Paranormal Purbeck – A Study of The Unexplained
By David Leadbetter
Roving Press £9.99 ISBN 978-1-906651-220
Roving Press has previous form with Paranormal Purbeck, having already treated us to The Spirit of Portland, and an account of big cats in the county, Roaring Dorset. In Paranormal Purbeck, David Leadbetter ably contributes to the canon with an at times hair-raising chronicle of weirdness on the Isle.
Leadbetter’s introduction is at pains to contextualise the anecdotal nature of the stories that follow it, with a rebuke for the cynical. ‘The idea of multiple parallel worlds,’ he contends, ”once the domain of science fiction, is now considered almost mainstream physics.” Yet there is no avoiding a certain vague bump-in-the-night element to many of the accounts of visitations and otherworldly occurrences; the tagline ‘A Study of the Unexplained’ may overstate the rigour of the tome. What is certain is that you can’t trek far in Purbeck before your path crosses that of someone with a local experience of the-other-side, vividly and earnestly described, and whose perception of life changed because of it.
Invisible ‘Orbs’ are commonplace in Purbeck, showing up only on camera, though apparently one may sense them in other ways; here, photographs are tendered. Time shifts, strange lights and ghostly presences are not so visually evidenced. Conversely, according to the many interviewees in this book, camera-shy yet visible spectres appear, and appear to be, commonplace on the Isle. Who’d have thought a couple of old ghosts are clattering about Wareham’s Conservative Club? Or indeed, that ghosts believe in conservatives?
Seven chapters are categorised into two main sections: chapters one to three focus on places of note, be they haunted pubs (a lot of those), houses or horse-spooking road junctions. Chapters four through to six examine the types of paranormal experience to be had on the Isle, including close encounters with UFOs. The seventh and final chapter proffers speculation as to ‘The Significance of The Phenomena’ in which the author explores raised consciousness and the possibility of a psychic evolutionary process, which will eventually provide humans with an ability to contact or be contacted by alternate life forms.
It makes a useful guide book for phenomenologists. Locals will delight in the familiar places and stories told by people they may know, though there are a few anonymous accounts among them; fear of ridicule perhaps, or fear of hoards of dribbling ghost-hunters at the windows.
True sceptics should read this book alone, at night. With all the other lights in the house switched off. Enjoy.