One of the most intriguing aspects of ancient and prehistoric sites is the claim, usually made by dowsers, that they contain a special and palpable energy.
Author and researcher Paul Devereux, author of The Ley Hunter and many other titles associated with earth energies, decided to investigate this possibility and set up the Dragon Project (later called the Dragon Project Trust, a charity) in 1977 to study whether certain prehistoric sites had unusual forces or energies associated with them. (The project is thought to have taken its name from the Chinese system of feng shui, which depicts the primal earth force as ‘dragon energy.’)
Devereux set up camp at the Rollright stone circle in Oxfordshire together with a collection of dowsers, scientists and sensitives, who employed a battery of scientific tests to attempt to measure these energies.
In the early 1980s, they enlisted Rodney Hale, the retired head of a design company and designer of electronics equipment, including devices to detect and measure extra-low-frequency (ELF) waves. Hale subsequently built whatever measuring instruments were required to measure radioactivity, plus ultrasonic, electrostatic, electromagnetic, magnetic and ELF energy.
What the Dragon Project team discovered was not an exotic new type of subtle energy, but certain distinct differences in the geomagnetic energy at Rollright. Magnetometer and Geiger-counter readings provided hard evidence of anomalous readings in the geomagnetic energy and natural background radiation at the site. They also found infrared and ultrasonic effects at other sacred sites.
According to Hale: “The first great discovery was that the length of road passing beside the stones was radioactive to the extent of up to eight times the normal background rate, no doubt due to a foundation of active granite chippings. This stretch of road was where visions or ‘hallucinations’ had been reported from time to time—could there be a connection with increased radioactivity?
“On the ELF side, a very unexpected signal was picked up on a number of occasions, in quite localized areas,” Hale continued. “It would appear from nothing, sounding rather like waves washing on the shore, become stronger, then die away after about half an hour. If one walked slowly along, there would be peaks and troughs of signal amplitude at about one-foot intervals.
The Dragon team then decided to examine the effects of these sites on humans, largely because it is assumed that these sites had been used for mass rituals and even shamanic practices.
In their next project—the Dreamwork Program—Devereux and his colleagues tested the historical evidence and folklore claiming that visionary and precognitive experiences occur at ancient sacred sites.
They decided to focus on four lesser known sites: a holy hill in the Preseli range in Wales, and three sites in Cornwall: a Neolithic dolmen, a Celtic holy well, and an Iron Age underground passage and chamber, originally called a ‘fogou’ in the Cornish dialect and now referred to as a ‘souterrain’ by archeologists.
To determine whether the ‘spirit of place’ might affect human consciousness, Devereux decided to test whether the dreams at particular sites had components common among all the dreamers that could be decoded and identified as belonging to that place. He wondered if these energies might affect a mind at its most meditative state, or even whether some energy memory remained in these exotic locations that a dreamer might tune into.
He also wanted to examine whether the geophysical anomalies of the places affected the dreaming mind.
The Dragon Project had already discovered through some of their research that a high level of background radiation could cause brief, but vivid, hallucinations.
For this investigation, Devereux enlisted veteran dream researcher Dr Stanley Krippner, from the Saybrook Institute in San Francisco, who had led the famous Maimonides Hospital dream studies, offering some of the best evidence of ESP and dreaming ever amassed.
In 1993, dowsers, sensitives and ordinary members of the public of all ages, from 17 to 70, volunteered to sleep outdoors at these sacred sites and to keep a careful record of their dreams. Each volunteer has an experiment partner, whose job it is to stay awake while the participant sleeps.
As soon as the participant enters REM (rapid eye movement) sleep), his partner would awaken him, and tape record the sleeper’s report of his dreams. The volunteers also recorded reports of dreams they’ve had at home to serve as controls.
These were transcribed and sent to Krippner for analysis. In 2003, Dr Krippner gathered the data amassed thus far, and began to analyze and code them.
The results were then given to a panel that was unfamiliar with the dreams; the panel’s job was to judge the data according to a strict scientific protocol.
In June 2003, Dr Krippner, Paul Devereux and Adam Fish published the results of the dreams of 35 volunteers, who’d spent between one and four nights sleeping at the four sacred sites. The two judges, who were enlisted to analyze the 206 reports of dreams at home and at sacred sites, used a special, independent system called a ‘Strauch scale,’ which offers specific criteria for identifying ‘magical’, ‘bizarre’ or ‘paranormal’ elements of dreams.
Of the 103 site-dream reports, nearly half (46 reports) fell into one of the Strauch categories compared with less than a third (31 reports) of those dreamed at home—a significant effect.
Although Krippner could not conclude that the sites themselves were causing these effects, the material gathered demonstrated that different dreamers were picking up similar dream themes at one of the four sites, suggesting that collective energy might reside at the site and was somehow being transmitted to the different dreamers sleeping there.
More intriguing evidence that sacred places are sacred for a reason: they do indeed have sacred—and different—energies.
1 Devereux P. Places of Power. London: Blandford, 1990
2 J Assoc Study Dreams, 2003; 13 (2): 9 5 – 1 0 5
3 Fortean Times, 2003; December: 178
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