Mystery Hill


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Mystery Hill (New Hampshire)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Mystery Hill is an American megalithic site, often compared to British sites such as Avebury or Stonehenge, located in New Hampshire some forty miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. The site is a somewhat chaotic collection of structures: walls, cave-like enclosures, and oddly arranged stones, the largest weighing some eleven tons. Lacking the symmetry of most of the European sites, Mystery Hill does possess what are believed to be astronomically significant stone placements such that the site could have been used to measure the major solar movements (solstices and equinoxes). The most interesting structure is the so-called Sacrificial Stone. The flat stone has a channel carved around its perimeter and a possible blood drain at one corner. The opening under the stone would allow a religious functionary to operate during any religious ceremonies.

What has kept Mystery Hill from the kind of recognition given the European sites is its questionable origin. It does not have a history of existence dating to the movement of Europeans in the area (1730s) nor a Native American folklore attached to it. Modern records begin in the early nineteenth century when a man named Jonathan Pattee owned the site. Many assumed he and his family built the site, although at least one structure is known to predate Pattee. In any case, during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the area was compromised before any archeologist could document it. In the 1930s William B. Goodwin, the owner at the time, did much irreparable harm to the site.

Apart from Pattee, people have suggested the structure, which is about twenty-five miles from the Atlantic shore, is Viking in origin, a pre-Colombian Irish structure (a theory favored by Goodwin), or an ancient Native American site. Items found at Mystery Hill have been dated to between 1,000 and 3,000 years old, but the Native Americans of the region are not known to have worked in stone; there is no evidence of a megalithic culture in New England.

The cause of Mystery Hill as an ancient site of archeological significance is kept alive by the New England Antiquities Research Association, an amateur archeological association founded in 1964 that seeks to document New England’s prehistory. Most current writing about Mystery Hill seems to favor its pre-Columbian European origin.

Sources:

Cahill, Robert Ellis. New England’s Ancient Mysteries. Salem, MA: Old Saltbox Publishing House, 1993.
Fell, Barry. America, B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.
Lambert, Joanne Dondero. America’s Stonehenge: An Interpretive Guide. Kingston, NH: Sunrise Publications, 1996.
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