“There are two ways to slide easily through life:
to believe everything or to doubt everything.
Both ways save us from thinking.”
– Alfred Korzybski, Manhood of Humanity
QUOTATION, n. The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.
– Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
Some time ago, we grew weary of writing about the paranormal. It was a pathetic state of affairs – the bizarre became, for us, the mundane. So, we shut up, and stopped writing about it. Now, without for one minute claiming that we somehow caused a fugue in the Hibernian gestalt or a committed grievous quantum act, for some reason people in Ireland stopped sending us weird shit. We miss it, in some twisted way.
Back in 1998 or 1999, a constant stream of UFO sightings kept piling into our mailbox. The papers were regularly reporting on ill-behaved poltergeists and ghostly hauntings. Not anymore. We are nonplussed.
So where has it all gone? Are we imagining things, or no-things? Has Blather entered some weird bubble of normality? Should we report ourselves to CSICON, the Committee for Surrealistic Investigation of Claims of the Normal?
It would be easy to pass off this lapse as society’s sabbatical from the paranormal, after the millennial consternation of 1999. But, as Charles Fort himself wrote, ‘there never was an explanation which didn’t itself need to be explained’. We are not content with passing the mystery so easily. More fools us.
We are looking for opinions… yours.
Vote in our weirdness poll – and tell us YOU think the weirdness is gone. That is if, of course, you think it has gone anywhere at all.
[To vote, pollsters will have to sign up to the p45.net discussion board – Blather can promise that the people who run P45 are not members of some scary Irish zaibatsu, and that they will not sell your email address to foul-smelling backstreet spam-merchants.]
We do not mean to claim that things aren’t weird worldwide –Fortean Times used to keep track of such things with its weirdness index, but we haven’t seen one recently. FT does has a half-page of completely normal UFO reports in its current issue – the first in a while.
Just this week, in Naples, the blood of St. Gennaro (a.k.a. St. Januarius) has liquefied, as itnormally does, on the Saint’s feast day (September 19th), and on the first Saturday in May. The blood, which is apparentlyusually dry, is stored in glass vials, and kept in the city’s cathedral. Business as usual, which is just as well – tradition has it that if the bloody doesn’t liquify, then disaster will strike Naples.
Back on home turf, we did find a rake of fairly bizarre stories in the papers; at around 1800 hrs on August 19th, in the north Dublin coastal suburb of Clontarf (of all places), a 200-300ft high (90m), 70ft (21m) diameter tornado blew ashore. The dark pillar of cloud was travelling at an estimated 100 m.p.h., and brought traffic to a standstill. No injuries were reported, but one car was damaged. To readers across the Atlantic, this tiny whirlwind may seem like much ado about feck all, but bear with us; such things are a novelty around here.
Discuss Irish Tornados
Over the last couple of months, there has been a spate of bizarre crime stories. A few days before the Tornado incident, on the night of August 14th, some discerning thieves nicked an amazing 24 metres of the granite wall that separates Dublin’s Victoria Quay from the Liffey – the river which bisects Dublin. The more discerning conspiracy wags will surely suggest a Masonic connection, but we think that these people could be a) rich, eccentric millionaires who felt that some of Dublin would look ‘nice’ on the mantelpiece or b) geologically challenged diamond thieves who mistook the quartz for something more valuable. Either way, they were obviously unaware that the Wicklow Mountains are made of granite. With the right machinery, could be easily stolen.
Then, in the early hours of September 20th, yet more discerning thieves broke into the English Market in Cork city. Once in, they feasted upon several hundred pounds worth of champagne and some fine cheeses. They then scarpered, after choosing some new clothes…
Some posters to the Blather discussion suggested drunken yuppies, or Cork’s better class of villain. We would speculate that this is a classic symptom of the new found affluence in Irish society – real or imagined. Ex-dotcom workers, having spent their redundancy, are scouring bins and breaking into places like the English market in order to survive. But, ruined by exposure to high quality foodstuffs, they find that riffling rubbish bins an unpalatable pursuit, and are now destined to a life of high-quality crime, like the characters in the French film,Tenue de soirÃ©e.
Discuss Champagne Thieves
Our favourite of all the recent ‘bizarre crime’ stories didn’t even really happen, it seems.
On August 8th, The Wicklow People went to great lengths to cover a story about monkey thievery near Rathdrum. County Councillor Jimmy O’Shaughnessy, was apparently denouncing email and word-of-mouth concerning the kidnapping of monkeys from sanctuary in Co. Wicklow. During an altercation between the Gardai (Irish police) and the criminals, one of the monkeys had drowned in a lake, resulting in the pollution of the local water supply.
There is, as far as we know, a monkey sanctuary outside Rathdrum, and a boiling notice was issued by Wicklow Co. Council. However, this notice was served following water contamination by flash flooding, and
according to The Wicklow People, both the proprietors of the monkey farm and the Gardai deny any such story…
Discuss Monkey Thievery
September 23rd, 2001
Dave (daev) Walsh
July 3rd 2001