The Curious Case of the Hexham Heads

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      Evening everyone,

      Following a mention of the renowned Celtic scholar, Dr. Anne Ross (1925-2012) in another thread, I thought I’d give a brief synopsis of a curious story with which she was involved. For those who are interested, more information can be found online about this odd little tale.

      In 1971, two young boys in Hexham, Northumberland – about 25 miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne, dug up two small, crudely-sculpted stone heads in their garden. Their family was then, allegedly, plagued by strange, paranormal phenomena, including – according to the story – strange apparitions. Apparently, the family’s neighbours also suffered from strange goings-on, too.

      The heads eventually found themselves in the hands of a highly-respected Celtic scholar, Dr. Anne Ross. (Ross was also the author of Pagan Celtic Britain, a very interesting and useful resource for anyone interested in pagan, Celtic Britain – as the title would suggest.) Moreover, this is where the story starts to get even more interesting. Ross herself stated that on acquiring the heads, she started to suffer from a spate of strange, paranormal phenomena in her own house; this included seeing a werewolf-like figure and poltergeist-like activity as well as other odd things appearing; these activities only ceased when Ross removed the heads from her house. Predictably, there was a bit of media interest in this – a local man even claimed to have made the heads himself, however, this didn’t seem convincing. Finally, the heads were analysed at the University of Newcastle – the analysis suggested that they had been cast or moulded and not sculpted or carved. Therefore, were they just an elaborate hoax? Were they just nothing at all – ‘innocent’ crude sculptures that had been discarded? Or was there something more to all of this? Alas, it seems we shall never know because the heads disappeared and no one knows where they are today.

      What interests me about this story is the fact that a) the families seemed sincere enough and b) a well-known, expert Celtic scholar – an academic with a reputation – was convinced that the heads were authentic and was not reluctant to talk about the paranormal phenomena she had experienced in relation to these artefacts. Now, we all know that in the field of the paranormal and psychic matters there are, unfortunately, a lot of charlatans and a lot of spurious claims – usually debunked within time – but this story always leaves that slight, nagging doubt that there may just have been something more to all of this.

      Have you heard of this story? Could these artefacts – be they ancient Celtic objects, later carvings, or whatever else have possibly caused supernatural events? Would a leading academic and scholar have been so easily fooled and, what’s more, been prepared to ‘risk her reputation’ in relation to the paranormal goings-on?

      What do you think?

      Perhaps today, with our love of digging things up, some things are best left where they lie …


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