Intrigued by the notion of an Irish society dedicated to UFOs, Matt Gregg adjusts his tinfoil hat and looks for advice on the extraterrestrials who may be periodically visiting the Emerald Isle
Everybody loves a good conspiracy theory. Ask the man in the street and you’re guaranteed he’ll question at least one of history’s accepted facts. America’s moon landing in 1969? Never happened: all just filmed in a Hollywood basement. Fluoride in our water reducing tooth decay? More like fluoride, the Government mind-control drug. Global warming? A sinister plot to spread socialism.
But none of these is nearly as enthralling as the search for UFOs and extraterrestrial life. People just can’t help but be fascinated by what, if anything at all, is out there amongst the star-speckled sky. A quick search on Google reveals over thirty million hits and an astronomical number of sites, offering to reveal all.
The only problem is that, to anyone with a healthy dose of cynicism, it can be very hard to trust even half the things you hear on the subject. The study of UFOs is a field renowned for hoaxes and lunatics. For men still living at home well beyond their thirties and women with an unhealthy attachment to cats, finding people with serious and sincere claims can be an uphill struggle.
To help me sift the chaff from the wheat, I turned to the president of Ireland’s UFO Society.
Thirteen years ago, Betty Meyler was reading a copy of the Sunday World when an article piqued her interest. There had been a mysterious crash in the Curlew Mountains near where she lived in Boyle, County Roscommon and rumours quickly spread that the vehicle in question wasn’t just a car or a van, but a UFO. In fact so many conflicting reports emerged that an investigation was launched by two UFO researchers, who presented their findings in one of Boyle’s many pubs. Though their findings were inconclusive, Boyle was bitten by the UFO bug.
“Talking to the townspeople afterwards, I was surprised to find that quite a lot of people who had had experiences of some description or another,” explains Meyler in a voice that’s in equal parts sincere and reassuring. “So we decided to form a little society called the Western UFO Society.”
Originally, the group was hugely popular but very quickly attendances started dropping off and the group petered out before the end of the year. Meyler feels this was because people felt that once they had described their own experiences, there was little more to discuss. The stigma attached to being part of a group that believed in UFOs certainly didn’t help its longevity either.
“People were getting embarrassed being seen going up to a meeting labelled ‘UFO Society.’ That was considered for the weirdos,” she says, the disappointment in her voice barely concealed. “Don’t forget that this was 1996 and people have expanded their ways of thinking a lot more since then.”
That could have been the end of Meyler’s brainchild. Instead, three years later, her society witnessed a dramatic revival after the magazine Woman’s Way ran a piece on her. Suddenly, radio stations across the country were calling her in to explain Ireland’s official UFO situation. The response was overwhelming, and Meyler was flooded with stories from across the country of people’s everyday encounters with UFOs.
“Everybody around here knows me so they know who to contact where as if they see something in Galway or Cork they don’t know who to contact. I felt it was silly for me to just confine my activities to the west of Ireland so we became nationwide. Overnight I had become President of the UFO Society of Ireland.”
Somewhat surprisingly, these stories were not limited to your average stereotypical UFOers, but included down to earth pillars of the community. In fact, it was while receiving oncology treatment that she heard some news that might solve one of the great unexplained mysteries in ufology.
“We know that the starship Capricorn has been circling the Earth for a good long time and every now and then it sends down these sort of probes,” she explains matter-of-factly. “But what they send them down for, we’re not quite sure.”
Her hospital consultant, on the other hand, appeared to have the answer. “He says that UFOs use radon to fuel their craft, which I thought was very interesting. Nobody I’d spoken to seems to have heard of that but if it’s true, that’s what they come down for: to collect the radon.”
Now in its tenth year, Meyler explains that the main aim of her organisation is to bring awareness of the UFO scene to the general public and act as a forum for those who are interested in searching out the truth. The centrepiece of their calendar is the annual conference, this year held in Boyle’s King Hotel on the third of October. It attracted prominent speakers in the field from across the globe and Meyler now feels her function has become an important part of the international circuit.
A quick perusal of their latest newsletter had left me intrigued. Just what was this ‘portal’ she’d discovered off the coast of Church Island? “There’s something there but it’s nothing structural. It’s like an esoteric thing that they go into. But it does explain the many sightings around the Lough Key area.”
The discovery was quite by accident. An acquaintance of hers had been photographing Church Island to use as a screensaver for his computer. But when he developed the photos, he found more than the idyllic background he’d been looking for.
“He saw a big white light in the middle of the island. Nobody had seen it. So he phoned me and asked if I’d like to take a look at it because everybody around here knows I’m ‘Mrs UFO’,” she beams. “As he was leaving he said, ‘There’s a portal there.’ And I thought, ‘That was a very strange thing for him to say’.” Her interest aroused, Meyler began investigating.
“Are you familiar with pendulums?” she suddenly interjected.
I was stumped. Racking my brain, I could only manage to stumble out an embarrassingly stuttered “no”.
“I have a rose quartz pendulum on a little silver chain,” she continued, undeterred. “For me, if I ask it a question and the answer’s ‘yes’, it will go round and round. If the answer’s ‘no’, it will go up and down. That’s it for me, but pendulums behave in different fashions for different people. Anyway, I checked out his claims with my pendulum.”
After ascertaining that there was a UFO presence, Meyler continued her line of questioning until she discovered that the light indicated a portal in place roughly twenty five feet in front of the island. With this hypothesis in place, she took a boat out to the spot to investigate first hand.
“As we went over this particular spot, the pendulum went round, and as we left it went up, to say we were going out of it. So that confirmed what I had been thinking.”
Church Island is not unique within Boyle as a link to the extraterrestrial. Meyler believes that the Knocknabrusna mound, just off the N61 Boyle to Roscommon road, is also very important.
“It’s obviously a very sacred, ancient mound. It used to be the coronation ground of the McDermott clan who are very big in this area,” she explained. “This mound is reputed to be the burial place of Cezar, the granddaughter of Noah. Noah put her out of the Ark for some reason and she found her way somehow to Boyle. This is recorded, apparently, in the annals of Ireland.”
“So I went up with one medium who found a direct ‘layline’ from this mound to Mount Ararat. And can you remember what’s reputed to be on the top of Mount Ararat?” she continues excitedly. “The Ark of the Covenant! That’s interesting, isn’t it?”
But that’s not all. A couple of years later, some friends of hers were driving past the mound when peculiar lights in the distance began to follow them. “Every time they stopped the car, the lights stopped. As they went on, the lights went on. When they turned round to see if these lights would follow them, a big light came down and the little lights seemed to go up, then the big light whizzed away. I think that would have been a mothership and makes me believe that mound is like a UFO hangar.”
Meyler was quick to point out that the pendulum wasn’t her communicating with aliens directly but rather a way for her to gain knowledge.
“I can use it for anything,” she explains, “from discovering if I had a milk allergy to predicting where the next UFO sighting would be. My source of information is wherever I wish it to come from. For example, if I’m doing UFO stuff, I’ll call on Commander Ashta. Commander Ashta is the commander-in-chief of the intergalactic forces.”
Perhaps sensing the seeds of doubt blossoming in my mind, she quickly qualified the statement. “You see, what I say is a lot of my own spiritual beliefs. It’s not scientific at all – either you believe it or you don’t believe it, in the same way you believe Jesus is the son of God, or you don’t believe it. There’s nothing to prove that he was.”
I had always thought that religion and alien life were diametrically opposed, but Meyler had no problem in reconciling the two. Instead, she described how her local priest took a keen interest in her work, and how the Church was increasingly open to the idea of there being extra-terrestrial life near the west.
“Perhaps six or seven months ago, the Church came out with an encyclical saying that extraterrestrials are real, they are beings created by God, and to say they didn’t exist was to put limitations on God. They’ve know it all along but now they’re coming out to admit it.”
According to Meyler, the Church is not unique in covering up the existence of extraterrestrial life. Governments have been equally guilty.
“They have to stop sending up their jets to shoot them down,” she declares before explaining that, until then, it is highly unlikely that aliens will be able to openly land on Earth. However, she did reveal that government efforts haven’t been completely successful.
“I do believe there are extraterrestrials walking amongst us. You’ve probably seen some people and thought that person looks a bit strange – slightly sort-of-pointy ears, pointy nose. You see them and notice that they look different,” she begins. “And I’m beginning to find that sometimes autistic children have, shall we say, ‘come from another planet’, which is why they find it very difficult to adjust to life on this planet. They don’t want to go to school because they know it all.”
At this point, scepticism makes a flaring return and I start to wonder if there’s any truth in what Meyler has to say. I try to broach the subject tactfully but I needn’t have bothered. She is remarkably open about the fact that many people would consider her mad and doesn’t seem bothered in the slightest.
“Everybody has their own beliefs. I respect their views but you don’t need to tell me what to believe and I don’t tell you what to believe,” she chuckles gently. “But I’ll tell you one thing: when Galileo told everyone the Earth was round, everybody called him mad. Anything new, people will not accept. I mean they didn’t even accept Christ, they crucified him. So if they can’t accept that, how do you expect everyone to believe me?”
As I hang up the phone, I can’t help admiring such an honest and passionate woman. Her friendliness and warmth are willing me to believe yet the hard facts just won’t let me. I set out to debunk the myths of ufology and find the truth but it’s just not that simple. Personally, I need more proof than pendulum permutations to accept the existence of alien life but who knows – in a hundred years time, I may be eating my words.
You can listen to the recording of Matt’s interview with Betty by clicking here. (Warning: filesize 47MB, fast broadband recommended.) You can also subscribe to The University Observer’s Features Podcast by clicking here (link loads iTunes).