THE DENBY DALE PIE CONSPIRACY


Discovery

Early in 2004 my attention was drawn to a site where an American feller had visited a small town in Yorkshire called Denby Dale for their Pie celebrations. The village every few years or so bakes the World's Largest Pie and have a weekend long celebration party in honour of it. Now this guy had taken hundreds and hundreds of photos of the party and the revellers and the drinking and so on. What attracted my attention though was the fact that the pie itself made no appearance in any of these photos. Not one. Not even a small hint of the pie.

This made me curious. How do you manage to take thousands of photos of a party in honour of a record breaking pie and not manage to snap the pie? It's supposed to be the world's largest... how could you miss it? I had to follow this some more.


Denby Dale, The Pie Village
Research

Since 1788 Denby Dale has hosted 9 pie festivals and 10 huge pies in total, culminating in the biggest one of all, the 2000 Millenium Pie. On the 2nd of September 2000, in front of 30,000 visitors and cut by famous cricketing umpire Dickie Bird, the tenth Denby Dale Pie was unveiled. Apparently.

Supposedly weighing 12 tonnes and over 40 foot long, this meat and potato monster was apparently carried through town on the back of a large truck before being devoured by the gathered multitude. Up to now you'd think there was nothing wrong, wouldn't you? How about if I was to suggest that the pie, the 2000 millenium pie, the 12 tonne pie... never existed?

Madness, you say? Not at all, follow me here


Evidence... or lack of
    Proof? HA!
  1. The Internet. The internet is made up of millions of computers linked to billions of photos, pages and bits of information. Any known fact or figure can be found, faked, fumbled or forgotten in this worldwide jungle of information. So why is it, that for a huge celebration with thousands of participants coming from all around the globe, that the only photo that exists of the pie is one from a distance, of something slightly orange on the back of a truck. Nothing of the cutting. Nothing of Mr Bird. Not even a shot of it in place wherever it ended up. Suspicions are aroused.

  2. World's Biggest? If there's anybody not to be argued with on the subjective existance of things, it would be the people from the Guiness Book of Records. So I handily checked out what they had to say on the subject. Here's the shocker for you. According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the Worlds Biggest Pie was baked in Stratford-upon-Avon college on April 12th 1998, and it weighed a grand total of 10.54 tonnes. So why wasn't the 2000 Denby Dale pie put into the GBOR? Some say that it's because the pie wasn't baked all in one peice... my opinion? It's because the pie never existed.

  3. Remains. The biggest problem with my case is proving the non-existance of something. But by that same argument it surely should be ridiculously easy to DIS-prove my theory. Just one simple photo, news clipping or video should be enough so why can't I find anything? The lack of evidence is the key factor here. As I have mentioned before, there is more actual proof in the existance of the Loch Ness Monster than there is of the Denby Dale Pie.


Waiting

And so on the 25th of March 2004 I wrote a very short spurious post about the new urban myth I had found and promptly forgot all about it, leaving it in the pit never to be thought about again. (It's there in the archive if you want to see it. CLICK HERE)

... Until November ...

... When I received a completely unexpected e-mail from The Denby Dale Pie Company (ltd). It went a little something like this.

      ref your call me BIG BAD for my duvet collection
      Thursday 25th March
      which suggests "the Denby Dale Pie " village celebration is a myth. Thousands of happy chappies who enjoyed the celebrations can prove the event to be true. There are more documented evidence available see the extracts from the village web site.

      Even more astonishing is a new company in the village now making THE WORLDS BEST PIES. Their web site details below.

to which I could do naught but reply

      Hello,
      To be wholly accurate, I never cast any doubt about the Denby Daly Pie Celebration, having seen many pictures of it and it does indeed look like a great party. What I doubt is the existence of the Pie itself. When the Pie was brought to my attention earlier this year I did an in-depth search on the net for an actual picture of it and what I found were countless pictures of the celebration but not one single picture of the Pie itself. The best there was, as shown on the website, was a blurry photo from a distance of something on the back of a truck. As noted I also ask if anyone has a clear picture of the pie of which they could send me, Maybe you could help?
      Thanks for visiting VagueNet.

      Jon.
      P.S. I would happily visit the website you mention, but I seem to be missing the link.

I never heard from the DDPC again, but it did peak my interest and I went truly deeply into the internet to try and discover what was going on and where, exactly. I needed to see if I could find proof of the pie. I was like a man posessed. I was like a rootling truffle-boar. Well actually I was more like a man bored on his lunchbreak, but search I did and further information or proof I did not find.

I did however discover DenbyDale.com which has a much broader and in depth description and history of the village than I'm willing to print here. And still nothing better than I'd found elsewhere.

But my suspicions had been roused now. A cunning e-mail to throw me off the scent, or an even more cunning clue to make sure that I stayed on track. Which was it? I had been willing to leave it where it was, but now I was on the hunt.


The Quest

Due to one thing and another, I had to leave my plotting until the new year, and so when better to take the decisive action than a full year after I first discovered the plot? So with careful planning and a train ticket in hand, myself and a few cohorts went in person to the town of Denby Dale, West Yorkshire on Friday May 6th 2005 to finally find proof of the Big Pie.

Maybe it was a mistake, but I did give Denby Dale warning of my impending arrival. On the evening before I did send another e-mail to the Denby Dale Pie Company to see if they could assist in the search, and as the train pulled into Denby Dale station, I got a phone call from them. Right, here goes.

  1. After explaining what I was after, The representative I spoke to admitted to not being around at the time. The Denby Dale Pie Company has never seen the Denby Dale Pie. They did however suggest I go to the Denby Dale Pie Hall.

  2. The Denby Dale Pie Hall is a members only club. No entry to the general public. Plus, it's very very closed and locked and barred when I went to see it. There were no clues in the window and nothing obvious on any walls that I could see.

  3. Outside the Denby Dale Pie Hall is the tray from the 1988 Pie being used as a landmark flowerbed. No signs or clues as to where the 2000 pie tray might have ended up, if it existed.

  4. I tackled a local resident on the street who admitted to living in Denby Dale for many many years. However, he did not venture into town that weekend due to the crowds filling the town.

  5. A good source of local knowledge is usually the local newsagent. Who I visited. Who only just moved in in 2001.

  6. Finally I ventured into the bookshop, 'The Orchard'. There I fell upon the best source of local knowledge and contacts available. Who was on holiday at the time of the Pie.

  7. Straight away I was presented with a souvenir programme with 'Denby Dale Pie 2000' enscribed in large print on the front. With joy abounding I realise that this programme is the one on sale that weekend, and so will not have photographs of the pie being celebrated. Damn.

  8. There are books in the bookshop of the tale of the Denby Dale Pie. That's books (plural). The most recent of which goes up to the 2000 celebrations. With no pictures of the pie.

  9. OK, Telephone time. We call the local historian who takes all the photos and writes the books. No answer.

  10. We call the chairman of the 2000 Millenium Denby Dale Pie Committee. Who was on holiday.

  11. We even call the parents of the Celebration Pie Queen, who must have taken photos. They did. None include the pie.

Finally I have to accept defeat and go back to the pub.


Epilogue

It seems obvious to me that the Denby Dale Pie Celebrations were obviously a cover for something much more sinister and secretive. There is no proof that there was a pie, but neither can I discover what it was that actually happened. I know I'll be returning to Denby Dale at some point soon, maybe then I'll get some answers. Wish me luck.

Big Bad Jon - 28th June 2005


The Denby Dale Pie Conspiracy - The Comic









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