2.11.10

NORTHERN ECHOES: THE APPRENTICE, INTCAT AND WITCHCRAFT


[After a year's absence we have just received this communication from our correspondent in the far North - beyond the Brigantian frontier. We hope future contributions will not be so delayed]

Its now just about 40 years since I first joined the MUFOB mob as the apprentice. Time certainly flies. Apprentices to MUFOB were rather luckier than those on the TV programme of that name, no selling tat on Bury market under the orders of a time warped tycoon. The job at first consisted of writing letters to the editor insulting various members of BUFORA, particularly those with fake degrees issued from former Methodist chapels in North London. Later on there were the articles with pretentious titles and lots of references, and the book reviews. Occasionally you might be called into head office to help staple the stencil duplicated (look it up on Wikipedia) copies of the magazine.

Editorial meetings were held in various pubs in Liverpool and Manchester, and there was always some strange correspondence or exchange magazine to amuse us. Of course to my teenage self there was the sense of awe of being in the presence of people who had actually met J. Allen Hynek!

I presume I did something right, because unlike my two predecessors (whom we don't talk about) I am still around after all these years. Your editor was up my way the other week and we revisited some old haunts, and toured the Metro. John might be the only visitor to Manchester to actually make a tourist visit to Eccles. He also visited my house. He is recovering well and will be out of the decontamination unit shortly.
 


One of my contributions to the old MUFOB and Magonia was the notorious INTCAT, a continuation of Vallee's famous Passport to Magonia catalogue which is currently on about half a dozen websites. INTCAT took the number up from 923 to something over 5,000, ranging from the banal to the ultra-weird. This took about 10 years to compile and used to appear in the magazine until readers complained that it was 'old ufology'. For years nothing was done with it, but I am now trying to transcribe the 'occupant' cases from it, as there still seems to some interest in these. Of course, they are just stories, which may or may not be based on some sort of real "experience" of some type. I am sure however that not one of them represents a real nuts and bolts spaceship with flesh and blood (or alien equivalent) crew. Eventually they might appear on the website.



On a more serious note, those who cannot understand why skeptics (and even sceptics) can get so het up about some of the producers of repackaged superstition, should perhaps read the story on witchcraft accusations against women in Ghana in this months Action Aid magazine -

Even today women are being forced into special villages (i.e. private enterprise concentration camps) on "sacred land" because their neighbours, and sometimes families, have accused them of witchcraft. Same old Salem stuff; killing the cattle, causing women to miscarry, pressing people in their sleep and appearing in apparitional form. Those accused fit into some of the categories found in European witchcraft accusations, and given that Ghana has been in constant contact with Europe for at least 600 years, influences from the days of the great witchcraft persecutions in Europe cannot be completely ruled out.

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