Many of us enjoy a good ghost story. Many of us enjoy Science Fiction. But how many stories do you know that start off as one and evolve into the other? What's become known as "The mystery of the Dodleston messages" is precisely just such a case. And if the story is accurate, it comes with some of the most incredible, baffling, and mind-bending implications we've ever encountered. Towards the end of summer in 1984, teacher and musician Ken Webster was renovating his 16th-century home named "Meadow Cottage" when the strange activity began. Located in the village of Dodleston, four miles southwest of the town of Chester in northwest England near the border with Wales, life was taking its usual somnambulistic pace while dusted with the discomfort and drudgery of living in a small, historical residence during construction. But one day, while Webster's lodger friend Nicola helped to decorate, the pair noticed tiny, six-toed footprints going up the wall that would reappear even after repainting. Then, it seemed a poltergeist repeatedly stacked their pantry goods in a playful yet orderly fashion. Clearly to them, some acquaintance was having a laugh at their expense. But a bigger mystery unfolded after Webster brought home a BBC brand word processor from his school so Nicola could write comedy sketches. Ken Webster, Nicola, and Ken's girlfriend Debbie noticed that someone was leaving at first cryptic messages on the microcomputer, but seemingly written in the style of 16th-century English. Before long, the epistler, or as the trio first thought, merry prankster, had identified himself as "Lukas" and was wondering what all these strange but decent folks were doing in his farmhouse, mucking about. Through leaving text documents back and forth, an ongoing conversation and friendship developed. Lukas claimed to be the original owner of the cottage. Not only that, he said he was currently living under the reign of King Henry VIII and his queen of the moment, Catherine Parr, making Lukas' lifetime the 1540s of England. But as unbelievable as this more than 400-year-old correspondence appeared, the situation would become even more bizarre as Lukas, Ken, and his friends would find themselves embroiled in royal Tudor intrigue with trying to save Lukas' life. Complicating this otherworldly drama was the emergence of mysterious correspondents who claimed to be manipulating this portal through time. As relatively mundane as Lukas' messages often were, these new entities professed to be from the future, or perhaps a possible future, and warned that messing with the paradoxes of time travel could lead to terrible consequences with alternate timelines. Ken Webster documented this series of mind-blowing events in his book, The Vertical Plane
, published in 1989. Tonight, we're joined once again by our great friend and paranormal oracle, Richard Hatem. Rich made us aware of this story by generously gifting us Webster's book, years before its now princely sum of over $500 for a used, out-of-print copy on Amazon. Part One of our series on this unimaginable occurrence will focus on how Webster and his friends got to know this true "Renaissance Man" and leading up to the possibility that there are overlords of time who can dabble in our destinies.
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