Author Merrily Harpur has logged a fascinating account from one George Price, who had an undeniably bizarre experience on Salisbury Plain, England in September 2002, while then serving with the British Army. It was at the height of a military exercise, Harpur was told, and Price was a “commander in the turret of our tank, and we were advancing to contact our warriors.” Suddenly, Price’s attention was drawn to a “large, ape-like figure” that “looked scared because of the noise from the engines and tanks were moving at speed all around.” Although the beast was not in sight for long – it raced for the safety of “nearby prickly shrubs” – an amazed Price could see that “its fur was similar to an Orangutan in color…its height was impressive…[and] it seemed to run with its back low, i.e. bent over.” Salisbury Plain is not just home to military maneuvers, however. It is also home to one of the world’s most famous ancient stone circles: Stonehenge.
While most students of the legendary structure conclude it had its beginnings somewhere around 3,100 BC, evidence of human activity in the area has been found suggesting a presence as far back as 8,000 BC. And a degree of that same presence is indicative of ritualistic activity, even at that incredibly early age. But, regardless of when, precisely, large-scale construction of Stonehenge actually began, what can be said with certainty is that it is comprised of a ditch, a bank, and what are known as the Aubrey holes – round pits in the chalk that form a huge circle. And then, of course, there are those massive stone blocks.
No less than eighty-two of Stonehenge’s so-called bluestones, some of which weigh up to four-tons, are believed to have been transported from the Preseli Mountains in southwest Wales to the Wiltshire site, a distance of 240 miles. Although, the actual number of stones is in dispute since, today, barely more than forty remain. Certainly, such a mammoth operation to move such huge stones would be no easy feat in the modern era, never mind thousands of years ago. And yet, somehow, this incredible and mystifying task was successfully achieved. Stonehenge’s thirty giant Sarsen stones, meanwhile, were brought from the Marlborough Downs, a distance of around twenty-five miles. This might sound like a much easier task than having to haul the bluestones all the way from Wales. Hardly. As noted, the Welsh stones are in the order of four tons. Some of the Sarsen stones from the downs, however, weigh in at twenty-five tons, the heaviest around fifty. And people wonder why so much mystery and intrigue surrounds the creation of Stonehenge?
Now we come to the Rollright Stones, which are situated near Long Compton, a centuries-old little village in the county of Oxfordshire. Collectively, they are comprised of a tomb, known as the Whispering Knights, a classic circle of stones called the King’s Men, and a solitary stone referred to as the King’s Stone. As for the time of the construction of the Rollright Stones, this appears to be a clear-cut issue: in the Neolithic and Bronze Age eras. As with Stonehenge, legends and pet-theories abound as to the particular origin of the Rollright Stones. Certainly, the most engaging is that which surfaced in 1610 from a historian named William Camden. The story goes that the stones were not always stones. They originally represented an unnamed visiting king and his faithful knights who were turned to stone – in classic Gorgon-style, one might well suggest – by a legendary local witch, one Mother Shipton. The king, not surprisingly, became the King’s Stone. The bulk of his men were turned into the King’s Men. While a few who had initially avoided – but not for long, unfortunately – Mother Shipton’s malevolent powers quickly and collectively became the Whispering Knights.
In 1977, author Paul Devereux established what became titled the Dragon Project; the purpose of which was to study claims that certain British prehistoric sites had unusual forces or energies attached to them, including magnetic, infrared and ultrasonic anomalies. While investigating none other than the Rollright Stones, Devereux reported that one of the team members – described as being a well-known archaeologist – was sitting in a van when an unidentified, hair-covered beast of considerable size walked by. An instant later, it utterly vanished, never to put in a re-appearance. It’s also worth noting that a large and lumbering beast was seen near the Peak District-based Ladybower Reservoir in November 1991. Less than one mile away, on Stanton Moor, stands a stone circle called the Nine Ladies. It was constructed during the Bronze Age era, and is a place at which, every year, druids and pagans alike celebrate the summer solstice. As the legend goes, the circle takes its name from nine women who were turned to stone as punishment for dancing on Sundays!
Perhaps, in light of the extraordinary data contained in this article, we should be focusing our attentions far less on what’s going on in the relevant location of ancient stone circles right now, and far more on (A) the matter of what may have occurred there centuries or millennia ago, and (B) the issue of what may continue to linger and wander and, sometimes, terrorize the good folk of Britain, long after physical death claimed their lives in times past and largely forgotten. For the final word on the potential connection between unidentified, upright, hairy animals and places of specifically archaeological, spiritual, and historical nature, I refer you to the writings of one of the world’s leading authorities on the phenomenon of werewolves, Linda Godfrey, the author of such fine pieces of essential reading as The Michigan Dogman, Werewolves, Hunting the American Werewolf, and The Beast of Bray Road.
Of the Native American phenomenon known as the Skinwalker – which Linda describes as “entities created by magic ritual that look like animals but are really spirit doubles of the shaman that either go out from the physical body or envelope it like a supernatural costume” – she says they are “related to the Tibetan ideas” of Tulpas. Rather significantly, when one takes into account the various encounters that occurred in the vicinity of, or relatively close to, famous standing-stones, such as Stonehenge and the Rollright Stones, the following words from Linda most assuredly stand out as being of keen relevance to such matters. She says, still on the subject of Skinwalkers: “I can tell you that Native Americans from various locations have indicated to me that these things absolutely exist, as do zoomorphic (animal-shaped) spirit guardians made to watch over sacred grounds [Author’s Note: Italics Mine].” Linda also notes that in relation to ancient Native American burial mounds (“shaped like traditional ‘water panthers’”) the mounds are “located in almost exactly the same sites as manwolf posts.”
Perhaps, then, the American “man-wolf,” or werewolf, was created, Tulpa-style, to watch over ancient American sites of deep significance, in much the same way that Bigfoot-like creatures seem to be doing precisely likewise at a multiplicity of standing-stones, and circles of stone, in the U.K. One beast may exhibit ape-like characteristics and the other a far more wolfish appearance, but, at the end of the day, they may very well both be definitive supernatural “guard-dogs,” still faithfully patrolling the old sites they were created to protect all those centuries and millennia ago.
By NICK REDFERN