On a recent expedition into the rusted hills of the Isle of Man, Samuel Hurt was waylaid by an otherworldly phenomenon; a sudden blanket of mist that advanced from the Irish Sea, claiming almost all sight and sound within a matter of seconds and abandoning him in an unfamiliar realm. He had become enshrouded in Manannán's Cloak.
Commonly occurring in the early summer months before the sea has warmed, sea fog (or haar) forms when a parcel of warm air passes over cold water. Unable to hold any moisture due to the drop in temperature, liquid water is released through condensation and carried away by onshore winds, forming a haar.
Depending on the temperature of the earth once it reaches land, the fog will linger in the cold or be chased back to the shore by sunlight. The Isle of Man being is surrounded by the incessantly icy Irish Sea, so it is small wonder that the mythical island boasts regular appearances of the infamous haar.
In Irish mythology this is no mere fog, but rather a féth fíada – a magical veil that enshrouds the island. It was gifted from Manannán mac Lir, a sea deity and the first ruler of the nation who put the 'Man' in the Isle of Man.
Blurring the borders between the world of the mortal and that of the Sidhe, Manannán's Cloak acts as a conjuncture of the Earth and Tír na nÓg – a place that no mortal may trespass.
Whichever theory you choose to believe, there is no denying that once within a haar, you cannot help but feel as if you have wandered into a supernatural realm in which the world falls away into the unknown, leaving us to imagine a land beyond the fog.