I have to say, I have been just a little disappointed in the lack of truly creepy places to visit in England. I am sure there are many that I haven’t been able to find but so far my internet research has mainly turned up the sort of kitschy, cliche places meant to cater to tourists. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when I consider that the sort of places publicised on the internet would be the sort of place that wants to attract visitors and getting the life scared out of them isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (I’m practicing my Britishisms). But, I mean, come on, England, step up your game! You’re a country whose history is rife with freakish abnormality and evil. You’ve got old castles and nursery rhymes about chopping off mouse tails and murdering wives. You’ve got serial killers who made people into puddings and pies. You’ve even got a history involving more disease than you can shake a fallen-off-due-to-leprosy finger at. Why does everything ‘scary’ in England have to be a pub where someone maybe-but-probably-wasn’t murdered long ago? If I wanted to be told blood soaked bullshit over beer I could volunteer as a camp counsellor.
I give up. Screw it; I’m going to Stonehenge. I’ve always wanted to see it, though I really don’t know why. You know what Stonehenge is? It’s a great big pile of rocks. We have that in America, too, but in America we put the faces of our Presidents on it and called it Mount Rushmore. Just another way England can’t compete. OK, I’m being unfair. The truth is that Stonehenge is really old. It’s also quite mysterious. It’s the best known prehistoric monument in Europe yet no one really knows how it was built or why, although evidence suggests it was a burial site.
Stonehenge is, as you probably know, a circle of enormous stones that would be challenging to move even today. Not impossible, mind, but it would take some very skilled engineers and heavy machinery operators to do. Unless history texts have been lying to me my entire life cavemen did not have Caterpillar cranes. There are a number of theories as to the construction of Stonehenge, and some have even been demonstrated as having been possible. Now there is a job I’d love to have – prehistoric construction work demonstrator. In one method a team used a giant wooden A frame known as a shear legs to move rocks of similar size. Rad. I want to be on a team that tests giant kites.
Theories as to the purpose of the monument also abound. Some think it was a burial ground, as mentioned above, while others point to the high number of corpses and say it was a (presumably not all that effective) medical clinic. Other theories put forward include a religious site, a calendar and a giant symbol of the unity of various tribes. I would like to put another theory forward that sort of combines all of those: A clinic, yes, but not to heal – a clinic to sanctify those born with or suffering from congenital deformities. Many of the remains, you see, are deformed – perhaps they were thought of as possessed or cursed and needing of cleansing?
Anyway, what you already know about Stonehenge is that it is a big ring of stones. What you may not know is that it is at the center of a complex of neolithic monuments. Rad. You may also not know that it has been a tourist attraction for literally thousands of years, with people making very long journeys to get there. Who knows, maybe my visit will explain why to me.