It was overcast and a bit windy the day Jeneane and I went to Stonehenge. We took a special tour bus, which ensured we were able to skip the incredibly long queue of people waiting to get in and see this World Heritage site. We were there for about two hours, and some of those people were still waiting when we left. Amazing that so many people came to see a set of old, moss-covered rocks.
But that’s just it, isn’t it? Stonehenge isn’t just a set of moss-covered rocks arranged in a circular pattern. It was first built around 2,500 B.C. and ever since then has held a certain fascination for people all over the world. The most intriguing part of Stonehenge is the perpetual mystery that surrounds it. Though there are many theories; historians, scientists and conspiracy theorists still don’t know the true purpose of the stones.
We were given audio tours to take with us as we walked around the perimeter (we weren’t allowed to go inside the circle or touch the stones) which gave us a brief history of the stones, the ongoing research on them, and my favorite part, the myths and stories surrounding them.
The myths and stories tell of many people constructing the stones – Merlin, the Devil, the Druids, even aliens. My particular favorite was the story of how the Devil got them. He saw the stones in an Irish woman’s garden and wanted them for himself. When she refused to sell them to him, he made a bargain – handing over a large bag of gold, he told her she could have as many pieces as she could count while he moved the stones. Thinking it would take him ages to move them, the woman agreed. The Devil then transported the stones to their new home on Salisbury Plain instantly, before the woman had a chance to count even one coin. (Moral of the story: Don’t make deals with the Devil).
Not only are there stories about how the stones got there, but their true purpose remains a question for myths and theories to explain. Is it an astronomical calendar? A temple? A message from aliens or a portal to another dimension? Maybe it was a meeting place for Celtic tribes. It is a question scientists and historians are still trying to answer.
It was amazing to see. A bit surreal too, since I was still adjusting to the fact that I was actually in England. It really did take a while for that to sink in. Stonehenge was a good place to think too. From every angle you could turn and see Salisbury Plain stretching out before you, open to the sky and relatively free of any kind of buildings. It was fun just to sit in the grass, watch the stones and imagine an ancient procession occurring, or maybe an alien departure…needless to say I jotted down some notes in my little red journal.
So what do you think? Anything magical or alien about Stonehenge? Or is it just some strange sort of temple built by ancient peoples? Would you want to visit and see for yourself?
Don’t forget to vote in my Story Time poll to decide which Friday Fictioneers story I expand, and keep watching for more posts on my adventures in England. Coming up we have Jane Austen’s Bath and my escapade with the Doctor in Cardiff!