How to create a tourism phenomenon

The Bonnybridge story is the best Scottish invention since the telephone says Glasgow stand-up John Flint

In the midst of the crisis in Scottish tourism caused by foot and mouth, it’s good to know that enterprise is alive and well. Scotland has led the world in tourism from the very beginning (think how the Highland clearances created future generations of tartan-clad American tourists laden with dollars for our economy). The Loch Ness monster was a work of Scottish inventive genius up there with Logie Baird and Alexander Graham Bell. No massive infrastructure investment required, a simple ‘Did you see that?’ to a passing American tourist did the trick and now it’s a multi-million pound industry. Now this particularly Scottish ability not to spend a penny in attracting tourists has reached new heights, literally, in the skies above Bonnybridge.

The good folk of Bonnybridge have created a tourist industry using unexplained phenomena experienced in their town to attract thousands of willing investigating tourists. This is based on alleged sightings of mysterious

alien craft by locals who tell their story on late night Scottish chat shows with experts known as Local Observational New Evidence Researchers, or LONERS for short.

These tales always start off with ‘It was a Saturday night . . .’ (it’s always a Saturday night, I don’t know if this is significant). The tale then continues along the lines of: ‘Me and my wife were just coming back from a witch burning and then we seen this thing coming towards us, travelling at unimaginable speed, making a tremendous noise. The object had very bright flashing lights and was made of a material we’d never seen before.’ What could this intriguing object be? Am I alone and cynical in thinking it’s probably . . . a car?

Still, we mustn’t let me get in the way of much needed tourist revenue. The next generation of Bonnybridge folk will soon be able to tell tales of seeing even bigger objects with more lights that travel more slowly (or to you

and me the coaches that bring the tourists in).

It’s not only average tourist punters who are being fooled. The Japanese government is investing millions of yen in a research project using CCTV to monitor

the good town. It is incredible to think that, as I write this, scientists in a high-tech laboratory in Tokyo are poring over hours of footage of teenagers downing bottles of

Buckfast round the back of Kwiksave.

Here's to Scottish creative genius, its alive and well and orbiting Bonnybridge.

John Flint can be seen at The Stand and other comedy clubs in Scotland.

responSible for Circles everywhere.

The Verdict While some crop Circles have undoubtedly proved to be hoaxes. there are many whose Origins remain eluSive. Some theorists point to the abundance of Circles in Wiltshire. an area littered with sacred sites with crossed ley’ lines. and it's believed that these anCient energy Sites attract the phenomenon if only the crops could talk . . lLOuisa Pearsoni


The Evidence Suffering from nosebleeds. headache and chest pains? Living in the Largs area? If the answer to both these questions is yes. yOu COuId be a victim of the unexplained phenomenOn dubbed the Larg's Hum. First dOCumented over twenty years

ago. this quiet but menacrng nOise recently reSulted in MSP Kay Ullrich being called upoii to request a full investigation. Reported cases include a Mrs Georgie Hy'slop. 58, who apparently keeps her radio on constantly to drown it out. The phenomenon has spread to Whitehills. Aberdeeiishire. where Adele and Douglas Fartiuharson. both have been suffereing since August. The Verdict The obvious answer is to say ‘tinnitus'. but other Suspected causes are submarine communications. gas pipes or. more COllIiO\.’GlSlEllly. a mysterious form of electromagnetic energy emanating from deep inside the earth. The local eiv.'ironmental health department has viSited Mrs Hyslop's home on many occasions but declared the nose ‘below the threshold of

normal human hearing'. COuId it be that the residents of Largs are the ones who should be under investigation? iLOLiisa Pearsoni

PSYCHIC POWERS The Evidence \"tlhether it's Uri Geller bending Spoons or fictional characters like Stephen King's Carrie wreaking revenge without iitoving a muscle. the power of the human mind has long been the Subject of faSCination and amazement. Geller is the most famous exponent of unexplained powers t‘.'."‘i.'/‘.'.’.till-gettelCOiiil1 his feats include halting a cable- ca" rind-air and Stopp ng Big Ben.

The Verdict it's easy to be sceptical when yeti the iiun‘iber of pr'erititirii rate

ps,cn c not: advertised. but

riteansxhile. the police ‘orc 4

5" "W65 BUT TRUE?

Strange phenomena special


The Evidence It was Charles Dickens who first created v.iideSj.>read public interest in this phenomenon, by usrng it as a means of killing off one of his characters in Bleak House. Back in the 18009). it was the demon drink that was blamed fOr making bodies so flammable they burst into flames of their own accord. but in 1951 an Alllel'lCClll case caught the headlines and baffled the experts. Poor old Mary Hardy Besser met a fiery end. leaVing behind only an ankle in a shoe and a pile of ash. As is typical in SHC cases. surrounding furniture and items were completely unharmed. leading to claims of supernatural forces at work. Since thei’i there have been many reponed cases of SHC (including a Falkirk woman in 1904). leading the l-BI to investigate the subject. The Verdict The most popular explanation (the one fav0ured by the FBI) is known as the ‘Wick effect'. in this scenario a spark from something like a Cigarette Creates a fire. and prepare yOurself -— the body's own fat acts as fuel. This fat seeps into the Victims clothes. acting like a candle wick. but the heat only goes Straight up. leaVing other items unharmed. It's a tidy theOry. but what about the cases where the Victim wasn't near matches Or a Cigarette? As yet unproven theories include ball lightening and Subatomic particles known as ‘pyrotrons'. Ill any case. it shOuId prove a stern warning fOr smokers lighting up at home after a night on the booze. (LOuisa Pearsoni

enlists claimoyants to help solve crimes. religious believers overcome extremes of temperature or pain to prove their State of enlightenment and peeple avOid disasters because they 'woke up With a bad feeling'. It seems impOSSIble to deny that the mind is capable of more than many of us realise. iLOuisa Pearsoni

SCOTTISH VAMPIRES The Evidence Vampires have been around since anCient Baby/Iowan times. appearing in folklore throughout the world. In BraZil the ‘lobishomen' turn women into nymphomaniacs 'COnvenier‘tly/i, while in Malaysra the fair sex are }