25 May 2011


The May 1986 Magonia was a bit of a mixture with no overarching theme like some previous issues. Lead article was Michael Goss's description of 'phantom-hitchhiker' stories on public transport (including rickshaws!); although as Mike readily admitted in the case of public transport we are probably dealing with phantom fare-dodgers rather than true hitchhikers
Thus we find bus routes in Taiwan which cancelled their late night journeys because drivers are frightened by a ghostly passenger who disappears before the bus reaches its destination; similarly a bus driver in County Durham, who kindly lets a young woman in distress travel without paying her fare, is rewarded by her sudden disappearance from his vehicle. An elderly lady in grey performs the same trick on a bus driver on the road near Dover. But not all the phantoms are penny-pinchers, however, and Mike notes a ghostly bus passenger in Singapore who pays her fare before mysteriously disappearing.

Ian Ridpath and Hilary Evans offer suggested solutions for puzzling events. Ian Ridpath presents a fairly straightforward explanation of a close-encounter case from near Valencia, Spain, identifying our old friend Venus as the culprit, assisted by the car in which the observers were travelling rushing along twisty country roads, and probably suffering from some sort of electrical fault.

Hilary Evans's case is far more intriguing. In 1945 a priest in the French village of Reneve, near Dijon, was out picking mushrooms when a small man, only 15 - 17 cm. tall rushed past him while he was down on his hands and knees. It was not until 1975 that he spoke about this event to the French UFO group GEPA, who received his account sympathetically.

The priest thought at first he had seen some sort of 'unevolved human', but later decided that it may have been extraterrestrial. The case was taken up by a ufological-parapsychology group in Dijon, who performed an excellent piece of historical research, and found out that the Little Man of Reneve was actually a ... well you'll just have to read the full article HERE. 

Roger Sandell took a look at Old Moore's Almanac: "The last of the astrological chap-books that flourished in huge numbers in Stuart and Tudor times continues to appear each year..." - as indeed it still does. Roger noted that the current, 1986 edition seemed to have had a number of apparently successful predictions, particularly in political and financial matters. Amongst those predictions not confirmed at the time of writing, was that the second favourite would will the Derby in June. Did it? We'll have to wait for Magonia 23 to find out!

Hilary Evans had another piece in this issue, introducing BOLIDE - the Ball Of Light International Data Exchange - aiming to collect and collate reports of BOLs, including such phenomena as 'earthlight', ball-lighting, St. Elmos Fire, and a great range of 'spooklights'. Although BOLIDE seemed to be around for some years later, I'm not sure that anything very conclusive was discovered as a result of it.

Roger Sandell also has a second bite of the cherry, with his feature-review of Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke's The Occult Roots of Nazism, and Ellic Howe's Astrology and the Third Reich. He concluded that both books gave a good account of the mystical racist and nationalist movements in Germany in the early twentieth century but did not demonstrate any real connection between the Nazism as a political movement and the ideas promoted by those cults, although a number of individuals were involved in both. (For a detailed analysis of the Nazi/UFO connection see Kevin McClure's articles HERE.)

And talking of Kevin McClure, he pops up with the first part of a feature looking at the range of small UFO, occult, paranormal and radical magazines that thrived in the 1980s - between the development of cheap offset-litho printing and the growth of the Internet. They are now an almost vanished world.

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