Thursday, May 1, 2014

America's Stonehenge

I’m writing to you from Wiseman’s View near Linville North Carolina, deep in the Pisgah National Forest where I’m waiting for sundown in hopes of catching a glimpse of the mysterious Brown Mountain lights. It’s the perfect place to reflect on another recent journey I took to a place that harbors many ancient and peculiar secrets.
Near the small town of Salem New Hampshire there exists one of the most enigmatic sites in New England, the origins and true purpose of which may never be known for sure.  While traveling in the Boston area last month I couldn’t resist making the short 40 trip north to see it for myself. It’s called America’s Stonehenge has been featured on such shows as America Unearthed and In Search Of. Known previously as Mystery Hill, America’s Stonehenge is a large complex composed of buried chambers made from quarried stone,  enclosures and standing stones placed at some very deliberate locations around the complex. The site has continually perplexed researchers and has been the source of much controversy and speculation. 


Carbon 14 dating from features including a man-made fire pit indicates human habitation nearly 4000 years ago. While this does not provide a construction date for the entire complex it does show that there was human activity from a very early time in history. But possibly the most intriguing characteristics of America’s Stonehenge are those from which it derives its name. Are you ready? The various megaliths existing around the site are aligned with astrological events such as the Summer Solstice Sunrise and Spring and Fall equinox sunrises as they would have occurred around 1500 BC thus proving it was not the first Dunken Donuts.
Other inexplicable features are present at the site. At the center of the complex, just above the dank underground room known as the Oracle Chamber, there is a stone table. It features a groove carved into the surface presumably to allow a liquid to drain from the surface of the slab and into a receptacle. Was this used as a sacrificial table as the name of the feature suggests? Standing beside this alter deep in the woods my own dark imagination was set in motion as I imagined blasphemous rites of unspeakable terror being performed at this isolated monument. But I’m not alone in my thinking.   
This very location was the setting which inspired The Dunwich Horror, a story written by H.P. Lovecraft in the 1920’s.


Even more curious is the function of the Oracle Chamber itself which seems by design to allow sound to travel up a shaft from the underground room and project loudly into the area of the Sacrificial Table.
There is much speculation as to the origin of the complex. Some insist that Native Americans are responsible. Still others point to similarities between its construction and structures found in the British Isles. It has even been suggested that the site was built by Irish Monks or the Phoenician culture. My personal theory is that the site is European in origin and possibly the work of pagan worshipers or at least non-orthodox, Christian ascetics escaping persecution.

Whatever, the case may be one thing is certain. The site has been heavily altered and used for purposes ranging from a hide-out for escaped slaves to a haven for the 19th century homeless. Having been partially dismantled by previous owners in order to sell its quarried stones, much research is still needed to reconstruct the original form and determine the intended function of the site. 

If you’re ever in New England and looking for a unique excursion that will leave you puzzled, I recommend a visit to this place. For more info visit: 

Semper Explorandum