Did A Ghost Speak Through A Machine Or Were The Dodleston Messages Fake?

Tony Walker
14 min readNov 8, 2022
Old computer with computer text
BBC Computer Literacy Project

Did computers in the 1980s actually talk to farmers from the 16th century? The Dodleston Messages are a semi-famous 20th-century mystery in which a schoolteacher in 1984 in the peaceful English village of Dodleston, Cheshire, allegedly received messages from a man who lived in a house on the same site in 1546.

These supposed paranormal events were documented by teacher Ken Webster in his 1989 book, “The Vertical Plane.” The story has subsequently been aired on TV, and YouTube and chewed over in many blogs.

It is now time to reveal the truth about the Dodleston Messages!

If somehow these really were messages from across time, what do they tell us about the universe, about time, and about life after death?

If they were fake — nothing much. But what if the Dodleston Messages were genuine?

We shall consider the facts and come to our own conclusion.

Was The Dodleston Incident a Poltergeist?

In the autumn of 1984, in the village of Dodleston in Cheshire, in the northwest of England, Ken Webster was renovating a dilapidated cottage. He had recently moved in. Webster was an economics teacher at a local school, and he lived with his girlfriend, Debbie, 19, and another friend, Nicola Bagguley, their long-term guest.

‘Ken Webster’ appears to be a pseudonym, by the way.

Not long after they moved in, weird stuff began to happen. A set of six-toed footsteps appeared to walk up the walls — a cat, maybe? But six toes?

Ken, Debbie, and their guest, Nicola, all agreed that it was a joke. They suspected each other of pulling the prank.

Ken painted over the footprints, but the following day, the prints came back.

Over days and weeks, the occupants of the Cheshire cottage experienced chalk marks appearing, sudden cold spots, a breeze strong enough to lift a newspaper into the air, a feeling of someone being there, and later on, noises like footsteps

They found tins of cat food neatly piled in a pyramid and more weird track marks across the floor.