Pagan Community Notes: “America’s Stonehenge” vandalized, spike in recent “witch-hunt” crimes, and more!

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Vandalized rock at America’s Stonehenge.  Photo courtesy of Salem NH Police Department

SALEM, N.H. – A group of rock formations known as “America’s Stonehenge” were reported vandalized and defaced. The Associated Press and WMUR-TV reported that one of the stones had been toppled over and then defaced with a grinding power tool.

A wooden cross with several photographs and hand-drawn images attached to it was also found at the site. The online images of the cross shows several photographs in a stack visibly push-pinned to the top of the cross, with the top one showing a young boy and then further down affixed below the crossbar, a shot of an older young man. Of the two hand-drawn images, both depicting human figures, only the bottom is really visible and appears to be of the Statue of Liberty.

The cross was suspended between two trees and discovered by the property owner while they were walking the property on Sunday morning on September, 29. Salem police were notified soon after the damage to the stone was discovered.

Police are trying to identify the people in the photos in hopes that the information will lead them to the person who vandalized the site.

The modern history of the site is that it was originally owned by a colonial family named Pattee and the first documentation was recorded in Edgar Gilbert’s, 1907 The History of Salem, New Hampshire and identifies it as “Jonathan Pattee’s Cave.” Gilbert also noted that Pattee was known to live there in 1825 and used some of the stone structures for storage.

In 1937 the site was bought by William Goodwin, an antiquarian, and insurance executive. Goodwin was looking for evidence of Nordic explorers but later became convinced the site was in fact made by “Culdees” or Irish Monks. Goodwin named the site Mystery Hill, and there are still numerous references to it by that name.

In 1956 the site was taken over by the Stone family, who renamed it “America’s Stonehenge”. In 1976, Barry Fell, a marine biologist, and an amateur historian wrote America B.C. (now identified as a pseudo-archeological text) which helped to proliferate some of the ideas and theories that have since been disproved.

While the origin of the site has been debated with claims that it was built by ancient Celts or Nordic explorers, those claims were debunked by Archaeology Professor Curtis Runnels. According to Runnels in an interview with Boston University Weekly newspaper, The Bridge, “No Bronze Age artifacts have been found there,” he says. “In fact, no one has found a single artifact of European origin from that period anywhere in the New World.”

What has been found when the quarry to the north of the rock structures was excavated and examined in 1982 by David Stewart-Smith, director of restoration for the site, and supervised by the New Hampshire state archaeologist, offered evidence of early stone tool manufacture. Radiocarbon dating and analysis of the area suggest human occupation of the area back around 2,000 B.C.E.

Whatever its factual origin, the Pagan community who have been to the site say it is worth a visit. The current owners have also hosted a variety of groups and speakers and routinely have events that are of interest to the Pagan community.

TWH will continue to follow this story and report back on any new developments.

 

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News of recent “witch-hunts”:

The last few months have seen a spike in “witch-hunts” in India and other countries in the region.

Below are the stories detailing the most recent crimes.

 

 

  • Two groups in the state of Odisha in East India, the Ganjam branch of Humanist and Rationalist Organisation, and Berhampur unit of Odisha and Humanist Rationalist Organisation are demanding the government take action to help stop the number of “witch-hunt” related crimes. The groups want literature distributed, as well as public meetings and outreach to help educate those in more rural areas where superstitions drive people to commit crimes against those who they believe are practicing “witchcraft.” The groups also want the government to compensate victims who have been accused of “witchcraft” or who have been the subject of “witch-hunt” crimes.
  • Over 30 people have been arrested in connection with the torture and abuse of six persons in Gopapur village in the Ganjam district of the Indian state of Odisha. The six victims, men aged 55 to 65-years-old, were taken from their homes, beaten, subjected to having some of their teeth removed, and then forced to consume human excreta. Once police were notified, they had to fight the villagers, who threw stones and chili powder at the officers. Eventually, all six victims were rescued and taken to a hospital in Berhampur.
  • In Garhwa, a district in the Jharkhand state of India, a 55-year-old man, Koyil Bhuiyaan, was found severely beaten reportedly by men who suspected he was practicing “witchcraft,” was rushed to the hospital but died from his injuries. No other details were made available except the police continue to investigate.
  • Last month in the Visakhapatnam district of India, a 55-year-old man, identified as K Jayaram, was beaten and burnt alive. The parents of a nine-year-old child, who was delirious with fever, allegedly mumbled Jayaram’s name and that he had strangled and beaten her. The complaint filed with the police alleges at least 10 people were involved in the killing. Police have said the suspects will likely be charged with murder and criminal intimidation. Earlier in September, a similar murder took place outside of the city of Hyderabad in the same district. A 24-year-old man, Boya Anjaneyulu, was reportedly assaulted and thrown on to a funeral pyre for a 45-year-old woman because it was believed he had practiced “witchcraft” that caused her death. The woman’s husband and two other family members were arrested.
  • A 15-year-old albino boy, was found murdered and dismembered in August in the country of Burundi in East Africa. Some believe that the body parts of albinos can be used to gain wealth. Over 20 cases of albinos children and adults being abducted and murdered have been documented since 2008 in Burundi.

In other news:

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

 

Deck: The Vampire Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Card: The Sun, Major arcana, nineteen (XIX)

 

The week ahead offers the potential for many positive actions and rewards for those who are willing to pay attention and seize the day. Conversely, lack of focus can result in loss, loneliness, and failure.

 

 

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.