Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Moving Statues ready for a recessionary encore?

It’s recession time, so maybe it’s also time to dust off the moving statues once again?

It seems that Northern Ireland is leading the way on slump-busting supernatural phenonema this time round, following sightings of a sprightly “90 year-old” ghost in County Tyrone.

According to the BBC, crowds of people have been descending on the accursed spot, near Coalisland (and who would argue that it’s not?), in expectation of seeing the spirit of an old woman flitting across the fields in the vicinity of a local pub.

Apparently - or apparitionately - Ryan Bell, whose father owns the local hostelry, was first to spot the spectre, and has seen it a total of six times. What’s happening here? Are we letting those Northerners steal a march on us?

Gombeen Man is unsure how many of you were around in the 80s, but this was a time of true Irish enterprise, before the likes of Bill Gates and co were attracted to the country by the IDA and our “business-friendly” corporate tax regime.

Then, no self-respecting publican or farmer with a good field which could double as a car park was slow to spot evidence of supernatural shenanigans down at the nearby grotto. At first the statues just showed slight signs of movement, but this was enough to attract the faithful flocks to sacred sites all over the country.

After a while, like any drug, this wasn’t enough, and the stone(d) figures – usually of Our Lady – progressed onto fully blown dancing. It seems that the longer the crowds gawped in expectation at the figures, the more spectacular things became.

Gombeen Man can even remember reports of visitations in the skies, in the shape and form (if there is such a thing) of various saints, who the pious recognized at a glance. St Jude was a popular performer, and certainly seemed eager to dispel the monotony for those on the ground, who fully expected to see a spiritual spectacular… no matter how long it might take.

Cynics dismissed these events – and the young Gombeen Man was one – as manifestations of mass psychosis and local opportunism on the part of farmers, but many seemingly sane people seemed to think “there might be something in it”. You could only be moved by it all … moved to pity for the credulous.

So watch this space, as our recession bites deeper, and the country’s statues dust themselves down, shake the stiffness out of their inanimate joints, and start giving Michael Flatley a run for his money.

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Ella said...

Hi Gombeen Man, LOL here. To really get into the spirit of the moving statues, why don't you have another grotto picture, only this time replace Mary with a sign saying something like "gone to lunch".

The Gombeen Man said...

Actually Ella, that's not a bad idea. There was a story going around at the time that one such statue had been taken off for cleaning, or repair, or painting, or whatever they do with statues, and some wag did just that.

But that's probably an urban myth... I mean, it's just TOO incredible to be true!!!! Isn't it?

Bernd said...

More on the serious side ... in recession times people flock to the obscurest cults and are ready to swallow a lot (no reference to poor women driven to prostitution or, indeed, choirboys intended). Like the cult of Anne.


Anne is a "lay apostle" (plus Catholic wife and mother of six children, as a website states) who actually claims to be channelling JC himself. This preposterous claim is endorsed by the Catholic church and attracts a very quiet but apparently massive fellowship.

These guys recently purchased some 43 acres and a complete abbey in Kilnacrott (Cavan) for a measly € 2.5 million. Nice! They sale also included the plot where paedophile priest Fr Brendan Smyth is buried ... and which is regularly adorned with flowers.

The Gombeen Man said...

The cult of Anne. I hadn't heard of that one, Bernd, but it does not surprise me. I lost the capacity to be surprised by this place a long, long time ago!

Bernd said...

Just in case you want to join:


By the way ... JC does not work in mysterious ways ... Anne has established regular contact, every month on the same day, or so she claims. This alone would tempt me to question the veracity of these messages, somehow I cannot see divine beings adhering to an earthly calendar.

The Gombeen Man said...

"Interior locution", no less! That sounds convincing enough for me, Bernd.

I was lost, but now I'm found!!!!!


Netgeek said...

"After a while, like any drug, this wasn’t enough, and the stone(d) figures – usually of Our Lady – progressed onto fully blown dancing"

I think it was Liam Fay who pointed out that this term "Our Lady" is somewhat presumptious.

As far as I am concerned she is "their lady" and they can keep her.

The Gombeen Man said...

Very good point, Netgeek! Did he say that in "Beyond Belief"? I read it years ago and it was a great laugh. Must dig it out again.

Netgeek said...

Yes GM it was in "Beyond Belief" a book which should be in every School library in the country.

Which in my old school would make it the only book.........

Anonymous said...

During the mid-eighties outbreak of high silliness someone hung a "Gone to Lunch" sign on a Grotto near where I lived.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes, they were silly times alright. I remember a group of people attacked a statue with a sledgehammer at one point, and I thought it was sign of progress until I read that they were part of some religous cult that was unimpressed with the attention the statues were getting (worshipping false idols, or some such xxxx).

Netgeek, one of the best bits in "Beyond Belief" is when Liam goes into a Chemist dressed as a priest, just after condoms were legalised here in a bout of uncharacteristic liberalism, and starts asking an embarrassed assistant about the virtues of Featherlights over ribbed, and which affords the most sensitivity? Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

"until I read that they were part of some religous cult"

Surely you mean some RIVAL religous cult ?

The Gombeen Man said...

You're right, of course.

Like the Father Ted episode where Dougal goes, "I heard about those cults, Ted. Men dressed in black going around telling us the world is about to end".

Ella said...

Hi GM, the country is awash with religious cults, some are just more established than others. Whenever I hear a catholic (and it is usually a catholic as they are in the majority in this country) make comments about another cult like say the Moonies I always point out that their cult (Catholicism) is just more established. This is usually greeted with shock, horror and disbelief. I fail to understand why. There's some spiel about jesus being nailed to a cross and liberating himself after 3 days. There is more garbage about walking on water, further tales about sharing a meagre amount of food (something about fish & loaves) whereupon thousands of people are fed with enough really to only sustain a family. Yeah right! What hallucenogenics are these people on? Cults generally have the same functions control your lives, have your money, in fact Dougal summed it up quite well really.

Netgeek said...

Thought youd like this little update.

"Would You Believe - Still Moving will be screened tonight at 10.20pm on RTE 1."

Dont forget to set your video :-)

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks, N. will watch out for that one!