While endeavouring to steer clear of any more weak puns regarding Boyle, Co. Roscommon, things *do* appear to have come to a head — again. A surprisingly hefty article appeared on page 4 of The Irish Independent on Saturday July 11th 1998, containing much apocrypha drawn by journalist Ian Doherty from Eamon Ansbro (of ICUFOS) — often spoken about in previous Blathers — and Betty Myler, a spokesperson of the newly formed 15-member Western UFO Society in Boyle (mentioned previously in *Prophecies Fulfilled*).
Doherty first focuses on Myler; ‘”People never really looked up to the sky before, so they weren’t seeing any alien activity,”‘ she says. She doesn’t say *before what*. I will agree that to some extent, that ‘people’ just don’t look up — those who have lived or worked in the upper floors of buildings will know that passers-by are usually oblivious to the fact that they’re being observed from above.
However, besides this, and certainly before the widespread urban and suburban implementation of street lights, people *certainly* did look up. In fact, anyone who can escape the pop culture tripwire of the alleged Roswell incident will be aware that humanity has quite a history of skywatching, and a cursory examination of most languages will unearth day-to-day references to the sky, movies *stars* etc.
Lines, lines, lines
‘”There are a lot of megalithic tombs around the Boyle area, and Boyle is also placed on a ley line, the invisible magnetic lines that circle the earth.”‘, The Independent reports Myler as saying. Blather had to go outside for a breath of fresh air before considering which face of that statement is best attempted.
Even considering the possibility of hyperbole or misquotation, Myler is saying quite a lot, yet little of use. There are certainly possible connections between ancient sites and UFO sightings — demonstrated in many cases, notably by the *Anders* case in Vallentuna, Sweden on March 23rd 1974 (See an account in *Perspectives* by John Spencer, 1989, ISBN 0-7088-4778-1) and Devereux’s studies of the Mochras Fault in Wales ( see *Earthlight Revelations: UFOs and Mystery Lightform Phenomena * by Paul Devereux, 1989, ISBN: 0-7137-2209-6).
Cart and Horse
In this case however, I sense a classic case of putting the ufological cart before the megalithic horse. Examples of such cases — including those mentioned above *do not* claim that megalithic sites are popular picnic spots for Betelgeusian tourists, but rather argue that particular sites became important in early times due to environmental phenomena — i.e. that some such sites may *cause* anomalous phenomena, such as lights. As for ley lines — referring to them as ‘invisible magnetic lines that circle the earth’ is nothing less, at this point in time, than new-age claptrap.
Alfred Watkins coined the term back in 1921, to describe the apparent alignments of ancient sites in Britain and other countries, the existence of which had already been claimed by 19th-century antiquarians. Aerial photography has since shown that that much of the earlier ley research was inaccurate, calling much of the original faith in exact alignments into question. During the 1960s, the concept got somehow dragged into collusion with the vague concept “earth energies”, and hence the off-rack ‘magnetic energy lines’ bunkum we are stuck with today.
I passed Paul Devereux, formerly an editor of *The Ley-Hunter* and author of *Shamanism and the Mystery Lines* [ISBN: 087542189X], a copy of The Independent article, and his retort was rather illustrative of the situation:
‘Leys! I just couldn’t keep pace with all the nonsense that comes out about ‘ley lines’. Everyday someone gets the wrong idea and plasters it about in public. The subject area is a total mess as far as popular conception goes. I despair. And because of all the nonsense, people who would otherwise take the real core of the subject with interest instead dismiss it all as rubbish. A vicious circle.’
Air traffic aliens
Worse still, Myler continues, these ‘ley lines’ provide a form of ‘air traffic control for alien craft’. ‘”A lot of ancient tombs and ruins happen to be based and built upon these lines. Everybody knows about the lines in Peru, which are built on a ley line and have some obvious UFO connection. We know the tombs in Boyle cross a line and have some significance. We just don’t know exactly how.”‘
Myler refers here to, presumably, to the Nazca lines.
The lines, to be found on the pampa of Peru, were popularised by UFO proponent Eric Von Daniken as landing strips for UFOs (a theory that’s always amused me, as not not only do the lines run up and down hills, but I’m not sure I’ve ever read an account of alleged extra-terrestrial visitors who weren’t au fait with Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) technology). After considering the claim that miles of lines in Peruvian pampa are ‘on a ley-line’, more fresh air was certainly required (how damn wide *are* these ley-lines supposed to be?)
As for the Boyle tombs — I gather that rather than the Rathcroghan group to the south of Boyle, she refers to the 14 Carrowkeel (*narrow quarter* – Joyce) passage-graves atop the Bricklieve mountains to the west of Lough Arrow, and to the north of the Curlew mountains, on the Sligo-Roscommon border. I say this as many of the claims of both ICUFOS and IUFOPRA seem to have centred on the Curlews.
Interestingly, the first person into these graves on their discovery was none other than Robert Lloyd Praeger, whose *The Way That I Went* is a regular source of antiquarian commentary for this column (1937, republished 1997 by The Collins Press ISBN 1-898-256-357). His account is purely antiquarian, and doesn’t offer much in the way of clues to our inquiries, but the curious can learn more about Carrowkeel on pages 136-141 of *The Way That I Went*.
Myler also says that ‘”What some people don’t realise is that a clear blue sky with nothing but a large, silent and extremely fast aircraft that looks like nothing we could have invented yet is not a weather balloon or any of the other excuses that sceptics come up with.”‘
Well, call me a sceptic and thump me with a hot-air balloon ballast bag, but I would sincerely be surprised to find out that Mrs Myler, or for that matter, quite a few ETH (Extra-Terrestrial Hypotheses) are expert in the area of aircraft recognition.
The nothing-we-could-have-invented-yet claim is a painfully recurring one, I’m afraid. Without claiming that there are such craft over rural Ireland, are these people aware of craft such as the Bombardier Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)?
A flying saucer? Nope, not exactly.
The rest of the Myler section deals with her *belief* that a ‘mother ship’ is orbiting the Earth (somewhere amidst the satellite debris, apparently), spitting out smaller ships, and about her plans to establish a ‘”Visitor Education Centre”‘ for educating humanity about aliens, and to attract the aliens themselves.
She sees it as being a huge financial boon to the area, as well as becoming an embassy of sorts. She’s also been in contact with the Industrial Development Authority, and things are apparently ‘”looking good on that front.”‘. I’m sure that Bord Failte will be only delighted with this opening up of a whole new tourism market. . .
If some of this sounds familiar to long-time Blather readers, it’s because Myler appears to be busking from the same ragged hymn-sheet as Ansbro, who had similar plans for Bantry last year (See Blather 1.11). In fact much of what Myler says, Blather has already heard directly from Ansbro’s gob. As pointed out in earlier issues of Blather: (*Raining Toads*, *All Gone Peir Shaped* and *Skies Alive*)
. . . Ansbro and Co. base their theories on those of a certain Roy Dutton, enabling them to ‘predict encounters at specific locations’ and ‘initiate contact – through meditation’.
As also previously mentioned – in *Skies Alive*, Stephen Greer of CSETI *also* bases his theories on Dutton. John Shirley in a bOING bOING #15 article, *The Sceptical Believer* reckons that ‘despite his lisp, Greer is a charismatic, powerfully articulate man, probably one of the best public speakers I’ve ever heard. And I can definitely say that he’s probably the best damn liar I ever heard and this possibly makes him, despite his politically correct trappings, the most dangerous of all UFO cult leaders.’
Back in The Irish Independent article Doherty describes Ansbro as ‘most respected Ufologist in Ireland’. Whom by, or dare I ask?
Fair play to the man, for when questioned about increased UFO activity he answered ‘”I don’t know about a huge increase in the level of activity, but there is definitely a huge increase in the levels of awareness. For a long time people were walking around with their eyes metaphorically glued to the ground.”‘
Blather can’t fault the validity of this statement, but does question the nature of the ‘awareness’. He is then quoted as saying that ‘”It’s very *gratifying* to see people actually coming around to the fact that we are not alone”‘ (Blather’s emphasis).
Bull on Bull Island
After discussing some of the ICUFOS methods (already discussed in earlier issues of Blather), The Independent tells us that at 23:00 on the night of Tuesday 14th of July, there was to be an ‘appearance’ of a UFO in the Boyle area, visible for a radius of 15 miles (24km). It should be interesting to hear what happened, if anything at all. Doherty, in The Independent says that ‘It is this certainty that unnerves some sceptics’.
Maybe so, but Blather wasn’t sufficiently unnerved to miss the an ICUFOS vigil on Bull Island, on December 14th last. A night of UFOs was indeed forecast, over Dublin, Boyle and Bantry. Blather’s Men In Bantry checked out the Coomhola site, and found *no-one* from the ICUFOS there (abduction?), and apart from some splendid meteors – the tail end of the Geminids and some excitement over incoming airliners, nothing was seen.
Ansbro and Co. in Boyle, of course, saw the predicted UFOs. Blather was told afterwards, by one the ICUFOS people on Bull Island, that remarkable things had appeared in the photographs they had taken of the Dublin sky that night. A promised viewing of these photos has not, as of yet, materialised.
Ansbro reckons that the aliens ‘”are so far ahead of us that they work better through nuance and subtlety”‘.
To digress, for a moment. . . apparently — according to my Oxford Concise Dictionary, the word *nuance* comes from the French ‘*nuer* “to shade”, ultimately from Latin *nubes* “cloud”‘. Of course, Blather’s inclusion of such a definition could be merely subjective. . . or nuance.
‘”You see that with a lot of encounters where people are primed for a major change in their psychology by a meeting.”‘ One word, Eamon: *Epiphany*.
When Doherty asks about ‘alien abductions that involve experiments and coercive sex’, Ansbro counters with ‘”You get back what you put out, if you have a spirit with the potential for love, you will have a pleasant experience. The opposite is true also.”‘
Blather would welcome any helpful correspondence with regard to *that* statement. . .
Jupiter and the Moon
With regard to Ansbro’s UFO forecast, it’s worth bearing in mind that Astronomy Ireland, on getting wind of the UFO forecasts, issued press-notices concerning the spectacular conjunction of Jupiter and the Moon.
*Astronomy & Space’s* (ISSN 0791-8062) Sky Diary for July 1998 tells us that at 2300 on Tuesday 14th 1998 — the *exact* time of Ansbro’s forecast — there was to be a ‘spectacular’ sighting of Jupiter, which was to be 2.9 degrees off the upper right edge of the 69% sunlit Moon as they rose in the east’. David Moore of Astronomy Ireland told Blather that:
‘I stayed up til dawn and only got to see Jupiter through a crack in the clouds, and then the Moon through another crack but *not simultaneously*! It would have been spectacular. Other than “normal” predictable events like that above I’m not aware of anything else unusual that happened last night.’
Is it any coincidence that there was a UFO forecast on such a night? I think not.
Two weeks ago, in *Silly Season – Monsters, UFOs, etc.*, I somehow managed to say that Donegal was in ‘north-eastern’ Ireland. This wasn’t due to any geographic ineptitude on my part, it was simply due to common-or-garden carelessness, and I wish to thank Ciaran Conliffe for catching me out.
Dave (daev) Walsh
July 17th 1998