The Ghost In The Machine (Meadow Cottage Poltergeist)

A reference to the paranormal and its various definitions.

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Post by kentpara » Tue Jul 06, 2021 4:32 pm

The Ghost In The Machine (Meadow Cottage Poltergeist)

The events of this case took place in the autumn of 1984. At this time, home computers were fairly new; the Internet was non-existent. Yet Ken Webster and his nineteen-year old girlfriend Debbie of Dodleston, England received messages on his personal computer screen from a being who seems to have lived in the 1500s. Previous to the messages, Webster had been experiencing strange poltergeist activity in his small terraced house called Meadow Cottage, which was in the process of being renovated. Most of the activity focused in the kitchen where Webster would experience stacked objects, unexplained marks on the walls, noises and an occasional thrown object.
Webster was a teacher who had access to one of these primitive computers - by today's standards, a laughably "weak" machine with 32K of memory, a simple word processor and an external 5.25" floppy disk drive. It certainly had no network connection of any kind. One day, Webster left, forgetfully leaving the computer on. When he returned, there was a message on the screen in the form of a poem, written in what seemed to be Elizabethan English. Webster dismissed it as a prank, but saved it on disk. Two weeks later, a second messages appeared, which said, in part: "Wot strange wordes thou speke, although I muste confess that I hath also bene ill-schooled... thou art a goodly man who hath fanciful women who dwel in myne home... 'twas a greate cryme to hath bribed myne house."
Webster began to write responses to the messages, which began a dialog with a personage who identified himself as Tomas Harden who claimed to have lived in the very same cottage during the mid-sixteenth century. Besides using the computer, Harden also left messages on blank pieces of paper and in chalk on the home's walls and floor.
An investigation could not uncover any hoax or offer any explanation, although linguistic experts concluded that the style of the writing was not genuine to the time period claimed - it was a phony Tudor style. And while the "dialogue" was taking place between Webster and Hardin, the poltergeist activity subsided. Yet later, other psychic phenomena took place, and messages in other voices appeared. Ken Webster later wrote a book about these experiences called " The Vertical Plane. A hoax on Webster can be easily dismissed, as he himself pointed out. While security at the cottage was not stringent, there was never any evidence of a break-in; anyway, messages were often received while they were in the house. Webster borrowed computers from a pool and it would have been impossible to rig them all, and nothing could be retained once turned off, making it impossible to plant information to be seen once it was switched back on. There was no way of sending the messages remotely as the computers did not have modems. Webster said that occasionally replies were received quite quickly, and if true it would have been difficult to compose messages with sixteenth-century-style wording in the interval. Crucially, why would anyone want to bother?

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