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Cornish UFO riddle solved

By Sherlockian hack with a telephone Ignatius Rake

Posted July 24, 2017
cornish ufo over eden project
Funny looking geezer, ain't he? A screenshot of the UFO over Eden. © Eden Project

Major R&H investigation reveals true origins of strange object filmed over Cornwall last week.

Plenty of strange things happen on the ground in Kernow, aka Cornwall, the former Celtic kingdom next to England that is the home of the Rake & Herald.

However, last week attention was turned heavenwards when an amorphous dark blob was supposedly filmed by multiple witnesses hanging, as Douglas Adams might put it, "in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't".

First reported on Cornwall Live (the joint website of the Cornish Guardian, the West Briton and the Cornishman) this past Wednesday (19/7/17), the story subsequently emerged elsewhere on the web, such as in essentially unaltered form here and here, for example.

Hat tips, by the way, to Rake & Herald newshounds Richard Caldwell and the Reverend Marcus Trepanning.

According to the narrative, the 'UFO' made its debut appearance this past Monday (17/7/17) over Newquay's Fistral Beach, where the thing was simultaneously caught on camera by bodyboarder Kiefer Krishnan (who has since removed his footage from Instagram) and Harry Wild, whose Twitter account states that she works doing "freelance food #PR and #Digital marketing at Go Wild Communications".

"With over 10 years' experience in public relations, digital marketing and hospitality communications, I deliver effective campaigns for clients across both traditional and digital media platforms," she says on the Go Wild website's About page, adding that she has "delivered focussed and integrated campaigns for a range of businesses", including the ecology-themed tourist attraction that is the Eden Project.

Anyway, back to the thing, which the same day was also allegedly filmed in close proximity to the A30 trunk road by "photographer", "filmmaker", "designer" and "otherer" Shayne House, whose website states that he "works across arts, culture, charity and commercial for a diverse range of clients that include the Eden Project, Unilever (Dove), the BBC, the Times and the Telegraph to name a few".

The following day (18/7/17), it was then supposedly filmed over Clay Country above St Austell by Trudi Holden (whose Twitter feed says she is "communications manager" for Trees for Cities) from a vantage point at the foot of Roche Rock, itself a notable Cornish landmark and a place of much legend and folklore.

Apparently at the same time, the thing was also filmed roughly 4 miles (6.4 km) away near the iconic Carluddon clay tip by Dan Goodwin, a "creative digital developer" whose various skills are listed on his website here.

"Blogger and YouTuber" Steph, who runs the fashion-focussed Cocochic website, then claims to have filmed the thing over Truro while she was en route to a hairdresser's appointment.

The thing then disappeared for a bit, only to return to Cornwall this past Friday (21/7/17), when it was filmed above the Eden biomes in Bodelva, itself some 3 miles from St Austell, 7 miles from Roche and around 20 miles from both Newquay and Truro.

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So what could the thing be, then?

Well, a number of theories were quick to emerge on the interweb.

Certainly, if it was a genuine 'UFO' in popular parlance, viz an extraterrestrial spaceship, it didn't appear to be a 'nuts and bolts' one.

The fact it kept the same general shape and swirling pattern also seemed to rule it out as being a cloud formation, a murmuration of starlings or other birds or some kind of insect swarm, the like of which this particular hack has never witnessed in Cornwall nor indeed anywhere else on the planet.

Admittedly, if it was a genuine phenomenon, it could have been pretty much anything, including, as has been mooted by some, a portal to another dimension or some kind of craft (of Earthly, extraterrestrial or interdimenional origin) displaying a form of cloaking device that might not have been working too well.

The thing is, if you look at those witnesses' job descriptions then consider the fact that the Eden Project is set to launch its Journey Into Space events and exhibition programme this week (which Eden production manager Chris Pritchard describes in a press release as "our biggest-ever summer of activities"), the true nature of the thing begins to appear a tad more mundane.

Indeed, three little letters all modern-day hoaxers seem to love form quickly before the mind's eye: C, G and I.

The locations where the 'sightings' occurred should also be considered if your fortean jury is still out at this stage.

Carluddon clay tip is a key feature of the skyline overlooking St Austell, where most tourists heading for Eden by train would alight.

As with Roche Rock, it also provides a visually impressive backdrop, ensuring that any footage would have a far greater impact than were the thing to be filmed above a housing estate or anonymous field as might be the case if the thing were really 'in the wild'.

Meanwhile, if you're going to Cornwall for a beach holiday, Fistral, kissing the major resort town of Newquay, is probably the most statistically likely place you'll visit.

And if you're a tourist with a car, the chances are you'll be conscious of the A30 given that it is one of the main arterial routes through Cornwall, running as it does from London to Land's End.

But why Truro?

Well, as the capital of Cornwall (and being much more affluent than down-at-heel St Austell), it is the most obvious destination in relatively close proximity to Eden if you're a tourist wanting to go shopping, eat out or, as was supposedly the case when Steph saw the thing, get your hair done.

While none of this is proof of a hoax per se, it is perhaps worthy to state that not a single 'sighting' took place over an obscure, hard-to-get-to, dull or ugly location unlikely to garner much interest among the public, tourists or the media.

Furthermore, while there is always 'a first time for everything', the fact that the thing resembles nothing in the UFO literature should also be enough to set a few alarm bells ringing in much the same way a disc or cigar-shape wouldn't.

Then there is the rather telling culmination to the article on the Cornwall Live website that broke the story in the first place:

Cornwall Live has approached various agencies about these sightings but no one has any answers. We then realised that the Eden Project launches its new Journey Into Space attraction on Thursday, July 27, and wondered if these supposed UFOs had anything to do with that. We contacted a spokesman for Eden, who replied: "It's true we have a galaxy of ways to tell the story of space at Eden this summer. To coin a phrase … 'The truth is out there'."

Could that be a marketing plug by any chance, Watson?


Pass me the violin.

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Certainly, at this point in the investigation, all evidence seemed to suggest a viral marketing campaign, a position championed by on Twitter, for example.

But there were still too many gaps, still too many question marks.

Perhaps it was all just some crazy coincidence?

Perhaps digital marketers are just more prone to seeing weird things in the Cornish skies than other people?

Perhaps it was a plague of locusts sent down to eat all our pasties.

At this point fear gripped me.

One way or the other, I needed hard, incontrovertible proof, the smoking gun that would put this baby away forever.

There was only one thing for it.

I got on the blower and called up the Eden press office.

And yes, they very politely informed me, it was indeed a viral marketing campaign for Journey into Space.

So there you have it, folks.

Case closed.

End of.

Done and dusted.

Signed and seal.

Proven beyond doubt for ever and ever and ever and ever.

Or is it?

Because one even greater mystery has emerged out of all this that still demands attention.

How come people can't pronounce Cornish place names?

Roche is 'roach', as in the fish, joint butt or insect.

St Austell is Snozzell.

And Newquay is most definitely not 'new kway', which is how they say it in the following US-made video that conveniently combines all the aforementioned footage and which is otherwise a more-than-fair attempt to plot and analyse the supposed thing's movements around the Cornish nation.

On the whole, they do a pretty good job.

They just don't take into account the possibility that all of the 'witnesses' could have been in on it from the start, simply uploading and sharing footage that featured the same CGI imagery while passing it off as independently shot.

Shame, really.

They came so close.

Perhaps if they had had a telephone, eh?

For more UFO shenanigans over St Austell, have a read of It's all kicking off in St Austell, posted 12/8/13.

Ignatius Rake
is an artist and writer who has visited more than 70 countries on six continents. He has been known to like a pint.

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