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Paul Devereux speaking at the Rollright Stones: Part 1 The Dragon Project
In 1976 I took over editorship of the Ley Hunter Journal and the buzz at the time was that there was strange energies at sites. So I invited
papers at the journal for people to write about research into ancient sites' energies. What did come through was just people's opinions, what they thought; there was no actual research.
So I instigated a meeting in 1977. It was agreed to set something up. It was called the Dragon Project in reference to the dragon image of
China for teluric current. We set it up, we got a small grant, and we had subscriptions from various trusty Ley Hunter readers. We wanted a field site where we could conduct long term work and we chose the Rollright stones - it's a fascinating site and there's a
tremendous body of folklore associated with it. We had done some work which indicated that stone circles in the British
Isles are very near or on geological fault lines - and that intrigued us from an energy possibility. Indeed at the bottom of the field over
there is the Rollright fault which runs by. One circle, one fault line.
We've done an aerial survey and we have seen one of the old prehistoric tracks which runs up past the Whispering Knight and up onto the Ridgeway here. Flying over, the crop marks were very visible at that time when we flew over And we set up a lot of monitoring.
We had to decide what we were going to look at - you can't just monitor everything. And so we listened to anecdotes, what people told us,
experiences people had had, and then said well, what could they be in terms of energies that we could measure or monitor. We went for various things. Ultrasound was one, which was a curious one. Infrared photography. Magnetic monitoring. And radioactivity.
These are all natural energies that zip around us all the time and we wanted to see if there were any anomolous occurrences of these energies.
And we set about it, a motley crew, of people staying here day and night. I think we had one three month session that was twenty-four hour monitoring. Round the clock monitoring for three months. We monitored
the whole area. We couldn't get data, for example, on radiation. You know that there is
natural radioactivity from the ground, and coming down secondary particles through the atmosphere, and all the rest. And we wanted to know were there any detailed data on this. And there're not. Not of the fine tuning that we needed.
So we had a set of monitoring stations all around this area for three months to find out what a standard background was. Because unless you know the background you can't determine anomolies. In fact there are no real radiation anomolies here except in the road. There's a hundred yard section of the road here that is about five times above the background radiation count. That's nothing to do with ancient sites - it's to do, presumably, with the sort of hard core packing underneath the road.
What is interesting and while we were monitoring here at all hours of the day and night and all seasons and all weathers, a number of people would report to me - who had been working here for several days - "I saw something strange on the road here." Then somebody else, some completely other person who didn't know the other person, would say "I
saw something strange on the road here." And we found that in that hundred yards length we had reports of cars being occupied, for instance, that disappeared - like driving along and
suddenly they weren't there any more; old fashioned gypsy caravans appearing and disappearing; and even, by someone who is now a well known archaeologist, he was sitting here in a van, eating his jam butty or whatever it was, when a very large hairy animal walked by. He said it had coarse grey hair and it went by. He wondered "what could that be?" and he looked out and there was nothing there.
So there were appearences and disappearences - very vivid, but very brief, very transient - on this stretch of road here. None of those people knew it was radioactive. We did because we'd monitored it time and again. We took samples, samples tested on the road surface. Nothing unusual. But we subsequently found on the Dragon Project that in areas of heightened natural background radiation - it happened in some of the granite dolmen chambers in Cornwall - people would get very vivid waking dreams - if I can put it that way. Transient hallucinations that could either blot out what they were actually looking at, or would add some element to the scene they were looking at. And it's a whole area never been further investigated, but it's something we noticed.
But we didn't pick up any radiation anomolies here. We picked up some ultrasonic or apparant ultrasound anomolies, and we definitely picked up magnetic anomolies. The ultrasound - very confused. We never really got to the end of it. I was never totally happy, and this is why I've never reported it in any depth. I was never totally happy that all the instrumentation was kosher. Because the monitoring equipment can be affected by damp and
rain, and by God we had all the weathers imaginable.
But in 1987, quite a bit after the main body of the Dragon Project physical monitoring, on the tall stone over there, we definitely got an ultrasound reading coming out of the middle metre-deep band, if you can think of that, around the stone in all directions. And it lasted just over an hour and then it just went and we never picked it up again. But it was definitely coming out of the stone. Now whether that was heterodyning some military communications or whatever, I just don't know what it was. But it was definitely there.
Magnetic stones: we've picked up some along here with magnetometors. Very low level stuff. But normally they give a nice smooth, even gradient, but on one occasion, again for about an hour and a half on a summer's afternoon, one of the stones here just went completely berserk; up and down, up and down. Something was happening within it. But we
have no idea what
But from the work we did here, we branched out and we looked at sites throughout the British Isles, we looked at sites in the USA, in Egypt, and also France and one or two other places. And we built up a sort of consensus view of certain types of anomoly. And what we found were that apart from subtle magnetic changes, some rocks in stone circles have gross magnetic anomolies within them. There's nothing mysterious about it, it's sort of iron content in the stones, and so forth, but they are really strong and they'll spin a compass. They are usually very specific spots on a stone circle or in an alignment.
People say, how could they be anything like in prehistory - people didn't have instrumentation and so on. There is in fact a very good body of data now developing, that people can have a natural sensitivity to magnetic field changes. I was recently over in Canada with Professor Michael Persinger who studies the effect of magnetic field changes on the brain. He, actually, can produce visions and other forms of effect in people by changing magnetic fields - at the same sort of levels as the magnetic fields that we measured around the standing stones. And there are links with diet and all sorts of other things that can enhance that sort of
We also had dowsers and psychics who did the mind stuff, here, as well.I've got to tell you they weren't very consistent results that we got there. But that's the sort of thing that we did. It was intermittent work from...really we got going in 1978 properly and intermittently then
through into the mid-, late-1980s with one or two sporadic monitoring attempts at various sites into the 90s.
The most complete record of those results are in Places of Power, that I
wrote in 1990 and has just had a recent edition. But it was sporadic - we were very poorly funded, very much a pilot study.
I came away with two distinct impressions. One is that a lot of the talk about energies at sites is just...crap, quite honestly. It's just belief systems that is regenerated by people who don't actually do research. The other aspect was that there are possible specific energy
effects that may possibly have had use in a ritual context, such as magnetic field changes and so on. We now know that early peoples and traditional peoples, people in the rainforests and wherever, were very, very well informed about their botanical environment. Exactly what
every leaf, bark, blade of grass, whatever it could do in a medicinal sense, in a ritual sense, how it could change consciousness and so on. My guess is that they were equally acutely aware of their...what we would call their geophysical environment. They would know about fault lines, for example, by the energy changes that occurred there. And also by phenomnea that occur such as balls as light, anomolous light, earthlights, whatever you want to call them.
We actually know of at least four or five sites around the world that were specifically built because people saw unusual light phenomnea there and interpreted them as gods, spirits, bogeysaplers or whatever, depending on the culture. I'm pretty sure they were tuned in to their
geophysical environment just as they were to their botanical, natural environment. And that was the overall impression I personally brought from the Dragon project.
Subsequent to that we've been doing a long, long term dream project at four sites, three in Cornwall, one in Wales, where we've been gathering hundreds of dreams from many, many different volunteers because we wanted to see if certain places would yield certain patterns of dream consciousness. It's been a hell of a job. The results we've got, we've got books of dreams from sites. They're being analysed by the Seabrook institute in San Fransisco - Stanley Crivener who is a past master of this sort of stuff. We're a little bogged down through lack of funds at the moment, so we're trying to raise funding. But it's been going for ten years and it will be a very interesting project whatever the results.
You asked about the geographic properties. It's worth noticing that from Uffington white horse, through this site, to Grails Hill - which is a local landmark with all sorts of legends associated with it and ghosts outgoing from it in the local folklore - is an absolutely true meridian. And that was surveyed by Roy Cooper who was one of the early helpers on the Dragon Project and later became one of its trustees and who is, by trade, a surveyor.
The stone we were looking at over there with the flat side, it's got a ruddy complexion - it's got a ruddy complexion because some little toe-rag about a decade ago built a fire by it and cracked it and the stone had to be taken away.
Speaker: Paul Devereux
Sound Engineer, Editing & Web Presentation: Andy Burnham
Transcript: Martin McCarthy
Photography: Terence Meaden, Gerald Ponting
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