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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Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Ghost of Lulworth Cove

There are quite a few ghost stories around the Lulworth area including phantom coaches, spooky smugglers, ghostly witch hares and the spectral armies.  However, Andrew May of Forteana Blog has stumbled upon this obscure production filmed around Lulworth featuring a spectral entity: -
"Cecil Hepworth was one of Britain’s first great movie producers, and a pioneer of the blockbuster. When he decided to film Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1913, it had already been done no less than ten times before. But all those early efforts had been low-budget shorts, and Hepworth’s production was going to blow them out of the water. The world had never seen anything like his Hamlet! With a budget of £10,000, it wasn’t just the biggest Hamlet movie, or the biggest Shakespeare movie—it was the biggest movie of any kind filmed in Britain up to that point!
The action of Hamlet takes place in and around Elsinore Castle on the coast of Denmark. For his version, Cecil Hepworth chose to film on location in Dorset... at Lulworth Cove, to be precise. Since there wasn’t a convenient Danish castle in the area, he had a full-scale mock-up built on the clifftop at Dungy Head, just west of Lulworth Cove looking towards Durdle Door. This can clearly be seen in a short clip on YouTube below.

Hamlet encounters the ghost of his father
The clip features one of the most striking scenes in the play, when Hamlet encounters the ghost of his recently deceased father (the ghost is done rather well using a double exposure). From the point of view of the paranormal, the ghost in Hamlet is especially interesting. There are other ghosts in Shakespeare’s plays (e.g. Macbeth and Richard III), but in those cases the ghosts are only witnessed by their murderers, so can be dismissed as subjective phenomena (just a way of dramatizing a guilty conscience). On the other hand, there can be no doubt the ghost in Hamlet is meant to be a real ghost! It gives Hamlet useful information about his father’s murder, that he couldn’t have obtained by non-supernatural means. And the ghost is seen by multiple witnesses, sometimes when Hamlet himself isn’t even present.
Following the success of Hamlet, Cecil Hepworth used Lulworth Cove for several other productions, and the tradition of filming there has continued ever since. Worthy of mention in the “Dark Dorset” context are the early Hammer Horror film "Four Sided Triangle" (1953), and the 1989 Doctor Who serial “The Curse of Fenric”. This is one of many Doctor Who stories filmed on location in Dorset, and is notable for its Viking legends and vampires!"

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

News Clipping: Rudyard Kipling inspires naming of prehistoric crocodile

The Crocodile in
Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories
A newly-discovered species of prehistoric crocodile has been named after the writer Rudyard Kipling. The 130-million-year-old specimen, now called Goniopholis Kiplingi, was found in Swanage, Dorset, by the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site team in 2009. It was named after The Jungle Book author in recognition for his enthusiasm for natural sciences.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News, 20th March 2012

READ MORE - Source: The Daily Mail, 20th March 2012

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

News Clipping: Princess Anne visits the restored Osmington White Horse

The Osmington White Horse
The Princess Royal will be inspecting the newly-restored Osmington White Horse, near Weymouth, on Monday (12 March) before formally opening the refurbished Durlston Castle in Swanage. Over the past three years, local volunteers and organisations including Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council, the Osmington Society and English Heritage have worked to return the hillside White Horse to the way it would have looked when first established in 1808. This has involved painstakingly removing the Portland stone chippings that have covered the figure in recent times, and uncovering the original chalky bedrock – work  supported by the Royal Engineers and Dorset Army Cadets.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset County Council, 13th march 2012

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, 13th march 2012

READ MORE - Source: Daily Mail, 13th march 2012

Friday, 2 March 2012

Winter Issue of 'Merry Meet' out now!

Merry Meet: Issue 47 Winter 2012

Merry Meet Magazine is an independent quarterly journal of Folklore and Pagan Heritage, produced and edited by local musician and author Jerry Bird. 

In Issue 47 Winter 2012, articles include:
  • The Devil & St Pancras - the Great Dartmoor Storm of 1638
  • Well May Ye Bear - The Wassail Tradition
  • The Transformative Power of the Wind by Michael Berman
  • Speen Holy Well
  • REVIEWS: Ritual by Devid Pinner; Children of Cain by Michael Howard; The Secrets of Pain by Phil Rickman; Green Men & White Swans by Jaqueline Simpson
Current Stockists

  • The Candy Box, High East Street, Dorchester, Dorset DTI  IHU

For more information visit www.merrymeetmagazine.co.uk
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