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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Monday, 31 March 2008

Sunset ritual spreads pagan message of unity

A sunset ritual by pagan groups was held at Maumbury Rings in Dorchester to unite them in worship.

Some 30 pagans, mostly from Dorset's Dolmen Grove order, took part in an open ritual where they prayed to the spirits of Maumbury for peace and knowledge.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 31st March 2008

Join historic project where music really goes with a bang

Staff at Weymouth's historic Nothe Fort are looking for people who would like to make a big bang or blow their own trumpet.

Eight years ago the Echo highlighted a fort appeal for volunteers so the attraction could provide the public with lively and colourful displays involving live firing of a cannon and period muskets.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 31st March 2008

Saturday, 29 March 2008

New group aims to unite pagans

A new group has been set up to unite pagans in Dorset.

Ian Temple, owner of Sgt Bun Bakery in Weymouth, has launched The Dorset Grove to bring together anyone with alternative religious beliefs.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 29th March 2008

Friday, 28 March 2008

Beating the Bounds revival at Cerne Abbas

Even though its origins are still unknown, the custom of beating the bounds has been in existence for over 2,000 years. Cerne Abbas will revive this tradition for the first time this year. Traditionally performed on Rogation Sunday, it falls on April 27 this year. Cerne Abbas and Nether Cerne boundaries will be walked as they appear on the Ordnance Survey Map. The walk will start at 9.30am at St. Mary's Church and everyone is welcome. It will total 14 miles but smaller chunks can be walked for everyone who wishes not to go the full distance. Lunch will be organised half way in Nether Cerne and everyone is invited to meet at the New Inn afterwards for a barbecue. This walk not only intends to awaken an old tradition but also strives to unite land and community.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 25th February 2008

Family joins battle to save old home in Upwey

A campaign to save one of Weymouth's oldest family homes from demolition is being backed by relatives of those who lived in it more than a century ago.

Retired BP technician Norman Petty is battling to preserve Rackmead, a detached period house in Watery Lane, Upwey, which dates back to the 1840s.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 28th March 2008

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Exhibition to celebrate life of artist Fra. H. Newbery

West Dorset painter Fra H Newbery's life and work is to be celebrated at an exhibition in Purbeck.

It is part of a month of exhibitions taking place around Dorset in April.

Newbery grew up in Bridport and retired to Corfe Castle in 1919, after a long and illustrious career.

He is perhaps best known for his pivotal role in promoting the work of his protégé, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council, Bridport Town Council and Purbeck Heritage.

To find out more visit www.franewbery.co.uk or visit tourist information centres in Wareham and Swanage.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 27th March 2008

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Ghostly goings-on at Bovington's Tank Museum

A charity is hoping to raise money by offering enthusiastic ghost hunters the opportunity to spend the night at Bovington's haunted tank museum.

The Anthony Nolan Trust, which researches bone marrow transplants as well as managing and recruiting donors to help fight leukaemia, will he offering a guided tour of the museum on Saturday, June 14, for Fright Night.

The ghost hunters will also work with a team of paranormal investigators and undertake psychic experiments

Sharon Wells, regional fund raising manager of the trust said "The challenge is to spend the night in the foreboding atmosphere of the magnificent museum."

Participants are urged to raise a minimum of £100 sponsorship to help fund the trust's work. Cost is £25 per person or £80 for four.

Contact Sharon On 01202 600629 or email sharon.wells@anthonynolan.org.uk

Source: www.anthonynolan.org.uk

Source: Dorset Echo 26th March 2008

Sect and Sensuality

Weird religious cults today are treated with suspicion but are not modern phenomena.

In the 19th century the activities of one fanatical sect caused scandal in Dorset, Somerset and beyond.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo 26th March 2008

Weymouth's 17th Century town hall on the market?

Weymouth's Old Town Hall could be sold because the council has no current budget to tackle repairs.

The High West Street structure's roof and walls are suffering water problems and work to prevent damage is 'becoming increasingly urgent'.

Much of the historic listed building dates back to the 17th century and some parts might be earlier - but councillors will be told that repairs could cost £140,000.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 26th March 2008

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Old maps are helping with ancient tree hunt

Historical maps are helping to find and protect ancient trees in Dorset.

The evocative maps, showing details from towns, villages and countryside from 1843-1893, have been added to the Ancient Tree Hunt website run by the Woodland Trust.

One of Dorset's most remarkable old trees is the Waterman's oak, a mile south west of Wimborne, with a girth of 5.5 metres.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 25th March 2008

READ MORE - Source: Woodland Trust Ancient Tree Hunt

Monday, 24 March 2008

It’s a mystery at the market

Renowned mysteries expert Peter Knight was among the guest speakers at the Pickled Witch Market held at Dorchester's Corn Exchange.

The author, whose subjects include crop circles, gave a talk during the day-long event that also included a talk on mysterious Dorchester by Alistair Chisholm and musical performances by the duo Rigantona and by musician Jerry Bird.

Visitors also spent time browsing on stalls offering goods including wands and crystals.

Organiser Chris Walsh said: "It's a good day. People enjoy it."

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 24th March 2008

Dorset Monster Hunter still hunts for Nessie 17 years on

Steve Feltham gave up his girlfriend, his house and his job in Dorset to search for the Loch Ness monster. Seventeen years on, does he have any regrets?

READ MORE - Source: Guardian Monday March 24th, 2008

Friday, 21 March 2008

Don’t bring this old house down

A Campaign has been launched to try and save one of the oldest family homes in Watery Lane, Weymouth, from demolition.

Rackmead is a detached period house which is believed to date back to at least the 1840s.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 21st March 2008

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Dealing with England's wild boar

Hundreds of years ago, wild boar hunting was a favourite sport of kings.

In fact, it was so popular and boar meat considered so tasty that the species was extinct in the wild in England for 350 years.

But wild boar have now returned to the English countryside - and the population has been so successful that the government has launched an action plan to deal with the growing numbers.

The population in Gloucestershire's Forest of Dean alone is thought to be around 100, but there are further groups on the Kent/Sussex border, in west Dorset and on Dartmoor.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Films reveal fort's history

Two films are being made about Weymouth's Nothe Fort ready for the attraction's summer opening on May 1.

The films, which have been made possible using a Heritage Lottery grant, show why the fort was built and how it contributed to the defence of Portland and Weymouth harbours together with how the magazines were used to store and move ammunition to the guns during the Victorian era.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 19th March 2008

Bond girl in lead role as Hardy’s Tess

New Bond girl Gemma Arterton will star in Tess of the D'Urbervilles as the BBC attempts to recreate the work of Dorset literary great Thomas Hardy.

Miss Arterton, who is currently filming the latest 007 offering Quantum of Solace, will play the tragic heroine Tess in a production due to hit the small screen this autumn.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 19th March 2008

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Lawrence images up for auction

Images of war hero Lawrence of Arabia are to be auctioned after they were discovered by chance.

A photography enthusiast found glass plate slides carrying the iconic images in a Victorian stereo viewer he bought at auction in Bournemouth seven years ago for £32.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, Tuesday 18th March 2008

Paddle Steamer 'Cosens' archives are safe at last

The complete company records of Cosens & Co Ltd, the famous Weymouth paddle steamer operators and marine engineers, are now safely housed in the County Archives at the Dorset History Centre.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 18th March 2008

Monday, 17 March 2008

Museum open for businesss

Bridport Museum is open for its 2008 season and friends got a sneak preview of what is on display this year.

About 70 came, including friends' chairman Sandra Brown, to see for themselves the new Victorian Gallery, Fra Newbery paintings and other new exhibitions.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 17th March 2008

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Bond girl Arterton gets BBC drama

Rising star Gemma Arterton is to play the lead role in a BBC production of Tess Of The D'Urbervilles.

The 22-year-old landed the role just months after being signed up to play agent Fields in the next James Bond film, Quantum Of Solace.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News, Entertainment Sunday, 16 March 2008

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Mysterious pits shed light on forgotten witches of the West

Evidence of pagan rituals involving swans and other birds in the Cornish countryside in the 17th century has been uncovered by archaeologists.

READ MORE - Source: The Times 15th march 2008

New Bond girl Gemma Arterton to star as Hardy's Tess in BBC drama

A few months ago, Gemma Arterton was an unknown actress making ends meet working in a beauty shop in London's Covent Garden.

Now the 22-year-old is not only the newest Bond girl but has won the role of Tess of the d'Urbervilles in a major BBC TV series.

READ MORE - Source: Daily Mail 15th March 2008

Has secret witchcraft site been uncovered?

Human hair and nails, swan pelts and a piece of an iron cauldron have been found in a hidden location in the Cornish countryside.A leading archaeologist says the findings, which date back nearly 400 years, are evidence of witchcraft and a rich pagan network in the area.

Jacqui Wood, who has made numerous appearances on television's Time Team, has discovered a spring and numerous pits dug out of wetland near Truro.

READ MORE - Source: Western Morning News 15th March 2008

READ MORE - Source: Saveock Water Archaeology - Secret Bird worshiping Cult at Saveock

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Big Cats in Britain 2008 lectures can now be viewed on CFZtv

The Centre for Fortean Zoology have posted various videos of the speakers who lectured at last weekend's Big Cats in Britain 2008 conference at Tropiquaria in Somerset.

So if anyone missed the conference then you can visit CFZtv site.

One of the conference videos (shown below), features Jonathan McGowan, who mentions our investigation into mysterious cats sighted on Portland last year.(see previous blog entry).

Jonathan McGowan is Deputy Curator at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society, and head of its Mammals Section. He is a native of Dorset, an expert on both its rare and common fauna, and has observed both puma and panther-like big cats in the wild in the county several times, the first occasion being while he was badger watching in 1984.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Have you seen a big cat? History Channel in Search of British Big Cats

The History Channel will be in search for evidence of British Big Cats as part of their 'Monster Quest' series, and will be filming at the end of March, beginning of April.

The search is on for the evidence, video footage, casts, photographs recordings, eye-witness accounts.

Have you seen a big cat in the British countryside, more importantly have you any evidence?

A search for a suitable location, on land with frequent sightings is also being sought for two nights filming. Big Cats in Britain press release.

Can you help. Big cats are reported everyday from somewhere in Britain, yet the hard evidence to support these black cats is virtually non-existent. People are obviously seeing something, but what. Can you help clear up the mystery?

Mark Fraser is collating the evidence, please contact him on 07940 016972, or email at bigcatsinbritain@btinternet.com or visit the website at www.bigcatsinbritain.org

Big Cats in Britain (BCIB) is the only group in Britain dedicated on a daily basis to finding out the answers to the big cat mystery. We have a core of experts that we can call upon, including scientists, zoologists, professional trackers, and police officers.

Saved by Seconds

A Poole family thankful to be alive after a freak lightning strike destroyed their home was picking up the pieces yesterday.

Julie Day and her three daughters Jodie, 16, Shannon, 12 and Megan, nine, miraculously escaped unharmed after their home in Guest Road, Upton, was blown apart by the bolt just after midday on Monday.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 12th March 2008

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Strange Rain: In March 1661 a shower of wheat is recorded in Dorset

An incident of Fafrotskies was recorded in the Prodigies in Somerset and Dorset, 1661-2 reprinted in The Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, 1895, In 1661 during the month of March, raining wheat was recorded in several parts of the county, a quantity of which was taken to Dorchester for inspection.

Storm Terror: Family's Miraculous Escape

A mum and her three daughters had a miraculous escape when the top of their house was blown apart' by a lightning strike in Monday's storms.

The whole of the top floor and the roof of the property in Guest Road, Upton, Poole, was destroyed.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo 11th March 2008

Sunday, 9 March 2008

The Dorset Ooser and other curiosities

By Bovey Belle(Bovey Belle)

Here is the Dorset Ooser - pronounced Osser I believe. He is a definite link to our pagan past and how our ancestors may have viewed the world. This fierce wooden mask seems to have been linked with rituals at the end of the year. ...

READ MORE - Source: Codlins and Cream - http://codlinsandcream.blogspot.com/

Volunteers needed to go on dolphin watch

Not seeing dolphins off Portland Bill is just as important as seeing them for the collection of data.

The volunteers who form the Portland Bill Dolphin Watch learned this in a fascinating talk given to the them recently by Ed Harland from Chickerell Bioacoustics who described the marine mammals that are most likely to be seen off Portland.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Sunday 9th March 2008

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Jurassic Boast

Kilmanjaro, the Inca Trail... Worth Matravers?

Purbeck's rural charms are to feature alongside world famous wonders in a new BBC book.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Saturday 8th March 2008

Thomas Hardy's Norrie is the star of movie premiere

Norrie Woodhall formed a living link with Thomas Hardy when she was the special guest at a film premiere in London.

The 102-year-old, who is still treading the boards as an amateur actress, was whisked off by taxi from her Owermoigne home to the screening where she met actor Griff Rhys Jones.

She was hailed as the star of the event by Griff, who is narrator for the film The Heart of Thomas Hardy, and by Harry Hook, director of the hour-long documentary.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 8th March 2008

Thursday, 6 March 2008

British Mystery Big Cat Conference

Watchet zoo Tropiquaria will welcome big cat enthusiasts from across Britain for a major conference tomorrow (Friday).

Tropiquaria is hosting the second annual conference of the Big Cats in Britain group over the weekend.

Delegates and members of the public from all over the UK will be attending lectures, taking part in workshops and swapping information about alleged sightings of the mysterious creatures throughout the country.

Speakers are attending from as far away as Argyllshire in Scotland, and Teeside.

There will also be a series of displays, stalls, a quiz and a raffle.

From 7.30-9pm tomorrow, there will be a public debate for local people who may have experienced suspicious livestock losses or had sightings of big cats.

There is no charge for this session, which will be hosted by Jon Downes, the director of the Centre For Fortean Zoology, and there will be refreshments available.

READ MORE - Source: Somerset County Gazette Thursday 6th March 2008

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

By George – now it’s ON with his head

Weymouth's landmark King George III statue has finally begun to resemble its normal self again.

His Royal Highness's head has been completely restored to its former glory as he peers out across The Esplanade once more.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 4th March 2008

Monday, 3 March 2008

Now Available - Big Cats in Britain 2008 Yearbook

This is the third Big Cats in Britain Yearbook to be inspired and compiled by the group's indefatigable leader Mark Fraser,and once again it details an extraordinary number of sightings of big cats throughout Britain. Every county of England had its mysterious felines in 2007, with the exception of London - though there were plenty of sightings in the home counties.

Yorkshire produced the highest number of reports - 64 - almost double those of the runner-up, Devon, with 38. Somerset had 37 and Leicestershire almost as many with 36, while Gloucestershire and Wiltshire had 31 reported sightings apiece.

In Scotland Fife and Aberdeenshire topped the league with 36 sightings between them, though Wales had a quiet year with only six and four reports coming from Glamorgan and Denbighshire respectively. Co. Monaghan in Northern Ireland again had a spate of sightings - six reported, and there were three from northern counties of the Republic of Ireland, Donegal and Sligo. In short there were 675 apparent sightings logged in 2007, but behind this statistic are 675 witnesses, each - in their own words - 'shocked' or 'stunned', amazed, interested or curious enough to tell someone of their experience. Behind them again are hundreds more witnesses who have not mentioned their glimpse of a big cat to anyone, whether out of fear of being disbelieved or simply because they do not know who to tell. Mark Fraser's national research network, Big Cats In Britain or BCIB has been providing that service for many years, each sighting being acknowledged, logged, published on the members' area of the website, and if necessary followed up by a local member. BCIB members are a diverse bunch, firmly bonded by their fascination with the mystery of Britain's many panther, puma or lynx-like big cats, and their determination to find out more about their nature and provenance. Some have added their thoughts on and theories about these knotty questions to this volume, along with other writers who reflect on their own experience of seeing a big cat or describe their local reports.

In short this is the most indispensable guide to latest sightings and developments in research into the most strange and secret denizens of our landscape. I defy anyone to read it and not find - the next time they go for a walk - their view of the countryside,the home we share with these elusive creatures, subtly changed.
(Extract from the Forward by Merrily Harpur, January 2008.)

The Big Cats in Britain Yearbook 2008 is published by CFZ Press price £12.50


The Big Cats in Britain Yearbook 2008 Review by Nick Redfern

Big Cats in Britain Website
: Includes sightings, news, reports, articles, and video footage from around the country.

The Dorset Big Cats Register
is a forum for reading about and reporting sightings of these creatures compiled by Dorset researcher Merrily Harpur .

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Dark Dorset publications now available at Sister Moon of Dorchester

Dark Dorset publications are now available at Sister Moons of Dorchester. They include Dark Dorset Tales of Mystery, Wonder and Terror, Dark Dorset Calendar Customs and Dark Dorset Fairies.

Sister Moon is a delightful shop right in the centre of Dorchester, Dorset. They specializes in unusual crafts and gifts from around the world including a fine selection of beautiful jewellery. Singing bowls from Nepal, Navajo Dream catchers incense from India & Tibet, meditation & self help CDs. Plus a great selection of Fantasy/ Spiritual ornaments for the indoors and the outdoors. Plus Cards, Runes, Candles, Clothing, and selection of books.
For more details about visit Sister Moon website or email: enquiries@sistermoon.co.uk
alternatively contact Sister Moon, 8 Hardye Arcade, Dorchester, DT1 1BZ - Telephone: 01305 265267

Saturday, 1 March 2008

First post from the past painted

A piece of county history has been restored to its gleaming best.

The famous Dorset Red Post on the A31 between Bere Regis and Wimborne went missing over the winter months and Martin Figg, of Southill, Weymouth, tracked down what had happened.

He said: "The sign had become very dilapidated, but has been gloriously restored by the contractor to Dorset County Council.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 1st March 2008
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