There is a podcast I love called This Paranormal Life. In it, one ‘paranormal investigator’ presents this weeks case to the other, full of whatever evidence they can find, to the other. These two guys are absolutely hilarious, and this comedy podcast presents the world’s weirdest and wackiest paranormal cases, which whilst hilarious and first to make fun of it, is also seriously interested in its topic.
Anyway, this is where I heard about this book, and case, which was featured in a rare two part episode (part 1 here and part 2 here, or check your podcast provider). The Vertical Plane details a paranormal case that happened in England in the 1980s. The book was published in 1989 and went out of print, with prices fetching into the hundreds for it. As a result, the book was republished late last year.
The blurb for the book sets up the story quite well:
A unique supernatural detective story.
For a period of two years, Ken Webster found himself in the extraordinary position of corresponding directly with an individual who had lived on the site of his own cottage four centuries earlier. The correspondence began with messages left on his home computer on the kitchen table, and ended with communications scrawled directly onto paper. Fully prepared for some form of elaborate hoax, Webster found to his consternation that the language of the messages tallied precisely with 16th century English usage.
The Vertical Plane is a riveting personal experience of an inexplicable fault in the fabric of time – and a moving account of a relationship mediated across four hundred years.
This book is an in-depth account of this relationship, and the messages. Is it real? Who knows. The story is certainly a rollicking good read with twists and turns, and it is strangely moving – you can tell Ken and crew grow to view this person/hoax/paranormal event as a genuine friend, which makes it all the sadder that their time is limited. Throw in messages from the future which begin to happen later, and you get a really interesting account.
Recommended for those who like their stories weird and wonderful, and maybe, possibly, even true…
(and of course listen to the This Paranormal Life episodes!)
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.