The Buzzing Misty Entity At Helen's Bay Beach

Quercus

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as i read it there was a disconnect between the momentarily visible cloud and the buzzing noise ... bit of stray coastal fog ? sometimes only takes a couple of insects to get a buzz on, on a quiet night, thinking of how sound of crickets/cicadas also almost seem to follow you
Yes, that's right - the buzzing noise came first, very quiet to begin with, then the cloud became visible out of the darkness of the path from the direction of the treeline. It didn't materialise in front of me or anything - I got the impression that it was moving along the path, and was just entering my field of vision. The sound then became proportionately louder as the cloud drew closer.

As I retreated back towards the car, I could still make out the cloudy shape hovering over the bench where I'd been, and the sound faded as I moved further away.

Looking at the map, the distance I travelled from the bench back to the cut-through path is about 250 metres. I hadn't quite been running, but I'd certainly been moving at pace. When the sound suddenly started to build again around me again, louder than before, there was nothing at all to be seen - even though I was near to a streetlight, and my visibility was better.

Equally, when the noise started up again in the car a few miles down the road (and you'd best believe I'd been caning it, at 60mph+) there was nothing to be seen. I parked under a streetlight in Crawfordsburn's Main Street and nothing was visible inside or outside the car, but the noise seemed to be coming from all around me. And then it faded, but with a strange feeling of latency remaining for a few moments longer. Then, suddenly, I just knew that whatever-it-was had really gone.

I couldn't say for definite that I didn't see some stray coastal fog - but this was an area of coastline that was very familiar to me, at all hours of the day and night, and I'd never before seen anything even vaguely like that. Although overcast, visibility was good that night and I could clearly see the lights of the opposite shore; usually the first sign of fog or weather closing in is that the lights vanish.

I'm familiar with the sound of crickets and cicadas from my years in Australia, and many a night spent on the verandah listening to their nocturnal concert. This sounded very different, though - imagine a bumblebee in a plastic tube, and you'd be halfway there. Quite low in pitch, not 'bright' or raspy like most flying insects, slightly oscillating and with almost a bit of echo on it.

Suggested ideas are good though - even if it seems easier somehow for me to describe what it wasn't than describe what it was (infuriating though that may be to other commenters). Thanks for taking the time!

I recall travelling around the Netherlands with a mate around 1992/1993. We camped at a place called Uitdam outside of Amsterdam. It really was in the middle of nowhere.

One early evening we went for a walk along a bank beside the sea. There were no midges at all, until after a while we noticed that we had a cloud of them over our heads. If we suddenly stopped walking, they would carry on for about two metres and then come back for us.
Yeah, midge clouds can be quite something - I've camped around Europe and Australia, and seen some impressive concentrations of winged beasties over water, as well as following people in a column over their head. One of the worst I ever saw was in the Vendée region of France, also close to the shore, over some standing water beyond the coastal dunes. The air was just thick with mosquitoes, especially around sunset. Subtropical regions of Queensland also have their hotspots - you find out pretty quickly if your tent has any holes in it...

The encounter at Helen's Bay definitely wasn't anything similar to what I've seen or heard before or since, though - it was more like a round white cloud, opaque with no visible movement within it, and audible before it could be seen. The buzzing was also a good deal lower in pitch than the noise made by mosquitoes or the like.

At the point the sound was loudest, under the streetlight at the edge of the path, there was nothing at all to be seen - I would have expected such a large concentration of insects required to generate such a hum to be pretty visible at that stage.

It really was quite odd.

Great post! Can I ask what state the sea was in that night? Calm? Rough?

Also was there any moonlight and if so, what phase was the moon? (appreciate it was overcast but you can still sometimes see the moonlight through cloud)
The sea seemed very calm that night, though since the location was a bay on the shores of Belfast Lough, itself an inlet from the Irish Sea, it's usually quite a sheltered spot.

It was low tide though, as I had to walk a fair bit down the sand to get to the water's edge. At high tide, the water laps only about five feet from the path, and in some places right up to the path. The aerial photography on Google Maps shown upthread depicts the beach at low tide.

I can't remember seeing any moonlight at all that night, so either it was around the time of the new moon or the cloud cover obscured it. Because the area's sandwiched between Bangor and Belfast, with Carrickfergus just across the Lough, there's a lot of lightspill from the street lighting of these urban areas to light up the clouds from below - so it's easy for any moonlight to be obscured.

Dunno if that helps at all!
 

Quercus

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Fascinating account, thanks for sharing.

I rather feel we can rule out mozzies.

I rather feel we can rule in emotions. State of mind. Distress. Upset.

These things create things.
I think this became manifest.
That's certainly another very plausible reading of the event which I hadn't even considered up to now.

The thought that maybe some part of her was reaching out to me by psychic means unknown, and I ran away, makes me feel immeasurably sad.

All I can say is that the misty cloud shape didn't give me a sense of her, but it's hard to know how much out of whack my logic brain was at that stage.

It might be worthwhile to state here that both of us were fairly vivid dreamers, and used to experiment with reaching out to 'meet in dreams' while we were physically so far apart. We kept detailed dream diaries and frequently texted each other in the mornings (sometimes emailed, attaching MS Paint renderings of structures or creatures encountered in the dream) to share what we'd dreamt overnight, as they so often featured both of us together.

Sadly, although we had some occasional vague similarities featuring in both sets of dreams on the same night, we never managed to get a definite 'hit' of both of us experiencing the same dream at the same time, suggesting an actual connection on a psi level.

(She was a psychology student, so had a lot of resources available about sleep theory. Looking back, with her final year dissertation on shamanism, a lot of her interest was really in parapsychology.)

We did have an extremely strong bond, the two of us, and it's only while I've been jotting down more notes about the various odd things that have happened to me over the years that I've realised she was present for a considerable number of them, or they occurred in the years we were a couple.

I'm hesitant to even mention some of them, because they sound like they're stretching the bounds of credulity. But we were both there; we both saw, heard and sensed things that, according to general consensus, can't exist.

I've heard a few theories that some individuals can act like 'signal boosters' to others, heightening psychic or other paranormal experiences. The frequency of my unusual experiences certainly diminished considerably after we split up.

We are still in touch, on and off, and a few years back I sent her an account I'd written from memory about something that happened to us both on Chesil Beach, asking Is that what actually happened? Is that what you remember? Apparently, it was accurate.

So yeah. More to think about...
 

Quercus

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I think this became manifest.
Sorry, just re-read what you'd written and I may have gone off on the wrong tangent - I'd been mulling the idea that the misty shape could have been my then-girlfriend's heightened emotions somehow reaching out to me, but I think rather the implication was that my negative feelings somehow became manifest?

Two theories for the price of one. Thank you!
 

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Asked about your surroundings (sea, moon) to ascertain if there was any Oz Factor evident, so thanks for answering and of course you mention this elsewhere
 

Ogdred Weary

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It was a small beetle-powered UFO, when you heard it in the car, they were broadcasting to you via your car radio.
 

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Sorry, just re-read what you'd written and I may have gone off on the wrong tangent - I'd been mulling the idea that the misty shape could have been my then-girlfriend's heightened emotions somehow reaching out to me, but I think rather the implication was that my negative feelings somehow became manifest?

Two theories for the price of one. Thank you!
Did you speak to her about the incident afterwards? If so what was her take on it?
 

Quercus

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Did you speak to her about the incident afterwards? If so what was her take on it?
I don't recall talking to her about it immediately after it happened, by which I mean in the following day or two - though I'm sure we must have discussed it at some point, if only to explain why I had reservations about going back to Helen's Bay at night. Formerly, it was one of our favourite spots to go for a walk, although I do distinctly recall we went back there one evening around February/March 2002, not long after my grandfather had died. On that occasion we stayed on the beach quite close to the cut-through path and didn't go round the bay towards the forest.

I may have mentioned something around then about the buzzing cloud that followed me a few months before but I don't remember much in the way of response other than her listening with interest, and agreeing it was a bit weird.

I think, at the point it occurred, I was hoping that a 'logical' explanation would strike me, somehow, and I could then forget about it. Whenever weird things happened to me (and from my jottings, there really were an awful lot of them around this time) I rarely spoke to anyone about it for quite a while - basically, until I'd pulled the memory this way and that in an effort to resolve it myself. Only when that didn't work did I speak to others.

Which is why the swarm of insects theory remains a very attractive one, if it meant I can finally put the whole incident out of my mind - yet, somehow, it still doesn't quite square with my recall of what happened that night. I know what a cloud of insects near the shore looks and sounds like, and it's not like that weird buzzing mist.

It was a small beetle-powered UFO, when you heard it in the car, they were broadcasting to you via your car radio.
Hey, it's as good a theory as any of mine!
 

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I'm still somewhat intrigued by the name Chimera Wood - the road that runs like a spine through the woods from which direction Quercus describes the sound approaching. (Not from the woods as such, but from the direction of the woods, if I'm imagining the process described in the account properly).

There does not appear to be a street suffix attached to the Chimera Wood name - which hints that it might be an old name ascribed to the locus, before it looks like the developers took a rather large chunk out of it on which to build houses.

I find it hard to believe that the name is new. Most road names on new developments in this kind of situation are pretty anodyne - I think very purposely so – often referencing a kind of faux rurality, but usually in pretty neutral and non-specific ways.

‘Chimera’ would seem a very odd choice for a modern developer – not least because the common usage of the word - as in something illusory, and impossible to actually grasp or attain - is about as opposite as you could imagine to that sense of the aspirational and progressive that builders and estate agents try to appeal to. (Unless they are being brutally honest – but I doubt that.)

So, I would not be surprised if Chimera Wood is an old – pre-development - name for the location. And if it is, I wonder if it’s associated with something odd – or reputedly odd - about the area. ‘Chimera’ is usually used these days in the fairly inoffensive way suggested above – but the Chimera itself was a more formidable and much stranger thing, and although it had very specific attributes it was not unknown for people to misapply classical names to the things they were trying to describe.

Unfortunately, Northern Ireland does not seem to be as well served by online map libraries as other areas of the UK – I’ve not looked exhaustively, but I can’t find anything with enough detail to suggest that this might be an older name.

It might be nothing – it could, for instance, simply be that the area was part of an old estate and there was the appropriate classical statue sitting in that location. It’s just, when someone describes something strange happening to them in a location with such a name, my Oz sonar starts beeping like crazy.
 

maximus otter

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I'm still somewhat intrigued by the name Chimera Wood - the road that runs like a spine through the woods from which direction Quercus describes the sound approaching. (Not from the woods as such, but from the direction of the woods, if I'm imagining the process described in the account properly).

There does not appear to be a street suffix attached to the Chimera Wood name - which hints that it might be an old name ascribed to the locus, before it looks like the developers took a rather large chunk out of it on which to build houses.

I find it hard to believe that the name is new. Most road names on new developments in this kind of situation are pretty anodyne - I think very purposely so – often referencing a kind of faux rurality, but usually in pretty neutral and non-specific ways.

‘Chimera’ would seem a very odd choice for a modern developer – not least because the common usage of the word - as in something illusory, and impossible to actually grasp or attain - is about as opposite as you could imagine to that sense of the aspirational and progressive that builders and estate agents try to appeal to. (Unless they are being brutally honest – but I doubt that.)

So, I would not be surprised if Chimera Wood is an old – pre-development - name for the location. And if it is, I wonder if it’s associated with something odd – or reputedly odd - about the area. ‘Chimera’ is usually used these days in the fairly inoffensive way suggested above – but the Chimera itself was a more formidable and much stranger thing, and although it had very specific attributes it was not unknown for people to misapply classical names to the things they were trying to describe.

Unfortunately, Northern Ireland does not seem to be as well served by online map libraries as other areas of the UK – I’ve not looked exhaustively, but I can’t find anything with enough detail to suggest that this might be an older name.

It might be nothing – it could, for instance, simply be that the area was part of an old estate and there was the appropriate classical statue sitting in that location. It’s just, when someone describes something strange happening to them in a location with such a name, my Oz sonar starts beeping like crazy.
FFF70AC6-B05E-4E46-9332-0F8CD290020D.png


https://apps.spatialni.gov.uk/PRONIApplication/

Chimera Wood (both a street name and the name of the dogleg-shaped spinney at bottom centre).

To the north, also hinting at something Fortean, is Talisman Clump.

North again is Erminia Clump.

maximus otter
 
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David Plankton

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I'm still somewhat intrigued by the name Chimera Wood
Tangent for weird forest names - there's a Baal Hill Wood in County Durham, although it's not thought to be connected to any ancient deities. But you never know.

Various suggestions have been made to explain the origin of the name ‘Baal Hill’ – a reference to an old term for a pit used for lead smelting, or to the fact that the Bishop’s bailiff lived nearby. Baal could also be a corruption of bale, an old word for a fire or beacon.
I think I've read on here about a place called Skeleton Wood. There's also a real place called Ryhope (as in Mythago Wood), but the forest there is known as Ryhope Dene, not Wood.

Googling about, I've just discovered they found a skeleton there in 1987.
 

catseye

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Tangent for weird forest names - there's a Baal Hill Wood in County Durham, although it's not thought to be connected to any ancient deities. But you never know.



I think I've read on here about a place called Skeleton Wood. There's also a real place called Ryhope (as in Mythago Wood), but the forest there is known as Ryhope Dene, not Wood.

Googling about, I've just discovered they found a skeleton there in 1987.
Interesting analysis of dating by teeth - the degree of tooth decay means that he died post the introduction of sugar into the general diet.

Can someone more knowledgable than me tell me whether tooth decay as a result of poor maternal nutrition or other genetic disorders is distinguishable from that due to excess sugar in the diet?
 

EnolaGaia

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Generally speaking, the prevalence of tooth decay in historical populations increased as those populations progressively consumed carbohydrates in addition to protein sources. Increased tooth decay seems to correlate with the transition from hunting / gathering to settlements and the introduction of agriculture.

This rate of increase accelerated in the Middle Ages as cane sugar became more widely accessible. It accelerated even further as sweet and sweetened foods became widespread around the 18th / 19th centuries.

Poor maternal nutrition would be a factor for baby teeth, but not permanent teeth.

I'm not sure how reliable or precise a dating determination can be made from tooth decay alone, because diet and dental hygiene are major influences on its occurrence.
 

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...Chimera Wood (both a street name and the name of the dogleg-shaped spinney at bottom centre).

To the north, also hinting at something Fortean, is Talisman Clump.

North again is Erminia Clump...
Something about the proximity to the sea, and the resonance of those names, made me wonder about boats.

Turns out Frederick Lord Dufferin - on whose estate the model village of Helen's Bay was built - did in fact own a steam yacht called the Erminia. He sailed to Alexandria in it in 1858.

I can't find any such direct connection between him and vessels named Talisman or Chimera. (Harland and Wolff have a Talisman listed - ship no 956 - but it was built in the 30's, and in Glasgow; the world's first diesel electric paddle vessel, apparently.)

Still, I'm wondering if they could be the names of yachts, or something.

I really want it to be something spookier - but just running through all the options.
 

Quercus

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I'm still somewhat intrigued by the name Chimera Wood - the road that runs like a spine through the woods from which direction Quercus describes the sound approaching. (Not from the woods as such, but from the direction of the woods, if I'm imagining the process described in the account properly).

There does not appear to be a street suffix attached to the Chimera Wood name - which hints that it might be an old name ascribed to the locus, before it looks like the developers took a rather large chunk out of it on which to build houses.

I find it hard to believe that the name is new. Most road names on new developments in this kind of situation are pretty anodyne - I think very purposely so – often referencing a kind of faux rurality, but usually in pretty neutral and non-specific ways.

‘Chimera’ would seem a very odd choice for a modern developer – not least because the common usage of the word - as in something illusory, and impossible to actually grasp or attain - is about as opposite as you could imagine to that sense of the aspirational and progressive that builders and estate agents try to appeal to. (Unless they are being brutally honest – but I doubt that.)

So, I would not be surprised if Chimera Wood is an old – pre-development - name for the location. And if it is, I wonder if it’s associated with something odd – or reputedly odd - about the area. ‘Chimera’ is usually used these days in the fairly inoffensive way suggested above – but the Chimera itself was a more formidable and much stranger thing, and although it had very specific attributes it was not unknown for people to misapply classical names to the things they were trying to describe.

Unfortunately, Northern Ireland does not seem to be as well served by online map libraries as other areas of the UK – I’ve not looked exhaustively, but I can’t find anything with enough detail to suggest that this might be an older name.

It might be nothing – it could, for instance, simply be that the area was part of an old estate and there was the appropriate classical statue sitting in that location. It’s just, when someone describes something strange happening to them in a location with such a name, my Oz sonar starts beeping like crazy.
Yes, it is a remarkably peculiar name, given the genteel nature of the area - beyond my initial surprise, I'd just assumed it was picked at random by the developer from a list of impressive-sounding words that they didn't know the meaning of...

But I didn't realise the stand of trees seems to have always been known as such, nor the other classically-tinged names given to the clumps of foliage on what's now the golf course. Being named after boats owned by Lord Dufferin is quite a plausible explanation, though.

Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI) is independent of OSGB, but I believe it does provide access to historical mapping - somewhere. I'll continue to have a rummage; unfortunately things have gone a bit nuts in work this week, so it might be a short while before I can have a proper search.

I did take a quick look through my copy of Walter Harris' 1744 gazetteer The Antient and Present State of the County of Down (no, not a first edition), but can find no mention on any of his maps or descriptions about Chimera Wood - this of course predates Helen's Bay village, which was only built in the 1850s. In Harris' time it was all just farmland leased to the Dufferin estate, with only 'Gray Point' itself getting a passing mention as the most northerly point of Co. Down, and that the bay (now Helen's Bay) was "a safe little harbour for boats".

View attachment 35756

https://apps.spatialni.gov.uk/PRONIApplication/

Chimera Wood (both a street name and the name of the dogleg-shaped spinney at bottom centre).

To the north, also hinting at something Fortean is Talisman Clump.

North again is Erminia Clump.

maximus otter
If you check out the Wikipedia entry for Crawfordsburn, it also has a picture taken from Grey Fort Road of the bay and beach:

Screenshot_20210224-235624~2.png


This would have been taken not much further along the road from where I parked my car in the original account - Chimera Wood is the stand of mature trees extending onto the outcrop that separates Helen's Bay beach from Crawfordsburn beach beyond. You can see part of the path leading from the cut-through to the right of the pic.

The trees look like they've been there for a while, anyway.

I also had a flick through my Breverton's Phantasmagoria and, as well as the Greek references to Chimera meaning 'she-goat' (in reference to the mythical beast being composed of a lion's head, a serpent's tail, and a goat in the middle), it also described an alternative spelling of the word as 'khimaira', seemingly an allegorical reference to 'icy wind' in Hesiod's Theogony.

The wiki article on the same does manage to give the broader sense of the term, which may be more relevant here:

The term "chimera" has come to describe any mythical or fictional creature with parts taken from various animals, to describe anything composed of very disparate parts, or perceived as wildly imaginative, implausible, or dazzling.
Woods of implausibility? Well, that kinda fits...
 

catseye

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I had a thought about this the other day, when I stood up too quickly. It's probably not relevant but, explore all angles and all that...

When I am incipiently faint, I get a kind of grey misting effect across my vision and there's often a sensation in my head like a ringing, buzzing noise. I've never actually passed out, but I do sometimes have to bend or sit down until the feeling passes. If I move, the 'mist' moves with me (well, it would!), but it's usually more across the edges of my vision than the centre, but I don't know if it's the same for everyone.

Could it have been something similar linked to low blood sugar or something?
 

maximus otter

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I had a thought about this the other day, when I stood up too quickly.

When I am incipiently faint, I get a kind of grey misting effect across my vision and there's often a sensation in my head like a ringing, buzzing noise. I've never actually passed out, but I do sometimes have to bend or sit down until the feeling passes.
Orthostatic hypotension?

maximus otter
 
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