Out of the Marvellous – Black Masses, Lord Dunsany and Falling Fish


Time does fly – yet another chasm gapes between the previous issue and
this one. Its been a quiet couple of months, with very little in the
way of Irish paranormal tales coming our way – but we’ve not been not
been idle (the devil found work for us). On the Blather website can be
found a fledgling, or worse still, skeleton bookstore, where we hope
to start reviewing and recommending books.

  1. Tempus Fugit – The Headitorial
  2. Out of the Marvellous – Seamus Heaney, and
    Ancient Irish UFOs
  3. No Such Place – Lord Dunsany, falling fish,
    and no such Ireland
  4. Yeats and the Black Arts – Black Masses in
  5. TPC Meta Holistic Systems – The Ongoing Saga

Before we attempt to escape the subject of ‘time’, a small padded
parcel arrived last month, and it bore a postmark of January
3rd in Smithtown, New York, USA. Inside was contained 1) A business
card from one David L. Anderson from the Time Travel
Research Center
, Smithtown, NYC. 2) A small ‘Seasons Greetings’ card, with a logo of
three reindeer pulling what appears to be a ‘Time
from the 1960 movie version of the H.G. Wells story. 3) A lapel pin, bearing
the logo of the aforementioned research centre.

We were a little confused – it was not just that we were surprised,
but after racking our brains, we concluded that we had never even
heard of the TTRC. Have we met them at some point in the *future*, and
they very kindly time-travelled back to January 2000, in order so that
I would be aware of them? What’s that you say? ‘Oh Blatheretic One,
surely you jest?.’ My dear… when have we ever been serious?

We shall be in New York City this week… and will keep a close eye
for apparent paradoxes, and people in unlikely clothing bearing lapel
pins… Those of you in Ireland or the UK may have caught
*Disinfo Nation* on Channel 4 last Thursday night… visionary artist
Paul Laffoley was on it, with *his* design for a time machine. We’re
definitely sure to encounter him in the next few days – we’re off to
to NYC to experience Disinfo.Con 2000. Speakers include Robert Anton
Wilson, Kenneth Anger, er… Marilyn Manson, Genesis P-Orridge, Joe
Coleman, Kenn Thomas, Robert Sterling and loads more…

Some writings by Blather’s daev have been popping up on the Disinfo
site recently:

*The Mothman Cometh*
A rundown on the tales behind John Keel’s book *The Mothman

*Flight 712: The One That
Won’t Go Away
The tale of Ireland’s worst air disaster – and the controversy and
conspiracy still rage, 30 years later…

*Charles Fort: Scientist Or
A short biography on how he gave his name to forteanism, with a
discussion on his work.

*Hell-Fire Clubs*
You’re all probably sick of the HFC by now, but for those that aren’t
may well appreciate this…



The annals say: When the monks of Clonmacnoise
Were all at prayers inside the oratory
A ship appeared above them in the air.

The anchor dragged along behind so deep
It hooked itself into the altar rails
And then, as the big hull rocked to a standstill,

A crewman shinned and grappled down the rope
And struggled to release it. But in vain.
‘This man can’t bear our life down here and will drown,’

The abbot said, ‘unless we help him.’ So
They did, the freed ship sailed, and the man climbed back
Out of the marvellous as he had known it.

– From the poem *Lightenings, in *Seeing Things*, ISBN
0-571-14469-1 pp62, Seamus Heaney
, Faber and Faber, 1991

Unfortunately for us, Heaney doesn’t state quite which annal contains
the tale – Peter Alderson Smith’s *Fortean Phenomena in the Annals of
the Four Masters* (Fortean Times 54:51) doesn’t mention it… we’ve
been delving into the *Annals of Clonmacnoise*
for a look recently to
no avail, and we’ve found some interesting things. Rather than list
them all in here, in one fell (foul?) swoop, we’ll quote a couple here
now, and continue to do so, over the next few issues.

P112, AD 715:
‘It reigned a shower of honey on Ohinmbig, a shower of Money on
Ohinmore, and shower of Blood upon the ffosses of Leinster, for which
cause Neal Frossach who was then borne was called Neal Frossac’
[Ohinmbig: Fahan, on the east shore of Lough Swilly. Frossac means ‘of
the showers’. Neal Frossac became ardrigh (high king) in 782.]

P118, AD 742:
‘There were drogons seen in the skyes.’

P118, AD 744:
‘There was a Strange thing seen in Ulster in the time of Fiaghna
McHugh Royne K. of Ulster, & the time of Eahagh McBreassall, Prince of
Neathagh, or Iveagh of Ulster, which was this: The seas have put a
whale of a shore in that Contry, in whose head there were three teeth
of Gould, every of the teeth weighed five ounces, & for the
strangeness of the thing there was one of the teeth brought to
Beanchor, & there laid on ye Alter for a wonder which remained there
for a long space.’

P118, AD 744:
‘There were shipes seen in the skyes with their men this yeare.’

[Thanks to Sean Hillen (http://www.irelantis.com) and Garrett Fagan
for their help on this matter.]

Variations on Irish ‘Cloudship’ Stories:

The Smoking

Damned Flying Ships

Super-Sargasso Surfin’


‘…And I told how I came from Ireland, which is of Europe, whereat
the captain and all the sailors laughed, for they said, “There are no
such places in all the land of dreams.”‘
– *Idle Days on the Yann*, by Lord Dunsany, in *The Hashish Man and
Other Stories

That’s a book we’ve been reading
, and in it we found a sly
reference to some classic fortean phenomena – phenomena which seems
almost normal in comparison to the weird worlds of Lord Dunsany. In
his short story *The Idle City*, he writes:

      ‘Then a man stood up who came out of the west, and told a western tale. He said:

“There is a road in Rome that runs through the ancient temple that
once the gods had loved; it runs along the top of a great wall,
and the floor of the temple lies far down beneath it, of marble,
pink and white.

“Upon the temple floor I counted to the number of thirteen hungry

“‘Sometimes,’ they said among themselves, ‘It was the gods that
lived here, sometimes it was men, and now it’s cats. So let us
enjoy the sun on the hot marble before another people comes.’

“For it was at that hour of a warm afternoon when my fancy is able
to hear the silent voices.

“And the fearful leanness of all those thirteen cats moved me to
go into a neighbouring fish shop, and there to buy a quantity of
fishes. Then I returned and threw them all over the railing at the
top of the great wall, and they fell for thirty feet, and hit the
sacred marble with a smack.

“Now, in any other town but Rome, or in the minds of any other
cats, the sight of fish falling out of heaven had surely excited
wonder. They rose slowly, and all stretched themselves, then they
came leisurely towards the fishes. ‘It is only a miracle,’ they
said in their hearts.”


Blather has received a communication from one Peter Bridgman, who, in
his researches of alleged black masses in Dublin – in the 19th and
early 20th century rather than anything contemporary, came across this
wee nugget in a biography of poet William Butler Yeats, which tells of
his close shave with the devil, so to speak. If any readers have
further light to throw on the subject, speak now, or forever hold thy

      ‘There were also expeditions to less respectable spiritual groups.


      Yeats now discovered in Dublin “a whole colony” of black magicians


      “of the most iniquitous kind”, he told Lionel Johnson. While “good


      Theosophists” were known to “shake in their shoes at the mention


      of their name”, Yeats claimed he was amused by their “hideous


      costumes” and worship of Isis. The tone of his letter admirably


      captures his scepticism. “The black magicians have invited me to


      drop in on an incantation now and again as a compliment to my


      knowledge of the black art. They have not got enough in the way of


      soul left to cover an old sixpence but that does not matter much


      for the present”. Yeats’s critical faculty was not always so in


      evidence, however. In the house of Dr. Sigerson, Yeats the


      occultist experimented with hypnotism and a crystal ball in which


      a seer (who was probably Mrs Sigerson) claimed to see a vision of


      a gigantic figure waving his arms around some golden letters.


      Yeats was wildly excited until Dr Sigerson pointed out that what


      the seer could actually see was the reflection of a man cleaning


      the windows by the sign on the Medical Hall opposite’.

*WB Yeats – A Life*, p96,
Stephen Coote, 1997

We, at Blather, being aficionados of the works of Oliver St. John
Gogarty – poet, politician, pilot, patriot, surgeon, novelist and wit
– are reminded of the caper in chapter 13 of his book *As I Was Going
Down Sackville St. – A Phantasy In Fact* (1937), where Yeats attempts
to raise the ghost which reputedly haunted Gogarty’s Co. Galway home,
Renvyle House in Connemara. As we’re not about to quote *an entire
chapter*, readers will, for now, have to make do with this
taster…the events which preceded the seance.

      ‘On another night, when the main seas were disturbed, I heard




      sounding of a siren far off shore: no hope for any ship on that


      shark-toothed coast.


      Nearer the sounds came, until I imagined that there was a motor


      car feeling its way along the back drive to the yard by the beach.


      And, finally, drowsily I put the noise down to the drumming of


      some night insect that had entered the room. To me there were no


    further manifestations, or they were forgotten. Not so to Yeats.

“Willie,” said his wife one evening, “do not leave me to dress
alone. I do not want to see that face again looking out from the

Doors had been opening quietly and shutting quietly as we sat in
the library before dinner. I never paid much attention them,
attributing their opening and shutting to the opening and shutting
of doors in the passage side of the very thick walls.

“What face?” I asked. But I was not answered. Yeats and his wife
left the room. I was resigned to being treated as uninitiated, but
my friends looked at one another. Evan Morgan, a Cymric Celt, from
immemorial Wales, felt the supernatural at once.

“You never told me about this,” he complained, all alert.

Now, you cannot ask a man to meet a ghost, because ghosts are not
to be counted on.

“I did not care to talk about it,” I said. “I thought that

“I could not say – “If you met Yeats you met enough of faery, as
much as I am ever likely to meet.” I implied that it far more in
Yeats’ province than mine, and, that being so, the omission was
not mine wholly. But he was not quite satisfied.

My hospitality fell short of the necromantic.’

[Gogarty’s wonderful *As I Was
Going Down Sackville St.
* is available
from the Blather bookstore]

Shrewd readers may well have noticed a link we printed, to the site of
that ‘Three
‘ bunch and their
highly questionable behaviour. Well, it would seem that the TPC are
not ones to shy away from controversy, oh no. This time, they’ve
raised the ire of one Hardy
, a Canadian ‘research
assistant’, who has gone to the bother of building a website to

      ‘a number of serious concerns to world saftey [sic] – for


      most among these is the threat posed by the Global Technocrats and


      the 3 Elephant conspiracy: namely TPC Meta Holistic Systems – a


      “so called” new age corporation set on world domination through


    mind control.’

Dear Hardy also has some er, interesting, ideas about what ‘Brittany
Spears’ *really means* on his website…

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of Blather.net, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.