Secrets of the Stones
The Dragon Project was a very interesting initiative, and like many great ideas, it started in a pub in Paddington, London. In 1977, Paul Devereux, then the editor of The Ley Hunter magazine, decided to get together with his friends and look into the claims that the stone circles of Britain gave off weird energies.
The Dragon Project’s aims were ambitious: to monitor ‘known’ sources of energy that might be coming off these standing stones, and to observe what subjective impressions these known forces, and other unknown forces, might create in human beings exposed to the stones.
We should note that Paul Devereux is a respected academic and was Senior Research Fellow in the 1990s at the International Consciousness Research Laboratories at Princeton University. He is the co-founder of the multi-disciplinary academic publication Time & Mind: A Journal Of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture.
Other team members were chemists, engineers, psychics, and dowsers. Even from the beginning, members of the Dragon Project were associated by interest, if nothing else, with ley-lines.
The Old Straight Track
The concept of ley-lines was first coined by Alfred Watkins (1855–1935) in his book The Old Straight Track, published in 1921. Watkins wandered England in the 1920s as representative of the family business in hotels and breweries. He was also a keen amateur photographer, which probably made him more likely to notice the features of the landscape around him.
Watkins noticed that when he looked to the skyline, particular objects such as odd-shaped hills, church spires, and clumps of trees all seemed to align. When he looked at a map, this appeared to be confirmed, and he could draw extended tracks across the countryside connecting such objects. To him, it seemed that they often went through places with names ending in -ley. Hence them being called ley-lines.
Now, it should be said that Watkins was a down-to-earth sort of chap and he saw no New Age significance in these. He wondered whether these ley-lines might be the archaeological remains of stone-age routes across England, used for trade. Watkins never mentioned earth energy. He founded the Old Straight Track Club and was a member of this club between 1927 and 1935, the year of his death.
It’s fair to say that archaeologists have not given a warm reception to this idea of long-distance tracks across England built by Neolithic people, but the idea won’t go away. Recently there was a book published called The Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic Europe by Graham Robb which again put forward the suggestion that a network of long straight tracks built in prehistoric times crisscrossed the whole of Europe. Once again, archaeologists have not accepted this claim, but Graham Robb remains pretty enthusiastic.
Castlerigg by Tony Walker
Power Lines and the National Grid
Alfred Watkins observed that his ley-lines linked many stone circles, but it was not until the Age of Aquarius (if you remember the musical) in the 1960s that people began to associate Stone Age tracks of trade and commerce with New Age tracks of earth energy and mystic power.
There was one advantage at least to the idea that the ley-lines were not just archaeological traces on a map, and were in fact invisible lines of energy.
Because Watkins traced his ley-lines through prominent landmarks such as hills, stone circles, and clumps of trees, but also human structures like neolithic megaliths, Roman ruins, and medieval cathedrals, he was open to criticism.
The critics asked Watkins how could this be when these structures were built thousands of years apart? The ley-line wouldn’t have existed until the last structure was in place in medieval times.
Watkins, had he lived, would have been stumped, but the New-Agers had the answer. They said the builders of these various monuments, even though separated by culture, language and centuries, built the stone circles, Roman temples, and medieval cathedrals where they did, because they responded to currents of energy flowing through these places.
The hippy theorists said that this recognition of an underlying energy might have been conscious or unconscious, but people down the centuries all felt the energy and knew the place was special, even if they don’t understand why.
Worldwide Parallels For Earth Energy
There are cultural parallels with the idea of long-distance tracks across a country having spiritual significance.
For example, Australia is crisscrossed with the Song Lines; long trackways the ancestor spirits traveled upon as they created the world. These Song Lines are full of energy and meaning according to the original cultures of Australia.
There is also hint from Ireland that suggests that trackways of cultural and religious significance existed there in prehistoric times. This comes from the ‘dindsenechas’ or ‘lore of places’.
The Dindsenechas is a collection of texts, poetry, and legend drawn from oral folklore, that mentions locations across Ireland where a particular god or hero did something significant that should be remembered. Once, the land of Ireland was tattooed by stories and legends across its green skin, most now lost, but at one time, comparable to the Australian Dreamtime.
People in North America have also proposed that ley-lines of energy run across that continent, such as an Earth Star shape that is said to form an almost perfect circle around the Grand Tetons.
Frank Joseph has a book called Sacred sites: A guidebook to sacred centers & mysterious places in the United States, and this touches on ley lines in America, as well as other types of sacred sites.
We should also mention Chinese Geomancy, better known as Feng Shui, which, unlike ley-line science in the west, is culturally respectable in China. Feng Shui goes back to around 4000 BC to the Bampo Culture. As a comparison, Stonehenge was constructed in England between 3000 to 2000 BC.
Feng Shui proposes that invisible forces flow through the landscape and through peoples’ houses and even people themselves. As Chinese ideas became more popular in Europe and America, a growing knowledge of Chinese Feng-Shui may have been one of the things that led to the connection between Alfred Watkins’s original idea of old straight tracks and earth energy.
Mayburgh Henge by Tony Walker
Enter The Dragon II
Even from the beginning, The Dragon Project had very respectable scientific aims. As we mentioned, it set out to examine the claim that megalithic stone circles were erected on sites of earth energy, or that they even gave out earth energy.
The big question was, what exactly was earth energy? The Dragon Project covered all the bases. The people involved had tech to monitor magnetic energy, and they searched out ionizing radiation such as gamma rays with Geiger counters. They used infrared photography to monitor any heat anomalies and sound-recording equipment to pick up ultra and infrasound.
This period of physical monitoring lasted from 1977 until 1987
There was a further period of ten years from 1987 that looked into more esoteric forms of energy, and they undertook a program of ‘dream monitoring.’
The Scientific Inquisition
Stop right there. Dream Monitoring? Whaaaaaa? Some angry readers may now be heading over to the comments box to type:
But, and go with me on this one as far as you are able and prepared, what if, just what if, there are so-far unknown types of energies that might be associated with these stone circle sites?
No! say the high-priests of Scientism.
Scientism is the religion of Science. This religion has doctrines and dogma and high priests such as Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins. Do not differ from them. Fall into line free thinker!
You see, if you don’t believe what the religion of Scientism says, and adopt their ways without question, you are a heretic and you will be canceled and your views consigned to the trash can.
The Church will not even entertain your opinions because you simply don’t think in the right way (their way). And what’s worse, you are entertaining ideas which are not, were not and cannot ever be, part of the true and sanctioned dogma, because the Church already knows everything that can be. So don’t even think there might be anything outside what they have already agreed exists, or they’ll come and get you, on the Internet at least.
But, I return to my question: are there forms of energy that do not involve magnetism, electricity, light, heat, sound, or even geothermal or tectonic energy? Maybe. Maybe not.
Just to create some wiggle room in the ironclad minds of the Believers — in the nineteenth century, straight-laced and card-carrying members of the Church, called physicists, believed in the luminiferous ether and phlogiston as legit forms of energy. Scientists now think this is all nonsense, garbage, and clap-trap.
It seems we got rid of some old forms of energy that scientists now snigger at, but then we got some new ones!
Like, we have a new form of energy: Dark Energy. We didn’t use to have that one, but it’s okay now, accepted. Never mind no one knows what it is. It just is, okay? The boss says it’s fine to believe in this one. Not the others, but this one, yes.
But it is new. Dark Energy was only ‘discovered’ in 1998 arising from observations of a supernova.
Where was it before 1998? Honestly, it didn’t exist. No one had the foggiest idea about it. In fact, you might say we just made it up. Maybe it’s real, but it’s just as possible that maybe dark energy will be something the physicists of the future laugh about like alchemy and phlogiston.
But let those of us reading this article be open-minded and charitable to the views of others.
Sarcasm about Scientism aside, it’s not scientific to close down your observations because you have a dogmatic belief that things can’t possibly exist. In medicine, they call this diagnostic foreclosure, and it leads to people dying because, with diagnostic foreclosure, doctors stop looking when they wrongly believe they have everything taped down.
Castlerigg by Tony Walker
Let’s Get Physical (Monitoring)
By 1987, Paul Devereaux, founder of the Dragon Project, concluded that the monitoring of sound, magnetism, radiation, heat, and electricity showed nothing out of the ordinary and that the stone circles were energetically dead.
The results of the Dragon Project can be found in Paul Devereux’s Places of Power (1990).
However, other members of the project disagreed with Devereaux’s opinion.
Don Robins, an inorganic chemist and consultant to the Dragon Project, said that the stone circles actually did emit levels of various types of radiation, either anomalously high or anomalously low.
At Crickhowell in Wales, some researchers had found magnetic anomalies; at other places they found ionising radiation.
In 1979, at the Rollright Circle in Oxfordshire, heat-sensing infra-red photographs of the tall King Stone showed a hazy glow around the top of the stone that defied explanation by photographic experts. In the next year at the same site, infrared showed a cloud of energy hovering fifteen feet from the ground between the King Stone and the central stone circle.
A bat researcher, out at dawn with his ultrasonic bat detector, found himself by chance near a stone circle and all of a sudden, as the sun came up, the stones gave out a burst of ultrasound.
These ultrasound emissions were reported to be more prominent towards the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes. These are times famous for their high tides, so this observation shouldn’t just be ruled out as a mistake; something happens energetically to the earth at those times.
Quartz wristwatches malfunctioned at megalithic sites. I should note here that in 2017 at Avebury Stone circle, I had a compass that went utterly haywire within the circle and wouldn’t settle, or if it did for a second, it would say north was one direction and then flip entirely around.
Regarding the ionising radiation: individual rocks, such as those arising from the geology of Cornwall do have high readings of gamma radiation. Higher than background levels of radiation were discovered at a stone circle at Moel Ty Uchaf in Wales and near Uppsala in Sweden. Tantalisingly, these readings occurred at times when people nearby reported strange lights in the sky like fireballs.
Now, the truth is that magnetic readings will vary, depending on the time of day, the state of the Earth’s geomagnetic field and solar flare activity.
Birds navigate by magnetism using deposits of magnetic iron in their bones, particularly the ethmoid bone, which humans also share, and humans have traces of magnetite in the brain. Stephen Juan, an anthropologist from the University of Sydney, wrote on how humans have a crystal of magnetite in the ethmoid bone, the bone right between your eyes.
We should also note evidence from studies of transcranial magnetic stimulation of the brain that magnetism applied to certain parts of the brain, particularly the temporal lobe, can produce altered states of consciousness.
There is also a fascinating study by scientists at MIT in 2010 that seems to demonstrate that a magnetic field applied through the skull can change moral judgements.
The Dragon Project monitored the brainwave activity of dowsers near stone circles using simple, portable EEG machines. Those devices were rudimentary compared with modern technology available now.
Until Next Time
We can summarise by saying that we know humans are susceptible to magnetic fields and that even slight magnetic fields can influence animal and human behavior. Also, there is some evidence to suggest that magnetic fields can influence decision making, even if it is at a subconscious level.
We also know that some of the sites of stone circles have higher than background levels of either magnetic or gamma radiation, usually arising from their geology. We seem to hear bursts of ultrasound at certain times from certain circles and others seem to have aberrant heat signatures.
That’s all the known energies. In the second part of this article, I will look at the less scientific aspects of the Dragon Project: dream monitoring, dowsing, and reports of strange apparitions at the stone circle sites.
Sheila Dowsing at Long Meg by Tony Walker