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Watch This When You’re High - The Mystery of The Dodleston Messages

Thanks to @limpwrist for the suggestion. 

Did a computer from the 1980s really communicate with a farmer in the 16th century? ‘The Dodleston Messages’ is a phenomenon dating back to the mid-eighties in which a household in the quiet British village of Dodleston, Cheshire, allegedly received messages on their computer from a farmer in the 16th century.

It was 1984 and Ken Webster, along with his girlfriend Debbie and their lodger Nic, went out to visit a friend for a couple of hours one evening. Upon their return, Webster decided to check the upstairs BBC Micro computer, which had been left on, to have a nosey at the work Nic was doing. To his surprise upon opening the Edword word processor, he found the following message:

Ken, Deb, Nic
True are the nightmares of a person that fears.
Safe are the bodies of the silent world.
Turn pretty flower, turn towards the sun for you shall grow and sow.
But the flower reaches too high and withers in the burning light.
Get out your bricks —
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat went to London to seek fame and fortune.
Faith must not be lost for this shall be your redeemer.

A chilling poem for sure, and one that couldn’t be explained by the three residents at the time. The computer, a BBC Micro, had been borrowed from the school where Ken worked as a teacher. 

Not long after receiving this message, the computer was returned, and another wasn’t borrowed until February 1985. It was here that, again, another message was received after an evening when the computer was left turned on. This time, it had a completely different tone and grammar style. The message in the file read as follows:

I wryte on behalf of many. Wot strange wordes thou speake, although, I muste confess that I hath also been 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 myne home, I hath no want to affrey, for onlie syth myne half wyted antic has ripped attwain myne bound hath I beene wrethed a nyte. I hath seene manye alterations lasty charge house and thou home, tis a fitting place, with lytes whiche devil maketh, and costly thynges, that onlie myne friend, Edmund Grey can affore, or the king himselve. Twas a greate cryme to hath bribed myne house. – LW

It was by now that Webster and his friends realized something really strange was happening. Who had written these strange words? Who was LW and Edmund Grey? Why did the writer of the messages assume someone had stolen his house?

And most importantly – how did these messages get onto the computer? Most people that Webster confided in about this had dismissed it as a prank. But the computer wasn’t connected to any sort of network, and this was before the time of the Internet when stuff like this could be easily explained away. 


Keep the suggestions coming. Keep them classy. No butt stuff.