Mysterylights Group Message 0428

Subject: James Motley's Notes to the Canwyll Corph
From: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@...>
Date: 22 Mar 2007 12:43

Another transcription, this time of James Motley, Notes to the Canwyll
Corph (i.e. Corpse Candle), from his 1848 Tales of the Cymry:
- James Motley, Quote from Tales of the Cymry

Motley says that he has himself seen the ignis fatuus often, on "bogs,
and even upon the mountain roads of Glamorganshire". After describing
them, he says that though they're probably caused by phosphoretted
hydrogen (the prevailing theory of the time), he has also observed
some lights attached to riders and horses that appear more to be
electrical in origin. These ignes lambens he says the Welsh call Ellyl
D=C3=A2n or "Goblin fire".

There was apparently a valley containing a tributary of the Rhondda
fawr in Monmouthshire/Glamorgan which was well known for the Goblin
fire, getting it the name "the Valley of glooms or spirits". It might
be nice to attempt to locate this on a map.

He then quotes Jabez Allies's piece on the subject of
Will-o'-the-wisps, and goes on to say that St. Elmo's Fire ("known
among sailors by the name of Corposants") are probably their
electrical counterparts. Overall, his approach seems both learned an
unpretentious, and generally insightful. It's a great shame that he
didn't write more about his own experiences, &c.


Sean B. Palmer

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