De Selby, Hunter S. Thompson, Irish UFOs and more!
‘…time is just memory mixed with desire’
– *The Part You Throw Away*, Tom Waits
‘The abolition of Ireland’s neutral status has been accelerated by a
secret agreement with the American and British governments – without
even a nod in the direction of the Oireachtas or the Irish public – to
join a state-of-the-art, global telecommunications spying apparatus.
This is revealed in a special European comission report on the
Anglo-American integrated, world-wide network of electronic
initelligence collection platforms (120 satellites and ground
stations) code-named ECHELON. It produces military, political and
economic intelligence by intercepting telecommunications and
clandestinely plundering computer files.’
Read the rest of the article at:
Ireland joins Echelon
One of the various reasons why there has been a lack of material of a
paranormal nature in recent Blather issues is due to the lack of any
actually coming our way. However, the first Irish UFO stories in
*months* has been brought to our attention by Luis R. GonzÃ¡lez Manso
in Spain, who forwarded a report found in UFO Roundup”, Vol 5 Nr.14, 6
According to the report, John H., a factory worker in West Belfast,
claims that his car was lifted off the ground by a UFO, and
subsequently ‘experienced six hours of “missing time”‘. (We would tend
to wonder that if one has experienced missing time, is it really
missing?). Rather than repeat the entire report, we recommend checking
out the full report, as was posted to the UFO Updates Mailing
H. Patricia Moore, our Northern correspondent, has some thoughts on
1. This amazing event clearly did not interest the local media at the
time. I could find no newspaper coverage of the event.
2. According to the Met. Office, on Thursday evening 23rd March, there
were strong winds blowing from the South East that night, with light
rain and drizzle. Cloud cover was quite heavy and low.
3. JT at Armagh Planetarium advised me that three planets would have
been visible in the sky on Thursday 23rd March from 8.30pm, weather
permitting – Jupiter being the brightest, with Saturn and Mars – both
fairly faint. The moon rose at 11.30pm that night and was in the South
4. John H is rather shy about his name, and indeed details of the
garage where this allegedly happened are rather scant.
5. Leaving the premises without paying for the goods received is not a
good idea, particularly in an area which employs local ‘community
policing’ rather than the more usual state police.
6. Confusion is the order of the day. Although John says he is
travelling to Dublin, he never mentions the Westlink or the M1 – the
main arterial route South from Belfast. He also claims to have stopped
on a hillside road off the M3. The M3 is about 2 miles long and is
entirely concentrated within the City boundaries, not only that, but
there isn’t a farm, an animal or a country road anywhere near it,
unless you count the pigeons [aviculture as opposed to agriculture, I
7. Belfast is largely covered by security cameras – roads, car parks
and shops included. With his admitted erratic driving over the M3 and
M2 between 8.30pm and 2.30am, I’m surprised John was not approached
by Traffic Police.
8. A frequent phenomena of night-time aerial lights is the illusion of
‘following’. A dark background with no visual reference points creates
this. Don’t believe it? Check it out next night you are passenger. As
the vehicle travels along the twists and turns of a road the moon will
appear to be following [or leading you]. The huge distance of the moon
relative to you and your vehicle and the lack of visual clues increase
the sensation. Also, car headlights glancing off overhead lines can
create a most peculiar, almost eerie effect as if there were ‘lights
in the skies’.
9. Belfast Harbour Airport is only a few miles away from West Belfast,
and quite close to the M3. Landing aircraft approaching with
headlights on, seen through cloud cover can be rather bizarre. The
bright moving patch of light, no sound and a lack of visual
perspective contributes to the overall ‘eerie’ effect.
10. The header of the article indicated that John was hijacked by a
UFO – however John makes it clear that he chose to drive away from the
petrol station; he made other choices later in his story.
11. John never indicates that the object came near his vehicle. It is
always in the sky, or following him. Between the hours of 8.30pm and
2.30am there are plenty of vehicles and people about who would notice
an egg shaped alien if it was in or close to a car in this city. It’s
our national pastime in Ulster – taking notice of what other people
12. A 24 hour shift seems excessive [unless you are a junior doctor!].
There are minimum and maximum hours in many employments these days. If
John really did a 24 hour shift he must have been exhausted
afterwards, and very tired people are known to hallucinate. This
raises the question whether John knew before he went to work that he
would be doing a 24 hour shift. If he knew in advance then he could
have taken a taxi, for safety reasons. Driving after 24 hours with no
sleep is dangerous.
13. Since John was 6 hours late coming home, did his wife report him
missing? The story doesn’t tell us.
14. Does John take a drink? Is John on medication of any sort? The
story doesn’t tell us.
[Wherein Mr. Jones expounds upon that other great Patron Blatherskite
of Blather, the great polymath de Selby, late of the Vico Road,
Dalkey, Co. Dublin. More on de Selby can be found in Flann O’Brien’s
*The Third Policeman* and *The Dalkey Archives*
) – daev]
Two reasons are primarily responsible for M. de Selby’s lack of wider
acceptance in the latter part of the twentieth century. The foremost
reason is that de Selby was a visionary–a man ahead of his time–much
as was DaVinci in his age (2). Many of the ideas and theories that
deSelby expounded could not then be proven given the limited
technology of his time. With the advanced technology of today,
however, it would be child’s play to prove many of them and I throw
down the gauntlet of challenge to any who would, once and for all,
subject de Selby’s theories to the sophisticated scrutiny of Modern
Science. A scrutiny, I believe, that would vindicate this much
Secondly, de Selby (like many of the great geniuses) was hopelessly
eccentric. I submit that his various eccentricities gave him a
reputation among the scientific community as being a “queer duck,” an
“addlepate,” and a “screwball.” It is a well-known (and
well-documented) fact that scientists can be quite cruel to those of
their fellows who do not kowtow to their current, popular, scientific
“beliefs.” Think of the ignoble griefs to which Galileo was subjected
for saying that the earth moved around the sun. Think of Isaac Newton!
(3) The embarassing sketches of roofless houses and houses without
walls, for example, that appear in de Selby’s Country Album (p.1,034)
are explained by the redoubtable de Selby apologist, Le Fournier, as
“doodlings” that de Selby did as he pondered “some point of
difficulty” and which then became mixed in with his other writings.
When he came across these “doodlings” later, he mistook them as
sketches he had made for dwellings and wrote several pages of
explanation concerning them (4). Further, his “tent suits,” meant to
eliminate, at once, both houses and clothing may yet come into
fashion. Once these eccentricities are recognized, however, and
excised from his body of work, what remains will stand eternally as a
tribute to his true, if somewhat unconventional, genius (5).
(For more on de Selby and his “Boswell,” Flann O’Brien, see:
1. Distinguished de Selbyite. Conferred upon me by the International
de Selby Society for my treatise, “Darkness or ‘Black Air?’ A Closer
Look at de Selby’s Theory of Nighttime.”
2. For further remarkable resemblances between the two men, read my
scholarly discourse: “DaVinci and deSelby: One and the Same?” A
striking similarity (if one ignores the difference between “Da” and
“de” which are pronymically identical anyway) is that each letter of
“Vinci” is just a few alphabetical spaces above the letters in
“Selby,” (3,4,2,1, to be precise, with “y’s” and “i’s” being equal)
suggesting, perhaps, that DaVinci’s genius was slightly greater than
de Selby’s. Or it may simply be coincidence.
3. While no ignoble grief ever happened to Newton, still it never
hurts to think of him now and then.
4. Le Fournier, in de Selby–l’Ã‰nigme de l’Occident says of this
incident: “In no other way can one explain so regrettable a lapse.”
Literally hundreds of aprocryphal stories of de Selby’s odd
5. In addition, some small men with petty minds have suggested that
de Selby, like Shakespeare, was a hoax… and his body of work
produced as a “prank” to gull the dim-witted. I think not!
*Hell’s Angels*, Hunter S. Thompson’s first book, published
in 1966, is a highly involved, almost endearing, but highly critical
account of the civil chaos, the police hysteria, political polemic and
media hyperbole that trailed around after the Northern California
motorcycle gangs of the mid-sixties. Rather than assuming the distant
stance of the ‘objective’ journalist, Thompson spent a lot of time
partying with the Angels, going on ‘runs’ (mass bike rides to various
locations over holiday weekends) and just hanging out, talking about
everything and anything.
He was never a member – he was always under suspicion for being a
writer, he didn’t ride a chopped Harley Davidson (He rode a BSA,
which he totalled one night, and almost himself with it), and he
certainly didn’t (un)dress the part. Despite this, whenever Thompson
was at any mass meeting, he seems to have been between two stools –
his association with the gangs almost got him strung up by local
vigilantes, while he was always conscious of the Angels’ potential for
violence. Things came to a head when he was beaten up by them in 1966.
Throughout the book, Thompson does well to draw a comparison of the
extremes of 1960s America – here was the button-down collar American
Dream, the Norman Rockwell assumed innocence of post-war utopia…
confronted with their worst nightmares: smelly, dangerous
*bearded* madmen on gleaming bikes, licentious anarchists, people
without a future – The Hell’s Angels. Things were changing:
‘It may be that America is developing a whole new category
of essentially social criminals… persons who threaten the police and
the traditional social structure even when they are breaking no law…
because they view The Law with contempt and the police with distrust,
and this abiding resentment can explode without warning at the
Without every apologising for their behaviour – the rapes, or
the riots, Thompson in his own singular gonzo style, does a convincing
job of getting close to the soul of the biker outlaw, exploring the
history and social status of ‘white trash’, and the influences that
make them what they are.
‘They are urban outlaws with a rural ethic and a new improvised style
of self-preservation. Their image of themselves derives mainly from
celluloid, from Western movies and the two-fisted TV shows that have
taught them most of what they know about the world they live in. Very
few read books, and in most cases their formal education ended at
fifteen or sixteen. What little they know of history has come from the
mass media, beginning with comics… so if they see themselves in
terms of the past, it’s because they can’t grasp the terms of the
present, much less the future. They are the sons of poor men and
drifters, losers and the sons of losers. Their backgrounds are
Hunter S. Thompson is a pleasure to read, whatever the subject, but
he’s all the more enjoyable when rapping on about his own experiences.
A damned fine read, Dr. Duke.
*Hell’s Angels* is available from