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The Vertical Plane


Loose Leaf Tea

Skilled Investigator
Have any of you Paracasters ever read an intriguing poltergeist/time-slip themed book, The Vertical Plane by Ken Webster ?
I had a copy back in the early '90s, lent it out and never got it back. Grr!

From what I can remember, Mr Webster did some alterations to his very old cottage in Cheshire, England and unleashed poltergeist activity. Even stranger, messages started to appear on his home computer screen (1984 model); messages written in Olde English and claiming to be from a gentleman who had lived some 400 years earlier on the site of the cottage. Other messages appeared, as if through a weird inter-dimensional portal; these messages claiming to be from the future.
It was an incredible read, enjoyable regardless of its veracity, but nothing seemed to have come of it. No follow ups, no update from Mr Webster who didn't seem to profit financially from the strange events.

So, Mr Webster are you out there? Are the new owners of the cottage having problems? Anyone any insight into this?
 

Loose Leaf Tea

Skilled Investigator
Thanks, Poi. That article certainly brings a lot of the weirdness back! I think I'll pick up another copy of the book, price permitting.

Have you read it?
 

Poi

Skilled Investigator
No, but that link gave me a small fit of the creeps.

Looks like there was only distribution within the UK so shipping costs might be prohibitive as well as the price of the book. I'd certainly buy it if it were available in the U.S.

I also tried to find information on Webster since the time of his writing the book, but found nothing.
 

Raevenskye

Seer of All Things Spooky
"we remind you that you have been honored with this communication"...wow...the 2109 were a little haughty weren't they?
Interesting site, tho! I find the whole thing really fascinating. Has anyone here gotten messages from their computer? (besides the ones that say you've won a million dollars)
 

Loose Leaf Tea

Skilled Investigator
No phantom messages have ever appeared on my computer screen but my laptop knows it's dealing with an idiot and it really is only a matter of time before it refuses to open the pod-bay door.

I'll keep an eye open for some cheap, secondhand copies of The Vertical Plane here in the UK. Cheapest so far: Amazon, £14...about $28(?)
I'll let you know if I manage to find any cheaper and I'd be more than happy to post copies over to the States if that helps keep postage costs down (Do bookstores add more to their P+P?)

...Now to track down the copy I lent - and never got back from - my brother!
 

Poi

Skilled Investigator
That's really sweet of you. Thank you, but I can afford to buy the book and get one sent. I'm just feeling cheap these days! :D

But cockles of my heart are warmed by your generous self.
 

David Biedny

Paranormal Adept
Loose Leaf,

Based on your post, I've ordered a copy via eBay, found one in Australia for $6 - and $13 shipping!:p

Thanks for the heads up, I'll let you know what I think after I've read it.

dB
 

Loose Leaf Tea

Skilled Investigator
That's great, David. Of all people, your insight into the computer side of things regarding this affair will be most welcome.
(Weirdly this feels like payback after you recommended the Arigo book on air! I bought a copy and have been rushing about ever since telling people about that remarkable case. Funny how things work out!)
 

Brian Now

Paranormal Pimp
I'd be interested in this too. Amazon (US) doesn't carry it but they have it available through other sellers...but none less than $50 at the moment.

Yes, David, let us know what you think. I suppose it will be a while before it gets here from Australia though.
 

valiens

Skilled Investigator
Is your life really lived when you are awake or (when you are) asleep? You only know what is true when you can consciously be in both (states)

True dat, yo.
 

Lisby

Paranormal Novice
I own a copy of the book. My original was lent out and never returned, so I spent $40 to get a new one.:mad:

I was heavily involved in EVP/ITC research (still am) when the book was released. I'm also a historian with a lifelong enthusiasm for this particular era--Henry VIII's reign. I was fascinated with the language presented in the book, as well as the idea of communication through time, which is another interest of mine after an unusual experience in Scotland I had in the 1980s.

Back in the late 1980s, the AA-EVP, the lead by Sarah Estep, was planning it's first major conference in Baltimore and Webster was slated to be one of the guests. I knew that Sarah spoke to him quite a bit and she felt he was an upfront guy. I trust Sarah's decisions about character. She was spot on about most things. Anyway, on the verge of the conference, Sarah's husband died and she canceled it, so I never got to meet Webster.

My understanding was that he really did not like the publicity that followed the book, it damaged his career, and nothing more ever happened at the house. I think he moved away not long after the book was published. I've tried to track him via the Internet to see if he'd consent to an interview, but despite a few leads, I've not been able to contact him.

He certainly made no money off the book; it has never been reprinted; and he appears to have gone on to work in other public service-type organizations. He was just an average guy. I think he was telling the truth as he knew it and has not had further experiences since that time.

Lisby
 

Loose Leaf Tea

Skilled Investigator
Thanks for the info, Lisby. A great update. Strange how copies of this book get lent out never to be returned (I feel your pain!)
Fascinating case, however, and, as you say, very difficult to get any sort of follow-up information about.
Incidentally, my brother lived near the village where the strange events occured (Dodleston) and the pub scuttlebutt at the time was divided between the case being genuine and an Amityville-style hoax. Hardly a scientific sample given that many of the "hoax" advocates hadn't bothered to read the book!
Strange that no further disturbances occured at the cottage, although if you read, "This House is Haunted" regarding the Enfield poltergiest, the entity needed the presence of the young girls to function. This "individual-fixation" seems common in poltergiest cases.

As a historian, did you find the "Olde English" vernacular of the phantom messages convincing?
 

Lisby

Paranormal Novice
Yes, I found them very convincing. I am not an qualified expert in Tudor dialect, but I know enough to know it had the ring of reality. There was nothing that said "fake."

I don't regard the case as a poltergeist case, but as one of the kind of alternate reality high strangeness of other paranormal events like mothman. Those snotty little entities that later appeared--"our numerical friends," I think someone joking called them in the book--have communicated with other EVP-ITC researchers since the book. At least they say it's them. Who knows?

I don't know if anything ever happened in the cottage again. I'm just pretty sure that Sarah said he left the village. I assume that he has not had any similar experiences in any new house. Or at least any that he cares to write about, anyway. The cottage is still there. Someone ought to go around and knock and see what the current owner has to say.

Lisby
 

Loose Leaf Tea

Skilled Investigator
I suppose I mentioned poltergiest as I seem to remember photographs in the Vertical Plane of furniture and food being rearranged when the owners were absent (its been a while since I've read the book, so perhaps I was wrong to emphasise this aspect.)
I'll ask my brother if he knows which cottage it is and whether he'll go and knock on the door!


Slightly off topic but since you mentioned EVP research, have you used or do you know of the reliability of a device called an Ovilus?

www.digitaldowsing.com/Ovilus1.htm

Mr Chappell, the inventor, won't post any to the UK so I was curious to know what EVP researchers thought of them.
http://www.digitaldowsing.com/Ovilus1.htm
Thanks.
 

Lisby

Paranormal Novice
I've heard of this device, but I haven't worked with it.

I can tell you that I own a minibox, which works wonderfully, as well as a real Frank's box, which does as well.
 
A

Another Loser

Guest
Hi Lisby (and all)
I'm the partner of Ken Webster at the time of the Dodleston phenomena all those years ago.Having stumbled across your thread I felt I could shed some light on some of the comments raised with regard Meadow Cottage.

Ken nor myself have had any experiences before or since the the Dodleston phenomena which would be regarded as paranormal. The exception to this is the cottage always had (and probably still has ?) unexplained pools of water forming on the floor and rather big electric bills but that's it. The time when the phenomena was not occurring, the cottage was a warm and friendly place to live and returned to this state after Tomas and "2109" left.

Both Ken and I are now living fairly normal lives and feel very privileged to have had such an experience. To this day we really are no closer to any answers on the whole thing and believe me we have continued to search!

Hope this helps!
Debbie
 

Loose Leaf Tea

Skilled Investigator
Hey, dibsz!

Thanks so much for getting in touch. Great to hear from a first-hand witness.
This case has "haunted" me ever since I read Ken's book - a fascinating account of a weird event. Do you mind if I ask you some questions?

First of all, is there going to be a reprint of the book?! It's a bugger to get hold of having lost my original copy!

Also, have either you or Ken ever been back to the cottage?

Was Ken happy with the Strange but True? TV show coverage (the only media coverage I'm aware of). Did it cover the events in sufficient detail?

Does Ken regret going public with the story?

I'd doubtless have lots more questions for you if I re-read the book but as I say, it's been a while since my own copy was loaned out and never came back. (Hmm, Christmas is approaching...)

I think the Paracast's David B. ordered a copy of The Vertical Plane.
I'm sure he'll have some questions for you!

Thanks again.
 
A

Another Loser

Guest
We have often been asked about a reprint, especially as people out there are selling the book for silly money which irks Ken and I somewhat. We recently considered doing a print-on-demand, perhaps throw in some more pictures and messages or perhaps a website but we are both so busy!

Neither of us have been back inside the cottage since we left in 1991 although we visit friends regularly in Dodleston. The house was recently broken into and turned upside down by vandals and apparently we have been told the TV keeps switching itself on in the middle of the early morning but I think, reading between the lines, there are non-paranormal explanations for this. That's all we know.

In our naivety, both Ken and I thought at the time that people would.. well.. just believe us, why on earth would anyone want to make something like that up afterall! We did hope we could get help in understanding what had happened to us but all we ended up getting was letters from nutters, film makers who wanted to turn it into some love story across time, debunkers, and (sorry if I offend) ravin' spiritualists - nothing constructive. So, yes, going public was pretty much a pointless exercise I'm afraid. There is always the hope we (or whoever) find Tomas's book if it exists but hey...

We had various TV shows and media covering the experience, wasn't aware of (or remember) the Strange But True show though?? One of the problems with the media is that (as if it wasn't interesting enough!) they liked to sensationalise the events or turn the whole thing into contacts with spirits or people from the future - we just don't know. People also forget, and the way the book had to be condensed is no exception, most of the 15-18 months of the phenomena nothing that eventful happend. When it did well, yes, it was interesting to say the least!
 

David Biedny

Paranormal Adept
dibsz,

We're thrlled you've found your way to our forums.

I'm about halfway through reading the book (bought a copy from Australia), and we'd love to have you & Ken come on our show and talk about your experiences. PLEASE say yes!

dB
 

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