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Guy Fawkes Eve 2007
by Michael J. Hallowell


In the UK we have a yearly celebration called Guy Fawkes Night. Guy Fawkes, for the uninitiated, was a rebel who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament donkeys years ago. On November 5th every year, bonfires are built all over the nation and a "guy" — a stuffed effigy of the aforementioned anti-hero — is placed on the top and incinerated when the bonfire is lit.

We're a strange lot, we Brits. In a nation where we make gargantuan efforts to protect our young people from malign influences, we still see nothing wrong in allowing our kids to practice burning people to death. And then there are the fireworks. Literally hundreds of thousands of rockets, bangers and Catherine wheels are lit, filling the sky with a multitude of coloured sparks and flashes.

Nowadays, the fireworks are not just ignited on November 5th. For weeks before and after the event, youngsters set them off with glee. The subsequent maiming, blinding and other sundry accidents are just accepted as an inevitable consequence of putting old Guy Fawkes to the torch once again. Pleas by emergency services for stricter safety measures are, sadly, only partially successful.

You may wonder what this has to do with the paranormal. Well, let me tell you.

On November 4th, the day before our annual celebration of torture, I happened to be on the telephone with Richie Freeman, one of the UK's most knowledgeable cryptozoologists. I was standing in the back garden with my cell phone glued to my ear when I happened to look up into the night sky. It was early in the evening, but already fireworks were being set off with cavalier abandon. Hence, when I saw a large, glowing light in the sky I thought nothing of it – until it got closer and I realised that this was no firework.

"I'm sorry", I said to Richie, "I'll have to go. I think there's an aeroplane on fire right above me".

Well, that's what it looked like. As I stared at the object in wonderment I changed my mind. It wasn't a plane, I mused, but rather a meteor. I ran inside and grabbed my camera, by which time the object was now over the rooftop and only visible from the front of my home. I ran into the front garden and hastily took two pictures.

The first was strange; when I downloaded it onto my PC I could see no light at all. However, when I magnified it I could see a number of cherry-red contrails in the inky blackness. They definitely weren't fireworks.

(click thumbnails to view full sized images)


original image, cropped


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The second picture was stranger still; a neon trail which constantly changed direction, repeatedly intersected by nodules of pale light. Neither picture looked anything like the actual object that I'd seen with the naked eye.

(click thumbnails to view full sized images)


original image, cropped


contrast-enhanced

The irony is that few people probably noticed them, and those that did probably thought, as did I in the first instance, that they were merely fireworks. I checked with the police and our local airport, but neither had received any reports of strange objects floating through the ether.

A UFO? Maybe. Or perhaps it was an omen; a warning from the deities of the next world that we should finally stop killing Guy Fawkes anew every year for entertainment. Oh, I jest, of course; after all, our Government is doing a pretty good job of destroying itself at the moment without any assistance from Mr. Fawkes.

I've attached the pictures here for your entertainment and edification — make of them what you will…

© Mike Hallowell, 2007


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