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21st Mar 2022

1980 ‘computer ghost’ accuses couple of stealing home through spooky digital messages

Kieran Galpin


A twisted tale of footprints, an old-English ghost and time travel?

You’ve heard of the Blair Witch, you’ve heard of Casper – now meet the time travelling ghost from 1980 that communicated with a couple via their clunky old computer.

There was once a time when MacBooks and iPads didn’t exist – and as terrifying as it is to think about- perhaps we should be happy that this ghost isn’t around our modern technology.

Over a series of months, an unnamed ghost messaged a couple to accuse them of stealing his home. The incident left paranormal investigators baffled for over 35 years, which unleashed a Pandora’s Box of rumours ranging from elaborate hoax to time travel.


As reported in the Daily Star, Ken Webster borrowed a BBC microcomputer in 1985 but soon enough, he and his girlfriend Debbie began receiving strange messages. Said messages are now commonly referred to as the ‘Dodleston messages’ (input chilling music), which Allison Troutner detailed in HowStuffWorks this week.

It all began when Ken and Debbie moved into an old 18th-century cottage in rural Cheshire. Throughout renovations, the two reportedly noticed six-toed footprints in the dust that would lead up on the walls and the ceiling.

The couple painted over the footprints dismissing them as a prank but the next day, they had reappeared.

This is usually the part in the horror movie where the innocent couple begins experiencing strange occurrences, which for Debbie and Ken involved tins of cat food being mysteriously stacked in a perfect pyramid.

After receiving the first message and an ominous poem, more notes followed with extra detail and pressing questions. Predominantly, the technological entity wanted to know who the couple were and why they were stealing his house.

Another message appeared to be written in old English.

It read: “I write on behalf of many – What strange words you speak – You are a worthy (good) man who has a fanciful woman, and you live in my house (who dwell in my home) – with lights which (the) devil makes – It was a great crime to have stolen (bribed) my house. – L.W.”


Various messages continued to appear for a year and a half, over which time Ken began asking questions of the entity. The mystery writer first provided Lukas as a name but later confessed it was actually Thomas Harden or Hawarden.

Buckle up; things get stranger.

After so much time talking, Thomas revealed he was also in communication with a friend from 2109.

As Thomas explained: “Try to understand that you three have a purpose that shall in your lifetime change the face of history, we, 2109, must not affect your thoughts directly but give you some sort of guidance that will allow room for your own destiny. All we can say is that we are all part of the same god, whatever, he is (?), is.”

Paranormal investigators were stumped – but that didn’t stop the fascination with looking into the disturbances back in 1985.

What do you think? Authentic cyber spook or one of the Internet’s first instances of online trolling?

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