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Another Arnold classic
on 18 April 2012
In the hands of a lesser author this book could have been mediocre at best, but Neil Arnold is not a lesser author. If there is one thing that defines Neil's work it is the amount of unseen, obscure and new material he includes. Many books on the paranormal parrot the same old cases over and over again. This book could so easily have been filled with nothing more than tedious UFO reports and encounters with phantom aircraft. But what we have here is a far greater work with a far broader range of forteana.
There is a fascination chapter on balls of fire. Ball lighting, itself a barely understood occurrence is often used as an explanation. Though in many cases this seems to be correct Neil rightly points out that the theory cannot explain all encounters with balls of light.
We also learn of phantom airships, the precursors of the modern UFO that were reported widely in America and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Stranger still are the medieval tales of flying ships. The phenomena itself seems motile, shaping itself to the human mindset of the age.
A fortean favourite is rains of fish and frogs. The usual sceptical explanation is that these creatures were drawn up in waterspouts to be deposited in other areas later on. This fails to account for the fact that almost invariably only one species is involved. Remarkably selective these waterspouts! Other falls have included worms, snails, blood, jellyfish, excrement, eels, pennies and pebbles.
My favourite chapter is the one that deals with winged monsters n the UK. Herein there are accounts of that most ancient and powerful of monsters the, dragon. Sightings of dragon like beasts have been made as late as the 1990s! As well as dragons we hear of encounters with phantom birds, gargoyle-like beasts, flying horses and the infamous Cornish Owlman.
Written in a highly engaging and entertaining style Shadows in the Sky is one of The History Press' very best books and makes for an absorbing read.