Monthly Archives: October 2009

Soucouyan or Spaceship (Prt 2)

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Modern Mythology & Flights of Fancy

Alwyn St. Omer's flight of fancy
Alwyn St. Omer’s flight of fancy

Just when you think you’re pretty smart, something comes along to remind you that you are not that far removed from the archetypal slack-jawed-yokel, the Ossimo, the  Coax; That your willingness to suspend disbelief is not too different from their obvious simplicity.

Before continuing, let me thank all those who joined me in my flight of fancy, my journey into the Twilight Zone. I have been blogging for a while and apart from musings on Michael Jackson, this topic has most resonated with people. The strange or unusual will always capture imagination of the masses it seems.

No surprise then that Soucouyan, Marjee Nwen, witches and space ships, all of which are beyond proven human experience, still thrives in our oral history, literature, and modern media. No surprise then that we are still willing to put our faith in things unseen.

Is it any wonder that we would like to escape for a moment in the possibility of something eerie and mysterious happening on this rock where even murders are no longer astounding; where fantasies of fathers lie side by side with the promises of politicians ; where even flogging the skin off a child leaves no one flabbergasted; Where even when information moves the speed of a spaceship (warp speed, if you didn’t know) we do not have a basic forensics lab and some of us still think muggings, robberies, rapes, child abuse and one or two murders, are no reason to invest in such.

Sadly though, as my smart daughter Leonie points out, “Fact sucks. Fiction is soo much more interesting.”

No, they did not hear us and put the lights off.

But whether it is the age old story of Soucouyan or the modern myth of alien spaceships, it is good to escape, even for a moment, to the wonder of infinite possibilities, of something beyond the ken of logic and science, something to recapture that childhood wonder and openness.

“He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool – shun him.
He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child – teach him.
He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep – wake him.
He who knows, and knows that he knows, is a wise man – follow him.”

‘Confucius’

So while I say thank you to that wise man, I can’t help but sigh… there goes my fantasy… sigh

But I still have Marjee Nwen, Boloms and Soucouyans, St. Omer’s Wakonte, Creole stories, The Fringe, X-Files, Dr. Who, Star Gate, Torchwood, DS9, Star Trek, Star Wars, Roswell, Superman, Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Independence Day, War of the Worlds………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Soucouyan or Spaceship?

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So what were those lights in the sky over Gros Islet this past Saturday night? A weekend lime on October 10 took a nail-biting turn when one of the residents of Church Street alerted limers to the spectacle in the sky.ufo 1
It was just about 11p.m. and there were several people patronising two bars and a private party directly in that area. Many of them turned to look up as a line of about eight lights moved slowly in loose formation upward and south west toward Martinique.
Although the town in the southernmost tip of Saint Lucia is the island’s tourist capital, it was mostly a Saint Lucian crowd enjoying the country & western and reggae at that time. So it was no surprise when one person immediately said “Soucouyan”.
A Lucian myth as old, if not older than, the European vampire, the Soucouyan is a bloodthirsty human who because of witchcraft flies around looking for victims to suck dry. As far as I know though, it usually strikes in secluded areas late at night or in the darkness before dawn.
That didn’t stop more than one person to draw the familiar myth as an explanation.
But that could not settle the questions that held many onlookers in thrall of the factitious event. There was no denying it; Unidentified Flying Objects were cruising in the sky above the island.
The curve of lights moved silently upward and several people stopped their partying keep sight of the lights, walking to the end of Church Street near the sea. But the cosmic phenomena disappeared as dramatically as it appeared.
“DID THEY HEAR US AND PUT THE LIGHTS OFF?” Flowing around that questionable comment, were about the nature and origin of the lights that had vanished one by one within minutes of being spotted.
Among the speculation was that the UFOs were not alien but very human. Still looking up at the skies that now only reflected the light of long established stars, observers conjectured that the lights were fireworks from a hotel or private residence in nearby Cap Estate, one of the island most affluent neighbourhoods. Voices grew strident as it was held that the well-ordered lights were possibly flares from a distressed vessel trying to capture attention of the nearby marinas. Some worried voices quietly suggested American weapons tests, while others joked that if it were Taliban/Al Qaeda attacks or nuclear bombs, Lucians would be caught unawares looking at the sky.
St Lucia mapThe debate went on. Did the lights become suddenly invisible because of cloud cover? Was it possible for flares to travel across instead of straight up in the sky? Did fireworks explode without sound or without leaving a trail?
“WE SHOULD CALL DBS.” Finally bereft of any provable answer, someone decided that further exposure may provide ultimate relief. His suggestions however was met by the backs of the bewildered crowd, who dispersed to their weekend activities, happy at least that the mystery had not been revealed in a violent manner.
What was the source of the lights though? I am myself still bemused, even a little in awe, at a sight that I (even after all the Soucouyan stories, the Star Treks, X-Files and Twilight Zones, the millions of conspiracy theories) never thought I would witness.
News at seven?