It’s some months now since Blather last paid any direct attention to
the curious, if somewhat tiresome, phenomenon of Irish ufology and
reported UFOs. Truth be told, the respite was sorely needed.
Still, duty-bound we return to the fray, however grudgingly. It is
with a little pride and nagging sense of futility that we notice that
we seem to be the only voice emanating from this island which takes a
critical (yet amused) view of the actions of Irish ufologists and
their subsequent newspaper coverage. Much of this reportage seems
polluted with X-Files cliches, pointless ‘facts’, often providing us
with little more than mere silly-season page-filler.
A June 20th 1999, page 3 headline in *Ireland on Sunday* reads *ETs
fail to show for big date*. We commend the author of the article, one
Dara deFaoite, for his objectivity and avoidance of the usual
sensationalist cliche and device.
The story hangs on the proceedings of the night of June 17th, when our
old friends, Eamon Ansbro of the Programme for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence Research (PEIR) and Alan Sewell of the Irish Centre for
UFO Studies (ICUFOS), invited a hoard of journalists to ‘one of the
country’s most dramatic vantage points, the Chieftain’s Horse… to
gaze skyward on the word of a former NASA meteorologist who predicted
that at least one UFO would be sighted over Boyle that evening’. The
sighting was predicted, it seems, for 00:30 hours, i.e. Friday
Now, this is curious… the next paragraph states that:
‘Eamon Ansbro, Ireland’s leading ufologist and founder member of the
Irish Centre for UFO Studies (ICUFOS), believes he can calculate when
alien craft will enter our atmosphere for us to see.’
This would seem to imply that a Mr. Ansbro has worked for NASA, *not*
something we were aware of… but then, even Richard Hoagland,
purveyor of the ‘Mars Face’ idea, has worked for NASA. Perhaps Mr.
deFaoite could tell us more about the NASA connection. Mr. Ansbro
would presumably refrain from elaborating. We think he doesn’t like
us, something of which we are not greatly surprised. But we digress.
Mr. Ansbro was equipped, on the night in question, with a
“spacecraft-tracking camera”, apparently costing some Â£15,000 and
‘standing a mean 7ft tall and linked up to at least three TV monitors,
the specialised equipment rotated spontaneously capturing certain
areas of sky as it turned.’
According to Ansbro, this device should “able to tell what kinds of
elements are emitted by the craft by using special light filters once
it locks onto a craft”.
DeFaoite makes mention, if not by name, of Roy Dutton’s *Astronautical
Theory*. Ansbro tells him that “there are at least 660 known orbital
tracks which have been monitored by scientists and ufologists since
1880. From these, we can predict when they will appear in any one
Eighteen-hundred and eighty? Surely an oversight on the part
of Mr. deFaoite or *Ireland on Sunday*? While we would happily accept
that people have been seeing weird and inexplicable things in the
heavens for a lot longer than 119 years, we harbour a not
inconsiderable arsenal of doubt on this matter. Surely *someone* meant
DeFaoite seems to display an amused literary gasp of incredulity at
the claims of “orbital tracks”, ‘which apparently circle the earth
like an American Airlines’ traffic control map’.
Also interviewed was ufologist Betty Myler, head of the Irish UFO
Society. We thought she was involved with the ‘Western UFO Society’.
What with these two organisations, PEIR, ICUFOS and the Irish UFO and
Paranormal Research Association (IUFOPRA), Ireland seems rather well
catered for. Small wonder, however, that this writer would be unlikely
to be discovered in the Good Books of the aforementioned
Various others are quoted too, but we shall refrain, for now, from
getting into deep nit-picking of the statements made by Myler and
others present, many of whom refrained from giving their names due to
the ‘”unwarranted cynicism surrounding the area”‘. Cynical… us?
We would like point out that Ms. Myler *apparently* runs the local
tourist office, and seems to see the UFO phenomenon as a source of
tourism potential. Or so we are told.
One memorable quote about the alleged visitors came from unnamed
“I can’t say where they come from for certain but I reckon they’re
travelling through time from a parallel dimension and interfering with
our reality, unbeknownst to themselves even,” she said.
The speaker, was apparently adopted by an alien – named Astro – at the
age of two. Or so we are told (from a source other than *Ireland on
Good old Alan Sewell – a man always seems fairly non-committal, (not
that this is a bad thing) told deFaoite that ‘”anyone who openly
states that they believe in extraterrestrial life is, in
effect, placing their heads on the chopping block”.
Blather thinks that anyone who openly states that they believe in the
*possibility* of extraterrestrial life may happily escape the
Alas Sewell seems to fall at the next fence:
‘”I would be very foolish to say to you” ‘Yes, there are ETs out
there,’ because I’ve never seen them but we can definitely say there
are unidentified craft circling the earth on a regular basis”.
Proof, please, Alan? *Evidence* even?
This is not to say that Blather doesn’t believe in the possibility
that Sewell’s assertion is correct. We just want to poke our
digits in the Messiah’s wounds, that’s all.
Dara deFaoite closes his article (and a decent one at that) by telling
us that other than a few satellites, nothing of interest was seen in
the heavens that night.
However, rumour has it that ‘something’ was seen – but not by any
members of the press. Oh no, they were looking the wrong way,
Blather reader James Lundon was good enough to facsimile us a cutting
from the The Limerick Leader of Saturday 8th May 1999, *Converting to
UFOs in the Limerick Sky*, by Brendan Halligan, editor of the
Halligan recounts how he ‘didn’t believe there was anything of
significance in the so-called UFO phenomena’, until his apparent
conversion on April 27th. Two friends of his, one male, one female,
‘both of whom are utterly sensible, highly intelligent and patently
honest’ told him of their experiences – he says he was converted at
22:30 hours. He doesn’t say if his converters had their experience on
that same night or not.
The woman was watching television when the screen ‘blacked out for
several seconds. A few minutes later it happened again. And a few
minutes after that it happened yet again. The lady happened to look
out her window. She could hardly believe what she saw. Nor might I
have believed it except that her story was corroborated by her adult
We find this interesting. First Halligan tells us of how *both*
witnesses ‘are utterly sensible, highly intelligent and patently
honest’, yet he wouldn’t have believed the woman’s testimony if were
not that for the corroboration of her son. Thanks to this
corroboration, Halligan’s personal beliefs have been affected…
Halligan says that what they ‘saw in the western sky was a large, red,
glowing, roughly saucer-shaped object with laser-type lights. It
wasn’t a conventional aircraft: it hovered silently for some 20
minutes before disappearing in the direction of the Clare Hills’.
He reckons – but his tongue is self-consciously in his cheek – that it
might have been ‘some sort of military or meteorological experiment’,
or even some sort of NATO exercise – the fact that Ireland is not
officially a member of NATO notwithstanding.
Yet what he ‘knows’ is that ‘beyond any shadow of a doubt is that it
wasn’t the figment of the imagination which up to then’ he had
suspected such sightings to be.
Having perused the *Limerick Leader* piece, Robert Anton Wilson proposes that ‘this sort of story fits neatly into the
Persinger model [i.e. *Tectonic Strain Theory*]. First an obvious
electromagnetic anomaly, then a strange light… The True Believers
say “It must be a Spaceship!” The Other True Believers say “It must be
a hoax or hallucination.!” Persinger says: Maybe a recurrent bit of
Chaos in the geo-magnetic field…
‘In Persinger’s model, those further away may have had Jumping
Furniture and called it “spooks” or “poltergeists,” and those closer
in would report Freudian/Jungian dream material — rapists from outer
space, seductive green women from Venus, death-rebirth experiences
resembling ancient myth and modern LSD…’
Finally, Blather received a telephone call some weeks back, from a
rather concerned young couple who had seen a UFO in the eastern skies,
around 21:15 on Sunday April 18th, 1999, near Bracklin, which is
close to Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Curiously, 49 weeks beforehand,
i.e. in May of 1998, they had seen a similar object, at *the same time
of night*. They reported that it made no sound, it was about 3ft
(0.91m) in diameter and ‘150ft (46m) up’. We did question them on just
how they determined the size of the object, and it just seemed to be a
reckoning – unfortunately nothing even so useful as ‘the size of my
thumb at arms length’ was available.
On checking on what was to be seen in the night sky of April 18th, we
find that, in Dublin, at 21:15, Mars was just a little above the
horizon, East-South-East. Venus was high up in the Western skies.
This is not to say that these people mistook a planet for anything,
well… closer. At the time of our conversation with them, we
explained that we had to consider such a ‘mundane’ explanation, if
only for the sake of being able to rule it out through investigation.
They seemed, understandably, a little upset by the idea that an
experience – such a *personal* experience could have been apparently
caused by mere misidentification of a planet. We don’t know whether it
was or it wasn’t.
There was more than just a mere sighting of an anomalous skyborne
light source. They saw it move behind trees and *split into two*. They
even followed it in their car. Unfortunately, the more pressing our
questions, the more indignant the witnesses became. Despite the fact
that *they* had called us, we began to feel as if we were treading in
territory in which we had no business.
We asked if, while they followed it in the car, if the light had
remained in the eastern sky – we wanted to determine whether or not it
was a distant (and relatively stationary) object, or something that
really was in the neighbourhood. The witnesses, alas, ‘knew’ that it
was local, and our trail of investigation dried up.
What we do know, however, is that the witnesses were profoundly moved
by their experience, and while they *did not* claim that it the light
was definitely extraterrestrial in origin, they seemed opposed to
‘mundane’ explanation. They had talked to several of the UFO groups
mentioned earlier in this issue, and even checked with aviation
authorities. They wanted answers, but seemed a little worried that
they mind find them too easily. This is again, understandable – any of
us would be embarrassed to attribute an epiphanic experience to a mere
heavenly body or low flying aircraft?
Dave (daev) Walsh
5 July 1999
Robert Anton Wilson
The Limerick Leader
Blather’s one run-in with Ms. Myler, plus indigence at Irish UFO
Michael Persinger’s *The Tectonic Strain Theory as an Explanation for