In 1844 a murder occurred on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, England. Charlotte Dymond was a local girl. While taking a walk with her boyfriend, Matthew Weeks, on Bodmin Moor, she vanished. When her lifeless body was found with her throat slit, Matthew, a humble farm hand, was charged with murder. Although his guilt was far from certain, he was hanged in the town that travel writer Kirsty Fergusson called “poor old Bodmin”. I’ve been rather critical of this town not too far from vast Bodmin Moor myself, but today I’m recommending it for 2 reasons: Bodmin Moor is fascinating as a tourist attraction and there’s a clever presentation called The Courtroom Experience in Bodmin at its exceptional visitor center.
The Courtroom Experience recreates Matthew’s trial, and visitors like Ruth and myself get to act as jurors. After some actual testimony is presented along with details of the trial that cast doubt, we were asked to find Matthew guilty or not guilty. His jury was all male. After our verdict, we were taken downstairs to see the cramped, depressing holding cell where inmates like Matthew Weeks awaited trial. More information was presented down there. This will work as long as visitors to Bodmin aren’t aware of this local crime or its consequences.
Bodmin Moor is an often fog shrouded bleak stretch of granite and marshy flats with a highway, A30, cutting across it diagonally. Bodmin is one of five towns ringing it. It’s hard not to think of Sherlock Holmes and/or hounds when you experience it. Locals will tell you about the beast of Bodmin, another legend without basis in fact like Bigfoot. Speaking of legends, this moor’s Dozmary Pool is said to be the place where King Arthur’s sword Excalibur rose from the depths. Kirsty Fergusson says, “Bodmin Moor–on a fine day–is one of the best places in England for walking and exploring.”
The Courtroom Experience is worth doing and gets excellent reviews. The presentation is competent but no threat to CGI. The visual effects are sometimes less than impressive while the overall presentation gets high marks for originality.
PS Since I didn’t experience Bodmin Moor on a foggy day, I had to download a free pic with no beast from pixabay.com.