Thursday, 31 May 2018

Ted Holiday's Final Days




It's back into the world of the paranormal as we consider the dark world of cryptozoologist Ted Holiday and events prior to his death in 1979. From time to time I like to to speculate in deference to various believers' theories about the monster and today I put on the paranormal thinking cap.

Holiday's weird adventures have been analysed before by the likes of Nick Redfern in his supernatural Nessie book and Ted Holiday himself had things to say on the various unusual events that followed him around Loch Ness in his final book, "The Goblin Universe", posthumously published in 1986.

One can hardly begin to connect tales of fleeting tornadoes, unusual lights, curious synchronicities and strange men in black with the idea of an unknown but flesh and blood creature swimming the dark depths of the loch. However, I do not wish to dismiss Holiday's tales just because they do not fit with my preconceived notions of what ought to be.

Ted Holiday's encounter with the dark garbed man on the road near Urquhart Castle evoked the classic image of the Men In Black for some investigators. Theorised to be black ops government men or even aliens, they constitute the darker side of the study of UFO phenomena.

This strange encounter was the climax of several days of strangeness which began on Saturday 2nd June 1973 with a tense exorcism of the loch by the Reverend Donald Omand. This was followed on the Tuesday by a traumatic encounter at the home of his friends, the Carys. This involved poltergeist type phenomena as a tornado like effect swept through the garden accompanied by thudding like noises against the house. Meantime, Holiday saw "a pyramid shaped column of blackish smoke about eight feet high revolving in a frenzy" before it all ceased within 15 seconds.

Winifred Cary said she also saw a beam of white light illuminating Ted Holiday's forehead as it shone briefly from the window. Curiously, her husband, Basil, said he saw and heard nothing. All this had come to pass as they were discussing a claimed UFO landing near Foyers back in August 1971 by a Jan-Ove Sundberg. Things got even stranger as I recount Holiday's own words from "The Goblin Universe":

The next morning before breakfast I decided to step down to the lower caravan to collect some oddments from my suitcase. It was a beautiful fresh morning, and the lawns wet with dew. As I turned the corner of the house I stopped involuntarily. Across the grass, beyond the roadway and at the top of the slope leading down to Loch Ness at the top of which the caravan was located, stood a figure.

It was a man dressed entirely in black. Unlike other walkers who sometimes pause along here to admire the Loch Ness panorama, this one had his back to the loch and was staring at me fixedly as soon as I turned the corner. Indeed, to all appearances he was waiting for me. We were about 30 yards apart, and for several seconds I just stared back wondering who the hell this was. Simultaneously, I felt a strong sensation of malevolence, cold and passionless. Vaguely I remembered Sundberg's black figures around the UFO, and for a second tried to form an association. But the notion seemed so utterly absurd in broad daylight with half a dozen friends within calling distance that I shut the idea out.

I walked forward warily, never taking my eyes off the figure. He.was about six feet tall and appeared to be dressed in black leather or plastic. He wore a helmet and gloves and was masked, even to the nose, mouth and chin. The eyes were covered in goggles, but on closer approach, I could detect no eyes behind the lenses. The figure remained motionless as I approached except possibly for a slight stirring of the feet. It didn't speak and I could hear no breathing. I drew level and hesitated slightly, uncertain what to do next, then walked past at a range of about a yard. I stopped a few feet beyond him and gazed down at Loch Ness.

I stayed thus for perhaps 10 seconds, making a decision. Something about the figure seemed abnormal and I felt the need to test whether it was real. I started to turn with the vase plan of pretending to slip on the grass so that I might lurch against the figure and thus check its solidity, but this proved impossible. As I was turning my head, I heard a curious whispering or whistling sound and I swung round to find the man had gone. In two steps I was on the road. There was about half a mile of empty road visible to the right and about a hundred yards to the left. No living person could have gotten out of sight so quickly.

Yet he had undoubtedly gone. I told no one about this incident for months because it seemed logically impossible, and I had not the slightest evidence that it took place.

But what has a "MiB" got to do with the Loch Ness Monster? As a believer in various forms of paranormal phenomena, but without a clear theory on their origins, one is tempted to hold the two in tension for now. With that in mind, I recently read through two books by Ted Holiday which gave me a new slant on things.

The first was the aforementioned "Goblin Universe" and it became clear that Holiday was a man whose strange experiences were not limited to Loch Ness. In that book, I counted at least two UFO sightings he had had near the Irish cryptid lakes and again on the Welsh coastline in 1966. There is even a suggestion that Holiday had a close encounter of the third kind in Wales. Then we have his three ghost and/or poltergeist encounters to which we add the aforementioned phenomena he encountered at the Carys by Loch Ness.

Finally, there are his four Loch Ness Monster sightings which gives us a rather impressive tally of at least thirteen Fortean experiences. Now one could argue as to the reality of these accounts, as some have tried to do with his Nessie stories, and conclude that either Holiday was not a reliable observer or he was in the right places at the right times. If it was the latter, then what was going on here?

Now UFOs and Loch Ness have some kind of parallel history. Ted Holiday mentions some sightings in and around the loch and we have the curious experiences of Tim Dinsdale who was himself an all round paranormal advocate. The aforementioned Sundberg case is certainly controversial and I note Holiday's claim that some people claimed to have seen UFO activity in the area a few days before Sundberg's account.

Investigator Steuart Campbell, known for his sceptical book on the monster went to investigate the case and found that the area where the UFO had purportedly landed was too thick with trees for anything of that size to occupy. Ted Holiday was aware of Campbell's conclusions and was intent on his own investigation before deciding against it on Winifred Cary's advice. That is a pity as we no longer have a second contemporary opinion on the case.

I actually visited the area of the Sundberg case a year ago and made an attempt to locate the claimed landing area. However, the passage of forty six years guaranteed that little headway would be made in this case. Campbell had correlated the location of Sundberg's photograph to a loop of wire in the foreground fence. That loop was no longer present on my walk by the fences and so a determination was made based on Sundberg's map and the photo below gives a suggested location.




Whatever the veracity of Sundberg's claim (and the further claim that he too was harassed by MiB), Holiday was convinced of the UFO-Monster connection as he had just published his second book, "The Dragon and the Disc" only five weeks before the Loch Ness exorcism. Did Holiday regard these subsequent strange encounters as more than mere coincidence? He doesn't quite say so but he certainly regarded the events as paranormal.




But perhaps that curious encounter has nothing to do with a monster in Loch Ness as I looked into a book entitled "The Dyfed Enigma". This was a book Ted Holiday co-authored with Randall Jones Pugh and was published in October 1979. The subject matter concerned strange UFO phenomena experienced in South West Wales in the 1970s. I found one review for this book:

"The Dyfed Enigma" represents a history of some of the more dramatic manifestations of ufological activity that occurred in West Wales between 1974 and 1977. The skeptic and the cynic will doubtless dismiss these case histories as products of the imagination, hallucinations, mental aberrations, or downright hoaxes.

But the authors and the many witnesses interviewed know otherwise, for the bizarre events described in this book actually happened, and involved normal, sane, down-to-earth country people: A 17-year-old youth takes a punch at a silvery-suited monster which suddenly appears before him. An 11-year-old boy is chased by a robot-like figure. For almost an hour, a retired civil servant watches a silver, egg-shaped object hover over a house, accompanied by the grotesque figure of a man hanging motionless in space twenty feet above him. A farmer's wife is chased in her car by a "flying football" for over a mile.

Fourteen schoolchildren view a UFO that landed near their school. How does one explain the weird effects that UFOs have on animals, and in what way does the ancient history and folklore of the region contribute to this strange drama? "The Dyfed Enigma" considers questions such as these, and discusses the implications of the sightings in precise, clinical detail. Scientifically speaking, the events described are an impossibility, since they cannot be scientifically explained. But they did occur. And they are frightening. And they could happen to you. The authors have presented the facts as they know them. They leave the interpretation of them to the reader.

Randall Jones Pugh, son of a village schoolmaster, was born at Haverfordwest in 1915. On leaving grammar school, he served four years in the RAF during World War II, before qualifying at Glasgow University as a veterinary surgeon. He has had numerous articles published in both farming and veterinary journals, and he became interested in the investigation of UFOs largely through the involvement of domestic animals.

F.W. Holiday was born at Stockport in 1921, and educated in Canada and at the Halton RAF School. He was a columnist for The Western Mail for 15 years, and published eight books, as well as short stories and articles on wildlife subjects. His interest in UFOs began in 1966, when he watched a low-level UFO in Dyfed through binoculars. Until his death in February 1979, he believed that there is convincing evidence, such as UFOs, for paranormal levels of existence.



If the statement here that Holiday died in February 1979 is true, then this makes "The Dyfed Enigma" yet another posthumously published book from him. I noticed further that the ending of the book overlaps with Holiday's "Goblin Universe" in using that exact phrase in moving the conjecture from lake cryptids to UFOs and ancient traditions such as fairy entities (note the term itself is attributed to Bigfoot researcher, John Napier).

When Holiday got involved in Welsh flying saucers is not clearly stated, but given that the phenomena is said to have run from 1974 to 1977, then one could suggest that since he lived in the area and had a sighting there going back to 1966, he was in it from the start. Certainly Randall Pugh said he got involved from at least March 1974. That would put mere months between his Loch Ness MiB and the ramping up of UFO events in Wales.

If he really did see a MiB in June 1973, was it connected more with his recently published UFO-paranormal book and his increasing involvement with UFO events in Wales? Was it a warning bizarrely summed up in a heart attack he suffered at Loch Ness a year later in 1974 very near the spot he had previously encountered his dark stranger? We know this happened because Holiday told us and we are left in no doubt that he thinks this synchronicity is no mere coincidence.

Events took an even stranger turn when his co-author, Randall Jones Pugh, did a radical thing when in 1980 he destroyed his UFO work and walked away from the subject. This happened after a series of personal experiences which he saidwere too frightening to talk about".

Why did he do that? What were these experiences that put fear into him and did the death of his fellow investigator, Ted Holiday, months before add to some intimidation he felt he was under? There is now no way to tell since Randall died in 2003.

Or perhaps one could put on the sceptical thinking cap instead and suggest that after Holiday's first heart attack, he should have taken it easy and not move in such circles. Pugh described Holiday as "incapacitated" after his first heart attack indicating health issues. That may be so, but then again, the events Holiday described are not so easily dismissed.

And so I return to the world of flesh and blood animals ...


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com








37 comments:

  1. Out of curiousity, is the blog and commenting still visible to readers in the EU and beyond since the GDPR law came in on the 25th May?

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  2. Ok from UK and VPN from US and Germany

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    1. Ok, the problem is that I usually get an email notification when a comment arrives for moderation. Those emails are not happening since May 25th/GDPR and so need to go to blogger.com to do them.

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    2. Ah, google introduced a bug when they were updating software for GDPR. Meh.

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    3. Hi G B,
      I posted a comment on your 23rd April article titled "A Photograph from 2006.106 comments were indicated and when I looked later 108 comments were indicated but when I had a look only one additional comment was shown.

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  3. Holiday is an enigma himself. He wrote a piece on the exorcism of Loch Ness and the Sundberg sighting for Flying Saucer Review (vol 19, no 5, Sept/Oct 1973) that is well worth reading...

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    1. Thanks, I may have seen that but will refresh my memory with another look.

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  4. Hello Roland. Your blog is visible but I see no comments since 21st of May. I wondered what was happening. Is this a technical problem related to data laws?

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  5. The LNM a flesh and blood creature? Hmmm... After hearing and reading stories of paranormal phenomena occurring at a NE area of Utah in the states known as the Skinwalker Ranch, I'm putting on my paranormal thinking cap also and suspending rational thinking. But hey, is it rational believing in the LNM? According to documented stories and tales, that area is a smorgasbord of paranormal activity. Everything from UFOs, a UFO landing with a UFOnaut disembarking, flying orbs, strange otherworldly creatures, poltergeist activity, parallel universes, portals to other dimensions, cattle disappearances, cattle mutilations etc, etc concentrated in that one locale. And now after reading this latest blog replete with UFOs MIB and high strangeness, maybe Holiday and his adherents were onto something. Anyone wishing to learn more about the Skinwalker Ranch would do well by reading a book which I am currently reading, it's title is Hunt For The Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah. One can also Google Skinwalker Ranch.

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  6. Greatest cover of any book ever let alone a Loch Ness related book.

    I think it's all a bit of a cop out though. The LNM is a physical phenomenon. There are very few reports that indicate otherwise. To start attributing otherworldly attributes to an already unlikely premise is a bit silly - though I concede a lot of fun. I have to admit I once wrote a script once where Alesteir Crowley invoked the Loch Ness Monster so I can see the allure of such concepts.

    But the LNM is a subject laughed at enough without bringing more fringe ideas into the mix so scientifically, having considered some of the ideas fully, I have to discount them as possibilities.

    As for UFOs I'm very much a discipline of Jacques Vallee. Check him out - he's a genius. The French guy in Close Encounters is based on him.

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    1. Ah yes, Jacques Vallee. Also one of my favorite Ufologists. He has stated and I'm paraphrasing “ I would be sadly disappointed if the solution to the UFO mystery turned out to be visitors from another planet”

      You see, he strongly posits that the UFO phenomena originates from an inter-dimensional realm, so there you go.

      Re. Alesteir Crowley, I came across this on YouTube. Enjoy, if you haven't already seen it.

      Aleister Crowley & The Loch Ness Monster

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RggLcNDu8e0

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    2. I believe in paranormal phenomena, it is just that we lack a mechanism to explain them, unlike biological theories. I don't accept such things are para-normal or super-natural, they will come under the natural law and order of nature - even if some of those laws are as yet undiscovered.

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    3. Holiday did try to explain these things within some kind of natural context with the L-fields of Burr and Northurp who theorised that the micro-electric fields emitted by living cells were more a cause than effect of the cells - i.e. they had some formative effect on them rather than genetics. That theory is largely discredited by scientists, but at least Holiday did try to rationalise things.

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    4. Thanks John you nailed Vallee's take more succinctly than I could. I believe there are aliens (in fact it's almost impossible for us to be alone) but I highly doubt they are coming here in flying saucers. I suspect that many people who go looking for the LNM and don't find anything start looking for even more out there solutions to a problem that should theoretically be resolved by current scientific methods.

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    5. I too tend to believe in some aspects of the paranormal, albeit with a grain of salt. I guess it's just human nature Roland, that when we can't find mundane explanations for the unexplained through science or common sense, we turn to the spiritual, mystical, paranormal or the supernatural for answers. But darn it, some of the weird things concerning UFOs, cryptozoology and the like is so fraught with high strangeness that it boggles the mind.

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    6. I remember J. Allen Hynek personally appeared in Close Enconters!

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  7. Great stuff Roland. Surprisingly the Jan-Ove Sundberg account is on Dick Raynor's Nessy website. If you look at his drawing of the UFO on the ground it's hard not to think of the supposed shape of the LNM. There are elsewhere a ton of accounts of UFO's over the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain here in the states. Sociologist, author, historian Robert Bartholomew gives an account in his book "The Untold Story of Champ" about a woman who claims she saw a disc type UFO surface on Champlain complete with hooded Aliens walking all over the outside of it. I used to get miffed when I'd go into a book store (remember them ?) and all the paranormal and cryptozoological stuff was in the same section. Considering that nowadays even Bigfoot (Stan Gordon) is being connected to UFO sightings I'm not so sure they weren't right to do that.

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    1. Yup, a lot of stuff is being paranormalised. I wonder what proportion of people believe in a paranormal Nessie (or Bigfoot)?

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    2. Most available data points to a physical creature that cannot be an air breather. It could be a carnivore, we know nothing about it's feeding habbits. Holiday suggesting it was a big mollusc isn't a bad shout given the available data. The sirenian theory is impossible. It's either that or a large newt type beast, an amphibian. It's not a plesiosaur, much as I want it to be. Unless it's a non air breathing mutation. I think, if it exists, it's likely an entirely new classification of animal. It's not a turtle, there are no reports of a shell ever. It could be a large eel but my money is on something we've never seen before.

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    3. If it is a permanent resident it really has to have gills or equivalent and lives around the walls/bottom of the loch away from the surface.

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    4. If I had to make a best guess as to what a Nessie is, that would be an eel like creature both in appearance and biology. Dr. Roy Mackal's fat bodied eel comes to mind.

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  8. UFOs are real technological physical objects: in the past several months US Dept. of Defence videos taken by USN F-18s and reports funded by DoD have indicated this and the US Government has not denied any of this. Likewise, I believe the LNM and other similar creatures are real flesh and blood animals...

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    1. How about glimpses into another world where evolution has gone a different way? There are several instances of sightings that have elements of the inexplicable. For example, Alastair Boyd's sighting, along with his wife's, was of a large whale like object breaking the surface with a huge commotion. They turned to get the camera, turned back, and all was calm. That doesn't make sense.

      There are sightings in Morar and Ness that do not conform to one single animal. They really don't, and no amount of pushing, pulling or ignoring can square that circle.

      The absolute fear of the majority of eyewitnesses, who are clearly not in danger confuses me. Although it may not confuse me if I was there I suppose, but it's the fact that it's all encompassing, almost.

      The continuing extraordinary lack of luck observers have is yet another aspect, although this is difficult to tie in to any random event. Although it is significant. It is possible that these creatures earned their air of the supernatural in olden times for good reason. The LNM, as we understand it, also seems to have biology that does not occur anywhere else in nature. Like sinking vertically. Maybe that's just OUR nature.

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    2. Perhaps Loch Ness and other locations are linked to actual "lost worlds" from subterranean caverns and tunnels with light supplied by bioluminescence that have their own ecologies where creatures occasionally venture to the surface world? We know that oceans have "rivers" and "lakes" at great depths dues to differing water densities and temperatures, and perhaps there are freshwater equivalents also. I would find this easier to believe than supernatural explanations. By the way, can't a turtle sink like a rock?

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    3. I'm not proposing a supernatural explanation, just one where an alternative reality is present. I suppose your idea is a potential, and why not?
      I haven't studied turtles, I'm just quoting people who know more than I do, although maybe you're right. The turtle and the LNM appear to be relatively different in structure, and I do remember this trait was a problem for anyone trying to explain how it happened.

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    4. Here is an interesting recent article that mentions the underground cavern and river theory, albeit in Canada...
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/lake-monster-manipogo-winnipogo-1.4681105

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    5. If anyone is interested, these are the cave systems by Lake Manitoba where some people believe Manipogo hibernates. The cave system temperatures remain well above freezing in the winter, and we have really cold winters!
      https://books.google.ca/books?id=IQKLCbdJ0GQC&pg=PA24&lpg=PA24&dq=steep+rock+manitoba+caves+environment&source=bl&ots=Xj5jpHUpZ3&sig=_LuYbmDMON3xMM4STgKuy9YQ9Tc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=o2kmU8XAJpOMyAG3hIGIDA#v=onepage&q=steep%20rock%20manitoba%20caves%20&f=false

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    6. Thanks, I'll have a look at those cave systems. The idea that there are no caves purely based on a lack of limestone is a bit of a cop out for me.

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  9. All this talk is outside my comfort zone. I've always considered Nessies to be real animals and I think all the talk of parallel universes, spirit beasts and the like is based on concepts outside any known science. If you head into that sphere you can make up anything you fancy. Not the way my mind works I'm afraid.

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    1. Yeah, all this doesn't sit very well with me and my material world paradigm at all either. I'm more apt to believe in ghosts and fairies than creatures intruding into our reality from other dimensions. Of course all this weirdness,(UFOs, MIB, bizarre creatures etc.) if real, could all be manifestations of a Trickster phenomenon, there I go again. I think I'll go and stick my head in the sand for a while, Very disturbing.

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    2. Well, fairies are one thing....
      I realise one can make up whatever one wants, given hypothesis of alternative realities. But realistically ladies and gentlemen (not enough ladies I think), we have been searching for these creatures for nigh on 100 years now, with very little tangible success. I think Holiday was ahead of his time, and I fairly much know that our reality, as we understand it, is not all it seems to be. I'm not a nut job, but myself and my ex wife saw a flying object that far defied our current technology. True, it might be our technology, but something tells me it wasn't. Therefore, for me at least, there are questions to be answered. I don't lump in my sighting with the LNM, but it has certainly broadened my outlook. It was hard to take, and a culture shock, but it was there. So I believe that the reality that we see before us is part of the story, but not all. And I believe that government and the science community puts their collective head in the sand, but this does not make the unknown disappear. If we don't start using different approaches, our ancestors might be sitting here in another 100 years, no further on.

      But, on the other hand, maybe they are just flesh and blood animals that we are not very good at catching.

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    3. Yes, going paranormal answers questions but raises more. One thing it should do is make some predictions that others do not and see if the sightings database bears it out. Any takers?

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    4. I'll take that! In general,the problem with paranormal events is that by their very nature they are unpredictable. Many paranormal events are fraught with high strangeness. The UFO, ghosts, and phenomena of the like are very strange and ridiculous on it's face.

      I might even go so far as to say NDE (Near Death Experiences) are “constructed” In my humble opinion, we are being manipulated by some higher intelligence that transcends our reality. Now, you can say that “God” is “toying” with us, but that begs the question. There is an intelligence that knows what we are “thinking” and what our intentions are and manipulating human events. (Simulation Universe ?) As one researcher termed it, a “Cognizant Sentient Phenomenon” Think about it. Call me kookie.

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  10. Isn't Jan ove sundberg the guy who runs gust?

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