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Talk explores New England’s ancient stone structures

  • Plainfield artist Michael Melle, right, lends a hand to two scarecrows that appear to be picking apples in his backyard which he fashioned after the Picasso painting "The Apple Pickers." The pair of scarecrows were commissioned and are now headed to Portland, Maine. Melle recently started making the scarecrows with burlap rather than hay to make them more durable.

    Plainfield artist Michael Melle, right, lends a hand to two scarecrows that appear to be picking apples in his backyard which he fashioned after the Picasso painting "The Apple Pickers." The pair of scarecrows were commissioned and are now headed to Portland, Maine. Melle recently started making the scarecrows with burlap rather than hay to make them more durable. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Two scarecrows set up in the backyard of artist Michael Melle were  fashioned after a Pissaro painting called "The Apple Pickers," a work that was commissioned and is now headed to Portland, Maine. He recently began constructing scarecrows from burlap rather than straw to make them more durable.<br/>LAURA RODLEY

    Two scarecrows set up in the backyard of artist Michael Melle were fashioned after a Pissaro painting called "The Apple Pickers," a work that was commissioned and is now headed to Portland, Maine. He recently began constructing scarecrows from burlap rather than straw to make them more durable.
    LAURA RODLEY Purchase photo reprints »

  • Purchase photo reprints »

  • Plainfield artist Michael Melle, right, lends a hand to two scarecrows that appear to be picking apples in his backyard which he fashioned after the Picasso painting "The Apple Pickers." The pair of scarecrows were commissioned and are now headed to Portland, Maine. Melle recently started making the scarecrows with burlap rather than hay to make them more durable.
  • Two scarecrows set up in the backyard of artist Michael Melle were  fashioned after a Pissaro painting called "The Apple Pickers," a work that was commissioned and is now headed to Portland, Maine. He recently began constructing scarecrows from burlap rather than straw to make them more durable.<br/>LAURA RODLEY

Eight-foot-tall giants, ancient cities, a new world? No, it’s not an early Halloween hoax, but topics explored during a talk, “Understanding 2012, Mysteries, Prophecies and Lost Knowledge,” given at Ashfield Town Hall last weekend by Ashfield stone mason and researcher Jim Vieira and the Rev. Richard Fournier, director of Taproot Center in Cummington. Over 200 people attended.

Investigating written records of stone work in colonial times in New England towns, Vieira said he found articles about discoveries in the late 1880s of skeletons of 7- to 8-foot-tall people with double rows of teeth buried in mounds. There were so many of these discoveries, in fact, that records show even President Lincoln was aware of their presence, he said. Extending the area of his research, Vieira said he eventually found thousands of reports of such skeletons, from Martha’s Vineyard to Middleboro and west to Ohio, including some remains that measured 11 feet tall.

This “race of giants,” he said, was noted in the writings of the Freemasons, a secret fraternal society, and the Rosicrucians, a 17th- and 18th-century movement devoted to esoteric wisdom. In 1880, in Maple Creek, Wis., skeletons were found in a burial mound similar to Stonehenge, England’s legendary standing stones, noted Vieira. Carbon dating of skeletal remains dates back 75,000 years, he said.

Colonists recorded descriptions of what they thought were stone root cellars found in the woods, he added, structures that were designed exactly like Ireland’s dolmens, monuments that consist of two standing stones topped with a horizontal stone slab, forming a doorway. Some of these cellar-like structures had elaborate ceilings constructed of stones that each weighed a ton. One of the oldest colonial stone ruins in New England covers 30 acres in Salisbury, he said.

Who made these stone ruins remains a mystery, he said. One of the possible clues to unraveling their mystery is what appears to be similarities between stone structures found across the globe, such as the elaborate 9-foot- tall stones structures found at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey.

Vieira said he found that the stone megaliths, including the pyramids in Egypt, follow a mathematical equation that, according to the Mayan long-term calendar, aligns them with a 25,900-year equinox cycle. That cycle ends this year on Dec. 21, when another cycle will start.

Putting his findings to the test, Vieira said he waited inside the opening of a stone structure located in Goshen until dawn broke on the spring equinox, discovering that the monument was lined up to view the rising sun.

“I felt like Indiana Jones,” he said. “It was really electric in there.”

How to make a scarecrow

A Scarecrow-Making Workshop will take place as part of Plainfield’s Fall Festival at the Guyette Farm on Pleasant Street Saturday, when residents and visitors will mark the 25th anniversary of the Shelburne Falls-based Franklin Land Trust.

The workshop from noon to 4 p.m. will be offered by Plainfield resident Michael Melle, who has earned a reputation for creating and helping other people fashion such life-like scarecrows that they have been mistaken for human beings.

When 86 scarecrows made by participants in a 2007 workshop conducted by Melle were placed around Pittsfield, including some positioned near crosswalks, motorists reportedly stopped to let them cross.

“A few (of the scarecrows) had to be moved,” he said.

Families and groups are invited to form scarecrow-making teams for a $50 fee, which includes materials. Preregistration is required. Call 625-9151 to register or visit www.franklinlandtrust.org.

The festival will offer a range of free activities from noon to 7 p.m., including pumpkin painting, a scavenger hunt, petting zoo, hayrides and a bonfire.

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Herbal remedies

Make herbal remedies with Cummington resident Sarah Stockwell-Arthen at the West Cummington Church parish house, 27 West Main St., Saturday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. There is a $20 fee; free will donations accepted. Preregister at www.sarahstockwell.com.

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