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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Dorset's Weird and Wonderful Year of 2009

From escaped raccoons to sightings of big cats, a discovery of an ancient mass grave to Noddy Holder seeing a UFO over Bournemouth. 2009 has been a busy year for weird and wonderful news in Dorset.

Dark Dorset looks back with a selection of twelve stories taken from our blog.

JANUARY - Saturday, 25th January 2009

Raccoon found in Dorset back garden

A raccoon has been rescued from a back garden in Dorset after a surprised couple found it while birdwatching.

Ena Webber, of Walcott Avenue, Christchurch, Dorset, at first thought the creature was a cat but was shocked when she saw its distinctive black-and-white face and realised it was a raccoon. The 71-year-old said: “The first time I saw it, it was sitting 10ft up a tree, fast asleep. “I thought it was a cat. Because I wanted to do the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, and when there are cats around there aren’t any birds, I fired a water gun at it. “The head turned around as if to say ’Go away, I’m sleeping here’ and there was no doubt it was a raccoon.

READ MORE - Source: The Sun 25th January 2009

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FEBRUARY - Friday, 20th February 2009

News Clipping: Big cat sighting

A puma has been sighted at Hewish, Bradford Abbas, confirming the big cat is indeed roaming across the Dorset countryside once more. The light coloured puma, now an adult, has the characteristics of the cub reported by a farmer at Newton, Sturminster Newton, which was spotted with its parents, a black male and a lighter female, shortly before the foot and mouth outbreak.

Source: Western Gazette February 20th, 2009
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MARCH - Thursday, 10th March 2009

News Clipping: Mysterious Bright Green Light seen at Christchurch

On March 10th 2009, at 6.45pm, two witnesses from Christchurch, Dorset, saw a bright green light travelling Southwest at incredible high speed in a straight line, probably below 5000 feet. Visible for just a few seconds then vanished. Clear moonlit sky, no cloud, stars evident. It did not disappear into cloud, just ceased.

Source: HBCC UFO Research 14th March 2009
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APRIL - Friday, 3rd April 2009

News Clipping : I saw a UFO over Bournemouth and I’m not crazee...

Don't accuse him of being all crazee now – but rocker Noddy Holder of Slade says he felt the noize when he had a close encounter with a UFO in Bournemouth.

The colourful star, most famous for the ubiquitous festive hit Merry Christmas Everybody, said he saw a circular flying saucer, emitting beams of light, flying over the sea while staying in the town.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 3rd April 2009
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MAY - Wednesday, 20th May 2009

News Clipping: I saw a ghost at Corfe Castle

IT’S several hundred years since Cavaliers were last at Corfe Castle, but one villager reckons there might still be some around.

Keen fisherman Don Goodwin, 68, who has lived in the village for 24 years, was out at a playing field in the early hours last Friday morning collecting worms for bait when he saw a ghostly figure.

Read More: Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 20th May 2009
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JUNE - Thursday, 11th June 2009

News Clipping: Archaeologists find skulls on route of new road

The skulls of scores of young men have been found in a burial pit on the route of a new road in Dorset.

So far 45 skulls, believed to be almost 2,000 years old, have been found, and more may be found as the pit is emptied. Archaeologists have called the discovery extraordinary, saying it could be evidence of a disaster, a mass execution, a battle or possibly an epidemic.

READ MORE - Source: The Guardian Thursday 11 June 2009
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JULY - Thursday, 16th July 2009

News Clipping: Is crop circle message from the stars?

A message from an alien race or just a freak meteorological phenomenon?

Whatever the reasons one Christchurch resident says he is keeping an open mind about how a crop circle came to appear in the fields behind his house.

The design, which is reminiscent of a compass, is fairly simple compared with some more elaborate formations.

Peter Hammond, who lives in Hinton near to the Old Vicarage said he’s never seen anything like this in the neighbouring cornfields.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 16th July 2009
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AUGUST - Wednesday, 12th August 2009

News Clipping: Freddie the wonder crab is all right at Sea Life Park

Staff at Weymouth Sea Life Park thought they were seeing double when this giant crab turned up with two right claws.

The curious crustacean, thought to be about 10 years old, was found on the seabed near Swanage by Wareham-based fisherman Simon Clark.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 12th August 2009
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SEPTEMBER - Monday, 28th September 2009

News Clipping: Ghosthunter's guide to best haunts in Britain

Y orkshire is the best place to be if you want to see a UFO but if you're in search of phantoms then you're better off heading south to Kent.

And if you fancy mixing train-spotting with ghosthunting then Dorset is a good choice as it boasts the highest number of railway hauntings.

Read More: Source - The Metro 28th September 2009
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OCTOBER - Tuesday, 27th October 2009

News Clipping: Pliosaur skull discovered on Jurassic Coast

A ferocious, meat-eating dinosaur, so enormous it makes the T Rex look lik e a light snack, has been discovered on Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 27th October 2009

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NOVEMBER - Friday, 20th November 2009

News Clipping: Giant earthworks mystery at Cerne Abbas

Archaeologist Rob Wilson-North has dug up a new mystery surrounding the Cerne Abbas giant.

He has identified earthworks near the iconic figure suggestive of the monument’s best known attributes.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday Friday 20th November 2009
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DECEMBER - Sunday, 6th December 2009

Newsclipping: Police force 'consulted warlock over horse plaiting'

A police force has consulted a "warlock" in an attempt to unravel a spate of mysterious incidents of horses having their manes plaited.

Owners in west Dorset and the surrounding counties had believed that thieves plaited the manes of the beasts to identify which ones to steal when they returned at night.

But police officers investigating the incidents said there had been no thefts, and instead their enquiries led to the world of pagan ritual.

Read More: The Telegraph Sunday 6th December 2009
"On farms it was customary to hang a hag stone on a nail (especially if it was made of iron as this increased the stones power) above the stable door or tied around a h orses neck to prevent them from being 'hag rod'. A Dorset expression often used to describe when witches stole horses to ride to their sabbats. In some cases farmers who left their horses or even other livestock unprotected would often find their animals in sweaty and exhausted s tate with their manes full of tangles, which were known as 'hag knots'. A term often used, as it was believed that a witch tied knots in horse's manes to use as stirrups."
information supplied by www.darkdorset.co.uk
Source: Weymouth and Portland Borough Council - Mysterious Dorset - Witchcraft
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