MysteriousBritain.co.uk – A History
The idea for the Mysterious Britain website was really seeded with a huge project started in the early 1990s to record strange experiences, folklore and legends from each county in the UK. As a result of three years research we developed a document covering most of the counties, referenced with sources that has been the baseline for much of the research within the site.
I, Daniel Parkinson (and the Mysterious Britain Team) had an interest in folklore, legend and the landscape from an early age, and had always admired the work of various mystery and myth gazetteer writers finding them invaluable when visiting sites throughout the country. Folklore, legend and mythology, have always (for me) enriched the landscape and created a sense of culture and mystery that may be linked to the way ancient people viewed the landscape. In many ways they also made the landscape a sacred place to be valued and preserved. This original project and interest was also an excuse to visit some of the fantastic countryside and ancient monuments that Britain has to offer.
I broached the idea of a website with Ian Topham whom I had worked with on a number of investigations through ASSAP’s Northern group and as a friend going back to school days. Working together the main structure of the site was put together in 1999 and the site was launched in 2000 in its basic form. The main goals were to use it as a repository for research, to foster interest in folklore and mythology of Britain, and to create a community of people who were interested in the same things.
From its launch the site’s popularity grew steadily and administration started to take up more and more time. Over the years the content has appeared in numerous publications, ran as a library display, been nationally archived, and has been used as reference for many projects and books. Unfortunately a lot of material from the site has also been copied and used on websites without permission, even as the backbone to some newer sites. All material within this website has been written by authors and contributors so if you see the exact same anywhere else you can guarantee is has been copied and pasted. We have not followed these copyright issues up with the old site but with the new site this is likely to change.
Mysterious Britain was not commercial in any way and we never made any money from the site, and as the result of other projects and family commitments (children), and the general time costs of running a large site without any financial incentive, work stopped on the site and e-mails were brought offline. Thus began a three year period from 2005 – early 2007 when the site was still live but was not updated. It was with some regret that we had to take this step – as we were receiving perhaps 20 – 30 genuine e-mails per day from throughout the world, which we had tried to answer to the best of our limited resources. We did consider going commercial at the time but felt that this would change the entire ethos of the website, and at the time effect impartial paranormal investigations that we were involved in. We also felt that our information should be free to the reader without asking for payment from visitors.
Our re-launch was started in August 2007 when it was decided to make the site more interactive and to develop it further, mainly as we still had a large following and visitor numbers were still very high. Ian took the lead on many of the new features, and Neil developed the site on this new system to allow better user interactivity and easier updating so content can become more dynamic (the older site is a bit of a pain to update). We’ve included an exciting new business directory and have the goal of making the site better for users, providing a service that people can use to enjoy Britain and Ireland’s rich heritage.