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dancin'hamster

The Vertical Plane

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For years I have been searching out a book called 'The Vertical Plane'. It's an acount of a very unusual haunting that took place in Cheshire in the 1980's. I have searched and searched on Google but thus far have only come up with the following information.

It's a fascinating story and one which I'm sure you'll all be interested in ~

When strange archaic messages appeared on his computer in 1984, in the midst of classic poltergeist activity, Ken Webster sought the help of top paranormalists and wrote a book about the phenomena The Vertical Plane. Confronting them with an active and complex mystery, Ken was surprised by the inadequacy of their responses and investigations.

'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.

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.'

What follows is an example of what the messages looked like ~

'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.

This season I hath much to do, I hath to sow myne barly for myne ale, `tis this that is myne craft and for whiche I am beste atte I fancy. Also I hath to go to Nantwhiche to myne cowthe freend Richard Wishal whois farme be so greet as to turn a four yeer rotacion o fallow. I do so envye him he hath muche ther, but nought that delits me moor than his cheese it cannot be equalled by any other for pleasantness of taste and wholesomness of digestion. I shall als calle atte Nantwyche market `tis not so greet as Cestre market by thy crios but `tis of som desport.

I shal need to go to Castre this season to get myne soes, myne goodly freend Tomas Aldersay, a tailor by craft, makes them sometymes, I als mayketh soes but non of myne swyne are reedy `tis far to costly unlest I need kil one. Do yow knoweth the country of Cestre the Water Gate is a plas that bringeth manye traders `tis a shame the port doth shrynk I can record greet shipps now they grow small by each tyde, but Cestre port is still greeter than that o Leverpoole I am oft to the east wall of Cestre, Cow Lane, `tis not so tyrsome ther than by the crois that it when myne fowl or swyne doth not trip up myne poore body I hear telle that thou art a teache in Hawardine doth yow meeneth Haodine doth thou stil earn thy greetly sum of twenty pounds per yeer I recorde myne unfavourable dean Henry Mann, who is likened to a fissh `If any boy shal appear naturally avers to learning aft fair trial he shalt be expeled else wher lest lik a drone he should devour the bees honey'. 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.

Lukas.'

dontgetit.gif

This message from `Lukas Wainman', describing Chester and Nantwich, appeared on the computer on 16 February 1985 and occupied three screenfuls. Evidently the communicator could cope with the scrolling action of the word processor, which is more than can be said for some gentlemen from our own times.

'It was chosen for analysis by Laura Wright from pages 30-32 of Vertical Plane. On page 33, I wrote: "There were a whole lot of things wrong with the communication ... [it] looked very modern." On page 37: " It showed nothing but an ounce or two of scholarship." On page 268: "Tomas said it was a fake. He didn't remember writing any of it though, again, he said they were his words." Peter Trinder also located in it a word "rotacioun" used in an agricultural context some 200 years before it is first recorded. It is one of only two such significant dating discrepancies he ever found.

By whatever methods, Laura Wright had selected a message which all of the main witnesses felt was unsafe and certainly unrepresentative. She, and the parapsychology expert, would have known this from reading the whole book. It had certainly been made clear to the BBC researcher. This unsafeness would have been amply demonstrated had the elementary safeguard of using more than one sample been taken; a mind-numbingly obvious precaution surely? Peter Trinder did a comparable premodifier study of two large items from Tomas Harden (TH) and two from my (KW) writing. The results were TH 17% and 15% , KW 33% and 30%. While still not a big enough sample this reveals a truly remarkable discrepancy.

It is plainly unscientific to make any comparisons based on one sample; to compound that singular error by selecting an unrepresentative item while having both the Vertical Plane and the main witnesses available and willing to discuss the point. Worse still, the contemporary items used by Laura Wright in her comparison are no longer extant, presumed lost or discarded. She, in effect, presented nothing of credibility or value. Nor, contrary to claims made at the time was Laura Wright completely independent, being an old college friend of the show's resident parapsychologist [do we have to name this person?] . She "did it as a favour."

The Oxford English Dictionary were also consulted, on the basis that they would not be quoted in the programme. The six messages chosen by the BBC were not checked for representativeness, they were not randomised, and their alleged paranormal identity was not disguised. Talk about leading the witness! The first and second messages supplied occupied much of the respondent's comments. Unhappily the first and longest message was again the one above. There is no wonder it was found to be "modern". I said as much in The Vertical Plane. The second message was also not ostensibly from Tomas Harden. Comments from the OED on the remaining four messages were exceptionally brief and two of the six comments were found to relate to copy editing errors from HarperCollins, the original publishers of Vertical Plane!

A third commentator was sought; a friend of Laura Wright. The response was brief and related to the same messages and the same issues. Some of the points raised by these commentators were interesting, though all had been covered by Peter Trinder a decade earlier, and could have formed part of an informed discussion. At the very least there was a lost opportunity here.'

Ok, so it was a long one, but I feel it is worth reading.

Any thoughts on this subject or further information will be gratefully received!

Hammy x x x

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Hams that is one of the most bizarre stories I've ever heard, I have to admit to being a little skeptical about it though, a case of too weird to be true ?

Anyhoo, had a little troll on the net for you and I'm afraid most of what I found was very similar to what you have posted already so nowt to add sorry.

However, I did find out that the book is out of print so it may be a case of endleessly searching second hand book stores to get a copy.

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I remember seeing this case featured on a BBC programme some years ago, and I thought it was nonsense then. And I haven't changed my opinions, I'm afraid.

It's an elaborate hoax by people who are clearly intelligent enough to know better. I suppose everyone needs a hobby. rolleyes.gif

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I remember seeing this case featured on a BBC programme some years ago, and I thought it was nonsense then. And I haven't changed my opinions, I'm afraid.

It's an elaborate hoax by people who are clearly intelligent enough to know better. I suppose everyone needs a hobby. rolleyes.gif

OoooooooOOOOOOOOOOooooooo ~ get you!

*waves handbag*

tongue.gif

Why so sceptical Cuffy?

grin2.gif

Why is this particular case in any way different to the other stories ?

Remember - there were 'classic' poltergeist shenanigins going on before the puter was touched.........smells, shadows, raps and bangs, toilets flushing....similar to what you and many others have suffered.

This isn't the first case to involve a computer. A few months ago another one was behaving very badly in an office. Whilst unplugged from the power, it flashed up personal messages about the people that worked there and seemed to be written by someone who knew all the tittle-tattle that goes around the workplace. It even interfered with the phone lines..........when a trace was put on the line it was the same number as an empty office upstairs. Upon investigation, the upstairs office was still empty and had no phone lines or electricity. The what-ever-it-was began sighning itself off as a person (I wont name him in case I get my butt sued). This particular man was an office 'sex-pest' and worked in the building years before.........then died of a heart-attack.........

dontgetit.gif

Anyhoo Cuffs, ta for the input!

Hammy x x x

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It's just that this case struck me as being too elaborate, Hams. I seem to remember at the time, that I was suspicious of one of the witnesses. They seemed too into it.

The laboriously typed long messages seem a little beyond a poltergeist. I think it's a case of people wanting to make an existing case of the paranormal that bit more exciting.

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All these spirits messing with computers... disgust.gif If one started messing with mine, he'd just have to back off. grin2.gif I love my computer, it's my life. (Hehe, wow, what a life. blink.gif

They said that the messages seemed angry/aggresive/threatening. I don't see that. wacko.gif It just seems like whoever is writing the message is telling them what was going on in their life. But then again, reading that was slightly hard when you don't have coffee. (Yes I still haven't fully woke up and it's almost noon...couldn't sleep last night so I slept half the day...)

Cya!

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I actually lived in the house with Ken Webster a few years prior to the occurences he wrote about in the book. I have to say that I never experienced any of the phenomenon that Ken did, and I would have to say that the cottage never had any 'bad or odd vibes', in fact it was one of the most peaceful places you could imagine.

Ken was very much into his music when we shared the cottage and he had been there for a while with a variety of other mates and musos (one of whom was a very established and well known keyboard player who played with the likes of Black, The Mighty Wah, Simply Red and many others!).

Ken had been a teacher at my High School, but being only a few years older than me (I was 19 at the time) was more of a friend than a teacher. I was also a 'struggling' wannabee musician as well, and myself and a few other friends used to help Ken with his PA hire business come hobby, and got to see and work with some great and now legendary Liverpool bands as he worked mainly throughout the post punk Liverpool clubs.

Ken was a pretty serious type of person - he had a great sense of humor but was a fairly solitary and sensitive kind of guy, certainly not the type of person to leave himself open to public ridicule, especially not by writing a book that would make him out to be a a bit of a 'loon'.

I was also taught English at High School by Peter Trinder as I attended Hawarden High School in North Wales (the school both Ken and Peter taught at). Mr Trinder as we knew him was the 'old school', Oxbridge and bow ties etc. Again not the type up for public ridicule.

tHE BOOK WAS A FASCINATING READ FOR ME AS YOU CAN IMAGINE , AND WAS THE TOPIC OF MUCH HEATED DEBATE BETWEEN FRIENDS OF MINE AND kEN'S OVER THE YEARS (OOps! excuse the typos!) over the authenticity of the story - some believed and some thought it was an excellent hoax, but we all agreed it was a fantastic, and captivating book nonetheless - would have made a great film too...and I make documentaries myself now so who knows, I may have to give Ken a call!...If I can find a contact for him.

I have to say I drift in and out of scepticism about the whole idea but as I say it is well worth the red if you can find - it was published by Vertigo if my memory is correct.

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Wow, nice info, but you do realize this thread is 4 years old?

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Wow, nice info, but you do realize this thread is 4 years old?

I about fell out of my chair when I read the date. it seems like all old threads are being brought back from the dead! (I made a rhyme) :D

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I about fell out of my chair when I read the date. it seems like all old threads are being brought back from the dead! (I made a rhyme) :D

There is a pandemic of necroposting going on lately. Most of the replies really make no sense or they don't add to the topic at all. It is really irritating because it knocks current threads to the second and third pages.

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...

I have to say I drift in and out of scepticism about the whole idea but as I say it is well worth the red if you can find - it was published by Vertigo if my memory is correct.

Hi John, hope you are keeping well, keep meaning to call in and catch up! Just wanted to correct the publisher's reference in case any one here needs to search for it, this was not by Vertigo, it was by Harper Collins! Best bet is eBay for buying the book cheaply, people are selling it for silly money which is really sad. Perhaps we will re-publish it one day when we ever have time and add in more of the witness accounts collected at the time, or some extra messages perhaps. We have been approached by several film makers over the years but they all want to make it some 'romantic romp across time' crud.. like it wasn't sensational enough eh?! Oh well..

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All these spirits messing with computers... <_< If one started messing with mine, he'd just have to back off. :D I love my computer, it's my life. (Hehe, wow, what a life. :blink:

They said that the messages seemed angry/aggresive/threatening. I don't see that. :wacko: It just seems like whoever is writing the message is telling them what was going on in their life. But then again, reading that was slightly hard when you don't have coffee. (Yes I still haven't fully woke up and it's almost noon...couldn't sleep last night so I slept half the day...)

Cya!

off subject, but I ♥love♥ that avatar with the rotten pups. :wub:

On subject! Never heard about this case, but it comes across as somewhat little too elaborate for me to be considered true..

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Wow thats among one of the most interesting things ive read so far on here..... ^_^

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Hi All, this is my first post on here, so hope you don't mind me bringing up an old topic!

I read this book recently, and was fascinated by the story. I remember a tv prog way back about it, it always struck me as so odd it must be true.

The idea of communicating over centuries and in effect changing history, is topic that needs to be studied more.

Is it possible? I think, yes it is.

I recall a sci fi story related to this, concerning a trip back in time by a group of dinosaur hunters - by Ray Brabury I think - one of them stepped on a butterfly by mistake and thereby changed his future totally.

If this story is true them our present and indeed future have been changed by it.

The book suggests a girl, Katherine, was burnt as a witch because of her role as a servant to the Harden character. Not a pleasant thought at all, but logical if two very different time periods interacted in some way. The nature of ghosts does make much more sense if they are viewed as sightings of people alive in their own time rather than the unhappy dead walking the earth, although there may be some of those!

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Hi All, this is my first post on here, so hope you don't mind me bringing up an old topic!

I read this book recently, and was fascinated by the story. I remember a tv prog way back about it, it always struck me as so odd it must be true.

The idea of communicating over centuries and in effect changing history, is topic that needs to be studied more.

Is it possible? I think, yes it is.

I recall a sci fi story related to this, concerning a trip back in time by a group of dinosaur hunters - by Ray Brabury I think - one of them stepped on a butterfly by mistake and thereby changed his future totally.

If this story is true them our present and indeed future have been changed by it.

The book suggests a girl, Katherine, was burnt as a witch because of her role as a servant to the Harden character. Not a pleasant thought at all, but logical if two very different time periods interacted in some way. The nature of ghosts does make much more sense if they are viewed as sightings of people alive in their own time rather than the unhappy dead walking the earth, although there may be some of those!

How is it possible?

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Hi there, I just wanted to add to this thread even though it is a bit dusty!

I'm staying in Hawarden where I went to school and it so happens that Peter Trinder is also here and told me about this strange experience as we chatted one evening. Not only am I an English graduate (with Old and Middle English studies included) but my mum and Grandma also attended Hawarden Grammar School where Mr. Trinder taught my mum briefly, so I was enthralled to talk with him!

He is very much Oxbridge old school and very skeptical of all this technology, but it seemed to me that his attitude to this bizarre phenomenon was one of resigned perpelexity. He told me he felt a strange kind of closeness to Tomas through his analysis of the old words and grammar use. He always questioned, and still does, why this communication should be happening, what anyone would have to gain by tricking him in such an elaborate way, why anyone would go to such lengths. He investigated much of the factual evidence behind what Tomas referred to and discovered so much truth in his words that would be too obscure to research, too random to be brought together by anything other than genuine life events.

Mr. Trinder himself stated that nothing really ever came of what happened, no answers were ever found, and he decided there was no use in continuing to try to find conclusive answers. I must say that, from talking at length with Mr. Trinder over the evening, I genuinely believe that if these events really were hoaxed, he was not party to the hoaxer's plan. He explained that he wondered why anyone would go to lengths like this to make him look a fool, but anyway he did not feel a fool, he was interested in the case and learnt a lot during the process of researching Tomas's words. He said he never felt scared or threatened by what was happening, but it was interesting and almost comforting.

I have not yet read 'A Vertical Plane' but it appears to be currently available on Amazon so I'm looking forward to getting it. I usually tend to be quite skeptical of this sort of thing but love the idea of being able to communicate with those who have passed away, or better still, communicate with another time in history! If this was a hoax, somehow it was enriching for Mr. Trinder and fascinating for the rest of us! If it was real, well, we may never understand it.

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Princess_Unfamiliar has stated a very real truth: Also, as Peter Trinder has said, and this I can guarantee from over 40 years of experience in the `paranormal` field, no event in this field has ever come to a phenomenal ending, one that was anticipated and rejoiced about.

Also, being involved in some way with the first meeting ever between Ken Webster and the Harsch-Fischbachs from Luxembourg and learning of their computer messages bond, I am totally convinced of the reality of Vertical Plane.

Some things are meant to stay unexplained

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Necropost.

And I'm not sure what it means.

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I wasn`t sure what `necropost` meant, but now I know.

So my obvious question is why are old posts left open, inviting new thoughts on the subject?

I would hazard a guess, coldethyl, that you have not read VERTICAL PLANE otherwise you would understand what I wrote.

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I wasn`t sure what `necropost` meant, but now I know.

So my obvious question is why are old posts left open, inviting new thoughts on the subject?

I would hazard a guess, coldethyl, that you have not read VERTICAL PLANE otherwise you would understand what I wrote.

Sometimes they are closed.

They are left opened for people to read and yes, to add relevant information to.

If you have new information, you start a new thread. If you necropost, the OP may no longer be a member or may not have posted in years. Why raise a dead thread then? Just start a new one. :tu:

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OK, thanks, that`s clear enough.

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OK, thanks, that`s clear enough.

You're welcome. No offense intended.

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