26 October 2009


Yes, folks, Ye Olde Northern Echoes is back! The following piece from the Warrington Guardian of 14 October 1914, page 2, nicely illustrates many of the themes that we have set out in Magonia over the years. Remember this is in the opening weeks of the First World War:

Mysterious Noise in the Night
A Muffled Explosion
Excited Talk of Airship Invasion
The Phenomena Explained

Considerable alarm was occasioned in Warrington and district about 9 o clock on Tuesday night by an unusual noise, somewhat resembling a distant explosion.

There was a muffled sound, not repeated, but accounts differ greatly as to the direction from which it came. To some it appeared to come from the Manchester district and this led to rumours that an explosion had occurred at the Partington Iron and Steel Works, Other versions are to the effect that the noise emanated from the neighbourhood of Liverpool. and that mysterious lights had been observed in the sky from that direction.

The occurrence was the subject of general conversation in tram and bus in Warrington this morning and many theories were propounded to as to the cause.The most like explanation, however, is contained in the following, which appears in today's Liverpool Daily Post.

Some concern was occasioned shortly before nine o clock last evening by a brilliant illumination in the sky, which was followed by a loud report. It was observed more especially in the outskirts of the city, and naturally the spectacle was associated with a possible invasion of aircraft.

As it turned out, the explanation of this phenomenon was that a meteor had flashed across the sky, and this supposition is confirmed by astronomical experts, who claim that the description of the mysterious light and the noise of the explosion tallies with a meteoric visitation which might occur at this time of year.

Seen at Frodsham

Reports of the lightning like display reached us from Widnes, Prescot, St Helens, Knowlsey and other out districts and any alarm that may have arisen will be allayed by the theory already mentioned.

A Frodsham man states that at 8.45 the sky to the north was illuminated by a bright light. This was accompanied by a streak of light somewhat resembling a shooting star and was followed by a lousd report. Several people testify to hearing the noise, and agree with regard the time.

In these days it is perhaps natural that people should immediately think of an airship invasion. The Daily Dispatch publishes somewhat fantastic reports about the presence of an aircraft over a large part of Cheshire.

These reports says our contemporary bore a remarkable similarity to their description of the movements of the craft, said to have been seen a little before 9 o clock.

The most detailed description of the aeroplane or airship emanated from mid Cheshire. About the time stated two gamekeepers reported to the police that they had seen an airship or aeroplane showing a red and yellow light, high overhead, and that almost immediately they heard a loud report of an explosion.
About this time also, a signalman on the Cheshire Lines Railway in the same locality reported a similar circumstance. The aircraft at that time is said to have been crossing the West Timperley district.
From the Knutsford area comes a report that an airship carrying a red light fore and a yellow light aft passed over the Mid-Cheshire town and an explosion was heard like that of a big gun.
The Dispatch report is not without a touch of humour. A 'cross headline' gravely informs us that the acocunt has been 'Passed by the Press Bureau'.
Note the confusions of direction and how a meteorite becomes an airship with red fore light and yellow aft light. Are the exagerations from the witnesses or the press? Soon there will be physical evidence. The Warrington Guardian of 21 October reports:
Is it the Meteor? Discovery in a Field near Wigan.
The mysterious explosion which was heard in various parts of Lancashire and Cheshire on Tuesday night of last week has had an interesting sequal. Guardian readers will recollect that the phenomena was attributed to the explosion of a meteor.

It has now been announced that the remains of a meteorite have been found at Appley Bridge near Wigan on a farm occupied by Mr [?] Lyon. Two sportsmen shooting over Mr Lyon's land noticed a hole in the ground [?]feet square and 18 inches deep. In the hole was a curious reddish [mass?] which was later dug out and taken to the farm.

Dr Wilson, of Standish states that it is just like a stone, irregular in character the colour of rusty iron, or of iron which has just been withdrawn from a fire. It was about 2 feet 6 inches in circumferance and weighed about 80lb. Professor Jenkins, curator of the Godlee Observatory, Manchester, has been intensely interested in the discovery, as he was the first to suggest that the brilliant visitor was a stray object from space which had come with range of the earth's sphere of gravitiation."

No doubt if Stanton Friedman or Kevin Randle had been around at the time, this would have become a shot down German airship, and the bodies of the crew secretly buried in Bickerstaffe colliery. There is a picture and description of the meteorite here: http://www.marmet-meteorites.com/id10.html

Now for something completely different

Press reports are indicating that all sorts of treasure and artifacts belonging to the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsay [left], have turned up in the River Wear, probably put there by Ramsay himself. No one seems to be willing to comment that leaving great treasures in sacred waters was one of the religious traditions of pagan Iron Age Britain. Does this mean the old Archbishop was a closet pagan after all. One has images of him cavorting with sky clad maidens, of the sort who used to accompany Doc Shields, not a pretty sight I'm afraid.
-- Peter Rogerson

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