Monday, 12 April 2010

Even Cryptoterresterials Get The Munchies

I'd forgotten about this report until it re-surfaced over at Phantoms & Monsters the other day:

Location/Date: New Town, Edinburgh, Scotland - 1990 - late evening

A man named Brian Wilson was working the late shift one night at a local pizza parlor when a pair of "rather small" adults, who had a somewhat "lopsided" look about them, approached the counter, raised their right hands, and announced; "Hi, we're Americans!"

"What would you like?" Brian asked them.

They countered, "What do you make?"

"Pizzas" replied Brian.

"What are pizzas?" inquired the supposed Americans.

The couple watched Brian intently as he prepared two cheese and tomato pizzas. All the while, the male "kept looking around the shop like he'd never been in a pizza parlor before". Then the female pointed to a bowl of green peppers and asked what they were.

By now, Brian's colleague Doug had also noticed that there was something rather odd about the pair, and the two chefs exchanged glances of disbelief as Brian carefully explained what a pepper was.

"Do they taste nice?" wondered the female.

As the pair waited in silence for their pizzas (complete with green peppers) to cook, other customers came in and out of the shop as usual. Once their order was ready, the extraordinary Americans settled their bill. Each took a single bite out of their pizza then threw the remainder into the bin outside the shop.

Brian entertained a suspicion that his visitors may have literally been from another planet "I had read stories on the subject of aliens masquerading as human beings," he told investigators. "These two individuals came across as acting as humans, but not doing a very good job of it!"

Source: UFO Scotland by Ron Halliday

Hmm, maybe the shock of the pizza being deep fried was too much for them? I dare say you think they'd have been used to people asking what fresh vegetables were...

Joking aside, although there's nothing at all to suggest these people were actually aliens, or even some form of cryptoterresterial, there is a body of lore of people having interactions with apparent humans who just aren't quite right, they act inappropriately, they seem confused or amazed by everyday things or they just don't look right. For instance, there are Men In Black reports that include them trying to drink jelly, looking amazed at a biro and so on.

The late Mac Tonnies cites a case in his excellent book The Cryptoterrestrials (which is in my pile of books I intend to review on here), relating to a similar encounter with a Grey-like woman buying cigarettes, previously discussed on his blog here.

If, for the sake of argument, we are not alone on this planet, and share it with a sister species who are numerically inferior but possibly possess abilities we don't, maybe their best survival stratgey would to avoid detection by living amongst us, hiding in plain view.

That said, Edinburgh is home to a large number of people who're just plain weird- try working with the public if you want a handle on how many odd folk are out there!

Perthshire Bloodsucker

I've finally managed to track down the story I referenced in my previous post, regarding a possible sheep mutilation in Perthshire. I had it in my head that it occurred in the general vicinity of Loch Tay, but actually it occurred further North, north west of Glen Tilt, hence my inability to find it in my copy of Geoff Holder's Guide To Mysterious Perthshire, from which this account is taken:
The story takes place around 1923, in an old bothy to the north west of Glen Tilt. Two poachers decided they were going to stay the night in this remote location. The door was locked so they broke a window to gain entry and lit a fire. One of the poachers climbed back out through the window to get some water when something attached itself to his leg and began drinking his blood. He broke free and he and his companion searched the area to try and find what had attacked him. They could see some white winged objects and some faint blue lights. Somewhat perturbed, they forced the door of the bothy, cooked a meal and didn't sleep a wink.
In the morning, the only physical traces they could find were their own footprints, though the poacher carried the scars for the rest of his life. They never returned to the area. The bothy had an evil reputation among locals, but it's not clear whether this was a result of this incident or whether there were other tales attached to it.
Obviously, it's difficult to know what to make of a story like this. However, it does sound reminiscent of accounts such as The Skinwalker Ranch where small balls of light were associated with livestock mutilation.
Could whatever these things are got fed up of sheep and fancied a bit of poacher? Or, maybe more likely, did a wily gamekeeper spread a tall tale to deter poaching on their patch?
As an aside, Geoff Holder's written a whole series of guides to the mysteries of various Scottish counties, including Perthshire, Stirlingshire and Invernesshire, which I highly recommend. They cover everything from local myths to ancient sites to curious buidling and modern UFO and creature encounters. Invaluable for the Scottish Fortean (or Forteans with an interest in Scotland).

Sunday, 11 April 2010

My own brush with the odd

I was born and grew up in an unremarkable but pleasant village in rural Perthshire called Luncarty.
One summer holiday when I was around 7 or 8 (which would make it 1982 or 1983), my brother, a friend and I were playing in the woods in the middle if the village around mid afternoon. We'd decided we'd had enough and were heading home along the footpath at the bottom of the big hill (the one that heads towards the Witches Wood, and now at the back of Sandeman Court and Marshall Road-both fields at the time). There was a ruined house to the left of the footpath (which was supposedly a wash house for Luncarty House- it was demolished in the late 80s/early 90s). As we approached this, something flashed from the bushes on the right hand side of the path in front of us and into the ruined house. I remember this as being a white blob- almost like the stereotypical image of a ghost in a shroud but featureless- although this may be due to seeing it side on, and it looked like it was slightly luminous. It was moving clear off the ground- maybe a foot or two. This is what convinced us to turn and run! We made it home in record time, but our mum didn't seem too impressed with our story.
To this day, I'm at a loss to explain this experience- the fact whatever it was clear off the ground (and moved a fair distance on the level) mitigates it being someone in a sheet- and I'm sure if we'd been hoaxed we'd have heard all about it no end eventually. The weather was overcast, and I don't recall it being windy.
I don't know of any other reliable stories of strange events in that wood- a school mate claimed that you could see spectral figures glide across the waste ground where Sandeman Court now stands, but I never met anyone who claims to have seen them first hand.
I've trailed through that wood at all hours of the day and night and never had any other weird experiences.
At the time, we interpreted it as a ghost, but looking back, I'd be more inclined to view it as some kind of light or energy phenomena. I recall writing it up as part of the "what I did during the holidays" essay we had to write when the new school term started, would love to see this to see if there's details in there I've forgotten, but it long gone. I spoke to my brother about this recently, for the first time in many years, and his unprompted recollection of the event pretty much tallies with mine.
I have had a couple of other odd experiences that were much more fleeeting and subjective which I may get round to relating (though they're not that impressive!)

A Sheep Mutilation in Perthshire?

I came across this story on the Scotsman website:

Police are appealing for information after a sheep was killed and mutilated in the Killin area.
The sheep was killed sometime between 6pm on Saturday 27 and 8.30am on Sunday March 28.

A Central Scotland Police spokeswoman said: "The sheep's carcass appears to have been taken from the scene. There was evidence of the carcass being moved over a distance. All that remained was the heart, lungs and two unborn lambs which were discovered nearby."

The discovery was made near to Pier Road.

Police are keen to hear from any fishermen or walkers who may have seen anything suspicious.

Of course, the report's too vague to put this into the high strangeness bucket. It had piqued my interest partly as it occurred in my home county of Perthshire and partly as the general area is rich in folkore, including fairy cattle and hellhounds. I recall a tale of some poachers spending the night in a bothy in the Loch Tay area and encountering small ball of light that drew blood from one of them, but can't find the reference- I'm sure I first read it in Jacque Vallee's Dimensions, but a flick through that and Geoff Holder's Guide To Mysterious Perthshire has failed to bring it up- I'll post it once I locate it.
I'd also not long listened to this episode of the Paracast, which was a discussion on the mutilation phenomena. One of the participants was Phillip Hoyle of the UK based Animal Pathology Field Unit, an organisation I have to shamefully admit I'd never heard of until their appearance on Danny Dyer: I Believe in UFOs! He puts forward the theory that many of these mutilations in the UK are part of a secret monitoring program to test for pathogens in the food chain, which seems like a viable explanation, though I do wonder why whoever's behind it doesn't just buy the animals and do whatever they've got to do behind closed doors? Could it be they actually want people to come across the caracasses?
An interesting point made by Christopher O'Brien in the same episode is that mutilation waves tend to start with high strangeness ones but then later ones will have more hall marks of human activity. Inspiration or training?
As strange events tend to clump together, I'd been idly thinking about this blog post for a week or so, and lo and behold, there's been reports of more sheep mutilations in the English county of Shropshire. Nick Redfern's written an interesting piece on it here.
Be interesting to see if it's co-incidence or the start of a flap?


I'll kick this blog off with a piece I wrote for an essay competition at Micah Hanks' excellent Gralien Report. I took second prize with this, which I was pretty chuffed with:

For my money, the best film to deal with a Fortean topic was the BBC’s Ghostwatch. Briefly, it was a feature length drama broadcast on Halloween 1992 that purported to be a live broadcast from a poltergeist infested house on a London council estate. It starred a number of celebrities playing themselves, which confused many viewers into believing they were watching a real live broadcast. The line between fact and fiction was also blurred by it referencing various real life cases (it borrowed to an extent from the infamous Enfield poltergeist case). Even knowing it was a drama, I kept forgetting myself as the events escalated, especially with the fleeting appearances of the ghost in the background of a number of scenes and the gradual exposition of extremely unpleasant nature of the history of the house, though the OTT ending where the TV studio was taken over by the polt and the host possessed kind of blew the believability.
Thetricksterish aspect to it is a delight-the makers of this were genuinely bemused by the outrage caused by viewers being duped. It had been conceived, filmed and advertised as a drama and they’d no intention of fooling people. But yet it was one of the BBC‘s most complained about programs, and has never been repeated. A suicide has been laid at it’s door, and allegedly two cases of post traumatic stress disorder in children who viewed it.
Reaction to films can often depend on the context you see them in, and I first saw Ghostwatch in a house where someone had died six months previously, and I knew I’d have to walk home through a dark wood that local rumour held to be haunted and where I’d an odd experience a few years earlier that I’d interpreted as a ghost! That combined with the juxtaposition of the supernatural in a mundane setting was a heady mix for my 17 year old mind, giving a genuine chill I’ve not experienced again since.
Oddly, this seems to be the fictionalised blueprint that most ghost hunting programs now follow- but don’t let that put you off!
I'd gone way over the 100 words suggested for entry, so I left a few points out. To add a bit of context, I was watching it in my sister's recently acquired council house while baby sitting my nephews.The previous tenant had died in the room above barely six months before, in the room where my nephews were fast asleep. At one point, one of them got out of bed and ran across the room, the sound of which made me practically jump out of my chair.
I'll save the tale of my odd experience in the wood I'd to walk home through for a later post, but suffice to say, I made it back home in record time!
I've netted copies of Wm Michael Mott's Caverns, Cauldron & Concealed Creatures and This Tragic Earth and also a copy of Micah's Magic, Mysticism & The Molecule, reviews of which shall follow in due course.