Thursday, March 22, 2012

RHOLDRWYG: What was it for??, Part Three.

Having some tough days caring for Mother here lately, so I've been slow to finish this ... sorry for that. But, here goes part three, ready or not. It may take several sit-downs at this computer but we'll see how life permits. Wild druidical speculations: commence!!

Not-so-speculation #1: despite the ancient sources talking of "hyperborea" [a la Mercator's map above], to believe that they were NOT talking about Britain is the height of foolishness. Maybe you could include some other northern lands within that term, but the main thrust of the idea of Hyperborea refers to Britain.

I'd like to say a word about Caesar. "I come to both praise and bury him". The "burial" is to say that most of Caesar's legitimately primary-source comments about druids seem to be about whatever version of that existed in Gaul, and not in Britain. AND Caesar shows a snippy propensity for toss-off slurs about his Gaulish enemies here and there. LOTS of confusion is apparently deliberately included by Caesar, and others, when they talk of the Gauls and the Celts/Britons.

The "praise" is because when you exert some minimal common sense, you can get a fair amount of useful information out of him and his cronies. And THIS is what I think that you can clearly see: 1). druids were important and radically different from the Gaulish or British petty tyrants that they offered service too. They accompanied these tyrants, but did not fight. They were historian-counsellors. They were present at executions of "criminals" but weren't the ones doing the executing. Rather they were overseeing the interpretation of the law. Caesar almost deliberately squishes the druids and the regular Gaullic thugs together to smear the entire culture.

2). Druids rather had their own entirely separate "government" both in philosophy and substance. Critically reading these ancient references to the Druids, we see an advanced way of living and governance centered in Britain and extending across the Channel into Armorica and further into Gaul. It probably degrades as it gets further from the source. Its center is in "an island" as far as Caesar knows. He's not talking about Britain nor Ireland; nothing that big. He is probably referring to Man or Iona or Mona [Anglesey]. Our formerly referenced Henry Rowlands was probably correct about his beloved Mona being the major site of the Druid college.

In central Britain proper, the druids apparently had a parallel governmental structure alongside the competing [with each other] petty tyrants [and later the Roman occupiers themselves]. This system of governance is intriguing to say the least as it seems to indicate various [lets call them] "dioceses", which operated in different areas and had cycling responsibilities for managing the big ritual celebratory get-togethers at places like Stonehenge, which are mentioned by the ancients and doubtless were held on famous dates of the so-called "Celtic Calendar". The contrast between "normal" governments warring against one another over everything and these dioceses sharing celebratory comings-together is striking. Our point here is that no matter who built the megaliths, the druids "used" the sites for celebrations and rituals. What's true at Stonehenge would in some way be true of Rholdrwyg.

Caesar et al credit the real druids with much "high knowledge". The phrasing of this is quite flattering in contrast to other smeared together comments which seem aimed at degrading the Gaullish enemy.

In fact, the ancient testimony, brief as it is, is actually quite supportive of the idea that these druids knew a great deal of sophisticated things beyond what Rome or Greece knew, and maybe were surprisingly the source for some of the more esoteric knowledge and philosophy of the more mysterious "cults" of the Greco-Roman area, such as Pythagoras, Delos, Delphi etc. In our own age, when a Gerald Hawkins comes up with his astronomical interpretations of Stonehenge and a hoard of archaeoastronomers follow rapidly after, Hawkins et al are perfectly in tune with these old druidical references which academia poo-poos or even forgot.

The ancient builders were curious about the skies and built simple objects to investigate what might be going on. There was plenty of spiritual motivation to do so. And they found that the skies "behaved". So they built celebratory structures to serve as calendric focal locations. This was a big successful deal. Whether the original builders were the same guys genetically as the 500bc-to-500ad druid guys is completely irrelevant. The information was too important not to get passed on. People knew what Stonehenge "did" for century after century. Same would be true of any important megalithic site.

So another guy showed up in my library of "Forbidden Books" [maybe I should quit reading these things; academics would say it's bad for my health]. His name was Godfrey Higgins. He's taken a lot of abuse for his writings on the druids. A lot of that is justified in my reading. Higgins seems to hate religion in general and specifically priesthoods. Well, many times he has reason to, but his rants on druidical sacrifices and blood lust are far over the line, and derive mainly from highly debatable comments by Caesar. Even modern anthropologists now recognize that there is no good evidence anywhere for human sacrifices [depending upon how you choose to interpret The Lindow Man find]. [which itself has no direct connections to "druids" by the way; just to "authorities" of that age].

But where Higgins IS inspiring [though still over-the-top], is when he ranges the literature and even the globe looking for insights on early mystery cults and sophisticated visions of what this existence was all about. Whether one takes any specific thing from him or not, what he has done is ploughed the forgotten paths and set out connections and possibilities. The vision which emerges is a segment of humanity actively engaged in the pursuit of the Truth whatever it would turn out to be. And finding things out. And this should surprise none of us. Only their SUCCESS at both finding out such things and creating a "privileged" study environment within a violent political world is stunning, and, actually, uplifting.

This has been hitting me in the face for a long time. How many "Druid's Circles" [like the one above at Kenmore, Ireland] do I need to see overtly labeled to get the picture?? Here are time-after-time the remains of humanity's great attempt at the "Dance" with Nature to try to find the Truth. The Merry Maidens in some sense DO remember that Dance. Stonehenge in some sense IS the "Giants Dance". The Rholdrwyg stones in a way DO dance to the Sun's flight. And all across the planet, from references in the Bible to the mountaintop Medicine Wheel of the Native Americans, the people have used the stones to mark the Dance, and with it all the rest of the Cycle of Nature.

Here is an old stone find from Mona/Anglesey at the heart of Henry Rowlands' Druidical College. What did this Old Druid know specifically? Can we ever know??

We may have a little more knowledge than we think. And, of all people, it seems that it is Caesar and his ancient buddies who tell us. Here are some of the things that their enemies [Caesar, Diodorus, Greek and Roman fragments in general] said of them:

1). THEY were the teachers/educators of that world. The Gauls even sent their people TO Britain to be taught by them.
2). They taught by memory and by poetry with music; i.e. they imbedded much of their information and wisdom in songs.
3). They set down principles of politics [history of geographical areas] and law, and would give counsel to adjudicate disputes.
4). They were expert in "cosmology", which included matters of the movements of the heavens, and speculations upon the nature of the objects of the heavens.
5). This "cosmology" also included study of the nature of the Earth, and of the "Orders of Nature" of which I take them to mean at a minimum the plants, animals, and all living things constituting the Cycle of Life.
6). They applied the knowledge learned where possible, and were masters of medicine as a result.
7). They practiced the divining arts, attempted to know things via numbers [a la the Pythagoreans] and "ciphers" which may indicate symbols [a la the ogam runic letters].

It is not hard to see all three orders of the college in these descriptors [though doubtless many more specific "knowings", and doings, could have been mentioned had these Roman era commentators made a better study.] Beirrd/Bards are there clearly. The Offwyr/studiers of the Natural World are there clearly. And even the mysterious Druid/high college of study of the divine world --- the "philosophers" --- show appropriately shadowy.

And, although it might not be as significant as it seems to me, I feel that you can see someone else in these descriptors as well: Lugh. The Romans say that the number one god of the druids was Mercury. Apollo was second. Mercury was the bringer of knowledge, craft, intellectual "light". Mercury was also the god of the "arts", that is the "forbidden arts", the craft of divination and the probing of the spirit world. And in Britain, the name was Lugh.

Lugh is the "Master of all Skills". He has/brings skills of music, poetry, history, and therefore political counsel. "Lugios" means "An Oath, A Contract". This part of Lugh is the Beirrd.

Lugh has/brings skills of craftsmanship, smithwork upon the things and metals of the Earth. This is the applied knowledge aspect of the Offwyr.

And Lugh is the Master of Sorcery. "Sorcery" is the accomplishment of actions or knowledge by means other than the normal ways of the natural physical world. Lugh brings "para"normal ways to the Druids. He gives divinatory arts.

And so Lugh, their chief god, IS the college of the druids all in one.

At Rholdrwyg, as at Stonehenge, Avebury, Boscawen-un, Castlerigg, the druids used the circles to learn knowledge, to "remember" some of it structured in silent stony design, to celebrate the knowing and the wisdom, to meditate upon the mysteries remaining. The ancient writers said that the druids above all else taught "silence"... whether here in the circle-of-stones, or back in the living presence of the oak groves.

And that's another thing. Druids.... Oaken sacred groves.... Faeries of the Oaken sacred groves.... Dryads.... Oaken sacred groves.... Dryads... Druids... Dryads... Druids.... Is some of this stuff lying about for centuries just like paranormal in-jokes to see just how dense we are??

Who did the druids get some of their nature knowledge and wisdom from? Did Lugh have to deliver it all personally? Lugh... a beautiful god-hero. Lugh... sometimes just a bringer of a Ball-of-light. Ball of Light in the forest.... Jack o'Lantern.... Faerie Lightball... now wait a minute there!!! Whose gotten pixy-led Out Proctor now?!

I have certainly not figured out what Rholdrwyg was for. We all knew that all I could do was explore and try to leave the wonderful possibilities open. My heart tells me to try VERY hard NOT to toss some of these possibilities aside. Even though my mind will not yet say "yes" to the vision that they paint, that vision, that possible ancient reality, seems too important to let slip away. The artist above captures some of the heart of that vision. Rholdrwyg: luminous, mysterious, full of the power of the heavens and the Great Dance.

Monday, March 19, 2012

RHOLDRWYG: What was it for??, Part Two.

OK. Back to try again.  We have seen our magnificent circle just asking for a theory. Was it, as its old observer Percival Oakley Hill said, a "Temple of the Sun"?

Well, it just might have been. We owe this line of thinking, at least in terms of modern "respectable" thought to the American astronomer, Norman Lockyear, seen above measuring Stonehenge in the latter 1800s. Lockyear is rather a grandfather of all the twentieth century archaeoastronomers who have combed the globe looking for such alignments to the "stars".

Like Stonehenge, Rollright is just the sort of place to look. One thing of possible non-significance to others but becoming more and more meaningful to me is Rollright's folkloric connection to the druids. These things [ megaliths, druids, rituals, "scientific study" of nature, circle-of-life, order, truth, peace, etc] keep coming together over and over again as I read into this topic. Take the Rollright name as a small beginning. Some people have tried to write it off as a memorial to some Danish king [an almost weird thought]. But Percival Hill knew that the "Rollright" was just crude anglicization for the older local language term. Rollright was previously in Saxon "Rolldrich", "Rouldrich", "Rollendrich". That Saxonization even seems to have made the old Domesday Survey as "Rollendri". But even the Saxon is altered from the older celtic word "Rholdrwyg", meaning [at last some meaning] "Rhol" --- Wheel or Circle --- and "Drwyg" --- Druid. Rollright is the Druid's Circle, surprise, surprise.

And what would our druids be interested in there? Their major god was Lugh, the Light-Bringer, the Truth-Bringer, the Craft-Master. Lugh is so like the Greco-Roman god Hermes/Mercury that it's a bit uncanny. He also is so associated with Light that a British merger of him with Apollo seems to have taken place. Light-on-Earth and Light-of-the-Heavens. And, as Diodorus and Caesar seem to say about Stonehenge, Apollo "comes to Earth" every 18th year in the ceremonies. Lockyear intuited the Stonehenge/Sun relation, and Gerald Hawkins essentially proved it. Stonehenge "cared" about the Sun-god; maybe Rholdrwyg did also.

Is there any hint of this in folklore? Maybe. The legend is that the King Stone moves to the river on one day of the year briefly. That day?: Christmas Eve, the ancient mid-winter solstice.
We'll look for that in the stones shortly.

There was another "recent" concept that involved megalithic sites: Leylines. The gentleman above, Alfred Watkins, sort of invented the idea by noting the stunning linearity of the ancient sites as they stretched across the landscape. I instinctively felt that this was just ancient folk not wanting to walk any further than necessary and taking straight-line routes from one seeable location to another. But then someone showed me the "St. Michaels Line" [named after a series of early St.Michael-named Christian shrines, which doubtlessly were built to deliberately obscure the existing "pagan" ritual sites already there], and I began to seriously doubt my initial idea that this was just a pragmatic side-effect of human frailty. IF the St. Michaels Line did indeed extend across Britain, and IF it did indeed point to the sunrise on Beltane, this implied a wide-spread "druidical" culture involving megalithic ritual sites, archaeoastronomy, and intellectual civilization.

Still, that says nothing directly about Rholdrwyg.

But someone wanted to try another means of finding out, and to try it "scientifically" at the site itself.

That person was Paul Devereux, and he was looking for ways to measure with physical instrumentation any evidence of leylines at Rholdrwyg. Above is his "map" of what he thinks that he saw on the ground. The measurements were apparently done with sensitive magnetometer technology and were labeled The Dragon Project. One point that everyone can agree to is that Paul concretely felt that he had measured several linear responses associated with the circle.

Does any of this mean anything? All I can do is to continue to stumble down the path. So I made a "map". On the survey chart I put the main coordinates, the direction to the Kings Stone and the Knights, Paul Devereux' leyline measurements, and where the Stonehenge direction to the solar Heelstone would be. So what do we have?

Firstly, and most irritatingly, we have the warning ringing in our brains that the Rholdrwyg circle is a very much disturbed site, and that one cannot at all depend upon the placement of particular stones, like one can at Stonehenge. Still, let's plough on anyway.

One thing of interest to me is that the "line" to the Knights is very close to an Equinox line. You always have to measure these things on-the-ground onsite, but the direction is at least suggestive. The line to the Kings Stone is roughly in the direction of the soltice. Again, the on-the-ground measurement would be crucial. This is, by the way because the Earth isn't flat and the horizon is higher or lower in one place than another. Where that occurs makes a difference on the exact direction of emergence or submergence of the heavenly body of interest. Although the Kings Stone line seems "too north" possibly for the mid-summer sunrise [though again one needs to calculate precession of the equinoxes and try to fix the proper direction to look], there is another possibility. Because heavenly bodies go around in circular or very nearly circular paths, their actual relationship with the Earth [especially when looked at abstractly as a flat horizon] is such that a line for a mid-summer solar sunrise is exactly opposite a line for a mid-winter solar sunset. One wonders what would happen if you, the Arch-Druid of Rholdrwyg astronomy and measurer of the Retreat of Lugh, would sit in your high Kings Stone chair and look back across the circle in the evening of "Christmas Eve"? Would you see Apollo/Lugh submerge at that horizon point on his shortest day? Would it be just the night which presaged his gaining strength to bring back light and the Cycle of Life to the land?

I noticed, as did you doubtlessly, that Paul's leyline measurements have lines which point to the Kings Stone, the Knights, and the possible locations of both the Winter Solstice sunrise and Sunsets. There is also one due north. And very close to due east. What is this all about? These lines allegedly radiate out of the center of the circle itself. What? What? What? Are these Paul's mistakes? If not, then this staggers us as to what these people somehow knew.

Sitting in that high backed chair, did that old arch-druid not only accurately "see" the year, and bring hope back to the culture, but also, either in that chair or within the circle's center, perhaps in the middle of the famous circular dance, "sense" much more?

Does the paranormal find entrance here? Lugh was like Hermes/Mercury. Hermes "had the power". He had the knowledge of both physical earth-bound things, and of the things of the spiritworld. [At the left Hermes is helping retrieve a person abducted to Hades as a favor to Hecate, goddess of sorcery].

Could whatever Paul measured as radiating out of the circle 1). be physically real? 2). be biologically "effective" at causing some subtle alterations in the human physiology? and 3). be facilitating of altered states of consciousness? Yes, WAY Out Proctor we find ourselves again.

Out Proctor it may be, but not worthy of simply tossing away, methinks. Let us keep an open mind. I'm reminded that the modern age Sufis use "energetic" whirling dance to achieve altered states and attempt communion with the spiritual. And, on another tack: a resident of the site stated that he had discovered very fine Ogam writing on one stone. The relevance? We recently had a post suggesting that the druids might have used Ogam in a sort of "runic" way to attempt to clairvoy. So, what was Rholdrwyg for? How the heck do I know? I'm just some shlep sitting in Wheeling West Virginia reading interesting "forbidden" books and reading maps. Someone needs to get back there and do a lot of serious experiencing, both personally and instrumentally, and write the darn stuff up as intelligently as possible so that those of us who aren't there can get better ideas.

And, if you're too uppity to countenance druids, well.... if they were good enough for Winston Churchill, they should be good enough for you.

I'm going to give this business on more feeble try in another day or two. Till then, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

RHOLDRWYG: What was it for??, Part One.

This set of, I think it will be three, posts is about Rollright Stone Circle and the druids. I'm far from my academic and UFO "home turf" here, so caveat emptor, and don't expect too much. I personally will be satisfied if you get a little pleasurable "diversion" from the grind of the day.

The aerial shot above is, of course, the magickal place itself. The photographer did a great job, too.

The subject was, as usual, inspired by my own desperate thrashing around to try to find something interesting yet not overly taxing to cut through my own "grind". I think that the little book above supplied the interest but the path was a lot of work. I acquired this little almost pamphlet-like illumination of the Rollright Stones and it brought back nice memories of an all-too-brief visit there. Go if you can, folks... "Atmosphere" barely does justice to the ring.

So, what is this place? The circle is made of a soft stone unfortunately --- a local oolite limestone which is relatively easily erodible --- great for awesome appearance, but we could have wished for better for durability over the centuries.

The circle stands today in Oxfordshire next to a country road and a farmer's active field. The aerial shot to the left does a magnificent job of showing the area. Just across the road, directly left in the photo, is a tall monolith called the Kings Stone. On a line almost directly towards the top of the picture from the circle [just beyond the photo edge] are a group of large stones leaning into one another, named The Whispering Knights. Most people think that the complex is related piece-to-piece, and the folklore certainly pulls them together.

It's hard to say for sure when these megaliths were erected. Prior to about 1800BC is probably a minimum, and they could easily be part of the Age of the Megaliths which included the raising of the original circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Whatever their real age, OLD screams out at you while you are in their presence. Neither Stonehenge nor Avebury [and I was duly impressed by both] came close to the instant impact of "WOW" that I had with this place. I realize that this was totally irrational, but real nonetheless. The photograph below gives a rare really fine impression of that "atmosphere".

So, OK, it's an old stone circle. So what? Well, maybe nothing. Maybe something profoundly important. Let's at least take a glance.

It would be helpful if we knew what the place actually looked like when it was intact. We don't and we aren't. We can give some thanks to John Stukeley [the guy above] for helping resurrect interest in the megaliths back in the 1600s, so we have a little glimpse that far.

As the simple drawing at the left shows, Rollright was in disarray even back then. Stones were broken, fallen down, and some hauled away. The drawing itself, though aligned somewhat accurately to the north, gives a wrong impression of a too-cramped space, as some of the gaps in the ring are too small. As this is a bird's-eye view, our sketcher has depended upon artistic imagination to an extent. Still, it's valuable and sets a foundation for understanding of the design.

The sketch below is more careful and ground level. It was made in the late 1800s. It differs, especially in showing the gaps, but also in apparently showing more total stones. Statements have been made that an effort was made to re-erect some stones, and "replace" some by bringing back removed ones. What all that amounted to, who knows? But it cannot give one confidence that every current stone is placed exactly as the builders would have set them, nor that every stone has returned. Part of the pragmatic folklore of the place is that some stones were not only removed but broken. Still, this sketch shows a circle with the axis in the sketch pointing north, perhaps over two of the taller stones, and fairly directly at a megalithic barrow nearby. {C}. The King Stone is at A, and another barrow, called the Arch-druid's Barrow is at B.

So, we've got an extremely old megalithic ring on our hands, sitting in the midst of several other megalithic structures, and Druid legends swarming all about them.
People finally tried to do more disciplined accurate mapping of the place in the early twentieth century. The above is one way of displaying this [from 1920]. When you compare this to the 17th and 19th century drawings, you see more stones and better accuracy on showing the empty places in the ring. It shows you a nearly perfect 100' diameter circle, which is an intriguing number to me at least, but brings home the difficulty of guessing the actual stone-placement design. This next statement is irrational so don't give it much credit: when I've looked at the drawings and the remains [especially the more modern surveys], I have the impression of some rhythm or pattern to the remains, as disrupted as they are. That rhythm "says" to me "four 15s" or "60". And then I read Percival Oakley Hill, the local minister and writer who grew up with the stones, and he said: "The circle, no doubt, consisted of 60 stones". This was despite the broken nature of many of them so that you count in the 70s today.

Sixty.... if true, that would not be accidental. "60" is THE number of the early mathematicians. It is THE arithmetical facilitator; divisible by 2,3,4,5,6,10,12,15,20,30. Powerful, powerful arithmetic tool: the reason why the ancient Mesopotamians settled upon it to divide up the hours and minutes of the day, and the "circle" of the heavens for astronomical and time measurements. One wonders if our megalithic builders were doing the same?

The line sketch above shows the relationship between the ancient circle and the King Stone and the Whispering Knights.

The Knights are nearly due east from the circle, and, though over three football fields away, are easy to see across the relatively flat farmer's field.

They are composed of similar stone as the circle stones with similar weathering. They are falling down, perhaps even moreso during the 19th century, though none of those known to the earliest students have been removed in the meantime. The charming but absurd legend of these stones is that they represent certain certain officers of the army of the King, all of whom were turned to stone by a bad encounter with a witch [who still resides nearby, and herself turned into an elderberry tree]. The stones actually seem the remaining parts of some megalithic building. Whether this was something associated with a burial or not, we can't honestly say. Archaeologists are always claiming that such structures are "tombs", but rarely have that sort of evidence, in my opinion. Let's just leave it with the idea that the building was important to the ancient builders, who expended a serious effort on it.

The sketch above of the Knights shows them as more erect and intimidating. It was made in the 1700s and may indicate a more awesome structure, particularly with a stone "roof" added on. Whatever this thing was it seems important.

Back at the circle, there is at least one stone [maybe there are more, but I found one without looking for any] which has a nicely drilled hole in it, the patina of which looked quite old.

Others have noticed the hole, though I've not found commentary about it. Above and to the left are two "tourist pictures" of the thing findable on the net.

The tourist photos don't seem to be directed anywhere, but my [admittedly dim] memories of my encounter with Rollright say that when I squatted down to look into the stonehole, I found that I was looking across that farmer's field to the east. Now, that's simply true. What MAY NOT be true is my memory that I was looking at the Whispering Knights. [The tourist photo to the left is NOT looking at the Knights, but you can see that it is crooked a little bit sideways, so I'm not sure what the photographer was attempting to show].

If the stonehole does indeed point to the Knights, and if it is indeed old and "original", then this constitutes what we are always calling an "alignment" for a purpose of some kind. And, therefore might be part of the answer as to what Rollright "was for".

The third element of the complex always included and visited by the tourists is the King Stone. [For some reason, the two old stone and earth barrows are rarely talked about.] The King Stone is, of course, the greedy King out to conquer, who runs afoul of the Elderberry Witch and ends up petrified in stride as we see him. Although in the old days, without the intervening trees [and both our early sketches show the King Stone without trees between], the King Stone was very close-by and visible, there is nothing about the current visible structure of the circle which "points" to it. That would be nice, but we don't have such indicators. That doesn't mean that the original intact circle had no such "pointers", just that we cannot claim this.
Percival Oakley Hill, the author of the Temple of the Sun "pamphlet/minibook", however has his own idea. The sketch of the King Stone from the book is above, showing much better detail than typical earlier sketchwork. Hill believes that the flattened area near the top was not only deliberately carved, but was done so to create a "chair" for sitting, complete with carved chairback. He believes that sitting in that chair was part of some circle-related ancient ritual.

So, folks, I'm leaving it for today. This has been the boring old "let's set the basics" post. I hope that it wasn't too bad. Next part I'll try to do better. AND, you'd better come back to read it or the guy above will visit you on Samwain in the dead of night.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Can you learn anything just by counting? Perhaps not, but the impossible hasn't stopped us yet on this blog so here we go. This posting is about, mainly, triangular-shaped UFO reports ... well the reports aren't triangular-shaped as far as I know.

This odyssey has been stimulated by a semi-whacky friend of mine who asked the question: are triangles and rectangles being reported in greater amounts now than they used to be?? [We can assume that my friend looks a lot like the guy to the left, although he doesn't at all. ... still, after what his question put me through in a crude attempt to answer it, it gives me great pleasure to think that the picture is exactly what he looks like].

I gave an opinion that one could get one sort of take on the question just by going to the National UFO Reporting Center [NUFORC] website and counting the cases and the shapes. Yes!, he said. Great idea!! Go for it. Somehow telling him that my suggestion implied that HE "go for it" was doomed to failure, so, dumber than bricks, off to NUFORC I ultimately went to "count".

I must say that if any of you wish to do more of this sort of thing, my moral support goes with you, but count me out. What a tedious business!

I believe that my friend was stimulated to his curious question by the fact that several high profile cases over the last couple of decades have featured triangular shapes. Belgium, Phoenix, Tinley Park [Chicago] come to mind. One of the first problems that comes up with this is what are the witnesses calling "triangles"? The "object" might be a clearly structured technological device, a dead black silhouette, or just three lights which seem to maintain their relative positions as they move.

Looking into every triangle case on NUFORC to dissect out such subtleties VERY QUICKLY became a ridiculous task for anyone but someone obsessed. I had to admit that I myself was in danger of such psychiatric diagnosis just because I'd even considered the project, but I was determined to avoid institutionalization at the minimum.

So, here is what I will jokingly call my "research methodology" on this one: A). I went to NUFORC and found that the site listed cumulative numbers of all cases by month. I added all the month numbers in a year and [note the brilliance in this] called the sums "total cases for the year-X".

B). NUFORC also had a listing for all cases of certain shapes [not, alas, by year or month, but just a running calendar]. I counted away each year until I got to the end. These figures I called "triangle UFOs per year"; this is why I get the Big Bucks.

C). I could then divide B by A and get the % of triangles to all cases year-by-year.... yes, even a monkey could do it. I then could make the following graph.

But there was one other thing: as said earlier, there are one person's triangles and there are another person's triangles, and they might not be at all the same "beast". How did I solve that problem, you say? In the simplest of means: I said to hell with it. If the witness said triangle, by gum, triangle it would be. So, ready or not here's the graph:

Hopefully you can see that the graph has the %s running up and down, while the years run horizontally. The oldest covered year is 1985 at the far right, going across to 2011 at the far left. But what does it say??

Let's take the pink line first. That line is making the statement that all those years fall into a narrow range of 8.5 to 12.5% of cases triangles to total reports. It is my meagre judgement that all those years are so uniform as to %s that trying to tease them apart would be way too much overanalysis.

And I think that you could make an argument that all the "non-pink" years fall into a similar result too.

The only underachieving year was 1995 at about 6.5% [the blue column]. The overachieving years ranged from 14% to 19%. Note that all of the "abnormal" years are the earlier ones. There are two explanations for this: 1). there really were a slight increase in triangle UFO events back then, and tend to be slightly less now [the exact opposite of what my friend thought --- a fact in which I take some inappropriate pleasure], OR, and I suspect that this has some real merit, 2). the smoothing out of the curve as one goes to the more recent years is mainly the operation of the law of large numbers.

Why? NUFORC went through three phases: an early phase of not a lot of public recognition in which only about 2 to 3 hundred cases per year were received; a transitional stage where 1 to 2 thousand cases per year were received; and a mature stage where the yearly count is 4 to 5 thousand cases. As the total case count gets smaller, the numbers become less uniform, more erratic, though still not exceptionally so. I'm going to split the difference on the hypotheses and say that there has been a slight diminuition of triangle cases by percentage, but surprising regularity across two and a half decades. What this regularity says about the veridical nature of the phenomenon I am not sure --- it's an "objective" fact, since these people didn't know one another, and I might be the only person on the planet fool enough to dig the graph out, SO maybe it somehow supports the truth of UFOs [but we all know that I'm prejudiced that way].

But what about rectangles [the other shape that my friend speculated about]? Groan..... back to counting.

This time I tried something different but harder. I counted every shaped craft category by category. Not wanting to die before the job was done, I picked just two case-heavy years [2010 and 2000] a decade apart. If rectangles [or anything else] was going to make their move, they had a decade to do it.

The most interesting thing to me that I found is incorporated in the graph alongside. As NUFORC has grown in popularity and greater case reports, what I would call the Quality of an average report has diminished. Shaped objects shrunk from just over half to less than 43% of the total. More people are reporting any old thing. The "handiness" of an easy reporting outlet seems attracting every wannabee sighter puzzled by the sky. It's another internet effect --- more noise in the channels.

Throwing that problem aside, what about rectangles and their assorted buddies? In these years, and all across the board, the sightings of shaped objects are dominated by the "Circle/Sphere" category, closely followed by the "Disk/Oval" and "Triangle" categories. These things range from c.15% for the Spheres, to 9 to 12% for the Disks, to 9 to 11% for the Triangles. No other category [rectangles, diamonds, eggs, teardrops, cones, cylinders. cigars, chevrons, or even "miscellani"] reaches 2%. Within those "minor forms", there was a remarkable similarity of low percentages even as to the rankings. Cigars rank miscellaneous rank diamonds and cylinders [freakily equal both years] ranks teardrops and chevrons [again freakily equal] rank cones. The only diversion from this was the again freakily equal eggs and rectangles of the year 2000. They came in after the diamonds and cylinders, but perhaps they got together and said: I'll [the rectangles] go ahead more and you [the eggs] drop out. So, sadly for me, the rectangles DID increase a little over that decade, BUT THEY'RE STILL PIPSQUEAKS!! So there.

The real thing that actually did freak me out a little during these counting sessions was the strange uniformity of the %s of the category counts. Yes, there were scattered differences, not every number was the same, but I at least got the --- it was a bit more than just a "feeling" --- that I was counting something that hung together somehow. And THAT's something that I can neither explain nor defend adequately.

Some people will read these meanderings and immediately come up with lots of other research projects --- how many of those triangles were really huge? What were the other years like as to the total shapes array? How many of these cases actually had enough detail that you could call them a good case?

To that I say: quit flapping your gums and get counting!! Nothings stopping you. ... except you, of course.

Before closing this, I'd like to include a last "counting" fact: When you look back at UFO reports historically, it's obvious that Triangles did not occupy as large a % of the cases as they do now. But from current day back to 1985 on the graph there is no sign of that. So WHEN did the rise start? As usual, I don't want to make too big a claim here, but I did read the Timmerman files. John Timmerman collected 1179 case reports from people who just walked up to him at the various shopping malls at which he was showing the CUFOS UFO exhibit. About 2 and a half % of those were triangles. John's cases more or less begin where my graph left off and go back into time. This has the feel to it that the jump in triangle cases was a 1980+ onward phenomenon. Something pushed those %s from 2 and a half to ten or more that we see today.

....... tell me about it.