst. They have been listed as missing in action.
SEVERAL OF OUR BOMBS ARE STILL MISSING
Very early subscribers to Blather may recall issue one, which dealt with the hysteria surrounding the disappearance of a USAF A-10 bomber on April 2nd. It’s back the in news again, because although the U.S. Air Force found the wreckage of the aircraft all over the side of a mountain, they can’t quite locate the four 500-pound MK-82 bombs that were on board.
Major Joseph LaMarca, a spokesman for Air Force Combat Command said that “You’d think that we would have at least found some fragments from them, some piece of a bomb,”. “We recovered most of the wreckage, but no parts of the bombs whatsoever.” Eh, whoops. The search of New York Mountain, Colorado, is set to resume in the spring. (FOX News, 15th January, 1998)
EXHALING INTO OUR OWN WIND INSTRUMENTS
On the flattering request of Patrick Huyghe, editor of that erudite journal ‘The Anomalist‘, this Blatherskite has seen fit to disgorge a shaky treatise on the tenuous relationships between vertically migrating eels, dead skydivers, falling frogs and flying saucers, entitled ‘Super-Sargasso Surfin‘.