Category Archives: graves

Cairns and stacked rocks


Cairns and stacked rocks

Potential power quest cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289)

Potential power quest cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289)

Cairns and Stacked Rocks
By Thomas Baurley

The stacking of stones is a widespread cultural practice all around the world. You know it is a remnant of modern, historical, or prehistoric cultural manufacture because they were not placed there by nature. Most likely a ‘human’ moved one stone atop another. They vary in size from one or two rocks or more stacked on top of each other in simplicity to complexity of mounds, cairns, pyramids, tombs, and massive megalithic complexes.

The meaning behind the practice varies between cultures and time periods throughout history. Archaeologists however, are only interested in those that are at least 50 years old (historical archaeology in America), 100 years old (Europe and other parts of the world), or prehistoric (hundreds to thousands of years in age). They can be field clearing piles, fence piles, burial mounds, markers, signifiers, monuments, spiritual tools, graves, food stores, game drives, rock alignments, power quest markers, altars, shrines, prayer seats, hearths, circles, and/or memorials. Their uses can vary from remnants of field clearing for plowing, stabilizing fences, make walls, clearing or road construction, markers of a road trail or path, survey markers, memorial, burial, vision quest marker, or part of something bigger like a structure, burial, tomb, underground chamber, prayer seat, tipi ring, or offering to Gods, spirits, entities.

These commonly can be found along streams, creeks, lakes, springs, rivers, waterways, sea cliffs, beaches, in the desert, tundra, in uplands, on mountaintops, ridges, peaks, and hill tops. In underpopulated areas they can represent emergency location points. North American trail markers are often called ‘ducks’ or ‘duckies’ because they have a ‘beak’ that points in the direction of the route. Coastal cairns or ‘sea markers’ are common in the northern latitudes can indicate navigation marking and sometimes are notated on navigation charts. Sometimes these are painted and are visible from off shore. This is a common practice in Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Scandinavia.

Cairns / stacked rocks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

Cairns / stacked rocks (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

ROCK STACKS

Often the practice of stacking rocks is used to mark a trail, path, or road. Many say without these markings, it is often hard to follow a laid out trail, especially in areas that receive deep snowfall. When modern cairn builders place their ‘art’ or message of ego along a trail they can be causing harm, hiding the true trail markers and if placed in a wrong place can lead a hiker astray or get them lost. Original use is often as a route marker and it’s important to preserve that integrity. Modern application of this practice can not only lead people astray but disrupt cultural studies, archaeology, geology, and the environment. Moving stones can upset plant life, insect habitats, as well as homes of lizards, rats, mice, and other creatures.

Other times these rock stacks have spiritual or religious purpose. These are sometimes offerings to the little people, fairies, faeries, nature spirits, Saints, entities, or God/desses. Sometimes these are arranged for a vision quest, other times as a prayer seat, or part of a stone circle. Many times if found around rivers, streams, creeks, or springs ‘ they are offerings to the nature spirits, water spirits, nymphs, naiads, and/or dryads. Sometimes these are markers for portals, vortexes, gateways between worlds, lei lines, or places of spiritual importance. They honor spirits, Deities, Ancestors, or the Dead.

Sometimes these stacked rocks are considered ‘art’, a meditative exercise, or something someone does out of boredom.

Prince Cian making Cairns (http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=3289).

Prince Cian making Cairns

In spiritual ‘new age’ hotspots, modern creations of these ‘cairns’ or ‘rock stacks’ are actually quite problematic because they have become invasive upon the landscape, blocking access or movement. In addition, modern creations of them destroy, hide, or change importance of historical or prehistoric ones that existed before. This is a similar impact between modern graffiti and rock art. This has become a major problem in places like Sedona Arizona; Telluride, Colorado; Arches National Park, Utah.

Prehistoric use

Aborigines, Natives, Tribes, and Original Peoples have utilized cairns and rock stacks all over the world. Mostly the intent was as a ‘marker’. In the Americas, various tribes such as the Paiutes as well as early Pioneers left them to mark important trails or historic roads. The Inuksuk practice used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other Arctic aborigines in North America ranging from Alaska to Greenland to Iceland are markers for ‘way finding’ and to locate caches of food, supplies, and other goods.

Cairns and rock stacks have been used prehistorically for hunting, defense, burials, ceremonial structures, astronomical structures or markers.

Modern Stacking

Some say the practice began as a New Age spiritual movement with the Harmonic Convergence in 1987 within a global synchronized meditation event for peace, love, and spiritual unity. This fell on places of well known vortexes, spiritual hotspots, or sacred landscapes such as Sedona, Arizona. These have become ‘prayer stone stacks’. Even fundamental Christian religions and cults practice this to ‘claim ordinary moments of life for God and invite those who pass by to notice the holy ground on which they already stand’.

CAIRNS

Cairns are actually technically different than rock stacks. The term actually derives from Scots Gaelic c’rn / Middle Gaelic for ‘mounds of stones built as a memorial or landmark.’ In this application, many of these rock piles are actually burials, tombs, and/or graves. Sometimes they are just memorials and do not contain human remains.

EUROPE

Early in Eurasian history has been the construction of cairns. These ranged in size from small piles to massive hills or mountains made of neatly placed stones. This was very common in the Bronze Age with constructions of standing stones, dolmens, kistvaens, or tombs that often contained human remains. Larger structures sometimes made up earthworks, tumuli, kurgans, megaliths, and underground complexes. Those that were monuments would be added to by people honoring the deceased, common place in Gaelic culture Cuiridh mi clach air do ch’rn, “I’ll put a stone on your cairn”.

In Ancient Greece, Cairns were associated with Hermes, God of overland travel. The legend of which states that Hera placed Hermes on trial for slaying her favorite servant Argus. As the other Gods acted as jury to declare their vote would place pebbles and stones to throw at Hermes or Hera to whom they felt was right. Hermes was said to have been buried under a pile of stones and this was the world’s first cairn.

In Celtic belief, some of the stones represent spirits or faeries. Spirits of the night were often these stones.
Some popular large stone monuments and earthworks in Ireland are the Giant’s Grave or Binne’s Cairn in Curraghbinny Woods, Cork, Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1823); Loughcrew Passage Tomb in County Meath Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=1601); Slieve Gullion in Northern Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=851); Poulnabrone Portal Tomb in County Clare Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=101); Knocknashee in Sligo Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=99); Newgrange Ireland ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=91); and the 9 Maidens Stone Circle in Cornwall, England ( http://www.technogypsie.com/science/?p=71) are homes to European styled cairns.

AMERICAS

Cairns were often used as ‘game drives’ to create lanes in which to guide the prey along a ridge, shelf, or over a cliff. This was popular in the use of buffalo jumps dating as early as 12000 years ago. Others were markers and directional guides. Some are shaped as petro forms shaping out animals, turtles, or other creatures. Some were shrines or offerings to other beings, spirits, or God/desses.

NORTHERN OREGON

Along the Columbia River near Mosier, Oregon exists a 30 acre complex of rock walls, pits, and cairns patterned in a talus and debris field at the foot of a 30 meter Columbia Gorge escarpment commonly called ‘Mosier Mounds’. These are associated with vision quests, burials, and game drives. Along this region, many of the talus and slide debris fields are used regularly for burials, food storage, vision quests, and youth training. These are remnants of Columbia Plateau traditions in forms of walls, troughs, cairns, pits, and trails.

SOUTHEASTERN OREGON

When Euro-Americans came in through the Klamath Basin, they noted the numerous cairns constructed by the indigenous (Henry L. Abbot 1855, William J. Clark 1885). Prior to contact, these cairns had several religious functions from power quests, vision quests, mortuary markers, or graves.

Many of the Cairns or rock stacks found in Southeastern Oregon is being studied by the Far Western Anthropological Research Group (FWARG) in Davis, California. Because of the surviving Klamath tribes have shared information about their use of cairns and rock stacks, much has been learned about their practices and implementation. Many of the cairns in SE Oregon range from small stacks to large cairns, some creating circular structures that are very conspicuous. Because of this, various Governmental agencies such as the BLM and US Forest Service have been making efforts to protect them from damage when making roads, logging, ranching, or other impacts made upon government lands. Some of the smaller rock stacks are not very noticeable, they may simply be only one or two stones stacked upon a boulder or bedrock. Some of these points towards spiritually significant locations such as Mount Shasta and others seem not to have any significance at all. During construction of the Ruby pipeline, a 42 inch natural gas pipeline beginning in Wyoming and running to Malin, Oregon brought to discussion between BLM, the Tribes, and personnel an agreement to develop better methods to identify, understand, protect, and preserve these stacks, mostly after the implementation of the Pipeline. This study was conducted by Far Western.

The Klamath and Modoc Tribes was known to have constructed numerous rock stacks to form petro forms ‘ the moving of rocks into a new formation to create man-made patterns or shapes on the ground by lining down or piling up stones, boulders, and large rocks. Some of these were cairns for vision quests and others formed semi-circular prayer seats. Interviews conducted with the tribes determined that these features contribute to the Klamath and Modoc worldviews and beginnings being an important part of their sacred landscape. Most of their important rocks stacks are found in higher elevations. There are two general forms: the stacked rock column constructed by placing one rock atop another in sequence to varying heights; and the conical cairn that possessing variable number of rocks forming the base built upon to create a conical or mound-like shape. Sometimes linear ‘S’ shaped or wall like rock features are commonplace as well. Prayer Seats are defined as a semi-circular, elliptical, or horseshoe shaped area built with stone and/or timber and arranged to a sufficient height to provide wind break. Many of these were natural features enhanced with rock stacking or lumber. Klamath tribes prohibit touching or photographing cairns, prayer seats, or any other sacred cultural site. Tribal governments permit sketches or illustrations many of the Klamath and/or Modoc are uncomfortable with such illustrations. Numerous studies conducted in 1997 provided recordings of dozens of rock cairns on Pelican Butte ‘ mountain overlooking Klamath Lake, and Bryant Mountain by Matt Goodwin (1997). There are numerous rock cairns in Lava Beds National Monument which is believed to be Modoc territory. The Modoc and Klamath tribes define themselves as residing in a junction of four cultural areas known as the (1) Plateau, (2) California, (3) Northwest Coast, and (4) the Great Basin. Within the Plateau, the tribes would hold the Plateau Vision Quest where they piled stones atop one another in order to obtain visions. This was also common within the Middle Columbia area and the Great Basin. Far View Butte has recorded over 245 rock cairns.

The Yahooskin Paiute also erected cairns for ritual purposes as did the Northern Paiute. Paiute shamans were known to have constructed cairns in the presence of rock art as another extension of their vision quests. The Shasta young boys and young men also stacked rocks reportedly when they sought out luck. Rock stacks and prayer seats are also recorded throughout Northwestern California including Yurok, Tolowa, and Karok territories. Within these territories are distinguished six different configurations commonly used in stacking rocks together forming a rock feature complex located in the high country of northwestern California. These being rock cairns, rock stacks, prayer seats, rock alignments, rock circles, and rock hearth rings. There are also several cairn sites in the Northwest coast culture area such as Gold Beach, Pistol River area, upper drainage of the Rogue River at the juncture of the Northwest coast, California, and Plateau culture areas. At the Ridgeland Meadows Site (35JA301) there are over 50 cairns constructed in conical fashion.

Rock cairns associated with petro glyphs are well known connectors to vision quests and power spots with various tribes, especially the Klamath and Modoc. The ‘house of the rising sun’ cave and pictoglyph site of the Klamath at an undisclosed location in Northern California is notably associated with a power quest that scholars studying the site have concluded corresponds with the ethnographically described house of the Klamath/Modoc culture hero ‘Gmok’am’c’ who is associated with the sun in myths recorded by Jeremiah Curtin and Don Hann (1998) concluding that the site’s association with the mythos makes it a portal to the supernatural section of the Modoc cosmos and therefore being a strong supernatural location for power quests.
Continue reading Cairns and stacked rocks

Print Friendly
Share

Serpent Mound, Peebles, Ohio

Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935); Exploring the Moundbuilder - New Beginnings: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935)

Serpent Mound
~ 3850 State Route 73, Peebles, Ohio 45660 ~ 1-800-752-2757 ~ www.arcofappalachia.org ~

One of the most world famous mound-culture sites in Ohio, Serpent Mound is an animal effigy mound that can be seen from the sky or up high. The site is well preserved and protected, with a nice parking lot, rest rooms, museum, and group picnic areas. There is a scaffolding tower you can climb on to view the serpent mound better. There is a $8 charge per vehicle to park, otherwise admission is free. Park is open 9 am until dusk. Museum closes at 4 pm. You no longer can climb or walk on the mounds as they are being preserved for future generations and protecting their sacredness. This site is the world’s largest surviving example of an ancient animal effigy mound. It winds over 1,348 fee oer the ground, and the earthworks are beautifully preserved example of an undulating serpent with an oval shape at the head. These kind of mounds were created by aboriginal inhabitants of the area prior to Euro-American settlers and exploration. The earthworks are very sophisticated art and unfortunately through the past, many were destroyed by Euro-American settlers, homesteaders, agriculture, and development. Early excavations revealed no artifacts to help identify which tribe or peoples created it. It is believed that multiple cultures could have contributed to it over time. There were later discovered, three conical burial mounds right by the Serpent Mound, two of which date to the Adeno Culture (800 BCE – 100 CE) and one to the Fort Ancient Culture (1000-1650 CE). A nearby village site was occupied by both the Adena and the Fort Ancient Cultures. Carbon dating from within the mound has shown conflicting dates for both Fort Ancient and Adena Time periods leaving the mound builders a remote mystery. Excavations in 2012 reveal the buried foundations of a fourth coil near the head. While there are some oral traditions suggesting possible interpretations of its meaning and use, there are also many modern theories trying to explain it, but no sound complete explanation exists. There are striking astronomical correlations with the moon and sun, with astrological observations that can be made throughout the year with various seasons and festivals. The serpent motif has a symbolic connection to many cultures as a symbol of cycles of birth and death, resurrection , and the higher/lower worlds.

A tributary of the Ohio Brush Creek runs through the park, bringing many species of plants and animals to live here, rare and common. The rock cliffs below the mound are dolomite limestone as the bedrock base providing classic karst features of grotto cliffs, and springs / sinkholes around the region. The earthworks sit atop a narrow flat ridge at the edge of an ancient crater at least 4 miles in diameter. The crater was formed by a meteorite impact that occurred 250 million years ago, giving lift to this magical formation. At the ancient crater’s center, the bedrock was pushed upward at least a thousand feet from its original position. Throughout the bowl of the structure there are massive cracks, faults, and places where to rock layers are jumbled and even upside down. The Mound has international recognition and has been submitted to UNESCO – United nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization for the World Heritage List.

Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935); Exploring the Moundbuilder - New Beginnings: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 26, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Serpent Mound (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28935); Exploring the Moundbuilder – New Beginnings: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 26, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Continue reading Serpent Mound, Peebles, Ohio

Print Friendly
Share

Binne’s Cairn: The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Woods, Cork, Ireland

113013-062
Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

The Giant’s Grave: Binne’s Cairn
* Curraghbinny Woods, County Cork, Munster, Ireland * Latitude: 51°48’41.35″ * Longitude: -8°17’52.72″ *

Atop the summit of Curraghbinny Hill in Curraghbinny Forest Recreation Area lies a mound of giant stones/ cairn that is locally called “The Giant’s Grave”. The grave overlooks Cork Harbour. It was excavated by an archaeological team in 1932 by archaeologist Sean P. O’Riordan. During this excavation, a large circle of giant boulders were uncovered beneath a spread of stones. Within the cairn was an arc of smaller stones closer to the center. In the center of the monument was a heap of stone and clay. That is all found within the cairn. Nearby however were found cattle teeth, cattle bone, charcoal, cremated human bone, a small bronze ring, and two collections of water-rolled pebbles imported from elsewhere. The cremated human bone found nearby was carbon dated roughly to be 4,000 years old. No one knows the exact date of the cairn, but it is estimate to be Bronze Age (2000 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E.). The name of the woods “Curraghbinny” in Irish is “Corra Binne” named after the legendary giant called Binne. It is believed that this cairn is his burial chamber atop the hill (called a “Corra” in Irish). The stone most likely was deposited naturally during the Ice Age 20,000 years ago. The Giant’s Stone in Crosshaven went missing after the slob in the town center was filled in and was recently recovered and brought back to be displayed in the middle of Crosshaven.

113013-064
Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

The legend of the Giant named Binne
According to Robert Day who told the tale in 1892 about a giant named Mahain who threw two stones from Monkstown landing in Ringaskiddy and the other in Crosshaven. It is believed this was the Giant named Binne. Another local tale tells a similar tale, but this time the Giant was called Binne, and lived locally in Currabinny. He was the giant who cast the stones into Crosshaven years ago. The stone apparently has a set of fingerprints embedded into the stone leading viewers of it to believe they belonged to a giant.

113013-067
Binne’s Cairn, The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Hill, Ireland

Continue reading Binne’s Cairn: The Giant’s Grave, Curraghbinny Woods, Cork, Ireland

Print Friendly
Share

Paul Koudounaris’ lecture on Heavenly Bodies : Spectacular Jeweled Skeletons

1415597_10151788907323727_411803705_n

Paul Koudounaris: Heavenly Bodies
* Lecture, Slide Show, and Book Signing * The Strange Factory * Albuquerque, New Mexico * Friday, November 22, 2013 *

A race from Taos to Albuquerque to visit a friend’s lecture on his amazing discoveries about decorative skeletons was a whirlwind by itself, but would up to be an incredible night of magic, gold, jewels, and folklore. We wandered into the Strange Factory a little late as a snow storm slowed our travels on site, but were warmed with awe as we saw some of the works that Paul Koudounaris exhibited in his presentation. A astute author and photographer from Los Angeles, California; Paul K was presenting at the oddities shop called “the Strange Factory” in the University district of Albuquerque. Paul K’s charnel house and ossuary research has broken research milestones in folklore, oddities, and macabre art. This evenings lecture covered those of human skeletons found in Catholic churches adorned with gold and gemstones. He is a leading expert on bone-decorated shrines and religious structures.
Paul Koudounaris, PhD in Art History (UCLA 2004) is an author and photographer from Los Angeles that specializes in Baroque-era Northern European Art. His charnel house and ossuary research and photos have made him a well-known figure in the field of macabre art, and he is a leading expert in the history of bone-decorated shrines, human remains, religious art, and religious structures.He obtained a PhD in Art History from UCLA in 2004, with a specialty in Baroque-era Northern European Art. He began his research in 2006 studying the use of human remains in religious ritual and as a decorative element in sacred spaces, especially within the context of the Catholic Church. He began researching the existence of these pieces, photographing them, writing about them, and publishing the results in the Prague Post, Fortean Times, and other such publications. He compiled a premiere work on bone-decorated religious structures taking field trips to over 70 sites along four continents, many of which had never been seen or photographed. He released this book as “Heavenly Bodies” in 2013 through Thames and Hudson. This story told the tale of a group of skeletons removed from the Roman catacombs during the 17th century decorated with jewels by various nuns. These bones were at first mistakenly identified as Christian martyrs and shipped to Germanic churches, decorated, and placed in the altars. Through time, most of these were removed, disposed of or thrown into storage during the Enlightenment. He tracked down the corpses’ locations, documented them, and photographed them for for book. This book followed his successful masterpiece “The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses” in 2011. The presentation was well spoken and masterfully done to a full house in attendance.

Print Friendly
Share

Ballymacdermot court tomb

Ballymacdermot Court Tomb
County Armagh, Northern Ireland: “This fine court tomb on the south slope of Ballymacdermot Mountain dates from about 3500 BCE. It has three separate burial chambers in a gallery which was entered from the forecourt – hence the name. Funeral rites may have been performed in the forecourt before the bones or ashes of the dead were placed inside. When the site was excavated in 1962 a few fragments of cremated bone, probably human, were found in the two larger chambers. In the gallery, on the right side, you can see projecting stones (corbels) that support the roof. In 1816, John Bell of Killevy Castle reported in the Newry Magazine that he and the local landowner Johnathon Seaver – whose name is perpetuated in Seavers Road just south of here – had opened the tomb and found an urn containing pulverized bone. A thoroughly modern encounter took place in WWII when the tomb withstood an assault by an American tank which accidentally bumped into it during maneuvers. Despite these happenings, Ballymacdermot remains one of the finest best preserved court tombs in Armagh” ~ sign at Ballymacdermot tomb.

Continue reading Ballymacdermot court tomb

Print Friendly
Share

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, New York

062713-032

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
* Sleepy Hollow, New York, USA *

Most known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by resident Washington Irving. The town was originally “North Tarrytown” but name-changed to the village of “Sleepy Hollow” in 1996/1997 to memorialize the stories and Washington Irving. Therefore, this cemetery was not originally called “Sleepy Hollow Cemetery” but more known as the Old Dutch Church Burying Ground. Even though these grounds appear to be one cemetery, it is actually two and maintained as such as two distinctly separate entities, even though they share the same main entrance. There is the Old Dutch Burying Ground known in the Legend and attached to the Old Dutch Church, and present day Sleepy Hollow Cemetery that surrounds the older cemetery. The people that inspired the characters in Irving’s tales are buried in the older cemetery, while Irving and his family are buried in the new one. Together the cemetery extends over 88 acres. The original lot is only 3 acres.

Just as the headless corpse of the Hussian soldier who was buried here is unmarked and legendary, part of the Sleepy Hollow tale, another famous unmarked burial legend is that of the Witch named Hulda. She was an immigrant from Bohemia and reputed as the local witch, living in her cabin alone, making remedies for the locals out of herbs and lore. Most of the town were believed to be scared of her, even though she’d leave baskets of healing potions at their doorsteps when they were ill. She was killed by British soldiers when they marched upon the town and she got in their way, and the locals buried her in the Christian Old Dutch Burying Ground as a patriot who died fighting for her community. Other famous residents of the cemetery are Brooke Astor, Queen of Mean Leona Helmsley, Elizabeth Arden, Walter Chrysler, Andrew Carnegie, William Rockefeller and Samuel Gompers. Other residents include Viola Allen, John Dustin Archbold, Vincent Astor, Leo Baekeland, Robert Livingston Beeckman, Holbrook Blinn, Henry E. Bliss, Artur Bodanzky, Major Edward Bowes, Alice Brady, Louise Whitfield Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Francis Pharcellus Church, William Conant Church, Henry Sloane Coffin, Kent Cooper, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, William H. Douglas, Maud Earl, Parker Fennelly, Malcolm Webster Ford, Paul Leicester Ford, Samuel Gompers, Madison Grant, Moses Hicks Grinnell, Walter S. Gurnee, Robert Havell, Mark Hellinger, Herry Helmsley, Raymond Matthewson Hood, WIlliam Howard Hoople, Washington Irving, William Irving, George Jones, Albert Lasker, Mary Lasker, Lewis Edward Lawes, Ann Lohman, Charles D. Millard, Darius Ogden Mills, Belle Moskowitz, Robertson Kirtland Mygatt, Nathaniel H. Odell, Whitelaw Reid, William Rockefeller, Edgar Evertson Saltus, Francis Saltus Saltus, Henry Villard Memorial, Carl Schurz, Charles Sheeler, William G. Stahlnecker, William Boyce Thompson, Joseph Urban, Henry Villard, Oswald Garrison Villard, Oswald Garrison Villard, William A. Walker, Paul Warburg, Thomas J. Watson, Egerton Swartwout, and Hans Zinsser.

Washington Irving loved this area and lived just down the road from Sleepy Hollow in his Dutch-style estate he called “Sunnyside”. When the cemetery was expanding and being called “Tarrytown Cemetery”, his influence to the naming was held high, as he declared he would rest his bones there someday, and it was later called “Sleepy Hollow Cemetery”. It was originally incorporated in 1849 as “Tarrytown Cemetery”, but later changed as requested. It became a National Register of Historic Places property in 2009. It is a non-profit, non-sectarian burying ground. The Rockefeller Family Estate borders the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and contains the private Rockefeller cemetery.

062713-093

Continue reading Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, New York

Print Friendly
Share

Viking Art Stone, Borre, Norway


Viking Art/Rune Stone, Borre Viking Marked, Borre, Norway

The Viking Art Stone
Borrehaugene National Park, Borre, Norway

In the Borrehaugene National Park lies a modern artistic replication of a Viking runic stone as one walks towards the grave mounds. The Park is home to the largest number of burial mounds from the Viking age – which were contemporaneous to the famous boat graves at Oseberg and the trading centre Kaupang in Tjřlling. It is suggested that this burial site was used for burying Norwegian kings descending from the Ynglinge dynasty. I unfortunately could not find any information about who created this piece of art on the boulder, if the boulder was added to the park or was a currently standing one, and what is the age of the painting. It does however look very modern.

Print Friendly
Share

Ossian’s Grave (Cloghbrack/Cushendall, Northern Ireland)

Ossian’s Grave
* Cloghbrack * Cushendall * Northern Ireland *

The fabled site of where the wandering poet, bard, and seer “Oisin” is believed to be buried. Atop a hill overlooking the valley and down into the Glen as well as over the Channel to be able to see Scotland on a clear day, the location for this small megalithic tomb is spectacular. The Tomb faces East, South-east next to an oval cairn dedicated to poet John Hewitt. Oisin’s Grave / Ossian’s tomb is a small megalithic semi-circular court opening into a two-chambered burial gallery. The back chamber is composed of two sidestones at the southwest, a back or sidestone at the northeast, with a pair of transverse jambs higher than the other stones as if they may have been originally designed as portals. The Forechamber is in very poor shape with only 2 sidestones intact with a pair of portal stones. Within the chamber lies a fallen stone that may have been the displaced roof-stone. The large court dominates the tomb, but additional stones suggest that the court may have belonged to two periods, relating to a back chamber and subsequent fore-portals.

A great irish poet, John Hewitt was very impressed with Ossian’s grave and the megalithic tomb that exists on this hill. So much that he wrote a poem about the site called “Oisin’s Grave: the horned cairn at Lubitavish, Co. Antrim”. Because of this, a stone cairn in Hewitt’s memory was constructed here in 1989 commemorating him as the “Poet of the Glens”.

    We stood and pondered on the stones
    whose plan displays their pattern still;
    the small blunt arc, and, sill by sill,
    the pockets stripped of shards and bones.
    The legend has it, Ossian lies

    beneath this landmark on the hill,
    asleep till Fionn and Oscar rise
    to summon his old bardic skill
    in hosting their last enterprise.

    This, stricter scholarship denies,
    declares this megalithic form
    millennia older than his time –
    if such lived ever, out of rime –
    was shaped beneath Sardinian skies,
    was coasted round the capes of Spain,
    brought here through black Biscayan storm,
    to keep men’s hearts in mind of home
    and its tall Sun God, wise and warm,
    across the walls of toppling foam,
    against this twilight and the rain.

    I cannot tell; would ask no proof;
    let either story stand for true,
    as heart or head shall rule. Enough
    that, our long meditation done,
    as we paced down the broken lane
    by the dark hillside’s holly trees,
    a great white horse with lifted knees
    came stepping past us, and we knew
    his rider was no tinker’s son.

Official information: http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/nismrview.htm?monid=1476

Related Documents…

ossians1.jpg (215.0 KB)
ossians2.jpg (259.5 KB)
More Information about these Documents…Opens in new window
CLOGHBRACK, OSSIAN’S GRAVE

 

SMR Number ANT 019:006                                   Additional Information…
Edited Type COURT TOMB: OSSIAN’S GRAVE OR CLOGHBRACK
Townland
LUBITAVISH
Council MOYLE
County ANT
Grid Ref D2129028460
Protection State Care and Scheduled
Parish LAYD
Barony GLENARM LOWER
Town
General Type MEGALITHIC TOMB
Condition SUBSTANTIAL REMAINS
General Periods  [description of Periods]Opens in new window
NEOLITHIC
PREHISTORIC
Specific Type Specific Period
COURT TOMB NEOLITHIC
Bibliography
BORLASE,W. 1897, I, 262-3
EVANS,E.E. & GAFFIKIN,M. B.N.F.C. SURVEY OF ANTIQUITIES:
GRAY,W. JRSAI 16, 1883-4, 360
GRAY,W. P.B.N.F.C., 1883-4, APP.236 NO.6
HISTORY OF IRELAND (?)
MEGALITHS AND RATHS. I.N.J. 1935, V, 247
O.S. FIELD REPORT NIO.132
O’LAVERTY,J. 1887, VOL.IV, 542
PSAMNI 1940, 9
UJA 13, 1907, 84, PLAN & PHOTO

Continue reading Ossian’s Grave (Cloghbrack/Cushendall, Northern Ireland)

Print Friendly
Share

John Hewitt’s Memorial Marker (Cushendall, N. Ireland)

John Hewitt’s Memorial Cairn
* Ossian’s Grave, Cushendall, Northern Ireland *

A popular Northern Ireland poet, John Harold Hewitt blessed the earth with his works from 1907 until June 22, 1987. He was born in Belfast, and was labelled one of the more significant poets of his time along with Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, and Derek Mahon. He was appointed in 1976 as the first writer in residence at the Queen’s University in Belfast. Some of his more popular works besides Ossian’s Grave was The Day of the Corncrake and Out of My Time: Poems 1969 to 1974. He als held positions in the Belfast Museum and Art gallery, a Freeman of the City of belfast, and honored with doctorates from the University of Ulster and Queen’s University. He had a very active political life as a “man of the left” who was very involved with the British Labour Party, the Fabian Society, and the Belfast Peace League. He described himself as Irish, British, Ulster, and European. On Mayday of 1985 he opened the Belfast Unemployed Resources Center.

A great irish poet, John Hewitt was very impressed with Ossian’s grave and the megalithic tomb that exists on this hill. So much that he wrote a poem about the site called “Oisin’s Grave: the horned cairn at Lubitavish, Co. Antrim”. Because of this, a stone cairn in Hewitt’s memory was constructed here in 1989 commemorating him as the “Poet of the Glens”.

    We stood and pondered on the stones
    whose plan displays their pattern still;
    the small blunt arc, and, sill by sill,
    the pockets stripped of shards and bones.

    The legend has it, Ossian lies

    beneath this landmark on the hill,

    asleep till Fionn and Oscar rise
    to summon his old bardic skill
    in hosting their last enterprise.

    This, stricter scholarship denies,

    declares this megalithic form
    millennia older than his time –
    if such lived ever, out of rime –
    was shaped beneath Sardinian skies,
    was coasted round the capes of Spain,
    brought here through black Biscayan storm,

    to keep men’s hearts in mind of home
    and its tall Sun God, wise and warm,
    across the walls of toppling foam,
    against this twilight and the rain.

    I cannot tell; would ask no proof;

    let either story stand for true,
    as heart or head shall rule. Enough
    that, our long meditation done,
    as we paced down the broken lane
    by the dark hillside’s holly trees,
    a great white horse with lifted knees
    came stepping past us, and we knew
    his rider was no tinker’s son.

Continue reading John Hewitt’s Memorial Marker (Cushendall, N. Ireland)

Print Friendly
Share

Yorktown Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, Virginia

Yorktown Colonial National Historical Park * http://www.nps.gov/colo * PO BOX 210, Yorktown, Virginia 23690 *


Yorktown Battlefield

Another National Park of the Historic Triangle lies a small museum and visitor center where the staff will orientate you on the history of the Yorktown Colonial National Battlefield with dioramas showing scenes from life around the battle as well as welcoming you aboard a mock ship from the era. The Visitor center is surrounded by British defensive earthenworks preserved from the battles. There is a 16 minute film on the history of the battle presented within on the “Siege of Yorktown”. General George Washington’s military tents can be viewed as well as artifacts from the siege. After the visitor center, drive the self-guided driving tour around the battlefields for seven miles viewing American and French siege lines, visit the Moore House, and the site of the surrender negotiations ending the Siege, where the British army grounded their weapons in an elaborate ceremony. I’m a history buff, but I’m not much on historic battlefield sites and exhibits, so I can’t say it was one of the highlights of my trip but for the history buff of the era I’m guessing its worth a gander. The center and park was put together very nicely though the driving tour was confusing. Rating 2.5 stars out of 5. Visited 5/22/2008.

Continue reading Yorktown Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, Virginia

Print Friendly
Share

Narooma Cemetery

Narooma Graveyard, Narooma, New South Wales, Australia

As we headed off to Glasshouse Rocks Beach we were told to park in the Narooma graveyard. This seemed to be a common local backpath down to the beach by cutting across the graveyard and following the picket fence down a path to the beach. What befell us though was an amazing artistic cemetery with very individual graves and markings worthy of a photoshoot and look. Much history are in these fields … a must visit on the way to Glasshouse Rocks Beach. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Continue reading Narooma Cemetery

Print Friendly
Share

Pukamani Poles

Pukamani Poles

The Australian Aborigine “Tiwi” people of the Bathurst and Melville Islands of the Northern Territories have symbollic material cultural artifacts littering their landscape similar to the use of headstones or grave markings in Western culture. These are called “Pukamani Poles” and represent individual people who have passed away incorporating a mourning process into their state of being from their birth, life, death, and rebirth. Posts with shapes of heads are believed to be female, while those with projecting arms represent males. While they are interpreted as “mortuary poles” to Westerners, they are not called as such by the Aborigine who make them. One of the best displays of these poles can be found at the National Museum of Australia. Intricate ceremonies surround the poles in Tiwi culture especially the public “Pukumani Ceremony” or “Mortuary Ceremony” which is done for burial including singing, dancing, and the creation of these specially carved poles called tutini and tungas and arm bands. The poles are made from the trunk of ironwood trees, carved and decorated to celebrate the deceased’s life and spiritual journey. The ceremony is performed to ensure that the spirit of the deceased goes from the living world into the spirit world. It is also seen as a forum for artistic expression through song, dance, sculpture, and body painting which is held 6 months after the deceased has been buried. The Tiwi believe that the deceased’s existence in the living world is not finished until the completion of the ceremony and is seen as the climax of the series of ceremonies following the burial of the dead. The poles are placed around the burial site of the deceased during the ceremony and represent the status the deceased had while living. Participants in the ceremony are painted with natural ochres utilizing many different designs that transforms the dancers and provides protection against recognition by the spirit of the deceased. Kin of the deceased – the mother, father, siblings, and widow must dance and includes the last wailing notes of the death song, then the grave is deserted and the burial pole is allowed to deteriorate. The practice was believed to come about from the time when all things were immortal until the Goddess “Wai-ai” broke the law causing the death of her son Jinaini. The God Purakapali, his father, through mourning, created the first pukamani ceremony while he wept and decreed from then on anyone who died would follow his son into the world of the spirits. He was joined by the great bird man “Tokampini” and they sculpted the first of the great painted poles at a burial place near the sea. They created dances, songs, and symbols that were painted on this pole transmitting this to all the people around to see. This assures life after death and permits the deceased to reach the world of spirits where he will live forever.

Continue reading Pukamani Poles

Print Friendly
Share

The Gypsy Graveyard (Crown Point, Indiana)

The Gypsy Graveyard, Crown Point, Indiana


THE GYPSY GRAVEYARD
Crown Point, Indiana
Apparently a group of Gypsies had moved to Crown Point in the early 1800’s and were kicked out of town (as is usual with travelling gypsies) after being in town for only a couple of days. Accused of stealing livestock, stealing, immoral values, pagan rituals, they were pressured to leave. The gypsies were hit with a plague of influenza and told the townspeople they couldn’t leave till they got better, but the citizens of Crown Point were uncaring and turned their backs refusing to give them medicine or care. The Gypsies moved on, and buried their dead in mounds on this site that was the gypsy encampment now turned cemetery. It is believed they cast a spell on the area – a spell of protection and vengeance, cursing Crown Point and the land that is now “South East Grove Cemetery”. Reports from visitors to the cemetery include apparitions, a man with a shotgun chasing you off, blood on the bottom of your pants after visiting, balls of light/orbs chasing you, noises, etc. Since several books and ghost hunter stories have published the myths and lore about this cemetery, the cemetery has been plagued by local satanists and vandals, with acts ranging from knocking over gravestones, digging up bodies, decapitated heads, and other malicious activities.

Location: 155th and South Grove Rd. in Crown Point, Indiana.

Directions: Take 65 to US 231(exit 247). Turn east on US 231 and follow it for almost a 1.5 miles. You will see flashing yellow lights, turn right and you will be on Iowa St. Go down Iowa St. for almost 3 miles until you come to a stop sign. You want to go straight(it’s not really straight it’s at an angle, but it’s the one in the middle). You will be on South Grove Rd., follow it for about 1 mile and you will see the cemetery on your’ left.

More Links:
angelfire.com/theforce/haunted/gypsiescemetery.htm
lowellpl.lib.in.us/gypsy.htm
castleofspirits.com/stories04/gypscem.html
radiodizzy.com/shadowvalleyghosthunters/id20.html
angelfire.com/realm/releaseme/Indiana.html
http://www.lowellpl.lib.in.us/history.htm
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Gypsy+Graveyard%22

Print Friendly
Share

Elizabeth Bathory the Blood Countess

Elizabeth Bathory the Blood Queen

* August 7, 1560 – August 21, 1614 *

Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was a late 16th century Hungarian countess who became legend for her mass serial murders of her servants after which she would bathe in their virgin blood in order to retain her beauty and youth. (She was also known as the “Blood Countess”, “Countess Dracula”, or the “Blood Queen” and more accurately as Báthory Erzsébet in Hungarian and Alžbeta Bátoriová in Slovak) She, along with four collaborators, were accused of killing over 650 victims who were primary young female girl servants, but was only convicted for 80 of them, involving no trial or conviction. She’s become the focus of vampire myth and legend, high in popularity with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia whom Bram Stoker’s Dracula is based.

She was born to George and Anna Bathory in 1560 raised at the Ecsed Castle with links to the Voivod family of Transylvania. She was also the niece of Stefan Bathory, former King of Poland and Duke of Transylvania. She was raised very literate and scholarly, having been fluent with Latin, Greek, and German as well as being obsessed with the study of science and astronomy. She was a very knowledgable woman who often intervened on behalf of destitute women. In 1575 she wed Ferenc Nadasdy, potentially as a political arrangement, in the little palace of Varanno. They then moved to Nadasdy Castle in Sarvar, spending much of her time alone while her husband studied in Vienna as well as when in 1578 he became the chief commander of the Hungaran Troops during the war against the Ottamans. Her husband gifted her the Csejte Castle that is located in the Little Carpathians near Trencsen which came with a country house and 17 adjacent villages, agricultural lands, and outcrops of the Little Carpathians. While he was away at war, she managed the castle and estate affairs which involved providing food, sustainability, and medical care for the Hungarian and Slovak peasants. She had to defend her husband’s estates that were on the route to Vienna during the height of the Long War which lasted from 1593 to 1606. This was a difficult feat as the castle and village previously had been plundered by the Ottamans. In 1585 she gave birh to her daughter Anna, then a second daughter named Ursula, and finally a son Tomas – both of whom died at a young age. In 1594 she gave birth to Katherine, then a son Paul in 1597, and finally Miklos. Her husband died in battle at the ripe age of 47 in 1604 C.E. It was shortly after his death that the local church and villagers began to complain about atrocities purportedly done by Elizabeth. Rumor had it that one of her handmaidens had accidentally cut herself and splattered blood on the countess. As the countess wiped off the blood she was impressed with the fact her skin looked younger, lighter, and rejuvenated beneath it. It was rumored then that she went on a murder spree killing her servants and bathing in their blood to become younger. It took the Hungarian authorities some time to respond and investigate the accusations. By 1610 she was under investigation of murder. Testimonies from over 300 witnesses it was proposed she had killed mainly the adolescent daughters of local peasants lured to work in the castle as maidservants, then she moved on to killing daughters of lesser gentry who were sent to the castle to learn courtly etiquette, and many others were believed to have been abducted with estimates of over 650 victims. Even with testimonials and minimal evidence, the government bypassed a trial and execution for fear of the public scandal it would cause the noble family (who at the time was ruling Transylvania) and would cause her property to become siezed by the crown. They debated sending her to a nunnery but realized she needed to be under strict house arrest and released King Matthias’ debt to her. December 1610, the authorities arrested Bathory and four of her servants who were believed to be accomplices. They reportedly only found one girl dead, one girl dying, and another girl wounded with others locked up. King Matthias requested the death sentence for her, but again, for fear of affecting the noble family’s reputation, was dismissed. Her associates were tried and punished in 1611 even though Bathory did not appear at the trial. Dorota Semtész, Ilona Jó, and János Újváry were found guilty and served the death penality by having their fingers ripped from their hands before being burnt at the stake. Janos was beheaded before burnt at the stake as he was deemed least guilty. Katarína Benická was sentenced to life imprisonment as was only accused of dominating and bullying the other women. After these trials, Elizabeth was placed under house arrest and walled up in a set of rooms in the Csejte Castle of Slovakia where she remained for four years until she died. She was discovered dead on August 21, 1614 after several plates of food were discovered untouched. She was buried in the castle’s churchyard but after villager outcry she was moved to Ecsed interred at the Bathory family crypt.

 

Continue reading Elizabeth Bathory the Blood Countess

Print Friendly
Share

Mercy Brown, the 19 year old 18th Century Vampire

Mercy Brown

The Rhode Island 18th century Vampire, RI Historical Cemetery No 22 in Exeter, RI on Route 102

In the heart of what has been nicknamed “The Vampire Capital of America” lies the grave of sweet 19 year old “Mercy Brown”. Her family and neighbours however didn’t think she was that sweet. Especially after she died. She had been deemed a vampire. Not only then, but her reputation continues hundreds of years later as being one of the most popular vampire burials in North America. The good citizens of Exeter Rhode Island firmly believe she was rising from her grave as a blood sucker and literally feeding on the blood and energy of her sick brother. She was in a line of female family members that had died from consumption (tuberculosis), following her mother and sister to the grave. Then her brother fell ill and the community was strong in the belief that she was the cause. They convinced her father who was desperate to do anything to save his son from the death bed. He and his accusing neighbours dug up the remains of his daughter Mercy to see if she was a vampire. Sure enough they found she had shifted in her coffin, there was fresh blood in her mouth as well as in her heart. She looked like she was rejuvenating, growing hair, nails, and teeth. Her skin was light and looked new. She had to be a vampire. They tore her heart from her chest, and burned it on a large rock near her grave to stop her from coming out of her grave. It was believed that those ashes would have magical properties to heal the brother, so they were fed to him as a cure. He still died two months later. He was staked in the heart and tied in his coffin to make sure he didn’t catch the vampire virus like believed of the rest of his family. Or so goes the legend. She was one of many in the area that gave Exeter the status of Vampire Capital. It was quite commonplace in this era to dig up the remains of the dead, make sure they were dead, dismember, behead, or burn the corpse to prevent vampirism. Oddly in Rhod Island, most of those accused of being vampires were 19 year old girls who died of consumption. There is also the story of 19 year old Nelly Vaugn. Her epitaph is rumored to state “I am waiting and watching for you”. Apparently grass nor moss would grow on her grave and numerous haunting apparently take place at her grave site. Her headstone was victim of so many anti-vampire hate crimes they had to remove it to stop the vandalism. Then there is Juliet, the daughter of William Rose, who after her mother, died of consumption. Vampirism was blamed, exhumed her corpse, cut out her heart, and bladed her chest. Her grave was reputedly moved to an unmarked location to stop hate vandalism. There was also Sarah Tillinghast of 1799. Her fate was revealed in a prophetic dream, that was had by her father Stuckly “Snuffy” Tillinghast. After her death, many of the neighbours reported seeing her each night pressing on their chests. As later children began to become ill, Sarah’s body was exhumed, heart removed, and burned. Clippings about Mercy Brown were discovered in possession of Bram Stoker after his death leading to the speculation that he based many items in his novel Dracula on Rhode Island vampires. Mercy Brown and Sarah Tillinghast were stories used by H.P. Lovecraft in his short story “The Shunned House”. Reuben Brown, descendant of Mercy Brown, tells tales that there were unexplained deaths, young girls, six or seven on one side of the Brown family, died of consumption, all of them with a mark on their throats, leading people to believe they had been bit by a vampire. Many blamed Mercy for this. After burning her heart the deaths had stopped.

Print Friendly
Share

Documented Connecticut Historic Vampires: (J.B.)


Documented Connecticut Vampires

Throughout New England are stories and legends of the paranormal that are rooted in physical evidence. We are all familiar with Salem and its witch stories. But what little many know is of Connecticut and Rhode Island’s Vampire persecutions. Connecticut and Rhode Island in the late 18th century was plagued by diseases that no one knew the cause of. Rumors and hysteria spread from Europe (just like with the Witch craze) came about to theorize that evil spirits were possessing the hearts of family members who recently passed away, causing them to rise from the grave at night to feed on the family members and neighbours, sucking the life force, drinking their blood, until that victim wasted away with consumption (tuberculosis). This led to a practice of concerned villagers going around, digging up graves, and searching for evidence of vampires. This was often seen as corpses that might not have decomposed, that might move, make sounds, have blood around the mouth, seem to have hair / nails / or teeth growth, lightening of skin or rejuvenation, etc. Upon finding such evidence, the vampire hunters would dismember and/or behead the corpse, remove the heart / lung / kidneys and burn the corpse. Sometimes the ash would be fed to victims suffering the mysterious disease in hopes it would cure the illness. This was more of the prescribed practice in North America while the stake through the heart was much more of a common European practice. In the 1990’s, numerous suspected graves of accused vampires were excavated and sent to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. for analysis. Most of them were returned with a determination that the culprit died of tuberculosis (consumption). Those suffering from consumption would often waste asway, but often periodically would have a large burst of energy and known for a powerful sex drive. This would leave some to suspect that such bursts would happen after said vampire fed. This made sense in comparison to European history that when a mysterious disease struck an entire family line, that superstition might settle in to make family members and neighbours believe that one of the recently deceased would be coming back and devouring the life force of the next family member until the entire family was gone.

J.B. the Vampire
??? – 1815


Along route 138, nicknamed “The Vampire Highway”, in rural Connecticut, from Jewett City to Exeter is a corridor of folklore and legend that is home to some of North America’s most documented and research historical vampire stories. It is along this highway, through numerous villages and in the countryside that we have some of our best preserved evidence of early American Vampires. After some heavy rains in the early 1990’s, a few neighborhood kids in the area were sliding down a large sandbank of Geer’s Sand and Gravel Company that they spied numerous body parts and corpses that they passed as they slid down the slope. They notified the authorities who came to investigate the scene. As the coroner determined these were not recent murder victims but those of historic date, they called the next contact on the list when finding human remains. The State Archaeologist. Nick Bellantoni, from Connecticut’s Natural History Museum attended the scene. He determined the remains not to be those of Native Americans, but rather of white settlers. The first grave to be exhumed was that of a body with huge fieldstones piled atop it. Under the stones was the lid of a coffin that had etched in it the initials “J.B.” along with the date 1815. Excavation of the grave revealed a skeleton with a chest cavity caved in and dismembered. Many of the bones were arranged to form an “X” as in the Pirate-like “Skull and crossbones”. This struck the archaeologist as odd and initiated research. Analysis of the bone at the Washington D.C. National Museum of Health and Medicine (Smithsonian) determined that “JB” died of Tuberculosis or consumption. He was missing his front teeth. The analysis of the bones not only determined probably death by consumption, but also that he had a broken collarbone which was a sign he was also a hunchback giving more ammunition for those accusing him of being a vampire. It was determined he had lived with consumption as a wasting disease for a very long time. Everyone else buried nearby him had died rather quickly, most likely from TB. In the area, the practice of exhuming a grave of a community member believed of being a vampire was common practice in the 17th/18th centuries and usually resulted in dismemberment, scattering of bones, creating skull and crossbone patterns, burning of bones, etc. This was a practice done at this time to stop the vampire from rising from the grave at night to feed off the life source of community members who would then waste away with consumption. Since he took so long to die, he was believed to be that vampire. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, documentation from the 1800’s stated it was commonplace for residents to exhume bodies of the dead in search of the suspected vampire, when found, to dismember or decapitate, and perform an exorcism, burning of the bones, or arrangement of the bones in a proper methodology. Keys to finding such a vampire was blood around the mouth, rejuvenated skin or lack of decomposition, hair/nail/teeth growth, etc. A common practice (unknown in this case, but possible because of the caving in of the rib cage) is to remove the heart, lungs, and liver followed by the burning of the corpse. The stones were piled on top as a means to anchor the dead to its grave so it could not rise and attack the community. It was determined that this cemetery belong to the family named “Walton”. It was evident though that J.B. was not part of this family and his identity is unknown. His bones was eventually reburied (for the third time) in the First Congretational Church cemetery in Griswald, Connecticut. As with many of New England’s accused Witches, these vampires were most likely humans falsely accused of being vampires due to fear, hysteria, and lack of medical knowledge.

Other Connecticut Accused Vampires:

Print Friendly
Share

Vampires / Vampyres


St. Michan’s Church Crypt, Dublin, Ireland
legendary inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Vampires
A creature of lore, legend, folktale, and myth that is believed to be an undead human (human brought back from the dead) that either feeds on the blood or life force of living humans in order to survive. There is much controversy in the folkloric record on whether vampires either drank blood or just fed off the life energy of others. Some believe that “blood” is the best representation of “life essence” and is therefore what vampires need to survive. Vampires are mentioned and recorded in numerous cultures around the world, described in history as old as man him/herself. Older parallels of similar creatures in legend, such as the Old Russian “????? (Upir’)” seem to date much earlier at 1047 C.E. mentioned in a colophon in a manuscript of the Book of Psalms written by a priest who transcribed the book from Glagolitic to Cyrillic for the Novgorodian Prince Volodymyr Yaroslavovych calling him “Upir” Likhyi which translates to “Wicked or Foul Vampire”. Local and associated Pagan mythology suggests there was Pagan worship from the 11-13th centuries of “upyri”. There is mention of similar creatures throughout history in Greek mythology, Mesopotamian lore, Hebrew records, and Roman stories placing demons and spirits who fed on the life force of humans perhaps being the earliest vampires. Numerous world mythologies described demonic entities or Deities who drank blood of humans including Sekhmet, Lilith, and Kali. The Persians were the first to describe having blood drinking demons. Greek/Roman mythology spoke of the Empusae, the Lamia, the striges, the Gello, the strix, and the Goddess Hecate as demonic blood drinkers.

The documented case of Elizabeth Bathory who killed over 600 of her servants and bathed in their blood led to the reputation of her being a vampire. Same as with Vlad the Impaler of Count Dracula mythology of Transylvania who would impale his victims alive on upright stakes and would eat dinner while watching them suffer and slide down the poles in shrieks of torment. The Istrian (Croatia) 1672 legend of Giure Grando, a peasant who died in 1656, but was believed to have risen from the grave to drink the blood of the villagers and sexually harass his widow became a vampire-like legend. He was stopped by having a stake driven through his heart and then beheaded by the local village leader. Shortly after this legend, during the 18th century, a frenzy of vampire sighting in Eastern Europe went rampant including some notorious vampire hunting in Prussia (1721), Habsburg Monarchy (1725-1734), and the tales of Peter Logojowitz and Arnold Paole in Serbia.

Arnold Paole was a soldier who was attacked by a vampire. A few years later he became a farmer that died during harvest of his hay crop. He was buried and believed by the local villagers to be rising from the grave feeding off of them. The documented case of Plogojowitz, of a man who died at 62 only to return from the grave asking his son for food. Upon being turned down, the son was found dead the next day. Plogojowitz apparently had killed him as well as various neighbours by draining their blood. The Serbian tale of Sava Savanovic told of a man who lived in a local watermill that would kill the millers and drink their blood. This tale led to the creation of the 1973 Serbian horror film called “Leptirica”.

The term itself as “vampire” however was not utilized until the early 18th century during a time when vampire hysteria was rampant. The first use of the term “Vampire” came from a 1734 travelogue titled “Travels of Three English Gentlemen” published in the 1745 Harleian Miscellany according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The English term “Vampire” may have come from the french term “Vampyre” or the German term “Vampir”. These terms may have derived into the Serbian “??????/vampir”. During the early 18th century tales of vampires throughout Eastern Europe became rampant. Vampires were often associated as revenants of evil beings, suicide vicims, or witches; or from malevolent spirits possessing a corpse or being bitten by a vampire. It was during this time that the hysteria caused individuals, families, and communities to dig up the graves of suspected vampires and them mutilating the corpses, staking them, or conducting rites of exorcism. In 1718, after Austria gained control of northern Serbia and Oltenia, officials recorded local practices of exhuming bodies and “killing the undead”. Official recording of these practices from 1725 to 1732 led to widespread publicity of vampires. It was from this that led to many of the original vampire myths we have today that described vampires as either being in the form of a human, as a resurreced rotting corpse, or a demon-like creature roaming at night. Much of the hysteria was similar to the Witch Craze of the Inquisition. Neighbours would accuse the recently deceased for diseases, deaths, plagues, and tragedies that cursed the local village. Scholars at the time were steadfast that Vampires did not exist attributing the incidents to premature burials, rabies, or religion. However, the well-respected theologian and scholar Dom Augustine Calmet composed a 1746 treatise with reports claiming vampires did indeed exist. This was supported by Voltaire who claimed vampires were corpses who went out of their graves at night to suck the blood of the living, either at their throats or stomaches, after which they would return to the cemetery. This would lead the victim to wane, pale, and fall into consumption while the vampire would bloat, become fat, rosy, and become rejuvenated. They were disputed by Gerard van Swieten and the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria who passed laws prohibiting exhumation and desecration of bodies ending the vampire epidemics in Austria.

The “18th Century Vampire Controversy” or “Hysteria” gave birth to many fabricated myths and legends that lent stories about blood suckers evolving to the image we imagine of today when we think of “vampire”. Many of these images today come from writers, authors, and film. John Polidori’s 1819 novella “The Vampyre”, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel “Dracula”, and the film “Nosferatu” are the main culprits for much of today’s image of a vampire, especially the pointed teeth, the sleeping in daylight, the drinking of blood, and sensitivity to sunlight. Stoker based much of his imagery and lore from former mythology of demons, faeries, and werewolves that he fit into the fears of late Victorian patriarchy. His book gave birth to a trend of vampire fandom that has lasted for over 100 years and still flourishing.

From Europe the vampire craze spread to parts of New England in the Americas, particularly Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut. Paranoia and hysteria went rampant in the same manner as Eastern Europe’s 18th century Vampire Controversy. Documentation of cases with families accusing vampirism being the cause of the plague of consumption that devastated their communities. Families would dig up their dead to remove the hearts of suspected vampires. A very popular documented case was of the 1892 Rhode Island incident of Mercy Brown who died at age 19 of consumption, believed to be a vampire returning from the grave and feeding on her family and neighbours, was dug up by her father, had her heart cut out and burnt to ashes, only to be fed to her dying brother in attempts to save him from the rotting disease.


St. Michan’s Church Crypt, Dublin, Ireland
legendary inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Continue reading Vampires / Vampyres

Print Friendly
Share

St. Brigid’s Cathedral – Kildare


St. Brighid’s Cathedral

St. Brighid’s Cathedral
* Kildare, Ireland * Open May-September, Mon-Sat 10 am – 1 pm; 2 pm – 5 pm; Sundays from 2-5 pm. Cathedral closes October thru April.

In the heart of Kildare lies St. Brigid’s Cathedral. This is the place in 480 C.E. that St. Brigid renamed as “Cill Dara” (modern Kildare) which means the “Cell or Church of the Oak” and built her Abbey on the hill beside a great Sacred Oak Tree. The present day stone Norman Cathedral is a restored 13th century version rebuilt numerous times after many fires, desecrations, and ruins of the originals that existed as early as 500 C.E. The Cathedral is likely built atop the Original Pagan Shrine to the Goddess Brigid and the later early Christian foundation and Church of St. Brigid. Brigid was the Goddess of Poetry, Magic, Muse, Inspiration, Healing, Smithcraft, and the Harvest. As a Saint she is the provider of plenty, giver of life, nurturer, fertility, and fire. The current structure seen in these photos was built in 1223 by the Norman Bishop Ralph of Bristol in an early Gothic style with a square central tower. Because of the history of invasions and plunders, especially by the Vikings, the current Cathedral was built for defense as well as worship. The Cathedral continues to serve the townspeople of Kildare as well as Brigid devotees from around the world and has for centuries. After the Reformation the Cathedral fell in disrepair and in complete ruins after the Confederate Wars by 1649. It was rebuilt in 1686 and restored to its present form from 1875-1896. In the 19th century it was rebuilt and restored back to its illuminated origins. Additional major restorations took place in 1996. The interior of the Cathedral has numerous stone carvings ranging from Pagan and early Christian to Norman period or later. It also houses numerous artifacts ranging from a 16th century vault, religious seals, a medieval water font, and shrines. It is here that the Nunnery originally founded by St. Brigid in the 5th century once stood as well as her original wooden Church. The churchyard has a graveyard, Celtic Cross, St. Brigid’s Fire Altar and Firehouse, Vaults, and a 105 ft high Round Tower (one of the last to be erected in Ireland). The Cathedral contains numerous medieval tombs, the most famous of which is one of the Fitzgeralds of Lackagh ( 1575 ). It is here that the Priestesses or Sisters of Brigid kept the flame eternally lit. This required 19 Sisters or Priestesses that kept vigil and made sure the flame never went out. Now Christianized, the Sisters / Nuns tend to her flame and continue the work the ancients once started. It was extinguished between the Reformation and its re-establishment in 1807. In 1993 the Perpetual flame was re-kindled in Kildare’s Market Square by Sister Mary Teresa Cullen.

Continue reading St. Brigid’s Cathedral – Kildare

Print Friendly
Share

St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Dublin)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral
* Saint Patrick’s Cathedral Saint Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8, Ireland * http://www.stpatrickscathedral.ie *

In the Medieval District of Dublin lies one of Dublin’s most famous churches also known as The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Patrick, Dublin or “Árd Eaglais Naomh Pádraig”. The Church was founded in 1191 C.E. and is the larger of Dublin’s two Church of Ireland cathedrals as well as being the largest church in Ireland with a 140 foot spire. The Cathedral is in memorial to St. Patrick and his colored past in Ireland and is meant to lift the spirits of the Irish out of the realm of things and circumstances which change into a realm of things that are eternal and unchanging giving everyone a perspective in both space and time to be face-to-face with faith in God through Christ giving one true meaning and lasting satisfaction … or so states the web site. This was the hotspot of activity for St. Patrick when he passed through Dublin on his journey through Ireland baptising converts from Paganism to Christianity in the well where the Cathedral now stands. In memorial, a small wooden church was built on the site to be one of the four Celtic parishes in Dublin. John Comyn, the first Anglo-Norman Archbishop of Dublin converted this small church into a Cathedral in 1191 C.E. THe current Cathedral was erected between 1200 and 1270. Much aging, erosion, degradation, disrepair, and some fires struck the Cathedral through time. Minot’s Tower and the weset nave were rebuilt between 1362 and 1370 following a fire. St. Patrick’s became an Anglican Church of Ireland after the English Reformation (ca. 1537) even though most of the population surrounding it in the Pale was wholely Catholic. During confiscation, some of the images within the Cathedral were defaced by Thomas Cromwell’s soldiers and collapse of the Nave in 1544. Cromwell set up his stables in the Nave during his time in Dublin as a sign of his disrespect for the Anglican religion which he associated with Roman Catholicism and political Royalism. In 1560 one of Dublin’s first public clocks was placed in St. Patrick’s Steeple. In 1666 The roof was close to collapse and was replaced by 1671. When Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) became the Dean of the Cathedral from 1713-1745 he brought more attention to the needs of the Cathedral. He had himself buried there with his friend Stella who took great interest in the building and funding an almshouse for poor women and Saint Patrick’s Hospital. 1769 the infamous spire (now a Dublin landmark) was added. From 1783 until 1871 the Cathedral became home to the Chapel of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick where the Knights of St. Patrick held their ceremonies until 1871 they moved to St. Patrick’s Hall in Dublin Castle. By 1085 the north transept was in ruin and the south was deteriorating that emergency work had to be done on the nave roof. Funding issues, Problems with seepage of water, number of floods, and disrepair during times of religious reformation and Irish struggles – The Cathedral not being restored until 1860-1900 with a full-scale restoration done by the infamous Guinness family. Benjamin Guinness believed the Cathedral was in imminent danger of collapse especially the Victorian era artwork … unfortunately most of these were removed and never replaced now no longer surviving. Since no records were kept during the restorations not much is known as to what is genuinely medieval and what is Victorian pastiche. Even though the Church is the largest in all of Ireland, it is not the seat of a Bishop as that is held by Christ Church Cathedral with St. Patrick’s being the National Cathedral for the whole island. St. Patrick’s is operated instead by a Dean, since 1219, and the most famous of which was Jonathan Swift. St. Patrick’s was also the location for the funerals of two Irish Presidens: Dr Douglas Hyde and Erskine Hamilton in 1949 and 1974 respectively. In 2006 there was a group of 18 Afghan refugees who sought asylum within St. Patrick’s staying there until persuaded to leave a few days later. The Cathedral receives no State funding so while free for those who come to pray, ask for a small fee in tourism. In 2006 the Cathedral had over 300,000 visitors.

Continue reading St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Dublin)

Print Friendly
Share

Christ Church

Christ Church Cathedral
* http://cccdub.ie/ * Dublin, Ireland *

Christ Church also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was founded in 1030 C.E. in Dublin’s Medieval District and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. The Cathedral is in Gothic style architecture and is operated by the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough. It is also the cathedral of the Ecclesiastical province of the United Provinces of Dublin and Cashel in the Church of Ireland. Oddly, Christ Church is also officially claimed as the seat of both the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic archbishops of Dublin. Originally Catholic then taken over by the Church of Ireland after the English Reformation. The Church sits next to Wood Quay and is connected to the Dublinia Medieval Museum by means of a dual carriage-way building overpass. The first cathedral was founded after 1028 C.E. after the Hiberno-Norse King of Dublin, King Sitric Silkenbeard made his quest to Rome. Dunan or Donat became the first bishop that answered to Canterbury rather than the Irish Church. THe Church was built on high ground overlooking the Wood Quay Viking Settlement. Secular clergy operated the first cathedral, then in 1163, the Benedictines came in and it was converted to a Priory of the Regular Order of Arrosian Canons (Reformed Augustinian Rule) after some time which was subsequently headed by an Augustinian Prior until re-establishment in 1541 after the English Reformation in 1539. This became the Priory of the Holy Trinity which was the wealthiest religious entity in Ireland possessing over 10,000 acres of land in Dublin alone. The Church became the new church structure of King Henry VIII when he converted the Priory to a Cathedral with a Dean and Chapter. In 1547, King Edward VI suppressed St. Patrick’s Cathedral and had its treasures transferred over to Christ Church. This was reversed by Queen Mary in 1558. Queen Mary I and James I of England increased Christ Church’s funding and assets. By 1560 the Bible had its first reading in English at Christ Church. Repairs and maintenance was performed on the Cathedra from 1829-1831 and then extensively renovated and rebuilt from 1871-1878 by George Edmund Street. This demolished the 14th century choir with a new eastern end and chapter house built over the original crypt, and the tower and south nave arcade was rebuilt. More renovations were achieved from 1980-1982. The Cathedral contains the tomb of the medieval Norman-Welsh warlord Strongbow and is located in the nave. There is some debate on whether or not it really is Strongbow’s tomb as the original tomb was destroyed centuries ago and purported to have moved here. This tomb was used as the venue for legal agreements from the 16th-18th centuries. Behind the organ in the choir is the infamous mummified “Cat and Mouse” that was found trapped there and mummified by the dry air of the cathedral. The cathedral crypt, constructed in 1172-1173, is the largest crypt of its type in all of Britain and Ireland. The Crypt contains the oldest known secular carvings in Ireland, a tabernacle and set of candlesticks used when the cathedral last operated under Roman Rite, the stocks made in 1670 used to punish offenders before the Court of the Dean’s Liberty, and historic books and altar goods.

Continue reading Christ Church

Print Friendly
Share

The Mummies of St. Michan’s Church

St. Michan’s Church of Ireland and it’s Mummies
* Church Street * Dublin, Ireland * Hours: Nov-Feb: Mon-Fri 12:30-2:30pm, Sat 10am-1pm * Admission: Free to Church; Guided tour: €3.50 adults, €3 seniors and students, €2.50 children under 12 *

A little hidden secret to Dublin tourism is St. Michan’s Church. St. Michan’s was named after a Danish Bishop. The Church is most famous for its ancient Viking origins, it’s 18th century organ, its mummies in the basement that were an inspiration for Bram Stoker in doing Dracula. The Church was built on the site of a Danish chapel that was originally founded in 1095 C.E. by he Danish colony in Oxmanstown, located near 4 Courts, and for many centuries was the only parish on its side of the Liffey River. It served the Viking population that was expelled from within the city walls. It was rebuilt in 1685 to serve a more prosperous congregation by Sir Humphrey Jervis and restored in 1998 and is now under control of the Protestant Church of Ireland. Church may have been designed by Sir William Robinson, Ireland’s Surveyor General. The Church has fabulous woodwork, a large 1725 organ which is legendary to have been played by Handel for his “Messiah”, has a 1516 chalice, a Penitent’s Stool, and and 18h century font and pulpit. Its biggest attraction is in its crypt where the dry climate created by limestone walls has preserved centuries old bodies intact like mummies. The Church runs guided tours down into the stone tunnels that are lined with decaying coffins, haunted burial chambers, and crumbling corpses can be seen up front and maybe even touched. Amongst the Deceased are the notorious Four: a 400 year old Nun on the left, A woman on the right, a thief – as he is missing a hand and both feet in the center, and towards the rear – A 6 and a half foot man believed Possibly to be a Crusader who was sawn in half to fit into the coffin – he’s the most intriguing as one of his hands is lifted slightly in the air. Folklore states that Bram Stoker visited this crypt and it is responsible for part of his inspiration for Dracula. The last room in the corridor holds the coffins of the Sheare brothers who were executed for the 1798 Rising as they were hung, drawn, and quartered by the British. Also buried here is Oliver Bond, another 1798 Rising participant; the Mahematician William Rowan Hamilton; and maybe even the remains of Robert Emmet who was executed during the 1803 Rising.

Continue reading The Mummies of St. Michan’s Church

Print Friendly
Share

St. Michan’s Church, Dublin

St. Michan’s Church
* 8 E Church St * DUBLIN 3, Co. Dublin, Ireland * 01 8724154 *
One of Ireland’s most macabre and spooky sites, St. Michan’s Church is an early Danish chapel that was built in 1095, then reconstructed in 1686 as a church, and may be the only parish church built on the north side of the Liffey that survived from a Viking foundation. The exterior is very bland, but the interior has fine woodworking, a beautifuly 1724 organ, a simple church, and creepy vaults beneath. Underneath the church in its crypts are many naturally mummified remains of the dead so haunting that they inspired Braum Stoker with Dracula. Because the walls of the vaults contain limestone that keep the air dry, the bones were able to preserve on their own – and its dead are infamous as a 400 year old nun, a 6 and 1/2 foot tall man who is thought to be a crusader, and a body with its hands and feet severed – a thief, and the Sheares brothes – Henry and John who were part of the 1798 rebellion. Many claim the church and crypts to be very haunted. Tours are open on Saturdays and some weekdays.

Continue reading St. Michan’s Church, Dublin

Print Friendly
Share

Wolfe Tone Square (Dublin, Ireland)

Wolf Tone Square
Corner of Mary Street and Jervis Street, Dublin, Ireland

Desecrated Cemetery behind Church Bar (formerly St. Mary’s Church) that is now a City Park.

I walked through this park many times during my 2 week visit to Dublin … little did I know it was a grave yard. Formerly St. Mary’s Church, which is now the Church Bar Nightclub and restaurant, used to have a graveyard where this small city park now sits. St. Mary’s Parish was a large and wealthy church – as soon as the graveyard became overcrowded by the mid-nineteenth century – that “in order to make room for others, bodies were taken up in absolute state of putrefaction, to the great and dangerous annoyance of the vicinity”. The Churchyard eventually became a playground by the 1940’s and the tombstones were just piled against the wall. The Church of Ireland sold the graveyard in 1966 to the Dublin Corporation who converted it to the current “Wolfe Tone Memorial Park” and they moved the headstones around the perimeter. The park has never been successful except as a drinking spot for the youth. Ghost hunters and sensitives claim the land is haunting and much unrest is here, with reports of spirits wandering around during the day and night as well as many lured into suicides upon what is known as hanging trees. A revisit in 2012 saw a hauntingly empty carnival perched atop the remnants of graves no longer held sacred or respected as tires rest against the etchings.

Continue reading Wolfe Tone Square (Dublin, Ireland)

Print Friendly
Share

Hore Abbey

Hore Abbey
Cashel, Ireland

Just 1 km down from the Rock of Cashel is the Hore Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery on the Tipperary plains in Southern Ireland. The land was given to the Cistercians by the Benedictines from Archbishop David MacCearbhaill in 1270 C.E. It was built in 1272 C.E. under orders of the then ArchBishop David McCarville. The name for the abbey comes from the term “iubhair” meaning “Yew Tree”. The Latin name of the abbey is “Rupes” meaning “the rock” most likely because of being located near the Rock of Cashel. The abbey came with quite a bit of property including acreage, mills, and other benefices. In 1279 the Abbey was labelled a safe haven of rogues ready to kill the English and plunder the area as described by Margaret le Blunde who detested the Bishop. It was never a prosperous abbey and usually never had more than 5 residing within by the 16th century. He evicted the Benedictines after dreaming that they were going to kill him as he was interfering with the commerce of the city of Cashel. It was probably a delusion, but didn’t stop him from changing over the monastery to a different order. It was dissolved in 1540 C.E. Its annual income at this time was only Ł21. It was discovered in 1541 by the royal commissioners that the abbey church had been used as a parish church for some time before the Dissolution. In 1545 it was rented to Edward Heffernan, a clerk who used it as a private housing complex. In 1561 Queen Elizabeth gave the land to Sir Henry Radcliffe who then transferred it to the Earl of Ormond, James Butler. By 1575 it came into the hands of Thomas Sinclair, and since then became part of the parish, under property of the earl of Mount-Cashel. It has however fallen into ruins even though the church and sections of the east range still have structure. Architecturally it is quite plain, albeit a sincere historic beauty. It represents the conservative approach of the Cistercians. The grounds are free for the public to visit, although cattle and sheep graze there.

Location: down the road from the Rock of Cashel – Head north on Camus Rd. from King’s Croft road and make first left onto St. Patricksrock – it will be located in a field south of this road. Discovery Map 66: J 069 410.

Continue reading Hore Abbey

Print Friendly
Share

Poulnabrone Portal Tomb

Poulnabrone Portal Tomb
* Poulnabrone dolmen * the Burren, County Clare, Ireland *

In the heart of the Burren, sits the infamous Irish “hole of sorrows”. It is a portal tomb that dates back to the Neolithic, approximately between 4,200 and 2,900 B.C.E. dolmen consists of a 12′ tall, thin, slab-like tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones. The construction creates a 9m low cairn chamber that has a north facing entrance. Excavations in the area uncovered between 16 and 22 adults with 6 children buried underneath the monument. Personal effects included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons, and pottery. A later burial of a newborn baby was found in the portico just outside the entrance. This sacred space was most likely used for ceremonies and rituals as well as the burials.

Continue reading Poulnabrone Portal Tomb

Print Friendly
Share

Newgrange


Newgrange:

Bru na Boinne, County Meath, Ireland
One of Ireland’s most infamous monuments and archaeological sites, Newgrange is amongst the Bru na Boinne World Heritage sites next to Knowth and Dowth. It is popular like Stonehenge with its Solstice astronomical line-ups and viewing of the sun as it appears through its portal. The monument is a large mound complex shaped like a giant kidney covering an area of about an acre of land and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones most of which are decorated by megalithic rock art. Newgrange is one of the best examples in Ireland and Western Europe of a passage grave or tomb. Constructed around 3200 BCE, this site is older than the Egyptian pyramids and a 1,000 years older than Stonehenge.

Located along a elongated ridge on the Boyne River, five miles west of Drogheda, and close to the location where the Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690. Built entirely with stone tools, the Faerie Sidhe (folklore) or Passage Grave (Archaeology) is an impressive monument: The purpose of the monument is disputed greatly as there is no evidence that Newgrange was used as a repository for bodies, bones, burial artifacts or ash. Mythology tells us that the Tuatha De Danann, legendary first rulers of Ireland, built Newgrange as a burial place for their chief – the Dagda Mor with his three sons. The site is also believed to be where the hero Cuchulainn was conceived by his mother Dechtine. Also listed in mythology as a Faerie Mound, it was believed to have been the home of Oenghus, the God of Love. Other theories are that it was a place of worship for a “cult of he dead”; or for astronomically-based faiths. It is also believed to have been a burial site for Celtic Kings and a meeting place for Druids and Faeries. Legends state that t some otherworldly conditions, the Queen of the Faeries can be seen here with her subjects.

Visitors can only access Newgrange via bus shuttle from the visitor center at Bru na Boinne and those wishing to see the Winter Solstice sunrise light-up has to be awarded via lottery for the experience with a select few other lottery winners. A 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off the larger central chamber. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat “basin stone”; which is where it is believed the bones of the dead were originally deposited. During the Winter Solstice, lights of the rising sun enters the roofbox – lighting up the passage, and shining onto the floor of the inner chamber – illuminating the room for 17 minutes. Megalithic Rock Art surrounds the monument with some world notable pieces such as the triskel carved on the entrance stone, Kerbstone 1 and 52. Other rock art carvings fit into one of ten categories, five of which are curvilinear (circles, spirals, arcs, serpentine forms, and dot-in-circles), and the other five are rectilinear (chevrons, lozenges, radials, parallel lines and offsets). Intriguing archaeological finds were found throughout the site, including Roman coins, an iron wedge, and a stone phallus. It is believed to have taken 20 years to build with a work force dedicated all of those years full time of 300 individuals. Under the burial tomb theory, it is believed to have been sealed and closed for several millenia after which the local folklore and mythology of the faeries were believed to be assigned to the mound. The site was used for ritual purposes well into the Iron Age.

The Passage tomb was re-discovered in 1699 when material for road building was being harvested from the mound. A large excavation of the mound took place in 1962 as well as the rebuilding of the original facade of sparkling white quartz stones found at the site. Newgrange has been compared to the Gavrinis passage tomb in Brittany for which it is very similar to. The Gavrinis cairn is 5,500 years old; 60 meters in diameter, and covers a passage and chamber that is lined with elaborately engraved stone. Newgrange is built of alternating layers of earth and stone with grass growing atop, and the front reconstructed facade is of flattish white quartz stone studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering the circumference. Newgrange was found written about as a tumulus in a letter by Edward Lhwyd in December 15, 1699. The Annals of the Four Masters state that the Danes plundered Newgrange in 861. It has been said that during the first excavation, a large amount of treasures including ornaments and fictilia (earthenware objects) including a gold chain, two rings, a gold trocks, a bronze pin, and a small iron weapon were recovered.


 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Artifacts:

 



 

 


 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 


 

Print Friendly
Share

Knowth



Knowth/Newgrange

Knowth, Ireland:
http://www.knowth.com/knowth.htm
One of Irelands most famous Neolithic passage graves, Knowth is in the valley of the Boyne River, at the ancient monument of Brú na Bóinne nearby famous Newgrange. This monument was built after Newgrange, roughly 5,000 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era). It is believed to have been built before Dowth. It is similiar in size to Newgrange, but is surrounded by 18 satellite mounds. The ‘Great Mound’ has two passages with entrances in the opposite sides – passage on the west is 34 meters long, passage on the east is 40 meters long, both ending at a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. Mythologically believed to be a Faerie mound – A Sidhe – Archaeologists catalogue the site as a passage grave based on three recesses and basin stones found within the chambers into which the cremated remains of the dead were placed. The monument also has astronomical features. Tied in with Dowth and Newgrange, the area has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. The only access to the site is via guided tour from the Bru na Boinne Visitor Center that take place from April thru October. Excavations begun at Knowth in 1962, and in 1967 the discovery of the first passage and chamber were accomplished. Later excavations revealed the second passage and chamber, as well as a collection of rock art and decorated stones that amount to a quarter of Western European Neolithic Rock Art. Excavations revealed pottery, flint, houses, and other artifacts that determined Neolithic settlement around 4,000 B.C.E. Rock formations and art signify calendars, sundials, calendar stones, and stones to calculate the lengths of the lunar tropical month – ‘synodic’ and the length of the year in the Lunar Stone. The Calendar Stone seems to track the ‘Metonic Cycle’ of the Moon. The Main Mound has 124 existing Kerbstones forming the Kerb that at its base that are circular and measuring 80 meters east-west by 95 meters (north-south). Most of the Kerbstones forming this Kerb are oblong and average 2.5 meters in length. This is the largest of all passage graves in the area. There are over 200 decorated stones found here containing a wide variety of images from crescents, spirals, lozenges, and serpentiforms that have been carved on the stones with some ‘hidden art’ on the backs of the stones. There is also evidence for late Neolithic and Bronze Age activity, most of which is based from the existence of grooved ware timber circles located near the entrance of the eastern passage. Evidence for rituals here consists of a large number of votive offerings found in and around the area of the timbers. Knowth was used by the Normans in the 12th century. The site was also used briefly as a burial site with over 35 cist graves found on site that appear to be Celtic burials. Many of the bodies buried here were female. Two young men were buried – decapitated and buried together with a gaming set. During Christian occupation, the hill became a fort with encircling ditches and souterrains added converting the site into a habitation site. The monument fell into the hands of the monks of the Mellifont Abbey nearby. The mound was then later used as a grange or farm with stone walls construced atop and stone buildings within those walls. When the monasteries were dissolved the site was taken over by the state in 1939.


Knowth/Newgrange

Continue reading Knowth

Print Friendly
Share

Brú na Bóinne

Brú na Bóinne
* aka “Palace of the Boyne” or “Bend of the Boyne” * Knowth/Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland * UNESCO World Heritage Site *
“Bru na Boinne” is the name of a Boyne River Valley section that is home to the World Heritage sites consisting of the Tumulus Sidhe known as “Knowth”, “Dowth”, and “Newgrange”. These monuments are the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe that consist of a complex of neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and other prehistoric enclosures dating as early as 35th century B.C.E. (predating the Egyptian pyramids) The Palace is centrally the name for the visitor center that is home to a museum, cafe, interpretive displays, information center, and central shuttle bus location for visitors to get to Knowth and Newgrange. It is located in County Meath near the village of Donore along the south bank of the Boyne River. The large oval stones in the water feature are 330 million year old naturally occuring concretions that make the site a geological attraction as well. The Sidhe/Tumulus of Newgrange and Knowth are to the north of the Boyne. The site covers over 780 hectare acres with over 40 passage graves, prehistoric sites, hengestones, circles, and features as well as substantial Megalithic rock art. Each of the monuments are on a ridge within the river bend, with Knowth and Newgrange containing stones re-used from earlier monuments at the site. The sites were visited repeatedly and re-used during various ages such as the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Medieval periods adding assortments of artifacts, features, and enclosures to the site throughout the years. In addition to the famous tombs/tumulus of Knowth, Dowth, and Newgrange are also the ceremonial complexes known as Cloghalea Henge, Townleyhall passage grave, Monknewtown henge and ritual pond, and the Newgrange cursus. Newgrange stands as the central mound of the Boyne Valley passage grave cemetery. Each of these three main tumulus sites have archaeo-astronomical significance and alignments. Newgrange and Dowth have Winter Solstice solar alignments, and Knowth has an Equinox solar alignment. The complex areas are surrounded on the south, west, and east by the Boyne river, and to the north by the Mattock river.

The River Boyne
The Goddess Boann

A grandiose River in Leinster, Ireland that runs a course of over 112 kilometers (70 miles) passing by the Brú na Bóinne complex and World Heritage site, by the ancient city of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara, Navan, the Hill of Slane, Mellifont Abbey, and the medieval city of Drogheda. It starts at Trinity Well in Kildare and flows towards the Northeast through County Meath where it empties into the Irish Sea. The river is abundant with Salmon and trout that hosts much Irish mythology on the passage of knowledge down the river. The river is notorious for its historical, archaeological, and mythological connotations. Ptolemy drew out the river in his mapping of Ireland and he called it ????????? (Bououinda). According to Irish mythology, the river was created by the Goddess Boann and the river is named after her as well as representative of her. It is also the river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontan, the Salmon of Knowledge. It is also home to the infamous “Battle of the Boyne” which took place near Drogheda in 1690. The archaeological remains of a Viking ship was found in 2006 in the river bed near Drogheda.

Continue reading Brú na Bóinne

Print Friendly
Share

Dublinia Museum

Dublina Viking & Medieval History Museum
* http://www.dublinia.ie/ * St Michaels Hill * Christchurch, Dublin 8, Co. Dublin, Ireland * 01 679 4611 *
Located within and connected to the infamous Christ Church Cathedral of Dublin (a.k.a. “The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity”) is now one of Dublin’s most spectacular and interactive museums/tourist attractions. Christ Church is the elder of Dublin’s two medieval cathedrals, next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Christ Church is officially claimed as a set of both the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic archbishops in Dublin. The Museum and Cathedral sits in the former heart of medieval Dublin next to WOod Quay at the end of Lord Edward Street. Christ Church is the only one of the three cathedrals that can be seen from the River Liffey. It is the home of the purported tomb of “Strongbow” – the medieval Norman-Welch warlord who came to Ireland and marking the start of English involvement in Ireland. The Dublinia Museum tells the story about how Dublin was settled by the Vikings and that is was an important medieval mecca at one time. It was established by the Medieval Trust in the rooms of the disused Synod Hall. The concentration of the museum is between the 11th century and the Reformation. The museum is a living history museum, with hands-on displays, and typical museum artifact displays. Reconstructed dioramas give glimpses of Dublin in the Middle Ages. The Museum gets quite crowded and is sometimes difficult to navigate around. The museum also houses the archaeological finds and a presentation of the current excavations of Wood Quay. The museum is linked by a bridge to Christ Church. Parts of the building are visible and climbing the tower will give you spectacular views of Dublin’s skyline. There are three prime exhibitions in Dublinia: (1) Viking Dublin Exhibition, (2) Medieval Dublin Exhibition, and (3) History Hunter’s Exhibition. Visitors can explore the Viking times of Dublin, its settlement, what life is like on a Viking warship, the clothing, what it is like to be a slave, and how cramped Viking homes were. Visitors can learn the runic alphabet and learn the mythos of the time. Visitors can see medieval Dublin – following history from Strongbow to the Reformation, what warfare and crime/punishment was like in the times, and about the Black Death. Visitors can get a glimpse of the historic Dubin Faire. Tourists can also gain insight into modern archaeological practices and current digs in the area, the technology they use, and the tools they utilize. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


Sidewalk outside Dublina

Continue reading Dublinia Museum

Print Friendly
Share

Chun Castle

Chűn Castle
Near Pendeen, Cornwall, England

The Chűn Castle is an Iron Age hillfort on the summit of Chűn Downs holding a stronghold with secure views of the north and northwest, onwards to the Atlantic Coast and south towards Mounts Bay. it is roughly 84 meters in diameter with stone walls up to 2.7 meters high and is formed of two concentric rings of granite. There are stone gateposts flanking the entrance. To the west is a chocked well with steps descending down into the water. Pottery found on site suggests the main period of operation was from 3rd century BCE until 1st century CE, with possible re-occupation in 5th-6th century CE. Other evidence shows it was built around 2500 years ago. The fort is circular with two very impressive stone walls and an external ditch. In the interior of the circle fortifications are the remains of several stone walled round houses, of course in ruins, by later activity. One of these is an oval shaped roundhouse that is believed to be post-Roman occupation. The only entrance is a stone-lined passage through the large inner ramparat on the west side with an offset opening through the outer rampart, which is believed to have held a defensive function. A furnace was discovered on the northern edge containing tin and iron indicating that mineral processing was carried out here in the Iron Age. The entrance was set in line with the inner one and the entranceway aligned 250 meters towards the Neolithic chamber tomb known as Chun Quoit which was present long before the stronghold was created. Nearby to the east is the Romano-British courtyard house village of Bosullow Trehyllys which may have been contemporary with the fort. Chun Castle was probably utilized to protect the mining resources and the prehistoric trackway known as Old St. Ives Road.

Chun Quoit
is a neolithic standing structure which also serves as a bronze age burial mound. The dolmen burial chamber stands on bleak atmospheric moorland slopes about a mile from the sea by Great Bosullow. It consists of a huge capstone (3.3 x 3 meters) with a cupmark standing at about 2 meters height and supported by four standing stones to create a closed chamber. The only access to the interior of the grave is through a hole in the lower right side of the South by southeastern base slab. This monument was probably covered by an earth mound.

Continue reading Chun Castle

Print Friendly
Share