Thursday, December 17, 2015

1880 - The "Roaring Moon" at Camelback Mountain near Grafton NSW - The Great Fortean Game of Cat & mouse

This is a post I did back in May, 2013:

The apparent witness to a strange event over Camelback Mountain - John Connell Laycock

The Magonia exchange has being doing a great job of focusing on historical UFO reports particularly utilising the growing number on digitised on line newspapers archives.  They are a rich source of UFO and other Fortean matters. 

Some of my work is included in my post on Australian historical UFO research.  Kay Massingill has been doing a wonderful job with her posts, many of which are on Australian pre-1947 cases.  I've been looking at these sorts of historical Australian and New Zealand cases since the 1970s, initially of course in the time honoured way of physically reading the originals or microfilm, etc.  Now we have a veritable goldfield of digitised newspapers increasingly coming on line - a researchers delight.  

Some cases really catch the eye.  For me the "Roaring moon" at Camelback Mountain in 1880 was one of them. Thank you Kay for picking up this one.  I missed it in my own long searching.  It was especially interesting for me as it was located about 45 km NE of my old home town of Grafton.  I canoed down the river at the very location back in the late 1960s and 1970s and alway passed the area on my way up to university at Armidale between1971 and 1974.  
The 1880 event is fascinating at many different levels so I thought I would try to did deeper.  Here is the fascinating letter to the editor of the Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser(Grafton, NSW), in its Saturday 19 June 1880 issue:
1880 Tuesday 22 June “Under the Arcade” column by the anonymous “Atlantes”:
1880 Saturday 26 June:
In the same issue in the "Under the Arcade" Atlantes comments, surely aware of "J.C. Laycock"'s letter:
Now things get curiouser & curiouser. 1880 Tuesday 29 June “Atlantes” reaction?:
1880, Tuesday 27 July 18 “Under the Arcade” column by “Atlantes”:
Mr. Laycock, a real historical family who had a place at Camelback, becomes an enigma.  Is there more than one? 
There was a junior & senior. , but it seems there was another? A literary "jokester"?
John Connell Laycock senior was apparently the original 12 June 1880 letter writer, born 1 December 1818, died 30 December 1897.
"J.C. Laycock" was a prolific letter writer but it seems at times mischief was afoot and a fine Fortean dance was to had?  
See the December 1863 letter:
and a February 1865 naming game:
So are we any closer to knowing if the original 19 June 1880 newspaper account is a legitimate story (the letter to the editor dated 12 June 1880)? Maybe? 
I have taken this up with some friends at the Clarence River Historical Society.  I will report further if I have any illuminations.
And thanks again for Kay for putting up this "Cheshire cat" and sending me down the "rabbit hole."
The game is afoot.
Bill Chalker

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