Year: 1998

blather.net
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EXPLAINING THE Z Following Blather's blabbers about the mysterious July 10th *Z* in the sky, a cornucopia of diverse explanatory theories have reached HQ. 'There never was an explanation which didn't itself need to be explained.' - Charles Fort Dr Carl Bradbury at the Atmospheric Physics Department at Manchester Institute of Science and Technology was in touch, and while he didn't himself witness the 'Mark of Zorro' he does have a theory -- and only a theory, mind -- to explain them: Mesospheric clouds. 'Mesospheric clouds around 83km (altitude take the form of either Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC) or Noctilucent Clouds (NLC), which can be observed during the summer in the latitude range 50-70N in the twilight arc of the Earth's shadow. These clouds are known to be comprised of water-ice crystals which form at the Mesopause (the top of the mesosphere) as a result of the extremely cold temperatures...

blather.net
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It was without success that Blather tried to contact Ms. Myler and Mr. Ansbro -- stars of last week's issue. However, we did stumble across the news that the Irish Centre for UFO Studies is planning a talk of some sort in the Bull Island Interpretive Centre (this centre is finding out about wildfowl, not extra-terrestrials) in Clontarf, Dublin at 2pm on Sunday 26th July. Blather may or may not have someone on the scene. +Recent predictions+ Jupiter and the Moon So, there's no information yet -- in the media or elsewhere -- that the recent ICUFOS predictions were successful. As mentioned last week, it was cloudy on July 14th, making it difficult to see juxtaposition of Jupiter with the Moon, but I'm sure they made the best of it. In the days *preceding* July 14th, there were plenty of other odd phenomena in our skies, much of them seemingly...

blather.net
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Back in Blather 1.52, mention was made of having seen and heard retired Royal Engineer Colonel John Blashford-Snell at UnCon98, speaking about his 'Mammoth Hunt' to Nepal. Back then, Blather promised to bring you a discussion of the book Mammoth Hunt -- In Search of the Giant Elephants of Nepal, co-written by Blashford-Snell with actress Rula Lenska. Well, finally perused, and finally closed a matter of hours ago, Mammoth Hunt is one of those rare books that can only be described as a Damned Good Read. Around 1987, Blashford-Snell (hitherto referred to as JBS) was made aware of rumours concerning 'giant mammoths' which were pillaging villages in remote areas of Nepal. JBS, who has been leading expeditions to remote regions for many years -- with Operation Raleigh, Discovery Expeditions and the Scientific Exploration Society -- decided that Nepal was a good place to bring the *clients* of Discovery Expeditions. In...

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Anyone familiar with the historical and monumental landscape of Ireland should be well aware of the mass proliferation of 'Holy Wells'. Any self-respecting parish has perhaps half a dozen of these places, some of them are on said to be on the sites of ancient monasteries, and are often named for the Saint said to have founded or lived at the monastery. Others are less obviously historical, but are allegedly endowed with some form of healing powers, and usually named for some saint, whether or not the canonised one even hailed from Ireland at all. Places with water said to have healing powers are not confined to Ireland, one major example being Lourdes in France. Crossabeg, the Wexford parish that this Blatherskite hails from, lies north of Wexford town, and is surrounded on three sides by the windings of the Slaney estuary. A compact (yet somehow decentralised) parish of circa...

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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*). Before what? 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...

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Today's issue (July 3rd 1998) of that not particularly erudite newsheet *The Star*, carries a report titled *Look out, it's Eskie!*, which tells the tale of a lake monster sighting on Lough Eske , a few miles north of Donegal town, in north-western Ireland. Diners and staff at Harvey's Point Hotel saw 'something' moving about, around 300m (328 yds) from the shore on Sunday 28th June at 2:30pm. Local B&B boss Annabel Clarke reckons that the beastie was up looking for food, while her husband Kieran commented that '"some lakes in Donegal are said to be connected by current to Scotland"'. Disappearing rivers, caverns, connecting lakes (which does happen, e.g. Lough Mask and Corrib) are all classic motifs in lake monster lore. I even seem to recall claims of links between Scottish and North American lakes! Chokin' on Brekkie The article is accompanied by a photo of the hotel's banqueting...

blather.net
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Paul Harrison, a 'Loch Ness Monster researcher' is said to be on the hunt for 'personal sightings, photographs or family stories' concerning Nessie in general, and a copy of the elusive 1930s MacRae film of the beast in particular. A shroud of doubt and obscurity surrounds this film since F.W. Holiday talked about it in his 1968 book *The Great Orm of Loch Ness*. I haven't myself read this book, but I have read variations of the tale -- Dr. MacRae, a retired doctor residing at Loch Duich had managed to capture the alleged beastie on film, at 100 yards or so. I recently perused Holiday's *The Dragon on the Disc* (ISBN 0-8600-7056-5, Norton ISBN: 0393063364), an interesting book, especially the accounts of Lionel Leslie planting 5lb of gelignite in Lough Fadda, Co. Galway in October 1965, in order to raise the beast witnessed by Georgina Carberry. Of Dragons *The...

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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* , who have already been deluged with reports of "flying saucers" in the sky above the Ballymote Road out of Boyle, Co. Roscommon, 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. Highly respected Thanks to the kind opitulation of...

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Having finally read previously neglected copy of John Keel's 1975 fortean classic The Mothman Prophecies, Blather would care to share with you a smidgen of its worth. Reading this thoroughly enjoyable book at this late stage has caused me no real loss either -- if I had read it back when I began delving into murky fortean literature, I may have enjoyed the book less, as I would have been very conscious of how to deal with the material therein -- after reading it now, it has allowed me to put many predominant cultural motifs into chronological context and mythical perspective. So what's it all about? Seen the movie Men In Black, or ever noticed all those eerie West Virginia episodes of the X-Files? I'm not a regular viewer of that particular TV programme, but according to what I'm told, there was episode which mentioned the Mothman, called Detour. Many...

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Previously on Blather, in *Baaaaah-Humbug*, and *Rocks from Irish Skies* , we mentioned the ongoing debacle at the Achill Island House of Prayer. Alleged stigmatic Mrs. Christina Gallagher and what appears to be a cult following of sorts have been claiming minor miracles there. Back before Christmas 1997, the Archbishop of Tuam held an inquiry, concluding that there was no evidence that "supernatural phenomena of whatever kind" was taking place at The House of Prayer. (Irish Times, December 17th 1997) Surrender to the Bishop On May 6th, The Connaught Telegraph told of a newly enforced Sunday Mass "ban" at the House of Prayer. Now, to cap it all, the House, which, according to the Irish Times, attracts 10,000 pilgrims and generates £500,000 locally ever year, is to close. Mrs. Gallagher announced that this is due to the restrictions placed on the centre and the prying involvement of the church, saying...