There are times when one’s imagination can run away with one’s self when one looks at things of the bizarre of which the general consensus of opinion is that ‘these things don’t exist’! I say this in the light of quite an unusual photograph that came to my attention recently, a photograph of which to all intents and purposes, looks like a fairy, but is it?
We at research group Strange Phenomena Investigations receive numerous photographs which claim to show either UFO’s, ghosts, or other strange phenomenon, but rarely (if at all) have I personally ever seen one which claims to show a fairy. Well as I say, this was sent to me recently (April 2014) by a gentleman by the wonderful name of ‘Alien Bill’. I met ‘Alien Bill’ a year or so ago at a hotel in London where we sat and talked for hours as he showed me many photographs that he had taken over the years of what’s been called Orbs (small to large fuzzy balls of light) I soon knew that here was a man who was truly dedicated to finding out what the Orb phenomena was whose purpose was to capture those orbs on camera. Bill was therefore surprised as anyone to one night capture something other than an orb it was what appeared to be a weird and bizarre ‘creature’! Thankfully Bill was quick to share this photo with me and ask my opinion.
Now as a researcher, it is my job to try and find a rational explanation to any given paranormal ‘event’, be it a sighting of a ghost or a UFO. Here we had a photograph which demanded scrutiny and I was well aware of not to let my imagination run away with me. I am also well aware that there are many ‘new’ species of insects and animals being found on our planet every day and this particular photograph might be either (a) a normal flying insect or (b) a ‘new’ and as yet undiscovered insect, or (c) it is something else! And so I realised that I would have to conduct some series investigation into this.
My first port of call was to contact the British Entomological and Natural History Society where I sent numerous e-mails to a number of Doctor’s and Professors of the society situated across the U.K. and Ireland. These e-mails did not mention a fairy, I was asking instead what type of insect the photograph showed. Accompanying my e-mail was the original photograph along with some other images that someone else has enhanced. The following is the text that I put on those e-mails, and I quote;
I am sending some photographs of a strange insect that my friend captured on his camera and I was asked to contact your society as a means for you to help me identify this insect.
We would welcome your thoughts as to what type of insect this is. As experts in your field, I’m pretty sure you’ll have a clue as to what this is.
The following is what the witness stated as to the taking of the photo.
“On Wednesday the 16th of April after leaving some friends at the Cross Keys pub Tadcaster Road York I went across the road to the Edward Confessor Church where I have taken hundreds of pictures in the past. The first pictures I took were at the front of the church at around 11-40 pm. I noticed a light around 1ft in diameter hovering over the driveway. I began taking pictures of this light. Having taken around a dozen pictures of this light before it disappeared round the back of the church”
“I was surprised that cars passing never noticed it as I proceeded to walk down the drive to the rear of the church. I approached the church windows and over to my right approximately 20ft away and about 15ft up a drain pipe I noticed a light flickering. At first i thought I had triggered off a new security light but within a second I realized it wasn’t and quickly took this picture. From where I was stood it looked around 10 to 12 inches in length. After one picture it just disappeared. Never seen anything like this before.”
Please note that these photographs have not been doctored in any way, (only filtered to bring up clarity)
Look forward to hearing from you.
With very best wishes. Malcolm Robinson.
Further e-mails from me were also sent out to The University of Plymouth Biological Science. The Department of Zoology School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. The Biology and Biochemistry Department of the University of Bath. The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The School of Life Sciences at the University of Brighton. The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol. The School of Biosciences at Cardiff University. The School of Geo Sciences at Edinburgh University. The Institute of Biological Sciences at Leeds University. The School of Biological and Earth sciences at Liverpool University. The London Natural History Museum. Faculty of Life Sciences University of Manchester. School of Biological Sciences Reading University. School of Biology, at the University of St Andrews. Animal and Plant Sciences, Sheffield University. Faculty of Sciences, Stoke on Trent University the Life Sciences at the University of Warwick and the Department of Biology York University.
In total there were over 40 e-mails sent out to various institutions around the country, including London Zoo who never responded. Indeed, the vast majority of the e-mails that I sent out never responded, only a few did, and these are the replies below.
Peter Smithers from the University of Plymouth stated, and I quote;
The pics are a little fuzzy and your college Bill seems to describe something totally different but the attach images seem to best fit a clearwing moth. see http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/sweetpotato/key/Sweetpotato%20Diagnotes/Media/Html/TheProblems/Pest-Root&StemInsects/ClearwingMoth/clearwing%20moth.htm
Hope this helps Peter Smithers. Associate Research Fellow School of Biological Sciences Plymouth University Drake Circus Plymouth Devon Pl4 8AA
Needless to say I had a look on the internet of what a Clearwing Moth looked like, and guess what! It looked nothing like what ‘Alien Bill’ photographed.
Dr Archie Murchie from the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, Newforge Lane, Belfast, Northern Ireland had this to say to me after receiving my e-mail and photos it was short and sweet;
It looks like a bibionid. These are large black flies that are common on the wing at this time of year and whose legs hang down in this manner. They are commonly known as St Mark’s fly or Hawthorn flies. Interesting photos - I’ve passed them on to some colleagues for their views.
Best wishes, Archie
I checked on the internet as to what a bibionid looked like, and guess what? It was nothing like what ‘Alien Bill’ photographed! However, Archie wasn’t finished, he sent me a second e-mail in which he stated, and I quote;
Re-reading your email. The size seems problematic at 10-12 inches. One of my colleagues suggested some form of cricket but not sure that they fly at this time.
Best wishes, Archie
A cricket! Again not for me but these guys are the experts.
John Badmin a former secretary of the Royal Entomological Society had this to say;
I have some serious doubts about the photos.
1. the insect, a fly, looks almost a set specimen.
2. It appears to be in exactly the same pose in each of the photos.
3. There are no UK insects about 1ft in size. This is approaching the world’s largest insects.
4. All just nicely out of focus, albeit the reason for the photos was the need for a quick shot. Something doesn’t quite add up. rgds,
former RES Secretary (Royal Entomological Society)
Well first and foremost I stated in my covering e-mail that there was only one photograph of ‘the insect’ not lots of different photographs of ‘the insect.’ The other photographs were simply enhanced for our purposes to see what extra clarification if any could be made. So to say they were all nicely out of focus was not true (more so the original one)
Dr Steve Ellis was next to respond when he stated, and I quote;
Thanks for your picture. We have had a look at it and it is difficult to identify what it is because of the quality of the pictures. Our best guess is that it is some form of midge but these are usually no longer than 1cm in length so this does not necessarily correspond with the comments from the witness. Hope this helps.
Dr Steve Ellis Entomologist, Manager Pest Evaluation Services Sustainable Crop Management from ADAS
Well I’m not an expert on midges but I’ll tell you this, when you look at a photograph of a midge and what Bill photographed you can clearly see that they are not the same. Next up to explain what ‘Alien Bill’ had photographed, was Dr Dave Skingley who is a senior lecturer of Biology at Staffordshire University. Dave was also short and sweet in his explanation of what was photographed. Here is what he said;
It’s an insect, Have a look at how grasshoppers fly.
Dr Dave Skingsley, Senior Lecturer (Biology) Staffordshire University, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences, Leek Road, Stoke-on-Trent.
One of the foremost and authoritative researchers and authors on paranormal phenomenon, Janet Bord, had this to say when I sent her the photograph;
The strange fairy-like ‘creature’ looks very similar to the ones photographed in the Rossendale Valley by John Hyatt which have been publicised recently – see for example the May issue of Fortean Times, p.4. I can’t personally identify them, but in the FT report an entomologist has suggested they might be midges, which have delicate wings and long legs which dangle down. It sounds as good a suggestion as any other! However the light that Bill Rooke saw does sound strange and you don’t normally get one midge on its own. I suggest that you send all the info to Fortean Times so they can do another report and compare what Bill photographed with what John Hyatt photographed.
All the best Janet
Fortean Picture Library: www.forteanpix.co.uk
At the end of the day and after all my checks all I can say is that the photograph that ‘Alien Bill’ took is interesting. Do I know what it is? No, I haven’t a clue. Would I stick my neck out and say that it is some kind of fairy/elemental/nature spirit? Well I’ll tell you what, stranger things have been seen and mankind sure as heck does not know it all. It would be foolish of us to say that we know everything and that there is nothing left for us to learn. Science would not be doing itself any favours with an attitude of this nature. The photograph may well have a natural prosaic explanation, but what if it doesn’t! What are we dealing with here? I must admit I was disappointed in the explanations given out by the doctors of the various departments above they seem to contradict one another. For one it’s a midge, to another it’s a clearwing moth, and to another it’s a cricket, (and these are experts as well!)
I think its best that I finish my report by giving you some quotes from someone who admittedly wasn’t real himself, but certainly knew how to drive home some thoughts on investigative study. Sherlock Holmes,
“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes” The Hound of the Baskervilles Chapter 3: “The Problem”
“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.” A Scandal in Bohemia. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” A Scandal in Bohemia “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’ The Blanched Soldier Sherlock Holmes of course, is a product of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who himself was famously involved in his own fairy investigation, the Cottingley Fairies a village near Bradford England where two young girls, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths claimed to have taken photographs of fairies. Both girls later admitted that it was a hoax but then retracted that some years later. The photographs that Elsie and Frances took certainly appear to be faked, and it is my belief that they were, but both girls went to their grave stating that they did see fairies near a brook at Cottingley.
As for ‘Alien Bill’s photograph, again I do believe that he has captured something strange but I am at a loss to explain it. And we both hope that maybe someone somewhere has the answer to this quite puzzling