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Lie Leaching PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

tableIt was known as "Mystery Hill" for countless years until it was renamed "America's Stonehenge" in the 1980's. Mystery Hill is a more correct moniker, but the mystery is why people are so reticent to accept a mundane explanation for observed phenomena.

On a rocky hill in Salem, NH, giant stones have been placed in a circle by someone. Inevitably, many of these stones line up with astronomical events... it's rather hard to put stones in a circle and NOT have this happen, but for all I know they may have been placed that way on purpose.

This is part of the much larger story, but I'm going to focus on one specific element of America's Stonehenge: the "sacrificial stone."

Located next to a cave partially constructed of large slabs of granite, this stone table is large enough for a man to lie on. Around its edges are carved grooves which encircle the stone and lead off the edge into a spout that could pour into a bucket or other container. Should you wish to cut a man's throat on this stone, his blood would be collected very conveniently.

To add to the intrigue, there is a stone tube under the stone table that leads to the cave, known as the "oracle chamber." If someone in the oracle chamber speaks, a disembodied voice can be heard emanating from the stone, as though ancient spirits were accepting the dead man's soul as an offering.

Pretty convincing evidence that this site was used for arcane rituals, yes? Some say the site was built by Culdee monks from thousands of years ago. Others say a lost race constructed the site, and some... the "boring" ones... point out that 18th and 19th century famers used the stones for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons involved soap.

The process of making soap involves the use of lye, which is made by soaking wood ash. The water is evaporated and the end result is potassium hydroxide which has similar properties to the sodium hydroxide we use as lye today. When mixed with animal fat, lye starts a chemical reaction the end result of which is soap.

The people of New England knew this, and many communities had "lye leaching stones" available just for this purpose. A quick look at the pictures on this site might make one question the actual use of the "sacrificial stone."

But what of the oracle tube? What role does that play in the "lye" theory? I have not seen this suggested, but it seems to me that a tube under a stone table would be an excellent conductor of air, which may have been a form of natural bellows to make the fire hotter. It would have taken quite a while to heat that stone, and wind collecting in the partially man-made cave could have sped the process considerably.

If you visit the America's Stonehenge site, you won't find any mention of lye leaching. This is a shame, because I find it just as interesting to learn how 19th century farmers survived in this hardscrabble landscape as I do speculating about the mystical ramifications of such a site. Here we have a genuine "mystery solved," or at least one that has an extremely plausible explanation. I understand the current owners make money from tourism, and that more tourists are intested in "mystery" than "history," but there's a golden opportunity here to show how easy it is for our lust for lore to overshadow our curiosity.

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written by Sc00ter, July 23, 2009
I was there in June and have a ton of pics of the area if anybody is interested - http://scootz.net/~travis/gall...tonehenge/
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written by Lahurongirl, July 23, 2009
I like this article. History can be a mystery and that's why I majored in it smilies/wink.gif
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written by Mark P, July 23, 2009
It happens in every country, .

In mine it is a natural rock formation that has cooled into a passable resemblance to a stone wall. From these foundations, so to speak, we have fools believing in "ancient" civilisations.

It's not like stone hasn't formed regular patterns before or anything. No, we have to have "mystery".
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written by Otara, July 24, 2009
The lye explanation seems fairly clearcut, but the tube explanation is just a guess.

We dont have to come up with complete alternative explanations in order to say the idea of Culdee monks in the US thousands of years ago is ridiculous do we?
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written by Starthinker, July 24, 2009
Maybe it was used for both!
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written by skyhand, July 24, 2009
I like the simple theories for things like this. Making soap is simple and fits what you can see. I've seen similar things like this. They were used for processing berries, but this one is more elaborate. The juice was collected and the berries were dried. You usually can find cylindrical rocks near that were used like rolling pins. You would overlook these when looking for UFO evidence.
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Human sacrifice everywhere
written by gabriel, July 24, 2009
That collection of stones used for human sacrifice is terrifying. Those New Englanders were so bloodthirsty.
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written by Zoroaster, July 24, 2009
After seeing Fight Club I know just how sinister making soap can be.
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written by Michael K Gray, July 25, 2009
It is quite clearly a prehistoric pool table.
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Maybe
written by Paul Murray, July 26, 2009
New Englanders? Maybe they executed witches on it.
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written by crackerjack5, October 15, 2009
Who the heck were the Culdee monks? Were they real? Never heard of them in history class.
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