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URECAT - UFO Related Entities Catalog

URECAT is a formal catalog of UFO related entities sightings reports with the goal of providing quality information for accurate studies of the topic. Additional information, corrections and reviews are welcome at patrick.gross@inbox.com, please state if you wish to be credited for your contribution or not. The main page of the URECAT catalog is here.

1910, LISTOWELL, COUNTY OF KERRY, IRELAND, A STUDENT:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

A 23 years old Oxford student told the following to a folklorist in 1911:

"Some few weeks before Christmas, 1910, at midnight on a very dark night, I and another young man (who like myself was then about twenty three years of age) were on horseback on our way home from Limerick. When near Listowel, we noticed a light about half a mile ahead. At first it seemed to be no more than a light in some house; but as we came nearer to it and it was passing out of our direct line of vision we saw that it was moving up and down, to and fro, diminishing to a spark, then expanding into a yellow luminous flame. Before we came to Listowel we noticed two lights, about one hundred yards to our right, resembling the light seen first.

Suddenly each of these lights expanded into the same sort of yellow luminous flame, about six feet high by four feet broad. In the midst of each flame we saw a radiant being having human form. Presently the lights moved toward one another and made contact, whereupon the two beings in them were seen to be walking side by side. The beings' bodies were formed of a pure dazzling radiance, white like the radiance of the sun, and much brighter than the yellow light or aura surrounding them. So dazzling was the radiance, like a halo, round their heads that we could not distinguish the countenances of the beings; we could only distinguish the general shape of their bodies; though their heads were very clearly outlined because this halo like radiance, which was the brightest light about them, seemed to radiate from or rest upon the head of each being.

"As we traveled on, a house intervened between us and the lights, and we saw no more of them. It was the first time we had ever seen such phenomena, and in our hurry to get home we were not wise enough to stop and make further examination. But ever since that night I have frequently seen, both in Ireland and in England, similar lights with spiritual beings in them."

"Like my companion, who saw all that I saw of the first three lights, I formerly had always been a sceptic as to the existence of spirits; now I know that there is a spiritual world. My brother, a physician, had been equally sceptical until he saw, near our home at Listowel, similar lights containing spiritual beings and was obliged to admit the genuineness of the phenomena."

"In whatever country we may be, I believe that we are for ever immersed in the spiritual world; but most of us cannot perceive it on account of the unrefined nature of our physical bodies. Through meditation and psychical training one can come to see the spiritual world and its beings. We pass into the spirit realm at death and come back into the human world at birth; and we continue to reincarnate until we have overcome all earthly desires and mortal appetites. Then the higher life is open to our consciousness and we cease to be human; we become divine beings."

Basic information table:

Case number:URECAT-000040
Date of event:Weeks before December 1910
Earliest report of event:August 12, 1911
Delay of report:6 months.
Witness reported via:Folklorist anthropologist Evans-Wentz.
First alleged record by:Folklorist anthropologist Evans-Wentz.
First certain record by:Folklorist anthropologist Evans-Wentz.
First alleged record type:Book on folklore.
First certain record type:Book on folklore.
This file created on:September 26, 2006
This file last updated on:March 6, 2013
Country of event:Ireland
State/Department:County of Kerry
Type of location:Open country
Lighting conditions:Night
UFO observed:Uncertain
UFO arrival observed:Uncertain
UFO departure observed:No
UFO/Entity Relation:Certain
Witnesses numbers:1, claiming 2
Witnesses ages:23
Witnesses types:Oxford student.
Photograph(s):No.
Witnesses drawing:No.
Witnesses-approved drawing:No.
Number of entities:2
Type of entities:Humanoid or human
Entities height:Nor reported.
Entities outfit type:Only luminous
Entities outfit color:Only luminous.
Entities skin color:Only luminous.
Entities body:Normal.
Entities head:Only luminous.
Entities eyes:Not seen.
Entities mouth:Not seen.
Entities nose:Not seen.
Entities feet:Only luminous.
Entities arms:Only luminous.
Entities fingers:Only luminous.
Entities fingers number:Not reported.
Entities hair:Only luminous.
Entities voice:Not heard.
Entities actions:Were in UFOs.
Entities/witness interactions:None.
Witness(es) reactions:Observed, went.
Witness(es) feelings:Not reported.
Witness(es) interpretation:Spiritual beings.
Explanation category:Invention.
Explanation certainty:None.

Narratives:

[Ref. ew1:] W. Y. EVANS-WENTZ:

The folklorist noted in one of his books about fairies and goblins myths:

To another of my fellow students in Oxford, a native Irishman of County Kerry, I am indebted for the following evidence...

"Some few weeks before Christmas, 1910, at midnight on a very dark night, I and another young man (who like myself was then about twenty three years of age) were on horseback on our way home from Limerick. When near Listowel, we noticed a light about half a mile ahead. At first it seemed to be no more than a light in some house; but as we came nearer to it and it was passing out of our direct line of vision we saw that it was moving up and down, to and fro, diminishing to a spark, then expanding into a yellow luminous flame. Before we came to Listowel we noticed two lights, about one hundred yards to our right, resembling the light seen first.

Suddenly each of these lights expanded into the same sort of yellow luminous flame, about six feet high by four feet broad. In the midst of each flame we saw a radiant being having human form. Presently the lights moved toward one another and made contact, whereupon the two beings in them were seen to be walking side by side. The beings' bodies were formed of a pure dazzling radiance, white like the radiance of the sun, and much brighter than the yellow light or aura surrounding them. So dazzling was the radiance, like a halo, round their heads that we could not distinguish the countenances of the beings; we could only distinguish the general shape of their bodies; though their heads were very clearly outlined because this halo like radiance, which was the brightest light about them, seemed to radiate from or rest upon the head of each being.

"As we traveled on, a house intervened between us and the lights, and we saw no more of them. It was the first time we had ever seen such phenomena, and in our hurry to get home we were not wise enough to stop and make further examination. But ever since that night I have frequently seen, both in Ireland and in England, similar lights with spiritual beings in them." (Cf. pp. 60 ff., 77, 133, 155, 215, 483.)

Reality of the Spiritual World

"Like my companion, who saw all that I saw of the first three lights, I formerly had always been a skeptic as to the existence of spirits; now I know that there is a spiritual world. My brother, a physician, had been equally skeptical until he saw, near our home at Listowel, similar lights containing spiritual beings and was obliged to admit the genuineness of the phenomena."

"In whatever country we may be, I believe that we are for ever immersed in the spiritual world; but most of us cannot perceive it on account of the unrefined nature of our physical bodies. Through meditation and psychical training one can come to see the spiritual world and its beings. We pass into the spirit realm at death and come back into the human world at birth; and we continue to reincarnate until we have overcome all earthly desires and mortal appetites. Then the higher life is open to our consciousness and we cease to be human; we become divine beings." (Recorded in Oxford, England, August 12, 1911.)

[Ref. cc1:] JEROME CLARK AND LOREN COLEMAN:

The authors quote the following report:

"Some few weeks before Christmas, 1910, at midnight on a very dark night, I and another young man (who, like myself, was then about twenty - three years of age) were on horseback on our way home from Limerick. When near Listowel we noticed a light about half a mile ahead. At first it seemed to be no more than a light in some house; but as we came nearer to it and it was passing out of our direct line of vision we saw that it was moving up and down, to and fro, diminishing to a spark, then expanding into a yellow luminous flame. Before we came to Listowel we noticed two lights, about one hundred yards to our right, resembling the light seen first. Suddenly each of these lights expanded into the same sort of yellow luminous flame, about six feet high by four feet broad. In the midst of each flame we saw a radiant being having human form. Presently the lights moved toward one another and made contact, whereupon the two beings in them were seen to be walking side by side. The beings' bodies were formed of some dazzling radiance, white like the radiance of the sun, and much brighter than the yellow light or aura surrounding them. So dazzling was the radiance, like a halo, round their heads that we could not distinguish the countenances of the beings; we could only distinguish the general shape of their bodies; though their heads were very clearly outlined because this halo-like radiance, which was the brightest light about them, seemed to radiate from or rest upon the head of each being. As we traveled on, a house intervened between us and the lights and we saw no more of them. It was the first time we had ever seen such phenomena, and in our hurry to get home we were not wise enough to stop and make further examination. But ever since that night I have frequently seen, both in Ireland and in England, similar lights with spiritual beings in them."

The authors indicate that an Oxford student told this story to his instructor, folklorist W. Y. Evans-Wentz.

[Ref. ph1:] PATRICK HARPUR:

The author indicates that Evans-Wentz reports on page 83 of his book The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, that in 1910, in Listowel, County of Kerry, Ireland, in the middle of the night, an Oxford student was horse riding to their home of Limerick with a friend, and near Listowel, they saw a light at 800 meters from them; which they first thought was a light of a house, but when they came nearer they noticed that it went up and down, to and fro, turned smaller to a spark and bigger to a yellow, luminous flame. Two lights appeared at 100 meters on their right, and in the middle of each of these two lights, a radiating character with a human form was seen. The lights moved to each other and met, and the two characters walked side by side. The light that they radiated was too bright so that their faces could not be distinguished.

[Ref. ar1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

Albert Rosales indicates that according to "Earth Lights" by Paul Deveraux, in the middle of December 1910, near Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland, at about midnight, two men noticed a light about a mile ahead of them. They first thought it was simply a light in a house, but on getting closer they saw it moving up and down, to and fro, diminishing to a spark, then expanding into a yellow luminous flame. Before they arrived to Listowel, they managed to distinguish two lights; which suddenly both expanded into yellow sheets of light about six feet high by four feet across. They saw "a radiant being having human form" in the midst of each light, seeing only the general shape of the figures. The lights came together so that the beings could be seen side by side within the brilliant illumination. A house intervened between the travelers who were still moving on and the lights, and they could not see them anymore.

[Ref. pr1:] PETER ROGERSON:

December 1910 - 2355 hrs

LISTOWEL (LIMERICK : IRELAND)

Two 23 year old men were riding home from Limerick Town, when, near Listowel, they saw a light less than 2.5km ahead. At first they thought it was a light in a house, but as they approached and it passed out of direct line of vision, they saw it was moving up and down, diminishing and expanding. Before they came to Listowel they encountered two lights, similar to the first one, about 100m to their right. These lights expanded with a yellow luminous flash, becoming 1.8m high by 1.2m wide. In the midst of each light was a "radiant being having human form". The two lights made contact and the beings were now walking side by side. Their bodies gave off a brilliant light like the sun, the light about their head being so bright that no features could be discerned. When a house intervened between the witnesses and the lights, the latter were lost to sight. The principle witness, a graduate of Oxford University later frequently saw other, similar, beings which he regarded as proof of a spiritual realm.

Clark and Coleman 1975 p19 citing Evans-Wentz Fairy Faith in the Celtic Countries.

Points to consider:

When anthropologist folklorist Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz collected fairy tale stories in the 1900's, he did not imply at all that he was going to say whether these stories are "true" or "not true". He did not investigate the claims in the modern sense of the term in nowadays ufology practice or inasmuch a story should be investigated in ufology and not simply recorded as factual or, conversely, not factual. The central thesis of his work was not that fairies actually exist, it was that the Celtic Fairy-faith is a part of a worldwide animism. In his final chapter, he does offer a number of opinions of that time regarding fairies. However his own conclusion is a puzzle in itself:

"Therefore, ... the folk-religion of the Celtic peoples cannot be explained away by any known scientific laws, it must for the present stand, and the Psychological Theory of the Nature and Origin of the Belief in Fairies in Celtic Countries is to be considered as hypothetically established in the eyes of Science. Hence we must cease to look upon the term fairy as being always a synonym for something fanciful, non-real, absurd. We must also cease to think of the Fairy-Faith as being no more than a fabric of groundless beliefs. In short, the ordinary non-Celtic mind must readjust itself to a new set of phenomena which through ignorance on its part it has been content to disregard, and to treat with ridicule and contempt as so much outworn 'superstition'."

Whatever the opinion expressed by Evans-Wentz means, a school of thought in ufology sometimes goes into considering that such accounts are factual, and that they demonstrate a certain thesis.

But first, it should be mentioned that one school of thoughts is that such accounts are not factual, hence, modern day UFO reports are not factual but inventions. The idea is that anything that is somehow classified as "out of the ordinary" and that cannot be explained as an honest interpretation mistake of something classified "commonplace" is necessarily an argument for to consider that anything "out of the ordinary" is to be interpreted as a made-up story, whether it is a modern UFO sighting report or an old fairy tale. Basically, the argument is that since people believed in fairies in the past and made up such stories, people reporting UFOs invented their report, at least those that are not honest mistakes.

The other such thesis is that since people did see "anomalous" things in the past, a UFO report is nothing else than a modern equivalent of a fairy tale, but in the sense that fairies must have existed, UFO reports are thus also a part of a general phenomenon that results in people seeing things that have no commonplace explanation. Basically, this view results in a notion such as "a) because in the past people claimed to see fairies, and because nowadays they claim to see UFOs, there is a genuine phenomenon of people seeing out of the ordinary things. b) because only nowadays people interpret their UFO sightings in terms of extraterrestrial visitors, whereas in the past they reports their sightings for example as sightings of fairies or spirits, then, all these reported are wrong, what they see is no fairies and no aliens but something else, which is "unknown." Variants of the thesis do not conclude in an "unknown" cause stricto sensu. Some argue that this "unknown" is the paranormal, defined as a class of phenomena that consists in all things that are out of the ordinary. Some argue the "unknown" is demons, or ghosts, or some "little people" actually living alongside humanity in some "parallel world" of "other dimensions." Some argue that fairies do exist and modern UFO occupants are fairies, while others on the contrary argue that aliens are visiting us and the fairies stories are erroneous past interpretations of alien visitors.

But if one accepts that, ufologically speaking, a sighting reports has only the value that is indicated by the evidence of its veracity, all these views collapse. What do we really have here in a modern ufological perspective?

We have no evidence. We have only one witness. Some comments on the case tell that there were two witnesses, the student and his friend, but this does not make more than one witness, as we have only one witness merely claiming he was with a friend. Nowhere is this friend heard in person.

The one and only witness is a person, with a belief system. In modern ufology, one would deal with the witness belief system. A UFO investigator hearing a weird story about a UFO sighting would investigate the witness belief system. He would "check his readings"; does the witness live among piles of flying saucers books, does he soberly report something he saw or does he have a whole "UFO world" to offer? How far or close is he from a somehow "neutral observer" profile? In this story, we have a witness who believes in a spiritual world. He believes in reincarnation. That is perhaps no enough to discard his story: after all, nowadays, there are people accepting that we are not alone in the universe, who agree to consider that some UFO sighting reports are or could be of extraterrestrial visitors, and why would this class of people not see extraterrestrial visitors, why would sighting of extraterrestrial visitors be reserved exclusively to people who are convinced of their inexistence? But still, every sensible ufologist would possibly agree that the witness in this case is not exactly showing the profile of a neutral "non-believer". Evidence that most researchers actually "feel" this point is that most of them, when they cite the report, do not reproduce the part in which the witness exposes his views on spirits and reincarnation and becoming divine after spiritual training? Why omit this part of the story, if no because those that omit it do feel that it does not "look good"?

Another trait of witnesses that modern day ufologists look into is sighting repetitions.

Indeed, sensible ufologist seem to realize that when a UFO witness sees UFOs here and there and everywhere, it does not look very good either in terms of credibility. Indeed, the most puzzling and most substantiated UFO sighting reports do show that the same people do not generally see UFOs everywhere all their life. These "best reports" on the contrary are of witnesses who had not seen "anything like this before or since." And UFO reports history is conversely rich in "contactees" claims, people who see UFOs a lot, albeit without any corroborations of their claims.

This it is perhaps relevant to note that this witness does not just narrate one weird episode, but claims "ever since that night I have frequently seen, both in Ireland and in England, similar lights with spiritual beings in them"; to use the skeptic's vocabulary, he is a "repeater."

And again, if I am wrong in following such a line of thought, why is it that most authors citing this story totally obliterate the part of the report by which the student says he sees "lights with spiritual beings in the,", "frequently", "both in Ireland and in England"? Could it not be because it does not look too good?

Let us suppose this report was a report of a flying saucer and its occupant, and the witness would voice his opinion and experience on the matter in such a context. What would we have then?

The witness would voice something like "Previously I did not believe in aliens. But now I know they visit us. My brother, a physician, had been equally skeptical until he saw, near our home, similar flying saucers with occupants and was obliged to admit that they visit us. In whatever country we may be, I believe that we are surrounded by alien visitors; but most of us cannot perceive it on account of the unrefined nature of our physical bodies. Through meditation and psychical training one can come to see the aliens. I believe in reincarnation, we continue to reincarnate until we have overcome all earthly desires and mortal appetites. Then the higher life is open to our consciousness and we cease to be human, we become divine beings. And since that sighting, I have frequently seen aliens and flying saucers both in Ireland and in England." What would any person think if a ufologist would remove such witness statements from his investigation report?

Finally, I would tend to think that a sensible ufologist is aware that a sighting report which was subjected to zero investigation should probably not be put forth as if it were factual in order to defend any bold thesis, whether on the reality of fairies, or aliens, or whatever. And this is what we have here: a story, told by some student to a folklorist who did not collect such stories as "factual" but only for their anthropological value. There is no investigation. I believe that under such conditions, the story is not a "case" pro or con fairies or aliens or anything else, is is just that: a story.

The bottomline is, a report should not be considered as factual or credible or evidence of one or the other theory if it does not hold any of the many discriminators that ufologists would possibly agree on. What we have here can be summarized:

Number of witnesses Only one.
Identity of witness Anonymous.
There are physical traces of evidence that tend to support the story Absolutely none.
The witness appears neutral and objective, he is not a "believer". He has a whole system of belief in the supernatural.
The witness does not "see things all the time." He does.
A rigorous investigation was done. Absolutely not.
All possibility of some confusion have been ruled out They were not even examined.
The alleged second witness was interviewed. He was not.
The report is completed by a question and answers series to clarify all unclear point; angular sizes, directions... Absolutely not. No questions at all were asked.

Despite this lack of substantiation, the story, deprived of the parts on the witness' belief system, served to demonstrate nearly all possible theories on UFOs: the Tectonic Stress Theory, the extraterrestrial visitors theories, notions of fairies as "paranormal" beings or demons.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
None.

Evaluation:

Probable tall-tale.

Sources references:

* = Source I checked.
? = Source I am told about but could not check yet. Help appreciated.

Document history:

Authoring

Main Author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history

Version: Created/Changed By: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 24, 2006 Creation, [ew1], [cc1], [ar1], [hp1].
0.1b Patrick Gross September 26, 2006 Additions: points to consider, summary.
0.2 Patrick Gross September 26, 2006 First published.
1.0 Patrick Gross January 14, 2008 Conversion from HTML4 to XHTML Strict.
1.1 Patrick Gross March 6, 2013 Addition [pr1].

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