Month: November 2006

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In October 1997, a mystery cannonball tore through the walls of a Missouri mobile home. Nobody knew where it came from, or who fired. We wrote some crazy stuff about it, here on blather.net. Now it's come back to haunt us... The owner of the mobile home, Kathy J. Mickelson, emailed blather.net, telling her side of the story. The "cannonball" was no such thing - in fact, it was a massive spudgun. "There never was an explanation which didn't itself need to be explained" - Charles Fort Nearly nine years ago, on October 23rd, 1997, I wrote an article for blather.net called "The Smoking Cannon": A rather amusing, classically fortean story crashed onto the Blather newsdesk this week, in the shape of a cannonball. The 'civil war-type' missile tore through a window and two walls of Leonard and Kathy Mickelson's mobile home, in House Springs, Missouri, on Thursday night 16th...

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Occasionally I have dreams during which I get extremely angry with people whom I feel no anger to in 'real life' - and wake up somewhat disturbed and embarrassed. It happened again last night (I was in a theatre in Venice pelting the collective Blather readership with Monster Munch, while shouting and laughing hysterically) . I decided to use the web to investigate the phenomenon of angry dreams. A search for "angry dreams" first turned up a commercial website called Absolute Comfort, selling beds and mattresses etc. Their anger page revealed something that seemed to me very sensible indeed: "...what about angry dreams? It's obvious that we go to bed tired at night. We wake up refreshed, rested and energized the next morning. The body using its built-in intelligence knows how to relieve itself of fatigue and accumulated stress and strain from the day's activities." Yes, I was completely exhausted...

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A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to meet Greg Palast, who I interviewed for a piece on Blather. The reason the piece never appeared is quite simple and enormously embarrasing: I lost the tapes. Despite the amateur-hour antics, one thing has stayed with me from that day: Palast's description of how the horrors that Timothy McVeigh had witnessed as a soldier during the first Iraq war had followed him home to the U.S. and led him to commit a horror of his own: the Oklahoma City bombing. I mention this because the recent story of how decorated soldier Zachary Bowen murdered, dismembered and cooked his girlfriend Addie Hall, may also have its origins in what Bowen was exposed to when on service. To paraphrase what Palast said to me that day, isn't it foolish of us to expect that the warzone will not follow a soldier home?...

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Blather's grave-robber in residence 'Ender' returns to deliver the latest in his epic series of articles on the legendary Irish warlord and shagger of many women, Niall of the Nine Hostages. So, strap on yer fedora and grab hold of yer trowel as this time we explore the controversial genetic evidence which, it was recently suggested, points to the fact that one in five Irish people are directly descended from Niall... In our last sausage we had seen how, just like that, out of nowhere, came the ‘history’ of the Uí Néill legacy. In the words of Kelleher ‘like a school of cuttle fish from an ink-cloud of their own making’ Booty The success and rise of the Uí Néill dynasty is inexorably linked with the changing political order, landscape and belief systems within fifth and sixth century Ireland and on the wider European stage with the decline of the...

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Starting this September just gone, residents in Newbury, Berkshire, England have been reporting anomalous lights in the local sky. According to Newbury News 'triangular lights' were seen by the the local Greenham Common by a spate of people. And now a new set of sightings, this week just gone, over the M4 road have left locals puzzled and generated a rash of calls to the media. Apparently, the Met office and the Police can't explain it. But, if the truth be told, the UFO sightings are only the beginning of the story for an area rich in Fortean history: a quick perusal of the archives reveals an area abundant in spectres, ghosts and unexplained phenomena. Robert Rowlands of the Newbury News reports: 'In late September, Newbury residents claimed to have witnessed triangular formations of lights hovering over Greenham Common and other parts of the district. So far, the MOD and...