Dark Dorset Online Scrapbook is an archive of current and past events relating to local history, folklore and mysteries that can be discovered in the English county of Dorset.

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Friday, 15 December 2006

Rare crab pays a visit

A rare crab has been discovered off the Dorset coast.

The Columbus crab - first discovered by Christopher Columbus - has not been recorded in Britain for 100 years.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 15th December 2006

Morris men in action

Wessex morris men will be in action in Dorset before and after Christmas and early in the new year.Tomorrow they will be dancing in Bucky Doo Square in Bridport town centre from 10.30am.

They will take to the streets of Cerne Abbas on Monday, December 18.After dancing in the square at 8pm, they will perform a traditional mumming play in the square. Afterwards they will entertain in the Royal Oak.The morris men will return to Cerne Abbas on Boxing Day at 12.30pm to dance. And they will put on their first dancing display of 2007 at the faggot burning on January 17 to mark the old Twelfth Night - at the Shave Cross Inn in the Marshwood Vale.

Source: Dorset Echo - Friday 15th December 2006

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Heroes in line for honour

Honour should be paid to Dorchester's Crimean War hero by displaying a scroll in the town's council chamber, claims former soldier Leslie Phillips.

The former mayor of Dorchester - and ex-Household Cavalry soldier - urged Dorchester Town Council

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 2nd Dec 2006

Monday, 13 November 2006

Young and old gather in remembrance

Old soldiers and little children were among the large gathering at Dorchester's war memorial to honour those who gave their lives in world conflicts.

The occasion captured the dignity and solemnity of Remembrance Sunday as representatives of dozens of organisations paraded standards and laid wreaths.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 13th Nov 2006

Saturday, 28 October 2006

The phantoms of the Opera House

It's phantoms of the Opera House!

A revamp at the former night club in Boscombe is stirring up some spooks, say staff.

The £1.2 million project to transform the English Heritage-listed building has now begun but it has led to some strange sightings and eerie noises.

Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Saturday 28th Oct 2006

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Fitting tribute to town's Crimea hero

Old soldier Thomas Warr was finally commemorated more than 150 years after he rode in the Charge Of The Light Brigade.

People lined the streets of his home town, Dorchester, when his coffin was laid to rest in a pauper's grave in Fordington early last century.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 26th Oct 2006

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Ghostly presence is signalled at museum

Strange goings-on at a Blandford museum have left staff absolutely convinced that the building is haunted by a friendly ghost.

Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Wednesday 25th October 2006

Friday, 6 October 2006

Is this mystery mural linked to hauntings?

Builders renovating a Weymouth home have discovered a large painting believed to date back to the 19th century.

And home owner Lorraine Filmer, 42, reckons the mysterious mural could be linked to a haunting' at her Abbotsbury Road home.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 6th October 2006

Monday, 2 October 2006

Witches concoct a gentle brew at first market

Belly dancing and a talk on the real' Robin Hood livened up a witches market in Dorchester.

Stalls selling ceremonial gowns, tarot cards and crystals were set up at the Corn Exchange.

Part of the day's events included a talk from Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University about an outlaw who lived in Yorkshire in 1220 and made his name by helping a knight who was being taken advantage of by local clergymen.

Source: Dorset Echo 2nd Oct 2006

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Busy spell ahead for county's witches

Pagans are raising their profile in Dorset with events including rituals at Maum-bury Rings and the first-ever Witches' Ball in the county town's Corn Exchange.

Source: Dorset Echo 20th Sep 2006

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Tribute to forgotten hero

Old soldier Thomas Warr is to be commemorated - more than 150 years after he rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 13th Sep 2006

Friday, 8 September 2006

Spirits haunt the Angel Inn

Spirits are flowing again at Lyme's Angel Inn - and not just the liquid kind.

The new landlords reckon they have already encountered the pub's oldest regular - it's resident ghost.

Source: Dorset Echo Friday 8th Sep 2006

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Book up now for a storybook holiday: Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle

Another Childrens Book, which is set in Dorset, which also covers the folklore and history of the county can be found in Peter S. Beagle's Tamsin

Book Review: Tamsin by Peter S. Beagle
Reviewed by Eleanor M. Farrell

Thirteen is a difficult age for anyone, but made even more for Jenny Gluckstein, transplanted from New York City to a farm in Dorset, England, via her mother's remarriage to an English biologist. In addition to a new stepfather and two stepbrothers, Jenny finds that in her new life she has also acquired some denizens of the local folklore population and a 17th century ghost named Tamsin. Although Dorset is rich in ghosts, Jenny finds that Tamsin has appeared only to young girls, and has spoken to none of them except herself. In the brief respites from working with her family to resurrect the derelict farm, Jenny digs into the background of the original owners, the Willoughby family, and their connections to the turbulent history and rich lore of Dorset county. Tamsin's family, like all local residents at the time, was drawn into the conflict of the Monmouth rebellion and the bloody retribution following its failure, and Jenny soon determines that some remnants of this history holds Tamsin's ghost to the Willoughby manor. Eventually she must face both the Wild Hunt and another ghost -- that of the vindictive Judge Jeffreys, whose Bloody Assizes wreaked vengeance on the innocent as well as Monmouth's rebels -- to help free Tamsin from her past.

Beagle weaves Jenny's discoveries of Tamsin's story into a well-drawn portrait of a teenaged girl's struggles to adapt to a new environment. Jenny's voice -- the story is told, as a first-person narrative, by Jenny several years after the events it relates -- is fresh and believable, and Jenny's descriptions of getting to know her stepbrothers, make friends at school, adapt to the changes in her mother's life, and appreciate her new home are deftly woven into the intricacies of the ghostly mystery that becomes the center of the girl's explorations. Although the book is not labelled as a "young adult" novel, its themes and characters make it ideal for teenaged readers.

Tamsin marks a welcome return by Beagle to the ghost story genre he first used in 1960 for A Fine and Private Place. The sprawling downs of Thomas Hardy country are quite a change from a quiet cemetery in New York, but the author shows a fine appreciation for the myriads of Dorset's non-human populace: the casually destructive boggart living in the manor house, a shape-changing Pooka whose eyes are always recognizable, the almost-forgotten but still powerful Lady of the Elder Tree. Most chilling of all is the Wild Hunt, whose cries can be heard at night but are commonly ascribed to geese by locals who prefer not to recognize the presence of this dangerous host. During a San Francisco reading as part of the book's publicity tour, Beagle admitted that he'd never been to Dorset when he found that his story insisted on being set there. He, and the reader, need not fear: Beagle's mastery of fantasy brings Southwestern England to life as vibrantly as the author's depictions of New York City neighborhoods or of Mommy Fortuna's Dark Carnival.

Source: Reprinted from the December 1999 issue of Mythprint (Volume 36:12, Whole No. 213).

Monday, 4 September 2006

Book up now for a storybook holiday

A campaign was launched today to attract visitors to Dorset to see the settings of famous books.

The campaign organised by Visit Britain aims to capture the imagination of the UK's children and inspire them and their parents to visit the locations that appear in their favourite books.

Source: Dorset Echo Monday 4th September 2006

Thursday, 31 August 2006


A Prominent historian has spoken about what he believes was a close encounter with a rare and bizarre natural phenomenon.
On Saturday 19 August at 5.15pm, Rodney Legg of Mapperton was walking up a flight of steps from the bottom of his garden with his two cats after a sudden downpour.
Mr Legg was suddenly confronted by a bright flash and a simultaneous crack of thunder. He believes he witnessed a rare incident of ball lightning.

"Ten feet in front of us was a dense oval of blue flame which burst from something not much bigger than a rugby ball," he said.

"It rolled over the site of a bonfire and disappeared through the fence into the garden of Fairview."

Next door in Fairview, Julie Paniccia was sorting through a box of bric-a-brac and looking out across her garden into the valley.

She said: "I was frightened out of my wits. I have never seen anything like it in my life.

"A big red and orange flame, pointed at the front end, flashed across the window and went into the hedge behind the chicken run."

On the other side of the hedge at East Cottage, Lorraine and Nick Allison and their family were indoors watching television.

The electricity cut out and a car alarm was set off but there was no sign of any damage inside or out.

Mr Legg, who has written dozens of books about Dorset and Somerset history said: "There was no other thunder or lightning either before or after the phenomena.

"Ball lightning is such a rarity that it was not properly described until a few years ago.

"It must come in various sizes as it has been described as resembling golf or tennis balls when it has appeared in mid-flight and rolled down the aisle of airliners during electrical storms.

"The energy from my fireball appeared to come up from the ground rather than down from the sky."

Ball lightning is photographed very rarely and remains something of a mystery.

The discharges reportedly appear during thunderstorms, sometimes issuing from a lightning flash, but large numbers of encounters reportedly occur during good weather with no storms within hundreds of miles.

Ball lightning, according to witnesses, tends to float in the air and take on a ball-like appearance.
Western Gazette - 31 August 2006

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Spirit in the sky

THERE is a ghostly shiver in the timbers outside a Poole pub, which is spooking residents and locals alike.

Visitors to the King Charles pub in Thames Street, have been confronted by the effigy of Emily, a landlady of old - a replica of whom is suspended from a beam outside.

Source; Bournemouth daily Echo 15th Aug 2006

Spirit in the sky

There is a ghostly shiver in the timbers outside a Poole pub, which is spooking residents and locals alike.

Visitors to the King Charles pub in Thames Street, have been confronted by the effigy of Emily, a landlady of old - a replica of whom is suspended from a beam outside.

But is it ghoulish fun or a display of bad taste?

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 15th August 2006

Monday, 10 July 2006

Green giant gets a crop to protect his assets

Teams of conservationists from English Nature were asked by the National Trust, which looks after the historic hillside monument in Cerne Abbas, to cut the grass to help preserve the giant.

Source: Dorset Echo Monday 10th July 2006

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

Scary Ooser 'goes home'

THE fearsome-looking Dorset Ooser returned to its home in a village near Dorchester.

This Ooser, the Dorset representation of a horned god, was made by morris man John Byfleet and is a replica of one from Melbury Osmond.

Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 5th July 2006

Friday, 23 June 2006

Tiger-like cat spotted twice within days

A mysterious big cat has again been sighted on the prowl in West Dorset.

Beaminster couple Ken and Vera Caldwell spotted a tiger-like beast twice in just a few days.

They first saw the animal through their kitchen window on a clear sunny morning last week at around 6am.

Mr Caldwell, of Horn Hill House, said: "It was slowly walking along the edge of the lawn about 30 metres distant. At first we thought it was a large fox but we soon realised that the colour, face, and the tail were wrong.

Source: Dorset Echo Friday 23rd Jun 2006

Monday, 12 June 2006

Thousands flock to festival

Thousands of revellers poured into Wimborne over the weekend to lap up the atmosphere in the town's hugely popular annual folk festival.

The three-day spectacular attracted 30,000 visitors with a feast of music, dance and charity stalls. And a high police presence kept trouble to a minimum, with just 17 arrests for minor disorder.

Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Monday 12th Jun 2006

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

`Panther-like' animal sighted next to A31

A Poole student says he saw a mysterious "panther-like" creature when he drove past in a coach in the latest big cat sighting in the area.

James Barnes, of Woolslope Road, in West Moors, was returning from a trip to an art gallery in London on the A31 when he spotted the creature wandering across a field next to the dual carriageway at around 7.45pm on Friday.

Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 2nd May 2006

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

County is hotspot for big cat spotting

Dorset's status as a hotspot' for big cat sightings was confirmed last night.

The launch of a new book, Mystery Big Cats, has brought the controversial topic into the limelight again.

Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 12th April 2006

Monday, 27 February 2006

Hash browns and haunting

The ghost of a woman in black is haunting a Blandford café, it has been claimed.

Spirit investigators stopped off at the Gorge Café for a cuppa and say they spotted the ghost of a woman in a Victorian-style black dress and black hat at the back of the shop.

Source: Dorset Echo 27th Feb 2006
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