From the offset we might be led to believe the UFO phenomenon all started to become main stream when an alleged weather balloon containing miniature mannequin’s crash landed on Roswell, New Mexico sometime before June 14th, 1947.
From then on things spiraled and sightings increased, shortly after Roswell Kenneth Arnold an American aviator witnessed nine objects flying near Mount Rainer in Washington State on June 24th 1947 and described them in one instance as ‘saucer like’. Even though the term ‘flying saucer’ had been whispered from time to time before, it was this sighting
along with the wide spread media coverage that cemented the term ‘flying saucer’ to be associated with UFO phenomena.
America has had its fair share of UFO sightings but back here on Irish soil we can’t pin point a specific date when the phenomena really took off, so to speak. Like other countries and regions around the world the strange sightings simply didn’t start, they have always been.
From the early airships reported flying through American skies reported in the western US newspapers from 1896, we can track back that something strange continued to happen. The first test of the atom bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16th 1945 some believe may have been the catalyst for visits from our space neighbors. Some theorize this atom bomb and subsequent explosions signaled the human race’s entry into a new cosmic arena. Sightings it has been suggested, have increased and a wide spread investigative body from the simple amateurs (of which I’m one) to the highly credible scientific and military complex have become involved.
Official governmental project after project white washed the phenomena reported from around the world and with the help of main stream media made a joke of all things which came under the heading of ‘UFO’. This only caused witnesses of such phenomena to retract back into the shadows
and say nothing to only a very few for fear of ridicule or worse. Witness’s careers would become affected if they reported such phenomena as it would somehow reflect on their character of judgement, yet many of the witnesses such as pilots, clergy, police and military personnel were highly qualified and could analyze the sighting, possibly giving more clues to their origins or to be
more specific, what they wanted.
My reasons however did not fall within the remit of Ufology, a term applied to the study of the flying saucers. I was intrigued by the crossover of archaeology, mythology, folklore and the reports left behind by our ancestors here on Irish soil. Were there accounts in Irish history that would show
without a shadow of a doubt that the UFO phenomenon has a historical foot print on the land? The darker nature of the UFO phenomena scatters remains across the land, mutilation after mutilation. Were there earlier accounts of such mutilations happening back then as they do today?
Many readers wouldn’t be aware that mutilation is a side effect of UFO phenomena or that it even happens. Many live in a sheltered existence of cycles such as home, work, home, because of this many have formed quite vocal opinions on all aspects of the subject matter, because they don’t see
it, it isn’t real. My response to those nay sayers are to simply step outside their safety zone, immerse themselves into the topic away from distractions of their cell phones and TV’s. If they are truly investigative they will find the truth that hides behind the veil as many of us have done.
As I began to find the proof of a longer UFO period within Irish folklore and mythology I began to see common factors. These factors I was also finding within other areas and regions around the world. Commonalities we were all sharing as a human race, by seeing the common threads that connected many of our folklores a truth began to appear. A truth which spoke of a phenomena which was not new by any means, this age of phenomena of the flying saucer was ancient. If we take for instance in modern ufology a typical shape reported by witnesses around the world and is known as the ‘cylinder or cigar’. An object shaped like a tube which flies through the sky. An example of a cigar filmed in Brazil can be seen in the photo to the left. A
further video of a cigar was captured in the Ukraine
This is just one common shape which the strange phenomena is often witnessed and I found it remarkable that we can also find this appearing in our islands past. Here on the island we have an advantage over other island nations in that much of our oral history has been written and captured by efforts in Dublin. At Duchas they hold the world’s largest folklore collection, in its efforts to digitize the national collection from twenty six counties I was introduced to a series of accounts which reflected very heavily of our space age friends.
The stories have all been hand written and scanned in to the data base, then folks such as myself come along and simply copy the hand written notes and formulate them into a digital file making it easy to access for others and easily source material. It was during this process I came across accounts in our history which supports the historical UFO phenomena on Irish soil and Irish air space.
One such account I can only assume tried to rationalise and understand what their family relation had seen and is called ‘The Ghost Train’ . Another incident of a ‘Ghost Train’ also appears on the Fermanagh, Leitrim border.
We have to understand that the description of the actual phenomena is in relation to the understanding of the witness, they simply tried to label the object with an identity which the listener and reader may understand even though in the modern understanding of today had the witnesses have said they saw a cylinder floating above the ground we would understand it immediately…..well most of us. The idea of a ‘Ghost Train carriage’ a long cylindrical object with windows along the side is not that far away from descriptions of the same type of UFO seen in the present day area of Lough Key in County Roscommon.
These are but a few instances where we can find links to pre Roswell 1947. However other such researchers and authors like as Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck who wrote ‘Wonders in the Sky, unexplained aerial objects from antiquity to modern times’ explains in their pages that like the Irish accounts these incidents have been happening on an almost daily occurrence globally and their work even cites accounts back into the BC of world history.
There have been several curious accounts though which don’t seem to fit comfortably into a particular and clearly defined subject and of course the British Isles produced stories which leaves me scratching my head. Between 700AD and 1600AD stories of flying ships where reported from Scotland, England and Ireland. It is one thing to see a UFO but to clearly define a ship from our oceans among the clouds is quite something else.
Theeye witnesses knew what they saw and reported as such. Within the Annals of Ulster, a series of books which it is said reports a year by year history of medieval Ireland from 431-1540. In these records is a bizarre case of a ship seen over the monastery of Clonmacnoise, in County Offaly. A common thread in this story that is seen in other places throughout the British Isles also is that the anchor got stuck in some stone and a man was seen to dive of the ship into the air and swim down to the anchor to try and free it. In doing so the witnesses reached for the swimmer to help but were whole heartedly told not to touch him for fear he may die, he cuts the anchor rope and the ship and sailor head off on their journey through the clouds.
I cannot account for seeing a sea faring ship in the sky thankfully…. but accounts such as these do exist. I note them but prefer to keep an open mind with such accounts and move on, which brings us to the lights; these orbs of light are seen and reported globally. I was in the desert outside Phoenix, Arizona in 2012 photographing these unusual light orbs which had been reported before and after the major sighting over the city on March 13th 1997 now known as the Phoenix Lights.
When standing in the presence of these lights they produced a strange ominous feeling that I couldn’t explain. I stood in the distinct wash of what I can only describe as negative eddies of unseen energy. Power lines behind me stretched SW into the desert and produced a noise I have never heard before, it was as if the power was being bounced back and forth between the giant electric pylons. It could well be said that what I was seeing and photographing were flares from planes at the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range 80 miles SW of my position but I was standing on the desert floor 309 metres above sea level, the mountains which the lights appeared above are over 670 meters above sea level and were 70 miles from the Air Force Range.
These balls of light have also been recorded in the folklore of Irish history and accounts with Duchas back in Dublin and we can see the theme of the ghost trains continue with horror stories developing around them such as ‘Hell Fire Jack’. But here we see a distinct turn in the nature of the UFO being reported, there is an edge to its essence, the distinction between a train and a crazed light becomes more apparent especially when we consider this story reported in the field and probable townland of Ballygorteen in Tipperary.
Sadly we don’t know of the outcome of the cattle that shared the field with this crazy light/ghost train but I suspect they didn’t end well. The fairy and mutilation connection can be easily found in aspects of our folklore. One such tale I stumbled across last year in 2015 came from county Leitrim involving a rural farmer who had just enjoyed the good news of a new birth on the farm. His new calf and mother were placed in a stone barn and left for the night in a comfortable way. On his return the following morning he was greeted with a horrific scene as the calf’s mother lay dead with her udders cut off. His regret was he didn’t place the iron over the doorway the night before to stop the
fairy from killing his cow.
Cold iron had always been seen as a deterrent to the fairy. Our ancient tales tell how when men fought with these beings that it was cold iron in their weapons that finally killed them and a peace was brokered. I was investigating an old rath in Northern Ireland in 2006. Tales had long been told of
its large earthen banks hiding an access to the fairy kingdom and raths such as the one I was investigating can be found all over Ireland.
It was during this investigation I found my first sample of animal mutilation so close to a place associated with the fairy. Large predators have for a long time been hunted to extinction on this island. The last wolf was said to have been killed in 1786, leaving its smaller cousin the fox as the next largest predator which in itself is more an opportunist than a savage hunter. The balls of light seem to have some connection with our past, with our ancestral homes and worship sites dotted over the countryside. Lights appearing from a rath are not new as this story from Duchas reveals, the small lights are recounted time and time again and connect us back to something on the earth or rather in it.
For some reason yet unknown, the lights can be small or huge and give the appearance that a whole field was consumed in flame. The idea of magical lights dancing all over the ground and sky may seem far-fetched but for those within the field of research it is no longer a fairy tale but fact. Scientists from Østfold University College in Norway and the Italian National Research Council have been working hard observing and trying to understand The Hessdalen lights which are up to now are still of unknown origin. These lights appear and disappear at will, traveling at tremendous speeds with some appearing outside our ability of sight and thus can only be tracked on radar. One light appeared producing light throughout the spectrum that would be similar to the light produced by our own sun.
What you won’t find in the research though, are the side effects of the lights and how they affect the viewer. This will be covered in another publication to come later and it will mean me having to put boots to the ground to seek out and speak to those that may be willing to share their information.
The orbs have been reported high in the Himalayan regions of India and even spooked members of the military, this was reported in their online press. Large robotic figures have also been reported by a scientific team in 2004 at Samudra Tapu. This worldwide phenomenon has happened in our past and it is still happening right now. For the main stream jock such as you and me we are left to piece it together, to follow the clues our ancestors left and to try to reveal the identity and point of entry from our world to the other.
With due care and diligence we have a chance to tag these happenings and find points on our earth both on land and in our oceans where the phenomena and its side effects are most likely felt. Ireland I feel has gone a long way in acknowledging our own heritage and folklore by making it accessible to anyone willing to get off their butts and connect the dots. It’s no easy path I can assure you, both time and money are demanded by such a venture but it can be done, it will be done.
So to answer the question of whether UFO’s have a basis in Irish folklore and mythology then it has to be said, absolutely. In a later published though I may be exploring the ancient history of the island by stepping back into our Neolithic history some 7000 years to the stone mounds left behind by our ancestors and the connections to the gods both in the sky and the underworld.
The Great Sheep Scare
Between 11,000 and 9000 BC we harnessed and tamed the wild Mouflon of Europe to nurture a species of animal that just keeps giving. Sheep, as we know them today in a collective term and in their singular are the unsung heroes of man’s development at least within Europe as a whole. Its life giving properties such as milk and cheese have helped grow Europe into what we know today and in those cold winter nights their wool kept helped us stave off the frigid attempts of Jack Frost to bring us to our knees.
For those carnivores amongst us, a Lamb shank on a Sunday dinner menu was the highlight of the week for many. Little give the animal a second thought as we race past in our cars focused on our day ahead unless we glimpse the new arrivals in January every year. Our hearts can melt the multitude of lambs and their antics and over whelming cuteness.
The animal species which now has a population of 1 billion actually is rather intelligent, a two year study in the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, England headed by neuroscientist Keith Kendrick said, “We know that sheep can not only recognize other sheep, they can remember some faces of sheep for up to two years, that begs the question of whether they can think about, perhaps even miss individuals they haven’t seen in a long time.”
For anyone who lives on or near a farm will attest the feelings of helpless when hearing the calls from the lambs which have been separated from their mothers which can last for nights and would support the hypothesis that sheep can remember faces of not only each other but of us as well for long periods of time.
Horses, Cows, and Monkeys also have great recognition but for now we will only be examining the sheep species due to a very bizarre incident that occurred near Reading in Oxfordshire, UK on the evening of November 3rd, 1888.
It seems according to a letter received at the offices of the Hardwicke’s Science-gossip magazine that the event was made public. Two local seed import/export men named Oakshott and Millard found themselves at the centre of the bizarre event and wished to impose the question to more academic minds as to why it actually occurred. The letter read:
The Sheep Panic near Reading
I beg to call attention to a remarkable circumstance which occurred in this immediate locality on the night of Saturday, November 3rd. At a time as near eight o’clock as possible the tens of thousands of sheep folded in the large sheep-breeding districts, north, east, and west of Reading were taken with a sudden fright, jumping their hurdles, escaping from the ﬁelds, and running hither and thither; in fact, there must for some time have been a perfect stampede. Early on Sunday morning the shepherds found the animals under hedges and in the roads, panting as if they had been terror-stricken. The extent of the occurrence may be judged when we mention that every large farmer from Wallingford on the one hand, to Twyford on the other, has reported that his sheep were similarly frightened, and it is also noteworthy that with two or three exceptions the hill-country north of the Thames seems to have been principally affected. We have not heard, nor can any of the farmers give any reasonable explanation of the facts we have described. The night was intensely dark, with occasional ﬂashes of lightning, but we scarcely think the latter circumstance would account for such a wide-spread effect. We would suggest the probability of a slight earthquake being the cause, but, perhaps you or some of the readers of Science-Gossip may be able to offer a more satisfactory explanation.
The Sheep Panic near Reading —– Oakshott and Millard (Hardwicke’s, 1889, p70).
This was not just a simple event, readers should understand this was an event which caused tens of thousands of sheep to scatter over 200 square miles of grazing land. Some speculated one sheep panicked and caused the rest to panic but for anyone who knows sheep will know to cause such a widespread panic over 200 square miles would seem implausible. A report in the London Times reported ‘that malicious mischief was out of the question, because a thousand men could not have frightened and released all these sheep.’ London Times, Nov. 20, 1888
The sceptics did try to explain it away and a report in the Live Stock Journal attempted to bring calm to the situation, ‘the case reported from Reading, as to the whole of the ﬂocks within one district being disturbed and escaping from their folds on one night at one hour, has been paralleled, by a similar outbreak in Norfolk. As we believe, the panic is spread by “hearing.” Flock M or N is frightened on a very dark night. At once L and O are disturbed, ‘and the sound of their excitement attracts the attention of K and P, who are simultaneously panic-driven, the distress expanding from one centre, as the rings upon the surface of a pond expand from where the stone strikes the centre.’
Live Stock Journal, 1888, p627.
Sheep openly display their herbivore herd mentality and can be very jumpy at times when a new threat is suspected but for the most part are relatively calm animals. During daylight hours they follow a pattern or eating, resting and eating before settling down for the night.
Most breeds however prefer to graze on grass and other short roughage, avoiding the taller woody parts of plants that goats readily consume which makes me wonder why we don’t see more goats mixed with the herds on the mountain slopes.
They actually have a great sense of sight and for those animals that don’t have facial wool display a visual field ranging from 298° to 325°. Sheep eyes are likely to produce a well-focused retinal image of objects in both the middle and long distance with excellent depth of field and good colour perception.
Did the sheep over a larger area perhaps see something that sparked them to flee the safety of their paddocks? Is there possibly a warrant to suggest something of a more sinister nature may have occurred in the area to spark the fear?
George James Symons FRS, an internationally eminent meteorologist, a pioneer of comprehensive rainfall recording and past president of the Royal Meteorological Society wrote that he had heard that nearly all the sheep ran in an easterly or south easterly direction. In a letter to the Times he added, that almost exactly a year earlier, on November 20th 1887 the sheep had not been disturbed by what he identified as a “detonating meteor burst” over “very much the same district”.
The Oxford Mail online claims UFO’s have been potted over the area according to documents which include strange crafts, shafts of light and other unexplained objects that were witnessed on numerous occasions over the county between 1986 and 1992.
Michael Soper a UFO researcher based in the county said, “Oxford has a long history of UFOs. In 1888, astronomers reported spotting a luminescent light hovering over the city, which then zoomed off. There are certain places in Oxfordshire that seem to attract things like this”.
On December 4th 1893 it happened again across the very same lands of Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Berkshire.
‘Individual farmers on finding the next morning that their sheep (almost all sheep in this part of the country are folded or “penned” on turnips on the arable land at that time of year) had broken out during the night, and observing that the condition of the pens and hurdles, as well as of the sheep themselves in some cases, pointed to the fact of the sheep having been severely frightened, naturally concluded that they had been worried by a dog; some, finding that the sheep exhibited no marks of being worried, concluded that they had only been frightened, perhaps by a dog, perhaps by a fox; others applied to the police. The result of any inquiries made by the police, or privately, or by mentioning the fact among neighbours, however, was to elicit the fact that the panic had extended over a very large tract of country, and that unless it was allowed that all the dogs and foxes in the district had with concerted action simultaneously arisen and attacked hundreds of flocks on the same night, this attempt to account for the panic would have to be abandoned.’
(Alpin, Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society 1894, p130-131).
The UFO theory may not be that far off the mark in its truest sense. Mr. O.V. Aplin who investigated the strange 1893 phenomena noted in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society,
‘The conclusion arrived at was that the cause of the panic was simply thick darkness. Very few people, probably, have ever been out in a really dark night, and it is impossible for anyone who has not had this experience to imagine what it is like and the sense of helplessness it causes. That a thick darkness of this kind was experienced in the early part of the night of the recent panic (at a time agreeing with that at which, so far as was known, the sheep stampeded), was proved by abundant evidence. One report said that it was between 8 and 9 P.M. when such a thick and heavy darkness came on that a man could not see his own hand. Another witness wrote that a little before 8 o’clock there was an extraordinary black cloud travelling from north-west to south-east, which appeared to be rolling along the ground. The darkness lasted for thirty or forty minutes, and during that time it was like being shut up in a dark room. Later in the night—long after the panics—there were several flashes of lightning. Mr. Aplin states that animals probably see perfectly well on ordinary dark nights, and we can imagine a bewilderment coming over them when they find themselves overtaken by a thick darkness in which they can see nothing. Folded sheep (and it was the small folds that the sheep broke most) in moving about would knock against their feeding-troughs and one another, and the first one that got a fright from this and made a little rush would probably come into collision with one or two others, and it would need nothing more to imbue the whole pen with the idea that there was some cause for fear. Then they would all make a rush, and their terror and the momentarily recurring incentives to, and aggravations of, it in the shape of collisions would only subside when the sheep had broken out and were in the open, clear of one another and of their troughs and hurdles. If this is the explanation of the panic, then it is easy to understand why folded sheep are so much more likely to suffer than those lying in open fields. The heavy, oppressive atmosphere accompanying the thick darkness, the susceptibility of sheep to atmospheric disturbance, and their nervous and timid dispositions would all tend to increase the fright the sheep experienced. The cause of the panic being a cloud rolling along so low down as (apparently) to touch the ground, the tops of the hills and the high-lying ground would naturally be most affected; and this is observed to be the case, although locally the usual direction followed by thunderstorms has indicated a line along which sheep stampeded on nearly every farm
(Scottish Agriculture, 1921, p204-205).
It should be noted in areas of heightened paranormal activity more cases than not can you will find a positively charged magnetic anomaly in the area or nearby. The rise of phenomena in these areas will include UFO sightings, abductions, mutilations, strange creatures and heightened paranormal activity. Reading sites inside one of these areas.
These troublesome areas can also contain portals as identified by our ancient societies. England and Wales have these areas which are associated with a higher number of incidents and Scotland only contains two of areas. Whilst Scotland may seem to have only two areas, the smaller of the two contains a highly charged area which includes the A70 abduction event of the 1990’s, Dechmont Woods Abduction, strange deaths, animal mutilations and even sightings of dogmen.
The Sheep panic of 1888 and 1893 will remain a mystery but there are grounds for continued observation of the area and other areas just like it. These positively charged magnetic areas include and are not limited to Skin Walker ranch in Utah, Brown Mountain in North Carolina and Hessdalen Valley in Norway. On a side note it is interesting how I’ve found 70% of the world’s top suicide locations appear in negatively charged magnetic anomalies. This of course is work for another day.
For now I’m left pondering the possible causes of the sheep panic and the mystery of what they saw amidst the promise of a roast Sunday dinner.