UFOs and Humptydoo

[Blather would like to take this opportunity to wish itself happy birthday – we’ve now been delivering our weekly missive for an entire year.]
Irish UFO
After what seems to have been a lull, a new Irish UFO report has come to our attention, this time in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Blather would have reported this much earlier, but a) there was no real hurry, and b) we were far too busy regaling you with tales of the UnCon.
The reports state that on April 2, 1998 at around 5pm, a certain David Martin was perambulating towards *The Bell* public house, when he saw “an object flash across the sky. It stopped and hovered over my head. It seemed circular in shape. It flew off to the east in the direction of Raheny”. According to one report, the object was red. While a ‘typical’ sort of report, Blanchardstown is a well populated suburban area in North West Dublin, and I’ve yet to hear any more reports of UFOs in broad daylight there. Blather shall look into it.

It’s perhaps worth bearing in mind that if the report had been from April 1, it would have been far easier to dismiss it as a hoax.
Sources: UFO Roundup Volume 3, Number 17 April 26, 1998
Filer’s Files #15 for 1998

Mediawatch does Humptydoo

[In response to Blather 1.50, where Cheyne D. Conrad presented his opinions regarding poltergeist reports from the town of Humptydoo (near Darwin, Australia), Peter Darben now counters with a rather different opinion – Blather]
An interesting bit of information has arisen regarding the Humpty Doo polt case, so recently covered here in our brown land. Guardian of media integrity that it is, the ABC TV program MediaWatch has turned its attentions to the activities of the crew who brought us this interesting case.
For those not familiar with MediaWatch, it is a weekly 15-20 minute program which monitors the morality and activities of our media providers. They do this in a reasonably entertaining fashion, although all of their features are backed up with copious research, documents and other evidence.
In the past they have exposed “Mr Australia”, Ray Martin (host of the flagship of tabloid television, A Current Affair) as being less than charitable in his treatment of unemployed folk and Vietnamese immigrants, among many others, as well as trying to get to the bottom of why Brisbane’s own Courier Mail newspaper seems to have a personal vendetta against historian Manning Clark.
Naturally, being broadcast on publicly owned television, they cop a bit of flack for “victimising” commercial media outlets, a practice which isn’t really hard to do when all of the country’s media rests in the hands of two people. However, MediaWatch’s integrity has stood the test of many threatened libel suits.
MediaWatch’s coverage (screened 4.5.98) began with a little bit of information not circulated to most of the general public or news services. The program which broke the Humpty Doo Polt story, Network 7’s Today Tonight, was just starting its first broadcasts in the Darwin region.

Scratch Up

Today Tonight is a 30 minute “current affairs” program broadcast nationally to all affiliates, which tries, but just falls short of out-tabloiding A Current Affair. MediaWatch made this connection, pointing out that there was few better ways to get a bit of publicity in new territory, than to add a bit of local flavour. In other words, the rest of Australia, let alone the rest of the world, might never have even caught hold of this story, if Network 7 hadn’t used it to scratch up a few ratings.
The program aired stories and updates for a total of 5 days, sending a journalist and camera crew to see if they could catch any of the activity on film. In the words of the journalist responsible, in that entire time, their cameras caught only one incident which suggested polt activity, a shot that MW dutifully replayed in all its chilling glory.
The piece of footage shows a camera near floor level looking towards a large living room area. A pair of legs walk in front of the camera, and suddenly, an egg beater flies from the direction of the pair of legs and crashes against a wall. Hardly convincing stuff.
They also showed the footage (taken by an independent camera operator) that Mr Cheyne described in his contribution, which one of the inhabitants has admitted to having faked, so that people would believe them (leading contender for Bizarre Logic of the Year Award, that one). I must admit that I couldn’t see the face in the glass panel, but those magic eye things don’t work for me either. The point is moot, now that they’ve admitted to having faked that particular episode.
By far, the most telling piece of footage for me was the one in which they interviewed the inhabitants about an exorcist they brought in (evidently not the Father Tom English who has been reported in all the media coverage). One inhabitant struggled in vain to keep a straight face to tell the tale of an “exorcist . . . or some priest fella” who raced from the house screaming after a particularly nasty event – “He went back to Greece . . . or Rome or whatever. He wasn’t coming back again.”
At this point the strain of the haunting obviously became too much and he collapsed in laughter, with his mates snickering in the background. An unnamed priest, of unknown religious beliefs, possibly from Greece or Rome (or “whatever”) going somewhere he can’t be traced to ? Ahhh, sounds like bullshit, Barry.
So we have one admitted faked activity, one entirely unconvincing apparition and one probable tall story, all set against a background of a tabloid television program trying to wring a story out of the $2000 they paid to these folks. Not exactly the makings for an earth-shattering polt case.
Mr Cheyne has mentioned all manner of other activity and footage (including thermal analysis) which was reported in the house. Unfortunately, there is very little independent evidence to back up the claims (the “independent” film crew were the ones who caught the face in the glass). We have lots of eyewitness accounts, and a priest who gives ambiguous answers on and off camera – I’m not sure where Father English got his stats that these things happen more in non-Christian countries.
The evidence that MW presented was in no way a thorough debunking, and I agree with Mr Cheyne that the naive admission of fraud has had the effect of discouraging any further investigation of the entire phenomenon, although less than the fact that Today Tonight no longer needs the ratings.

Open cheque-book

However, it does provide evidence that a motive was there to beat up the whole thing. A television program previously shown to have questionable ethics with a wide open cheque-book who needed a story to get it a toe-hold in new territory. It also showed that the folks involved, rather than being terrified by the whole endeavour took the event as a bit of a joke.
If I could add a last note, in his update Mr Cheyne reports that the folk had moved out of the house to escape the phenomena, according to Today Tonight’s story). MW treated this a little differently, stating that they had been evicted after the land owner had gotten a touch sick and tired of things breaking around them. No word as to whether the new tenants had reported any projectile mercurochrome bottles.

Magonia Eth Bulletin

This newsletter on the *extraterrestrial hypothesis*, edited by John Harney, is available at the Magonia website and contains a fine essay titled ‘Off the Wall, Through the Wall and Up the Wall: the Abduction Researchers’, featuring the tinplate toils of David Jacobs and Budd Hopkins.
Aurora Marker Project

Forget Roswell – must of the ‘Saucerheads’ [(c) Bruce Lanier Wright] aren’t aware of the ‘mystery airships’ of 1897 – FringeWare Inc., with which Blather is proud to be heavily associated, has embarked on an endevour – The Aurora Marker Project – to put right what is wrong in a certain north Texas cemetery, where an alleged extraterrestrial was buried, following an airship crash in 1897.
Jeff Gorvetzian’s article from FringeWare Review #13, ‘Aurora’s Harbinger’, tells the tale of how the good folk of Aurora, Texas, saw fit to give a good Christian burial to a being who was ‘not an inhabitant this world’, according to a correspondent of the Dallas Morning News, a certain SE Heydon, on April 19, 1897.
To quote Jeff’s article; ‘Here we pass over neatly to myth. The pilot’s body was interred under a gnarled old oak on the cemetery’s south side, with a single stone bearing a hieroglyphic inscription from the ship to mark the grave. Though many later said Heydon had fabricated the story to drum up interest in Aurora, there was no further news from the city.
Neither the crash nor the gravesite was the subject of publicity. The stone, the town, and the pilot (if there had ever been one) all slept in silence for almost seventy years, exactly as villages in fairy tales are said to do.’
Jump to the 1970s, when some gutless little filcher made off with the headstone. To help repair this wrong, FringeWare has commissioned a replacement marker, to be designed by Austin artist Steve Brudniak, and placed *outside* the cemetery, in the city of Aurora, Texas.
The Aero Club of California, Mystery Airships and more. . .
Dave (daev) Walsh
May 15 1998

The disembodied collective editorial voice of the only really nice website in Ireland.