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Thread: "Wot strange wordes thou speke..." Time Traveller from 16th Century?

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    Moderator Mark (Star Mariner)'s Avatar
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    Default "Wot strange wordes thou speke..." Time Traveller from 16th Century?

    Or, "The Mysterious Case of the Dodleston BBC Micro."

    Anyone remember this bizarre tale from the 1980s? Some think of it more as a ghost story than a time travel story. But you'll have to make up your own minds. It's certainly one of the stranger ones out there.

    In November 1984, schoolteacher Ken Webster from the Cheshire village of Dodleston, England, borrowed and brought home from the school where he worked a new BBC Micro Computer.

    For those unfamiliar with it, the Micro was an early home computer manufactured by Acorn Computers. They were quite popular in the UK at the time. We had one of these machines ourselves. They were quite versatile, but not very powerful, coming with 32k of memory. Files were saved on a 5.25" floppy disk. The machine was a closed system, with no networking, no modem - so no Internet (this was a good decade before the internet existed).

    Anyway, after retuning home one day, having left his computer on, Webster returned to find a mysterious message on the screen. It was in the form of a poem. He couldn't account for it being there, and treated it as a prank. A while later, and on a different machine, another message appeared as if from nowhere. It was written in archaic English:

    Quote I write on behalf of many wot strange wordes thou speke, although
    I muste confess that I hath also bene ill schooled. Some thymes methinks
    alterations are somewot barful, for they breake mane a sleep in myne bed.
    Thou art goodly man who hath fanciful woman who dwel in my home, I
    hath no want to affrey, for onlie since myne half wyted antic has
    ripped attwain myne bound hath I been wrethed a nyte.
    I hath seene many alterations lasty charge house and thou home, tis a
    fitting place, with lights whiche devil maketh, and costly thyngs,
    that onlie myne friend Edmund Grey can affore, or the King himselve.
    Twas a greate cryme to hate bribed myne house
    More mystery messages followed, and it occurred to Webster that he might be experiencing poltergeist activity, and he was talking to the ghost of a man who had lived in his cottage centuries earlier.

    Quote Ney I cannot make merry on holy day for feer of myne lif myne freend was once a floytinge on a holy day and did hath his ears pinned to thy wood bloc methinks when thou sayeth Dodleston yow meeneth Dudlestun. Myne queen is of cource Katherine Parr.
    Webster proceeded to investigate with a colleague, Peter Trinder. A two-way communication began with the ghostly typist, and many more messages 'appeared'.

    Quote 'Myne goodly freend,

    I muste needs say, how cometh this, that ther are manye thyngs for whiche I hath no rekenyng. Me thinketh it, that if thou cannot telle thee for what art in myne home, then I can namoor helpe yow than if myne witts had gone. I hath no kinfolk to fynd, myne wif was wreched with thy pestilence and the Lord didst take her soule and her unbore son (1517). Myne farme `tis humble but it hath a pretty parcel o land, it hath redstoon footyngs and cleen rushes on myne beeten floor.
    It got weirder when the mystery typist calling himself "LW" claimed to be alive and well, and living in the mid-16th century! As everyone knows, there were no BBC Micros, or any form of electronic communication, in the 16th century. Webster typed that he was from the year 1985, and it got even weirder.

    Quote Yow sayd your time be 1985 me thought yow were als from 2109 like your freend whom didst
    bringe leems boyste prey.
    "Leems Boyste" translates as "box of lights" - his description for a computer. LW explained that the "leems" had magically appeared in his chimney wall. At first he feared that the devil had come for his soul. Writings would appear on the leems, but he had only to speak back to answer (he had no keyboard). The messenger to whom he was speaking (in the leems) claimed to be from 2109.

    It was at this point that 2109 stepped forward, and a two-way conversation became a three-way conversation. The opening message from the "2109'ers" was addressed to Ken, his girlfriend Debbie, and Peter (Ken's colleague).

    Quote We are sorry that we can give you only two choices
    1) that you either have your predicament explained in such a way that
    you may have instant understanding but cause what should not happen< or
    2) Try to understand that you three have a purpose that shall in your life time
    change the face of history, we 2109, must not affect your thoughts directly but
    give you some sort of guidance that will allow room for your own destiny. All we can
    say is we are all part of the same God, what ever he it (?) is
    All sorts of paranormal activity accompanied these communications as well, including phantom footprints and rearranged furniture. Webster wrote a book about his experiences called "The Vertical Plane".

    It's been suggested that some sort of temporal convergence had taken place, where the same point in space, but across two separate time-frames, had gotten entangled or were overlapping somehow.

    The case still has its proponents and its critics decades later. There exists many blogs and forum posts about it, and a reddit community.

    At one fascinating point in the drama, LW (later identified a Tomas Harden), was taken away to prison, presumably on some charge of heresy or witchcraft. A friend identifying himself as "John" stepped forward to speak in the leems on his behalf.

    Quote The sheryff does aske that thou speke to hym wyth thy selven shewn to hys eye for thy purpose rather through the comuter whiche he hath no sight for elles the comuter muste bee taken to lucas in bowghtone prysun or nantwhiche if he bee thyr nowe to shew he spake trouths butt tis not ethe to moov thy device for yt seems to misapere when eny have tryd onlie when lucas bee here does yt shyne as solyd i cry thy tellyngs to post john
    Translation: The sheriff does ask that you speak to him in person rather than through the computer, which he can’t see. Otherwise the computer must be taken to Lukas in Boughton prison or Nantwich, if he is there now, to show that he spoke the truth. But it is not easy to move the device as it seems to disappear when any have tried. Only when Lukas is here does it appear solid. I beg a quick reply so I may go to him. John

    And it went on and on...

    Spirits from beyond, time travel, or just elaborate hoax...?

    Much more is told in this video documentary that details the enduring mystery (43 mins)

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
    ~ Jimi Hendrix

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    UK Avalon Member Brigantia's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Wot strange wordes thou speke..." Time Traveller from 16th Century?

    That's an intriguing account, one that I hadn't heard before. Ken Webster wrote a book about the experience that now sells secondhand for an eye-watering £500+, or you can get it downloaded for free from archive.org.

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    Scotland Avalon Member scotslad's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Wot strange wordes thou speke..." Time Traveller from 16th Century?

    Wot u reckon?
    Mod note: as video already posted, thread merged
    Last edited by Mark (Star Mariner); 26th January 2022 at 14:05.

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