Halloween is upon us again and as promised I bring you more creepy stories of the natural stone variety. So read on for tales of rocky recordings, mythical monoliths and protective pebbles.
These sacred stones are known by many names, Hag stones, Witch Stones, Adder Stones, and Holy Stones, to name but a few. Throughout the years and depending which country you come from they are said to have just as many uses; Curing diseases, preventing nightmares, even as a porthole to see into the realm of the Fae!
These stones are particularly useful today of all days as Hag Stones are believed to counteract a witch’s magic, protect against curses and ward off the dead.
Have you got yours?
Travelling Through Stone
Fans of the books and television drama Outlander will know…..
‘The stories are old. Some say as old as the stones themselves, passed down from generation to generation through ballads and songs. I first heard them from my grandmother and she from hers. The songs tell stories about people who travel through the stones…..’
Outlander is a television drama based upon author Diana Gabaldon’s historical time travel book series of the same name. It tells the tale of Claire Randall who is transported back in time after placing her hands upon a monolith in a stone circle at Craigh Na Dun.
The stone time travel theory comes from Diana Gabaldon’s imagination and not folklore however the elements of it fit together quite nicely.
Stone circles have long been associated with the spirit world. Many have lay untouched for thousands of years due to the belief that the spirits resent human interference with the circle and fears of a reprisal if they did.
It was shortly after the performance of a Druidic ritual at the stones on the Eve of Samhain when Claire Randall first ‘fell through the stones’. Samhain is the Celtic festival that gave roots to the now celebrated Halloween and people believed that Samhain was a time when the doorways to the Otherworld were open and spirits and demons were able to travel freely between realms.
In summary if you’re planning on visiting a stone circle today, the Eve of Samhain, hoping to be thrust together with the rugged, handsome, Scotsman of your dreams…, chances are you’ll be greeted by something much more sinister.
Another Burial boulder
Another boulder, another Witch’s headstone.
This boulder marks the grave of Meg Shelton, The Woodplumpton Witch. Said to be a shape shifter there are many stories of Meg’s mischievous exploits, mainly involving stealing from farmers and the local community.
Meg died after reportedly being crushed against a wall by a barrel and she was buried in the churchyard in Woodplumpton. Legend has it that on more than one occasion Meg actually dug herself back out. This eventually led to her being buried head first, like a fence post, so that if she were to try and dig herself out again she would dig in the wrong direction. The boulder was then placed on top for good measure and has been there ever since.
But has Meg?…..
Stone Tape Theory
The ‘Stone Tape Theory’ is the theory that crystalline rock can ‘capture’ emotional energy released during traumatic events. The energy is imprinted within the stone and similar to the recording on a magnetic tape can be played back under certain conditions. This is used as an explanation for ‘residual hauntings’.
There are many hauntings attributed to Stone Tape Theory with battlefields being mentioned frequently; Tales of people hearing war cries and the sound of clashing swords ringing out across Culloden moor.
And a particularly eerie display was witnessed by a resident of Letham, Angus at the site of the Battle of Dun Nechtain, fought between the Picts and the Northumbrians in the year 685.
It was on a dark January night in 1950. Miss Smith was walking home after her car became stranded in a ditch. As she drew closer to Letham she recognised the dark silhouette of Dunnichen Hill ahead. Her gaze was drawn to a number of flickering lights in the fields to her right.
She stopped to focus on them and saw that the lights were actually flaming torches held by figures, walking the fields searching the ground for something. Miss Smith watched as they periodically stooped down to the ground and then she saw the shapes. Dead bodies. The figures were turning the corpses over as if to identify them.
Suitably spooked Miss Smith hastened home and later gave details of the experience to the Society for Physical Research. Did Miss Smith experience the playing of stone tape? A recording of Pictish warriors searching the battlefield for their dead comrades. Had the landscape somehow recorded this event at its time in history?
Getting blood from a Stone
Believe it or not you can get blood from a stone! These strange rocks have been found off the coast of Chile and Peru. Smash through the rock surface to get to its bloody interior.
Not buying it?
Ok, you got me, these gory looking rocks are not stone but are in fact a type of sea squirt. The Pyura Chilensis aka the Living Rock. The rock like creature’s blood is in fact clear, it is the flesh inside which is bright red.
Pyura Chilensis is fished commercially and considered a delicacy in Peru and Chile. The living rock is cut with a sharp knife or hand saw and its bright red insides pulled from its ‘tunic’. It can be eaten raw or cooked and is usually served with salad and rice.
Happy Halloween everyone