Posts Tagged ‘Spain’

The island is known for the most part as Hy-Brasil and was first put on a map in 1325; it was made by the Genoese cartographer Angellino de Dalorto. He placed it to the southwest of Ireland and was described as almost perfectly round with a river down the centre. It has been noted locally before that but this is it’s first documented appearance.

The Celtic people put this to be an island of eternal plenty and happiness, it was populated by an advanced civilization and they possessed the best technology and wealth. The island had towers and streets of gold, and it was shrouded in fog, it was only witnessed by the general population once every seven years and if you tried to approach the island you would never be able to fully reach it. Of course there are supposed to be the rare people that did and they came back richer than their wildest dreams. The race seemed to be on to get to Hy-Brasil and claim it to make themselves richer than anyone else!

1480 saw explorer John Jay Jr depart from Bristol, England to try and find it but came back empty handed. 1481 two shops from Bristol called Trinity and George went out and again seemed unable to find it. Several other attempts were made, it remains speculation about their success as there was nothing further noted.

1480-1497 the Italian explorer, John Cabot, made an excursion to find North America but had an ulterior motive to try and locate Hy-Brasil, he was convinced it was out there and it’s not certain if he found it or not. After the 1497 voyage a letter from the Spanish diplomat, Pedro de Ayala, claimed that Cabot had found land that has been discovered by Bristol men in the past, or at the very least he had seen it. The speculation on that one could anything at all from he found it, to he decided to bunk off using it as a reason.

In 1674 Captain John Nesbitt made the biggest claim, saying he had set foot on the island and explored it. He said they had been sailing when a dense fog enveloped the ship and when they landed they were at an unfamiliar shore. They found that it was inhabited by large black rabbits, and there was a wizard there in a stone castle. They returned loaded with gold and silver given to them by the islanders and then Alexendar Johnson followed up his claims saying that Nesbitt was correct with his information.

It seems that despite the hardships of confirming the islands existence it remained on the maps anyways, but the position of it appears to shift and two maps in 1595 show it lying west of Ireland. In all of the maps it was still round with a central river, and then it helps popping up until 1870 when the British Admiralty removed it. This didn’t stop stories about encounters though and in 1878 the people of Ballycotton in County Cork were amazed to see an island appear where it hadn’t been before.

18th February 2012, pilot Niger Gosseur reported a mysterious bank of god along the ocean on the west coast of Ireland, in otherwise clear conditions. He reported that his compass went haywire and that he saw landmasses where he was sure there was none before. Baffled he continued to fly over to Ireland.

One of the ideas put forward is that the island may well have existed at some point and has been buried under the waves. The evidence for this might be the west coast of Ireland has a place known as Porcupine Bank,a raised seabed found in 1862, this for some suggests it is perhaps evidence that an island once existed there. Another theory is that many have mistaken the nearby Baffin Island as the island of Hy-Brasil, this is off the northern coast of Canada. The location of the island has slowly crawled around and changed so it’s possible that it was misidentified and has slowly been corrected over time.

Another explanation is that the island has never existed; it could be an optical illusion. One type of mirage that can account for this is the Fata Morgana, a layer of warm air which sits on a layer of cold, it then acts like a refracting disc and can created inverted images from distant areas and coastlines. Perhaps they are seeing this? Whatever the history/story it’s brilliant idea for a story… and the imagination of many has been captured about the idea of the disappearing island that comes up to grant you lots of cash!

Ortelius 1572 Ireland Map.jpg
By derivative work: AFBorchert (talk)
1572_Europa_Ortelius.jpg: Ortelius – 1572_Europa_Ortelius.jpg, Public Domain,

A numbers station is a short-wave radio station and is characterised by some unusual broadcasts. They are registered by those searching to be streaming out voices, numbers, words, tunes, morse codes or letters. They have been recorded in various languages and more commonly have female voices although male and children voices have been recorded in some situations. The Swedish Rhapsody broadcast features a child’s voice. They are not officially recognised by any government body, QSL responses have been received from these stations by short-wave listeners who sent reception reports to them. (A QSL is like a receipt of transmission from what I can understand).

An idea posed is that these stations are/were used to send out coded instructions. Encoded messages could be then used via a one time number pad system, e.g. a notebook with the relevant code break that could be destroyed one the transmission was done. It is safer than any other medium on the planet, even if you hear the code unless you know it you can’t decipher it. Theoretically anyone could pick up the code with access to short-wave radio and finding the frequency but knowing what it is, well that’s another story! Drug smugglers were another reason put forwards. The radio stations can be used but this might not be as effective as thought, after all the farms and outlying posts often associated with large scale drugs operations would not necessarily be able to receive the messages.

Another suggestion I had found leant more towards the paranormal, the idea that these are somehow messages that might have been an old broadcast some how replaying over the waves without anyone physically behind them. Perhaps the dead are using it to try and reach out, however if so why would they be so formulaic and not contain a direct message? Often with some of them you can hear background information too suggesting that even if it is not playing live it may well have been recorded as such.

Typically they seem to transmit on the hour or half hour, an introduction to identify the station will be heard and then the bulk of the message is heard.  This repeats for a set interlude and then the transmission will end, usually with an identifier such as a set of zero’s or perhaps music.  Listening to numerous ones quite often they seem heavy with interference, or background noise, some are overlapping with the regular broadcasts which means you can hear a second station on them.  A Florida radio station, WYFR from Okeechobee is a religious broadcasting station and reported that it was regularly affected by a Cuban/Spanish number station. Others have reported that they have encroached across their transmission too.

One thing I can be assured off, the Conet Project collects them and listening to them is both slightly creepy and mesmerising at the same time. Whatever they are used for (and I like the mystery so very much) they are a thrilling find if you haven’t heard of them before.

So if you want to hear them try the link:

Gay Baldwin wrote a book, I picked it up probably ten years ago or more, about the local ghosts on the Isle of Wight. The Island is small and you can travel around most of it pretty quickly but if you are looking at some of the out of the way areas this one is pretty good for some side visits.

Of course readers will now have guessed I do have a thing for the oceanic types of haunts and Chapter Thirteen of “More Ghosts of the Isle of Wight” has provided another good read.

Bouldnor, near Yarmouth is mentioned, a couple saw a vessel come close enough to the shore that they might well have been able to touch it. This was in 1978 and the book contains statements from both witnesses who have yet to change their claim on the matter.

The sighting came some years before the discovery of mystery vessel by divers. It has now been identified as the wreck of either a 16th Century Spanish or Portuguese carrack. She is now lying entombed in mud and sand off Solent.

Another one I found from a website, Mystery History suggests there is more than one sighting.

Two people out night fishing spotted an old ship with three masts sailing towards them. The vessel appeared to be illuminated by several lanterns across its masts and bow. As the ship neared the witnesses, it slowly faded away.

Another rather enjoyable anecdote for ghost ships:

The HMS Eurydice, a 26-gun frigate that capsized and sank in Sandown Bay during a blizzard in 1878, is a famous phantom vessel that has been sighted by sailors over the years. On October 17, 1998, Prince Edward of England (1964– ) and the film crew for the television series “Crown and Country” saw the three-masted ship off the Isle of Wight and managed to capture its image on film.

The HMS Eurydice is pretty famous and has said to have been spotted by more than just Prince Edward and the TV crew. She was a vessel caught out by bad weather, there were two other ships in the area and despite the bad weather she continued on with her gun ports open, a strange action in the given weather.

There was not enough time to get to the crew via lifeboats as the crew were pretty much on the decks below at the time. The Ventnor residents stood on the cliffs and were said to be dumbstruck by the incident as it was such a calm day beforehand. After the freak storm died down all that could be seen was the mast and upper sails/rigging around two miles off the island.

A schooner, Emma, went to find survivors, she picked up five people from the waters but only two survived. One of those two said they were ordered to bring the sails in but the snow in the blizzard was so thick they could not see.  One of the witnesses at the time was a young Winston Churchill living in Ventnor with his family at that time.

1898 saw a powerful poem about the affair by the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The poem is The Homecoming of the Eurydice.

The Home-Coming of the ‘Eurydice’

Up with the royals that top the white spread of her!
Press her and dress her, and drive through the foam;
The Island’s to port, and the mainland ahead of her,
Hey for the Warner and Hayling and Home!

Bo’sun, O Bo’sun, just look at the green of it!
Look at the red cattle down by the hedge!
Look at the farmsteading–all that is seen of it,
One little gable end over the edge!’

‘Lord! the tongues of them clattering, clattering,
All growing wild at a peep of the Wight;
Aye, sir, aye, it has set them all chattering,
Thinking of home and their mothers to-night.’

Spread the topgallants–oh, lay them out lustily!
What though it darken o’er Netherby Combe?
‘Tis but the valley wind, puffing so gustily –
On for the Warner and Hayling and Home!

‘Bo’sun, O Bo’sun, just see the long slope of it!
Culver is there, with the cliff and the light.
Tell us, oh tell us, now is there a hope of it?
Shall we have leave for our homes for to-night?’

‘Tut, the clack of them! Steadily! Steadily!
Aye, as you say, sir, they’re little ones still;
One long reach should open it readily,
Round by St. Helens and under the hill.

‘The Spit and the Nab are the gates of the promise,
Their mothers to them–and to us it’s our wives.
I’ve sailed forty years, and–By God it’s upon us!
Down royals, Down top’sles, down, down, for your lives!’

A grey swirl of snow with the squall at the back of it,
Heeling her, reeling her, beating her down!
A gleam of her bends in the thick of the wrack of it,
A flutter of white in the eddies of brown.

It broke in one moment of blizzard and blindness;
The next, like a foul bat, it flapped on its way.
But our ship and our boys! Gracious Lord, in your kindness,
Give help to the mothers who need it to-day!

Give help to the women who wait by the water,
Who stand on the Hard with their eyes past the Wight.
Ah! whisper it gently, you sister or daughter,
‘Our boys are all gathered at home for to-night.’

This is a myth prevalent with Northern, Western and Central Europe. I best know it from Peterborough where I used to live. Wherever the local legend is heard it is the same, a phantasmal steed with a group of huntsmen who madly pursue something either along the ground or just above it.

Seeing the Wild Hunt was through to be a precursor to a catastrophe such as war or a plague, or at best (yeah lovely this) it meant the death of the witness. Mortals getting in the way of the hunt might well find themselves kidnapped and taken into the land of the dead.

The Norse god Odin came to be associated with the Wild Hunt, the passage of this hunt was known as Odin’s Hunt and those who saw it and mocked it were cursed, those that
joined in sincerely would be rewarded with gold. In the passing storm identified with the hunt a large black dog would be seen afterwards. To remove it the dog would have to be
tricked out but if not they would need to keep the hound and tend to it for a year.

In England this associated with St Guthlac who reported that Hereward the Wake participated in a Wild Hunt. In the Peterborough Chronicle there is a record of the hunt appearing at night, beginning with the appointment of an Abbot, Henry d’Angeley in 1127 that proved disastrous.

…many men both saw and heard a great number of huntsmen hunting. The
huntsmen were black, huge, and hideous, and rode on black horses and on black
he-goats, and their hounds were jet black, with eyes like saucers, and
horrible. This was seen in the very deer park of the town of Peterborough, and
in all the woods that stretch from that same town to Stamford, and in the
night the monks heard them sounding and winding their horns

In Wistman’s Wood, Devon, England as an example it is said that the hunt is comprised of hell-hounds that chase sinners or the unbaptised. In Devon tey are know as Yeth or
Wisht Hounds. Spain – Count Arnau is a legendary nobleman from Ripollès who was known for his cruelty and lechery is condemned to ride followed by the hounds as his flesh is devoured by flames.

The ring wraith’s from Lord of the Rings seem to have been inspired by a similar idea with the large black horses and their unknown faces. They are also a particularly awe inspiring sight on the big screen!