Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Spooky UK - I think not

In an article last month that renowned tit mag national daily newspaper The Sun reported

A RECORD 227 paranormal events have shaken Britain in the past 12 months, a study reveals today.

The soaring number of unexplained activities is set out in police reports and other official sources.

Now The Fringe Weird Report has been compiled by the Rev Lionel Fanthorpe, a Cardiff-based Anglican priest and president of the Association For The Scientific Study Of Anomalous Phenomena.
Really? Methinks a reporter must have been on the mushrooms again. The Sun provides a map breaking down the number of sightings, 27 in Scotland, 23 in Yorkshire, 21 in Wales etc. Adding it all up comes to 202 (?) not 227. But wait it gets even spookier. Visiting the Rev Fanthorpe's web site reveals the actual numbers in the Weird Report to be 142 supernatural occurrences plus 109 UFO sightings over the last 25 years (read Fanthorpe's blurb then think 251 events over 25 years). These astonishingly low figures are because Fanthorpe aimed to
compile them from official reports, concentrating on those involving the police whenever these could be found.
Well at least that says something good about the constabulary, they don't open a case for every twit who sees a light in the sky, thank goodness. It's also positive about some of the people investigating these things, in that they are trying to uncover evidence. It says little for the standards of one newspaper's journalism.

Now, can it get even more spookier? The Sun tries by continuing with a list of "paranormal hotspots around the country".

Just for a laugh I thought I would give my own interpretation of some of them.
(Note: a shuck is the spectre of large black dog, apparently.)
PRESTWICK: The most recent event - a man on Saturday reported seeing a ball-shaped red object in the sky close to this Scottish town that changed colour, flew and was joined by other similar shapes. Man watching sunset sees Saturn, Venus and Mercury.
IPSWICH: A woman was seen in February looking from a window in the Crown Hotel when the room was thought to be unoccupied. Cleaner wonders why people are staring at her.
NORTHBOROUGH: A husband and wife reported earlier this month seeing two very bright orange alien craft flying in a Cambridgeshire area known for RAF activity. Aeroplane seen in sky.
DERBY: The ghost of a gardener was seen in the distance in June walking thoughtfully across the lawns of Pickford's House Museum. Man takes shortcut home.
BATH: A poltergeist at the Curfew Inn was said to have interfered with beer taps in February and to have tried to play a pool shot. Bar staff distract attention to allow cheating in pool match.
CHESTERFIELD: A yellow light was seen in the sky near this Derbyshire town early this month, travelling silently and with two other lights following. Saturn, Venus and Mercury prominent in early evening sky (see above).
YORK: A girl carrying a child is reported on misty evenings on the A64 Malton Road where she is said to have been murdered by a highwayman. She was spotted in April. Teenage mum runs away from home. Passing motorists give no assistance.
Also in April a shuck was said to doggy-paddle furiously along some of the city's narrow alleys that heavy rain can turn into streams. Dog seen in York.
A ghost cyclist was said to ride around York Minster in March and the same month a phantom was reported rowing a boat on the Ouse. Park and ride scheme attracts cyclists. Boat seen on river
MANCHESTER: A yellow shuck was reported bounding over Godley Green in May. Dog seen in Manchester.
AMLWCH: A shuck was seen running around a stone circle in March. Dog seen at stone circle.
DUNDEE: A woman appears to wave from a window of Claypotts Castle. She was last seen in February. Woman spots friend in crowd below.
CULCREACH CASTLE: A phantom harpist plays and in June was heard by boatmen on Loch Lomond. Holidaying musician opens chalet window.
KNOCKANDO: A boisterous shuck was reportedly seen and heard howling in February near Knockando distillery. Howling dog heard, might have been seen.
There's more and they are all WTF to me. It makes me wonder how a paper which reports on nothing has a circulation of 3 million copies a day, making it the tenth biggest newspaper in any language in the world (See Wikipedia).

Ah! But I forget the real attraction of the Sun, the sports pages of course. That's right isn't it guys? Please... Oh come on, they're not real either FFS!
Sun report found somewhere at Skepchick.


Duncanr said...

I think your alternative explanation of the Prestwick 'sighting' would sound more plausible if the man in question was on his way back from the pub - which being a Saturday night, he most likely was !

P.S. Prestwick being not too far from Ayr, it's a wonder he didn't 'see' any witches ;-))

Andy Holroyd said...

"Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin!
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin!"