Friday, 18 February 2022

The Rollright Stones

 This week a magazine in the States asked to use a couple of photos they had seen on one of my blogs.  I happily agreed and offered to send them higher resolution versions. All I had to do then was find them.  I knew they were taken somewhere between 2007 and 2017 and were digital so that meant I only had about 25,000 photos to go through. Many of my natural history photos for that period are labelled. The rest are not. It proved quite a task to find the ones that were wanted but it was successful and most enjoyable to be reminded of places and things I had totally forgotten. In future I shall try to label my photos better.

I am currently reading Elly Griffiths's excellent "The Lantern Men", the 12th Dr Ruth Galloway story about crime and forensic archaeology. In it the hero mentions the first time she visited the stone circle at Stanton Drew - a 'strange, sullen place, not welcoming to outsiders'.  

That reminded me of my first visit to the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire. So far as I am concerned the jury is still out on most things religious and esoteric. But that site literally gave me goosebumps.  As I walked around the circle of stones my arms were suddenly covered in huge goosebumps and I felt anxious and panicky.

There were two older women also circumnavigating the circle and we met up at the entrance.  "Well," said one of them, "That was the strangest experience I've ever had."  I asked in what way.  She said she couldn't explain but it was as though the stones wanted her to go away.  Her companion looked quite shaken and agreed so I showed them my goosebumps and explained how I had felt.  We all agreed that we would never want to visit there again.  Years later Jo and I went there but I stayed well away from the circle while Jo walked around it. So far as I can recall Jo was not affected but there were a lot more people there that day and that may have made the atmosphere different.

The only other place I had a strange inexplicable experience,  similar to that - but not the same, was in the Old House in Bakewell.

Have you ever had an experience like that?


  1. Hmmm... I don't think I have really had an experience like that, but during my lone walks I have very rarely experienced something like a strong "advice" inside my head urging me to go a different path from the one I had originally wanted to. As I believe in God, it would be easy to have it down as my guardian angel (or even God himself) to look out for me, making sure I don't come to harm. But I have of course no way of proving that, as I can't know what would have happened had I not listened to this inner voice of mine.

  2. Hi John, It's good to see you back again. Glad you found the photos you were looking for, strange how they are always the hardest ones to find. I've only once had a weird experience like yours, in Brasil in a magnificent restaurant in Ouro Preto. My son had already ordered for us when I felt so overwhelmed with sadness that I had to leave. The lady at the entrance gave me a chair and a glass of water and explained the building had once housed hundreds of slaves, occasionally guests felt uneasy there. It's an experience I wouldn't want to repeat.

  3. There have been times where i knew i had to pray as something evil wanted to cause havoc. Some may say it's foolishness, i don't.

  4. I wonder how many times during my digital photo & blogging years I have said the same thing to myself, about labeling my photos better. I still rarely put labels on individual photos, though - finding it too time-consuming...
    I love the Ruth Galloway series and am currently reading the latest one in the series, entitled The Locked Room - set in corona lock-down time (2020).
    Just looking at that photo of the stone circle does give me a kind of eerie feeling - something to do with the irregularity of the stones? I can't recall ever feeling anything quite like you describe though, at a place like that. But often a sense of "awe", thinking of the history. Like Meike, I sometimes also find myself changing my mind when out walking, and end up going somewhere different than I intended, without knowing why. I usually just think of it as letting my feet decide, but I suppose there is some subconscious brain activity going on even if I don't always bother to analyze it!

  5. Oh John, you would love to sit and chat with my family! We all have had some experiences like that. I should blog about a few! How fun to have a magazine want your photos. Congrats and also congrats on finding them! I hate it when I know I have a certain pic and then can't find it anywhere in my documents. Have a good week! P. S...I would love to walk around those stones!!

  6. I've not read the Ruth Galloway series but will look for it now. Always happy when I see a recommendation for some good reads!


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