Neighbors are the worst. One of the unfortunate downsides of urbanization is that we now have to put up with other people and all their weirdness. While most of us have to put up with minor inconveniences like property line disputes or loud vehicles, a neighborhood in Dorset, England is currently going through a squabble over some rather odd-sounding behavior. According to statements made in court this month, a pair of self-proclaimed druids are terrorizing the neighbors with their loud late-night full moon rituals. Makes your neighbors seem OK after all, huh?
The Bournemouth Crown Court heard the case this month. According to court reports, John Bennett is accused of conducting frequent “druid ceremonies” in his backyard, complete with chanting, loud drumming, bizarre noises, and even odd smells. One neighbor who wished to remain anonymous told The Telegraph that this “druid’s” disturbances assaulted all of the senses:
We sometimes heard odd, not normal, music and smells like joss sticks and things. John has a personalised number plate for his car that says 666, which is a bit worrying. I think he’s quite open about saying he’s a witch.
The rituals coincide with the full moon, meaning neighbors had to put up with the spectacle once each month. That became too much for Dorset residents Mark and Anne Denyer, who confronted Bennett about the rituals which they say disrupted the tranquility of the Hillbury Park neighborhood. That’s when things got violent.
Bennett, who goes by his Pagan name “Bearheart,” says Anne Denyer beat him about the head and neck with an umbrella while her husband stabbed Bennett in the stomach with a carving knife. Luckily, the court heard, Bennett weighs 22 stone (308 lbs) and has a “big belly” which somehow prevented the knife from causing serious injuries. Bennett suffered two small lacerations which penetrated the abdominal wall but did not hit any organs. After the court heard each sides’ testimonies, it handed down 10 months in prison suspended for a year and 130 hours of unpaid work for Mark Denyer, while Mrs. Denyer got a six month suspended sentence and 100 hours of unpaid work.
Next time you think your neighbors are bad for their late night hot tub parties and country music, just remember: it could be worse. Your neighbors could be violent knife-and-umbrella-wielding maniacs who disturb your druid rituals.