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* [first I heard of ’em too], who have already been deluged with reports of “flying saucers” in the sky above the Ballymote Road out of Boyle, Co. Roscommon, [Yes, *there* again – search Blather for a mention of Boyle] 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.
Thanks to the kind opitulation of Julie at the *Tipperary Star*, Blather has procured a copy of an article with a headline of *U.F.O. — couple claim sighting at Killenaule* from the Saturday 16th of May 1998 issue, penned by one John Guiton.
The piece tells of how an unnamed but ‘highly respected’ husband and wife claim to have witnessed ‘an enormous object, resembling “a battleship” moving slowly over a vast area of bogland at Killeens, near Killenaule’, not far away from Derrynaflan where a famous Christian treasure hoard was unearthed in 1980.
It was 10:15 on a Saturday night — February 28th last, the weather dry and clear. The couple were in the Cooldine area while travelling from Killenaule to Littleton. The wife was in the passenger seat, and she asked her husband to stop the car to look at an airborne object said to be 250ft wide (76.2m) and 100ft (30.48m) high. It hovered at around 400ft (121.9m) before silently drifting off towards Derrynaflan, a distance of about a mile, where it suddenly disappeared.
According to the article, before noticing the UFO, she had sighted an aircraft — however, there is no explanation as to the significance of this — could the UFO have been a plane? Could the the plane have been misidentified, or rather become unidentified?
Ball of Light
The husband said that ‘the object seemed to hover for a few seconds, as if its occupants had seen their car’. This, as many Blather readers will realise, is a common experience associated with BOL (ball of light) phenomena, an impression of interaction which appears even in cases of so-called ‘ball-lightning’ when seen *in* peoples homes. There are stories of witnesses, such as geologists Wright and Kenney playing desert *cat-and-mouse* with phenomena such as the Marfa Lights on March 19th 1973:
“They both had the distinct impression that it knew exactly where they were and that it was just daring them to chase it”.
(Kenney, Pat and Wright, Elwood, *The Enigma of Marfa – An Unexplained Phenomenon*, unpublished account, written in third person and quoted at length in Paul Devereux’s ‘Earth Lights Revelation‘ Blandford 1989 ISBN 0-7137-2209-6. The book contains many other accounts of apparent intelligence displayed by anomalous lights)
The *Tipperary Star* quoted the man’s description of the UFO; “The object had lights, three on one side and two on the other, but they were not flashing lights. There was no beam from them at all. It had panels, as distinct from windows, with vertical lines in the panels. Although there no intensity of light from the object it was clear to see in the distance. I kept my eyes firmly fixed on it all the way, but while I blinked it suddenly disappeared.”
The couple informed the *Tipperary Star* that while they were *aware* of UFOs, they hadn’t paid too much attention to the matter. After their experience however, they were “convinced that it must have been a U.F.O.”. One wonders what they would have identified it as rather than identifying it as an Unidentified Flying object.
They kept quiet about the matter for some time, in fear of ridicule, but decided to come forward in May, after reading of various alleged sightings in the UK. The are said to be anxious to get to the bottom of this matter. . .
. . .and so am I. If any readers in the midlands have comments to pass on this matter, feel free to contact Blather — allegations of alcohol abuse will be instantly disregarded.
Attempted abduction in Co. Wicklow
Or so read the headline in *UPDATE* (email news service from RTE Online ) on June 11th.
Unfortunately for the pro alien-abductionists who walk among us, this near-miss abduction was not quite so fantastic as to include greys, saucers and anal probes, but instead involved a sinister Bogus Social Worker (BSW).
A woman described as being her late 20s, 5’7″ (1.7m) in height, blonde, wearing a brown skirt suit, a white polo neck and carrying a briefcase called to a house near Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, claiming that she was a Public Health Nurse who had to take a baby boy away for vaccinations. She knew the boy’s name and date of birth, but when the mother requested identification, the BSW upped sticks and left. The Eastern Health Board has issued warnings following he incident, advising people to be vigilant.
This kind of carry-on is not unknown — and perhaps not linked to child abuse. The BSWs are generally well-spoken, well dressed and well informed, especially of many personal details about their potential victims. Females BSWs seem to be the most common, but couples and the odd male are not unknown.
According to Bob Rickard in Fortean Times 77:36, British police feel that the cases are mixture of legitimate callers, e.g. Mormons or even *real* council workers, self appointed child abuse vigilantes, private detectives or relatives involved in child-custody cases or marital disputes, burglars reconnoitring prospective victims, while a select few are thought to be connected to alleged *networks* of paedophiles, who somehow get ‘off’ on the thrill of the chase. As Rickard says, ‘this is pure conjecture’.
As Rickard points out in FT66:48, ‘like the enigmatic Men-in-Black (MIB) of UFO fame, the BSWs are sometimes quite ignorant about those they have come to see; yet, at other times, they seem to know intimate details.’
As women are *generally* speaking (with, of course, exceptions) not involved in paedophilia, the BSWs apparently hidden agenda lends itself to a creation of hysteria, not unlike the speculation prevalent in MIB lore. One agenda doesn’t seem to have been pondered upon however — could some of these cases be matters of attempted kidnapping by distraught women, who have perhaps lost a child or cannot have one? This cause has been linked to infant-snatches from incubators in maternity hospitals. . .
Fortean Times has kept an eye on waves of BSW appearances, with articles in the following issues:
FT57:43-5 The Case of the Phantom Social Workers – Mike Dash
FT61:36 Social Panics – Bob Rickard
FT66:48-9 The Spectral Inspectorate – Bob Rickard
FT77:36-8 Fear on the Doorstep – Bob Rickard
FT87:18 It’s All Right Missus, We’re From the Social – Joe McNally
FT98:14-15 Return of the Bogus Social Workers
The last one, FT98, includes several Irish cases from 1996, one in Limerick where a four year old was examined by a BSW in late November, December 11th, when a man and woman tried to snatch a 17 month old girl from her mother in Berrings, Co. Cork, while two days later –just a few miles away, two unspecified BSWs were sent packing by a baby minder in Blarney when they didn’t produce identification. (Irish Times Dec 17th 1996)
(Thanks to Mike Dash, Paul Sieveking, Bill Jacobs and Andy Cobley for helping me track down the FT articles)
Failed Memory Syndrome
While conjuring up last week’s treatise on the Mothman, this harum-scarum Blatherbunion managed to magically omit mentioning the forthcoming Mothman movie. Fortunately, occasional Blatherer Loren Coleman was quick to inform Blather’s ranting rantipole of his glaring omission.
According to *[link dead: Done Deal]*, Lakeshore Entertainment are making the movie of *The Mothman Prophecies* which ‘centers on the life of a reporter who, when his wife dies, decides to leave his paper and set out on a new adventure–that of investigating a small Southern town where strange events have been occurring and this ex-reporter comes to the conclusion that there has been an alien visitation’.
Dave (daev) Walsh
June 19th 1998