Times Past

25 Years Ago

A measuring device, invented by a Shetlander, has already proved of immense value to Scottish seine net fishermen. Jim Johnson of Norhavn, Muckle Roe, has developed a seine net warp measuring system which allows a skipper to know exactly how much seine net rope has been shot and, later in the fishing operation, how much remains to be hauled.

At one time a skipper could keep a visual watch on the long stretch of seine net ropes (which fulfil the same purpose as trawl wires) as they were being shot and as they were being stacked in neat piles on the foredeck. Today the situation has changed since most vessels have a shelter deck and the skipper can keep a watch on the working deck only by means of a TV camera and monitor which do not give much detailed information. The ropes are no longer stacked by hand – instead they are usually wound on huge reels.

The standard rope measurement is the coil of 120 fathoms and a typical boat carried 10 coils on each of its two rope reels. The only visual marks on this 1½ mile double line of rope are the splices that join the two coils together. Some skippers paint one or more splices to give a rough indication of what has been shot but there are times when a skipper needs to know more exactly the true state of affairs.

Mr Johnson’s measuring system consists of a magnetically operated switch on the base of the rope reel. A magnet is attached to one of the spokes, mounted in such a way that each time the reel rotates the magnet activates the switch. The “clicks” are registered through an electric cable to an electronic counter in the wheel house. In fact there are two counters, one for each rope reel.

50 Years Ago

The first-ever private charter air freight plane to leave Sumburgh airport took off just before 3pm on Tuesday – bound for Brest, France, with a cargo of boldly labelled “live lobsters from Shetland”.

The story of the new lobster export market was told by us recently, when Mr James Watt, of Scalloway, flew to Brittany to complete details of a contract for regular supplies of lobster. It was stated then that the French firm would send its own plane to Shetland for the lobsters, and that it was expected a load would be ready for shipment every two or three weeks.

In the event, it was a Silver City freight plane which arrived at Sumburgh airport about one o’clock on Tuesday. In the future, it is expected that the French firm will send its own plane, although it may on occasion rely on Silver City.

While the plane was on its way north from London, eight men were hard at work on Scalloway. They were on the move at 5am to take the lobsters from their temporary sea-bed storage “chamber” on to dry land, where they were drained before being packed in sawdust in cardboard cartons.

Unfortunately, Mr Watt suffered quite a severe loss to begin with, for quite a number of the lobsters were dead when taken from the sea. But the remaining 2500 were large as life, and the 5000lbs which they weighed were soon packed in 200 cartons, and on the road to Sumburgh.

There was a minimum of Customs’ formality before the boxes were loaded on board, and soon the aircraft was taking off over the North sea. It would take about five hours to reach France.

100 Years Ago

Sir – I enjoyed, like many more, the sermons of the Rev. John Spence during his recent visit to Lerwick. Last Sunday evening’s service especially in the Parish Church, was a treat, and I shall long remember it.

However, in his closing remarks he made reference (apart from his sermon) to the fears of some of his Lerwick friends concerning his psychological investigations. In plain English this means – Spiritualism. He stated that we are told in Scripture to “prove all things” and gave this as his reason for tampering with these strange phenomena.

Mr Spence has entirely overlooked the fact that Spiritualism and kindred doctrines and practices are as old as the bible itself, and that the book rings with warnings against tampering with these things. There are many other things which the experience of multitudes of other men teach us are dangerous to tamper with, without our trying them also.

It is unnecessary for any man to take a large does of strychnine in order that he may “prove” that it is deadly. He has the experience of men who have proved it as a guide. And it is equally unnecessary for Christian men to tamper with Spiritualism or attempt to consult with “familiar spirits” or the spirits of the departed, in order to prove that it is real and no humbug.

The bible gives us many experiences of men who have tampered with it, and the disastrous results to themselves. If it were all humbug and trickery, the word of God would never ring with so many warnings concerning these abominations.

Of course, many smart people pronounce the whole thing humbug and trickery, simply because many mediums have been unmasked whilst practising trickery. But with all the humbug and trickery this abomination is a tremendous reality, as men like Sir Oliver Lodge and Mr W. J. Stead testify from experience. The messages which they undoubtedly have received are real messages from the spirit world, but they are messages from satanic spirits posing as the spirits of departed friends. This is exactly the teaching of the bible concerning these things. It is real, but it is satanic.

If any of you readers care to investigate the history of the introduction and rise of the Spiritualist movement in modern times, they should get their bookseller to order some little 3d booklets, by H. L. Hastings, entitled “Familiar Spirits”, “Spiritual Manifestations”, “Spirit Workings”, “Witchcraft”, “Necromancy, or Consulting the Dead”, “The Mystery Solved” and “Trying the Spirits.” These may be ordered from the publishers, Marshall Bros., 47 Paternoster Row, London, and I am sure Messrs Duncan or Morrison or other booksellers will be glad to procure them for customers. Some may be had in paper covers at 1d each. I take the trouble to write this letter because I believe the Spiritualist cult has more suicides and cases of insanity, and dreadful despondency to its credit than all the other professedly religious cults in Christendom collectively. The above booklets, if still in print, will prove an eye-opener to anyone who disbelieves in the reality of Spiritual manifestations.



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