In last week’s Blather, a casual and fairly open-minded mention was made of the skywatch (or UFO watch) which was to take place in Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon, on December 14th. Blather also made sure to point out the *second* apparent coincidence of a ufological skywatch – organised by an *astronomer*, Eamon Ansbro of PEIR (Programme for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence) – with an annual astronomical highlight – the Geminid meteor shower (7th-16th Dec), which had peaked the night before. Mr. Ansbro had provided us with the details of the skywatch a few days beforehand, during a phone conversation. He asked if Blather would be making an appearance there – we declined the invitation, enquiring instead about any PEIR or ICUFOS (Irish Centre for UFO Studies) skywatches taking place around Dublin on that night. Mr. Ansbro informed us that no such event was taking place other than the Roscommon one.
Monday 14th was a cloudy night in Ireland’s capital, useless for meteor watching, whatever about UFO spotting. Even if one was looking for the Geminds, the light pollution in built up areas would greatly diminish the numbers of meteors seen (possibly over 100 per hour on the peak night). Late on Monday night, Blather discovered that Today FM’s (an independent national radio station) Ian Noctor had been in touch, with a view to a Blather radio appearance on the Ian Dempsey show, to discuss the UFO predictions.
At 0845 hours on Tuesday 15th, armed with a pot of coffee that contravened several UN peace resolutions, Blather was pitched against Betty Myler of Roscommon’s Western UFO Society, whose claims of ‘ley lines’ and UFOs have previously suffered criticism in this journal. Ian Dempsey asked her if the Lough Key skywatch had been fruitful – She exclaimed that it had, with many sightings of blue, red and green lights flashing *across* the sky at a very high speed. She seemed breathless with excitement. Mr. Dempsey sought a response from this quarter – we responded by pointing out the occurrence of meteor showers on the night in question, and that they would not have been ‘falling’ but streaking across the sky, with a ‘lopsided profile’ (Sky & Telescope). Curiously, red, green and blue UFOs seem to appear more in the reports associated with Ansbro, Myler and Alan Sewell than other unassociated Irish reports…
It became apparent in the course of the radio conversation, that a skywatch *had indeed* taken place on Bull Island, on the northern coast of Dublin City. This came as a surprise, due to the fact – as mentioned above – that Ansbro had informed Blather to the contrary a few days beforehand. What *was not* a surprise was that the presence of a sceptical observer could have been done without.
Back to the show – a rather garrulous (for that time of the morning, sympathetic as we are with Oscar Wilde’s dictum ‘Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast’ – no reflection on the caller, rather our pre-midday grouchiness) a male caller to the show told of a sighting of two lights over Bettystown golf course, on the Co. Meath coastline, north of Dublin. Ian Dempsey passed a wry comment about possible luminous golf balls, and before concluding, turned to another caller (also male), who had seen a light in the sky over Gormanstown – south of Bettystown.
Since Tuesday, an inkling of a report ambled our way, concerning an apparent UFO sighting in Co. Mayo.
Without for one moment doubting the integrity of the two callers, the questions arise:
If there had been no predictions of UFOs, would any of the witnesses have seen anything of possible import on Monday night?
If Ian Dempsey and Today FM (as well as other radio stations) had declined to host planned discussions, would those callers have bothered to phone anyone, report anything, or attach any significance to their experiences?
This isn’t to disparage Today FM – on the contrary, considering it was a brief slot on primetime breakfast radio, they dealt with the matter in a remarkably and refreshingly objective manner, a refreshing change to the tabloidish treatment dealt with by some quarters of the media, while others choose to ignore such topics entirely.
On the other hand, this ongoing campaign of PEIR/ICUFOS to foster belief in extra-terrestrial visitation, seems to be becoming increasingly questionable – Blather was content to deliver the odd wry disparagement in the past, but having been fed apparently deliberate misinformation by Eamon Ansbro – an astronomer who feels the need to mislead the naive into thinking that regular astronomical events are instead epiphanic visitations from other worlds – we have decided that enough is enough.
*December’s Generous Geminids* (dead link)
Sky & Telescope
+That Feckin Millennium Monument+
Not that Blather is steeped in grumpiness this week – just on a roll of devilish pedantry. Great moaning and sarcasm are abroad in Dublin, due to plans to erect a huge stainless steel spike in O’Connell St. to replace the long absent Nelson’s Pillar (reportedly blown up by the Irish Republican Army in 1966, but some reckon it was an unofficial demolition by the Irish government), and to mark the change of millennium. Many wonder what the *point* of a steel spike is, others criticise the waste of money, and the rest of us throw our eyes to heaven (even the atheists). When attempts were made to claim it as a Christian monument (the phallus of the son of a god?), Blather felt the need to get an oar in. See:
*The Irish Times*, Letters to the Editor, Wednesday December 16 1998
O’Connell Street Monument
The Official Dublin Millennium Website
http://www.dublin-2000.com (dead link)
For more such shenanigans, see *Pre-Millennial Tension*, the new Fortean Times column, belted out from the same keyboard as *Blather*.
http://www.forteantimes.com/countdown/default.htm (dead link)
+What’s new at Magonia+
Vice-Blatherskite Mark Pilkington has issued an urgent memo concerning the latest offerings on the *Magonia* website.
Abduction Watch #15 Feet and mouth, implants special. Dr Leir’s flaky evidence.
ETH Bulletin #9 Saucers full of secrets. Where’s the evidence for the global cover-up?
http://www.magonia.demon.co.uk/newmag.htm (dead link)
+Claims of the Normal+
First Timothy Leary died (but did he?). Then that old insect William S. Burroughs popped his cogs. Blather recently recorded the demise of Kerry Thornley, founder of Discordianism. Robert Anton Wilson (another who was once reported to have died, but has vigorously denied that charge ever since) now laments the demise of Timothy F.X. Finnegan, founder of the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of the Claims of the Normal (CSICON) and Dean of the Royal Sir Myles na gCopaleen Astro-Anomalistic Society.
http://www.botree.com/raw/index.htm (dead link)
Last week’s email version contained a bad URL for the Blather archives, for a report on last year’s UFO predictions/Geminid showers. The correct address is here.
This week’s issue was written on a laptop, somewhere between Dublin and Galway.