A Welsh Mermaid and the Bastard with the Binoculars June 9, 2012Posted by Beachcombing in : Contemporary, Modern , trackback
When people see strange things they rave to friends, family and (sometimes) newspapers. When they see strange things that reveal themselves to be something utterly pedestrian, the marvel is quickly forgotten. This is, in some ways, a shame as accounts of misperception probably bring us closer to the enigmas of the world than hours and hours of conversation about the fourth and fifth dimensions. The following account was offered by a Welsh writer (obit 1962) whose childhood spanned the years just before the First World War in rural Pembrokeshire. It is a very rare book, so rare that it has taken Beach about six months to track it down: and this particularly passage was a welcome bonus.
I am reminded of an experience I had myself when a child. In my boyhood days, the belief in fairies and mermaids had not completely disappeared in my native village, and as a child, if ever I wandered into some sequestered place, I was always on the watch for them, hoping that some day I should be fortunate enough to see one. One day in a lonely bay, my heart leaped with joy, for on a rock some distance away lay what could not be other than a mermaid. After gazing awhile, I soon became convinced I could see her combing her beautiful golden tresses and made up a marvellous tale to tell my friends. Alas! A glance through a pair of binoculars lent me by a passerby, soon brought me back to earth, for the creature was an albino seal. Yet, despite the passage of years, I still can see the wondrous vision my imagination had conjured up.
Beach likes to think of the ‘passerby’ as an Anglo-Saxon tourist – perhaps a broker – from Bucks or Hampshire on holiday in Pembrokeshire who enjoyed showing the Welsh ‘hick’ the error of his ways. As such our passerby ranks with ‘the person from Porlock’, Mr Gradgrind and other génocidaires of the imagination. Though it has to be said that this boy spent most of his adult life dancing through the mists of the Celtic Twilight so no real damage was done.
How many such sightings that change lives are actually down to simple misunderstandings? A recent favourite of Beachcombing comes from the well-tapped keyboard of Invisible. ‘Spook Lights/UFOs are usually debunked as auto lights or aircraft, including top-secret experimental craft. One of my favorite stories of that ilk was about a man who found his car chased by a fleet of black, unmarked helicopters one night. Completely upset his world view. A few days later, a friend, who worked in avionics teased him about being followed by Men in Black–he was piloting one of the experimental helicopters on a low-altitude night test flight, recognized his friend’s car, and decided to play a prank.’
Any other amusing explanations for prodigies: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Beach should add here that his one experience of fairy music turned out to be a mutant clock radio that turned a local jazz station on and off at odd times of the night.
9 June 2012: