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Did a BBC Micro Facilitate a Chat With a 16th Century Man?

Last Updated on June 3, 2023

Thr BBC Micro was famously used in schools throughout the 1980s. What could it communicate with people from the 16th century or even the far future?

The so-called Dodleston Messages concern a house built in the site of an old farmhouse, where a couple and their lodger lived.

Between 1984 and 1986, they borrowed a BBC Micro from the school where they worked. Equipped with the Edword chip for word-processing, the computer suddenly started relaying messages from the past… And the future.

In 1984 something strange happened in the village of Dodleston. A BBC Micro was sitting on a counter, when it suddenly started receiving mysterious messages, which appeared to come from the 16th century. This might have gone unnoticed had local teachers, Ken Webster and Peter Trinder, not investigated to find that information was so accurate, it would be almost impossible to fake.

This whole event was documented in the book “The Vertical Plane”, published in 1989. But here, tonight, we investigate deep to find out exactly what this is all about.

Undoubtedly a hoax, but who was behind it? Was the Edword chip preprogrammed? Did one of the householders plan and execute an elaborate prank that got out of control?

Whatever the truth, a humble BBC Micro is at the heart of it all. Learn more by watching the superb documentary advice, by YouTuber Nostalgia Nerd.

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