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Saturday, 11 July 2020

A Famous Family's Fairies

       A wonderful thing, the internet! So many old books and documents are now online. I first read this story in one of Janet Bord's books, and even she had to rely on a secondary source. However, it took me just an hour one night to run the original source to earth. The information this times comes from a highly respectable source: the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould (1834 - 1924), clergyman, archaeologist, folklorist, novelist, short story writer, and father of fifteen. These days he is remembered mostly as the author of "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, but in his time he was up there with Andrew Lang, Thomas Carlyle, and other prominent Victorian men of letters. And in 1890 he wrote In Troubadour-Land, a ramble in Provence and Languedoc. The relevant pages are 65 and 66 because he had travelled there both as an adult and as a child, so after describing an area known as the Crau, he introduced a childhood anecdote.

Monday, 22 June 2020

The Pixie on the Plane

     If you have been following this blog from its inception, you will probably be aware that, over the decade, I have gradually come to the conclusion that there really is something to sightings of the "little people", even if it is not possible to accept the whole of the fairy mythology. (If you want further information, see here.) However, there is one place I never expected to find them.
     In 1995 a then British police officer, John Hanson got interested in UFOs. After being joined by Dawn Holloway, they began a project of producing a comprehensive history of the the phenomenon. It is an indication of the immensity of the subject that they ended up with a series of ten (yes, ten) volumes entitled, Haunted Skies. And it must have been sometime in 2008 or 2009 that they received a communication from a retired headteacher on the Isle of Wight, who had an incredible story to tell.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

When Weirdness Came to Sydney

     Why would anyone go to the press and tell a story which made no sense whatsoever? Experience shows that deliberately seeking to make yourself a laughing stock is one of the rarest of human motives. For a bit of fun? Hoaxes like that follow a pattern. Usually they are inspired by something strange already published - say a bigfoot or a flying saucer. That is the impetus for some smart Alec to come up with a tall tale on the same topic. The idea is to produce something halfway plausible - something which will be published - so that you can sit around with your friends, laugh, and disclaim: "Would you believe? They actually fell for that baloney!" But producing something completely over the top out of the blue is usually not on the agenda. In any case, after three years, when everything has been forgotten, it is unlikely that somebody completely different will go to a different newspaper and relate a story arguably similar.
     Or perhaps something which made no sense really did visit Sydney, Australia half a century ago.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Introducing a New UFO Novel

"I can't believe it," he said. "We've actually seen a flying saucer crash in front of our eyes."
     Everything else in this blog concerns events which the witnesses claimed genuinely happened. But this is different. It is my first science fiction novel.
    Ever since my teenage years - approximately 55 years - I have been following the UFO scene, and I have become fully conversant with its many facets. I know what flying saucers are supposed to look like, and how they move. I am also familiar with the wide varieties of occupants observed in or near them, and even the weapons they are known to use.
    It will come as a surprise to most people that the interiors have been reported innumerable times, and by people's whose memories did not require hypnosis to be revealed. The descriptions are consistent: in ever single case they describe light diffusing the room without any obvious source, and doors for which no visible join in the wall is evident. Over the decades, too, other bizarre phenomena have been frequently reported: truncated light beams, beings levitated on light beams, humanoid occupants passing through walls to give just a short list.
     I had long held the intention, therefore, of producing a UFO novel which would be authentic - one for which it would be possible to say: This might have happened; all the phenomena described are known to be real.
     The central theme is simple, but I don't think it has been explored before. A group of bushwalkers, or hikers, are alone in the wilderness, when they happen to witness the crash of a flying saucer. On inspection, they discover, to their amazement, that the alien pilot is still alive, but injured. What would you do in such circumstances? They feel they have no choice but to treat him like a human casualty, construct a makeshift splint and stretcher, and carry him to civilisation. They do so with mixed emotions; one is excited, one is terrified, another is full of compassion for the injured alien, and so forth. But soon they discover that there are Others interested in the alien - and of their motives and technology they know nothing.
     The novel is self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing. Yes, I know the cover is crappy, but I am not prepared to hire a professional artist. It can be ordered through Amazon in whatever country you are in, and comes in two versions: a paperback and a Kindle e-book. The former I hope will eventually filter into bookstores and libraries. As for the latter, it costs the same as a large coffee, and if you don't possess a Kindle e-reader, the app can still be downloaded for an Ipad (tablet), PC, or phone. Amazon will also allow you to look inside the novel, if you are doubtful about my narrative skills.
     Let me know what you think. If you like it, tell all your friends, and write a review. We first-time novelists need all the help we can get.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

"Don't Go to Jersey!"

       On Maundy Thursday, 1899, the ferry, S.S. Stella departed Southampton with 190 passengers and crew, bound for the Channel Islands. They never arrived. Just after 4 p.m., in a heavy fog, it hit the Casquets Rocks. Within ten minutes, it went down, taking at least 77 persons with it. But one man was not present, for he had been forewarned by The Voice in the night.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Witches Who Failed to Fly

      It is, of course, well established that the Great Witch Craze of the 16th and 17th centuries, stretching even into the 18th, represented a resurgence of pre-Christian superstitions. They had once been ignored and mocked, but were now being taken seriously. However, I didn't realise just how ancient these beliefs were until I reread Apuleius' second century novel, The Golden Ass. There, the author describes how he watched a Thessalian witch strip naked, rub herself with a magic ointment, and promptly turn into an owl. That was very similar to what witches were accused of doing 13 or 14 centuries later! Some were even trying it out themselves!

Monday, 11 February 2019

Ron Quinn and the Little People of New York State

     In 1936 a certain Mr. Lampeter wrote to John O'London's Weekly asking, in effect, whether anyone had seen fairies, because his area of Wales a number of people had claimed to have done so. Funny about that! For the next few months the magazine found itself publishing letters from people who claimed the experience. If you are interested, you can read them here (PDF 158 KB). Similarly, in 1989 Ron Quinn wrote in a weekly paper in upstate New York about his encounter with a little man in 1942, and gave them his name and address. He asked if anybody had had a similar experience. Funny about that! As you have probably guessed by now, over the coming weeks, dozens of letters arrived in his box.