Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Wot strange wordes thou speke...



Forget John Titor (oh, you already have? never mind, then) - meet Tomas AKA Lukas.

But first let us preface this by an open statement that we do not really believe this story. Of course it is not the only story published here that we have doubts about; it's just that in this case the odds of the story being genuine are even slimmer than in other highly dubious cases.

Still, it is a reported "time travel" case - or rather, a case of transchronological communication (is that a word? - well, now it is) - so there is no reason to exclude it from this florilegium of dimensional oddities.

It was November 1984, and schoolteacher Ken Webster, living in Meadow Cottage, in Dodleston, England, had brought home a computer that he had borrowed from the school where he worked.

A few days later, upon his return home - after having left the computer on - he was greeted by the following message appearing on the screen:

Wot strange wordes thou speke, 
although I muste confess that I hath also bene ill schooled...

(Believe it or not, this was not the usual computer lingo back in 1984.)
But there was more:

Thou art goodly man who hath fanciful woman 
who dwel in my home...
'twas a great cryme to hath bribed myne house.


Apparently the computer was channelling the mind or spirit of an earlier dweller of Webster's home - or rather, of the inhabitant of a house that had once stood on the site of Meadow Cottage.

The computer-literate spirit introduced himself as Tomas Harden, from 16th century Dodleston.

You can read all of his communications in this fascinating article about Instrumental Transcommunication, by Ernst Senkowski.

Word must have spread in the Yonderworld about Ken's hospitality, because on February 16th, 1985, another old-timer popped in through the overtaxed computer. His name was Lukas Wainman, he wrote, and he had a lot to say about Chester, among other places.



A photo of Lukas' computer-generated message across the ages.
Taken from here.


There are several online websites carrying this story. I know you won't be sorry if you visit this lengthy and highly interesting article by Dr. Adrian Klein and Dr. Robert Neil Boyd, about Suppressing Time Constraints. There is much in it that I don't agree with, but it certainly is extraordinarily interesting.

However, if you are interested in this story, then Ken Webster's own book about itThe Vertical Plane (1989), is a must.

I haven't read it - it appears to be extremely rare - but here are a few excerpts, via this website.

'What would you do if something very strange and bewildering happened to you; something uninvited yet benign; something which happened over and over again and which involved your friends, lover and colleagues? Would you want people to know ? Would you want help in understanding it ? Yes, yes! But my experience suggests you would be wasting your time.
I was living with `D' (my girlfriend) and, for a short period, Nicola (a college friend) in Meadow Cottage, a small terraced house in the village of Dodleston, near Chester. Beginning in the Autumn of 1984, a series of poltergeist events took place, focused on the kitchen area, including the stacking of objects, noises, marks on the walls and `thrown' objects. Although we did not know it at the time, poltergeist events are relatively frequently reported `anomalous' phenomena and are, frankly, rather tedious and disruptive over a period of time.
What made this different was the appearance of `direct' communications in hand written form and, unusually, other communications mediated through a primitive computer. Personal computers were only just appearing in 1984 and, as a school teacher, I had access to primitive BBC `B' computers at school. These machines had around 32k of memory, a word processor on an installed chip and the only means of saving files was to a 5.25" floppy disk on an external drive. No networking, no modem, definitely no Internet. [Judging by this mention of the internet, these words, apparently spoken or written by Ken Webster himself, most definitely aren't from his 1989 book.]
One evening, the computer was accidentally left on and, on our return, there was a `message', a poem of sorts. It was treated as a joke of course, but saved to disk anyway. The computer returned to school and we to our sporadic poltergeist events. A different machine, borrowed on another occasion resulted, unexpectedly, in another communication. This time the language had an archaic flavour, seemingly of 17th century Elizabethan English. It wasn't right, linguistically as my colleague Peter Trinder pointed out but the tone was threatening and we felt the joke was now in bad taste.
Setting out, deliberately, to try and catch the hoax meant borrowing yet another computer, checking the disk for preloaded material, checking the house was secure and leaving the computer in the kitchen as before. Another message appeared in the same quirky `mock Tudor' style. In a matter of fact way, over a coffee, a friend suggested, well, replying ... and the results were surprising.
The reply was met with a further response and the two-way communications began in earnest. At the same time Peter Trinder's language investigations into the language style pointed up a coherence and subtlety which was not easily dismissed. But they were not perfect and in one message soon to become notorious in following investigations Peter felt particularly uncomfortable both with the history and the language.
We increased our efforts to uncover any deception; but there was a positive side effect of the computer in the kitchen ... it seemed to calm the `poltergeist' activity. Over a period of around 16 months, other associated phenomena included altered states of consciousness for D and evidence of other communicators (besides the main communicator, one Tomas Harden). Some of these other communications were unreadable (their messages were child-like nonsense and often angry); others were coherent but seemed completely contemporary and designed to unsettle. Not all messages were on the computer; they appeared on paper that was lying around, the walls or the floor. Some messages seemed unfinished unsigned as if the writer had been disturbed.'

Admit it: it's a fun story.
And, I must say, judging by the excerpts, Ken's book must be highly entertaining, too. I mean this sincerely, with no double meaning anywhere. 
I am more than ready to believe that he did not perpetrate a hoax.
Someone else did.

But, in the name of intellectual honesty and spiritual freedom, I am also as happy as ever to admit that: 

a) anything is possible; 

and 

b) I know nothing.


ADDENDUM: see the next post.














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