Blather’s ‘man on the street’ encountered U.S. cryptozoologist Nick Sucik in Dublin last week, and much nattering was done about the state of Irish animalous anomalies. Nick seemed quite surprised at the ‘problems’ that arise when investigating Irish mystery beasties – such as reports of huge animals inhabiting tiny lakes with inhospitable ecosystems – to paraphrase Peter Costello (author of In Search of Lake Monsters), ‘They all live in puddles’.
When pressed to comment on whether I think there’s any zoological basis for Irish lake monsters – e.g. horse-eels. – I have to answer that apart from explaining some sightings as ‘real’ known animals, I would find it difficult to entertain the idea of any new species being discovered here.
For example – in the case of Achill Island – large, unknown bipedal creatures residing in an exposed corrie lake (steep-walled amphitheatre or half bowled-shaped hollow cut into a mountainside) or upland area). Sraheens Lough is less than 100m (330ft) wide, and less than 20m (66ft) from a busy road. A burst of sightings in the 1960s notwithstanding, it’s difficult to make a case for the existence of an animal – or more to the point animals, in Sraheens.
It has been pointed out (for the life of me I can’t remember where) that entities that straddle the ‘netherworld’ and ‘reality’ are somehow ‘scarier’ than mere ‘ghosts’. Vampires, werewolves and their like seem to reside in both worlds – they have a physical presence, but only barely. On the other side of the coin, it’s not unusual for mere mortals to achieve mythic status before and/or after their lifetimes – the Count of St. Germain springs to mind, as well as various criminals, world leaders, and so forth, adding to their mystery and allure.
To be truthful, I’m hesitant about referring to Irish mystery animals in any zoological context at all, as they seem to fall into the bracket of more paranormal – physical entities that don’t seem quite real, such as lake monsters, black dogs, ghost cats, and mysterious humanoid characters. As mentioned in earlier Blathers, there have been Irish reports to complement that of the Virginian Mothman and the Cornwall Owlman, and it turns out that there is also a being who almost complements the more humanoid Spring Heel Jack of Victorian London, and the Mad Gasser of 1944 Mattoon, Illinois. This character is notable for his legendary status and abilities…
Stoneybatter, Dublin of the 16th century played host to Scaldbrother, a rogue who ‘roamed the environs accosting people, snatching their possessions, and fleeing with his booty to a vast maze of subterranean passages extending from Smithfield to Arbour Hill [from where Blather is published]. Not only was he a cunning thief, but “the varlet was so swift of foot as has oftsoon outrun the swiftest and lustiest young men of Osmanstown” in the chase’.
Scaldbrother would deride his victims by dashing away to pause by a pub called The Gallows, where he would produce a rope and pretend to hang himself before continuing to ‘Scaldbrother’s Hole’, the entrance to the labyrinth of tunnels.
Despite his legendary status, Scaldbrother was eventually caught and hanged, to the delight of many… but his legend has outlived his deeds. According to Kevin C. Kearns, many still hope to find Scaldbrother’s lair below Stoneybatter, where his booty is still intact…
An Irish Chupacabras?, Silly Season: Monsters, Ufos, etc.
A Mothman Retrospective
Mad Gasser of Mattoon and His Kin, p191 Mysterious America, Loren
1983, ISBN 0-571-12524-7
The Scoundrel Scaldbrother, Stoneybatter, Dublin’s Inner Urban Village, Kevin C. Kearns 1989, ISBN 0-171-2453-3
Stoneybatter, Dublin’s Inner Urban Village (Amazon.com)
Stoneybatter, Dublin’s Inner Urban Village (Amazon.co.uk)
MORE ON OUR/YER LADY
Tim Brigham, editor of The Devil’s Advocate, was in touch during the week, to point out an omission in last week’s issue…’that the (now yearly) virgin Mary shindig in Conyers [Georgia], goes down on the anniversary of the Fatima incident – October 13th… was wondering if you’ve ever seen reference to the Fatima incident by Nancy Fowler and how she explains/emphasizes this “connection”?’
Well, no, I haven’t heard any mention of an acknowledgement on the part of Ms. Fowler – perhaps Blather readers may have stumbled across something?
(The Devil’s Advocate, Owner, President and UberMann of The Devil’s Advocate Corporation ™, a Corporation dedicated to achieving various goals through its subsidiaries, which include The UberMann Foundation, The Holy Brotherhood of Sex and Saucers, Operation MindPhuck and The Devil’s Advocate’s Propaganda and Publications Company.)
Blather did a cursory root for any other significant October 13th happenings, but so far has only run across ‘Mrs Felina de la Cruz, a 45 year-old laundrywoman from Cabanatuan, north of Manila in the Philippines, said she had given birth to an 18-centimetre mudfish on 13 October 1990’ [Fortean Times 57:26]. Anyway…
…she hasn’t let up on Her Global Domination Tour 1998. According to the South China Morning Post, She’s apparently appearing in the Queen of Angels Church in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Or, to be more specific, a silhouette behind the altar is said to resemble the Virgin Mary. Father Edward Revel said that during morning mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi, a ray of bright light was seen “going up the wall”, and it somehow caused the figure to appear. Several miracles have been claimed, such as cancer cures. The more sceptical have suggested that the mark was left by a previous statue (no word on whether there was actually one in the position, or what could have caused the mark).
Feeling left out, the entire Blather staff are now consigned to kitchen duties, slicing tomatoes and aubergines in the hope of locating a message from deity of choice…
(South China Morning Post -Friday October 23rd 1998)
Blather reader Michele Bryant wondered what this Blatherskite thought about the recent Chupacabra photograph, allegedly snapped by a couple of speleologists near Baldim, Brazil. To be honest, it hasn’t been keeping me awake at night… given the geographical and linguistic implications involved in investigating, Blather can only really comment on the face value of reports and testimonies. UFO Roundup Vol.3 Number 42 included letters from various people such as this one from one by Lydia Ribeiro:
“[Marcelo, one of the speleologists] was walking in the cavern when suddenly, he stared with a very strange and ugly animal, sized a man. He cried very loud and Leandro and the other young man started crying, too. The animal, run and hidden behind a rock for a brief instant. Exactly then, Leandro took a picture of Marcelo, that was standing, dazzled and the animal. Shortly after, the animal passed through a leap in the wall and Leandro and the two friends of him run fearly out the cavern.”
The accompanying photographs are poor quality scans – discoloured and pixilated, but appear to show a human in a caving helmet on the left, posing with, for all the world, what looks like a giant cockroach on the right, like a scene from some early seventies movie starring the dreadful Doug McClure. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the ubiquitous Virgin Mary is in there somewhere too.
– None of this is meant to disparage the witness testimony, merely to state that Blather finds the photographs less than convincing.
UFO Roundup Vol.3 Number 42
Dave (daev) Walsh
23rd October 1998