Hidden Hengers of Mississippi: Stonehenge Contagion Hits the Deep South!

Peghenge, henge and photo by Felder Rushing

Peghenge, henge and photo by Felder Rushing

It has been cold here in Clonehenge Central. England has had snow, and the usual rude snow sculptures have shown up in our internet feed. But down in the state of Mississippi, it is warm and lovely, and people can do their gardening—and garden henging—all year long. So it should be no surprise to anyone that the Stonehenge virus has had its way with people there just as it has everywhere else.

Meet Mr. Felder Rushing, native of Mississippi, radio personality, eccentric garden pundit and–henge enthusiast! Last week we were taking a healthful stroll around the Internet just to get the kind of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise you can’t get if you confine yourself to the social networks, when we stumbled on, without crushing it, we might add, the henge you see above. Some might call it a clothespin henge, but Peghenge would be a more familiar usage for most of our readers.

From there one (healthy aerobic) click took us to to his eclectic page of henges, which starts with Stonehenge itself and goes on through Avebury (we approve), a number of familiar Stonehenge replicas, on to his own and a friend’s garden henges, and to Newgrange and the white horses, by which we mean the chalk horses cut into a few English hillsides. No sign of the Uffington, but we’re in a forgiving mood.

James McCormick's Stonehenge, from Rushing's website

James McCormick’s Stonehenge, from Rushing’s website

The picture above is a stone circle in the garden of one of his friends, James McCormick in Starkville, Mississippi. Rather nice, we think! True, there are lintels only in the center, and they’re in a circle, not a horseshoe, but the reference is clear, it is aesthetically pleasing, and we have learned it is astronomically correct. We award this little gardenhenge 5 ½ druids!

And Peghenge? It is tempting to award it a higher score for its outer lintels and the correctly-formed inner horseshoe, but, since this Felder Rushing is a famous gardener, writer, radio personality (his show is called The Gestalt Gardener), and speaker who also has a cottage farm in Shropshire, should we not hold him to a higher standard? Score for the peghenge is also 5 ½ druids! We hope, sir, that this will spur you on to even greater Feats of Henging Glory.*

Meanwhile, our huge staff of researchers, as well as our roomful of idea people and writers, are working on another post from the Deep South. Mark Cline, of Virginia’s Foamhenge fame, has dazzled the henging world with a new creation, a fibreglass Stonehenge in Alabama, rumoured to be guarded by dragons and Chinese warriors! It is new,and information is hard to come by, but we have enough to add it to our list of large permanent replicas.

The other one is a set of Stonehenge-related sculptures on an island in the Serbian city of Belgrade. The research on this one has taken so many turns, involving politics, a formidable sculptor, a soul-stirring sculpture garden that was once behind the prince’s palace and is now destroyed forever, and the like, that we’re having trouble getting the article small enough for posting. But our huge staff is up to any task and will persevere! Meanwhile, this, too has been added to our list of large permanent replicas, bringing the grand number to 75. This is a world of wonders!

And so, dear friends and readers, when you start to despair for the world, think of all of the people out there who shrug off their troubles and in the face of certain disaster decide to build another Stonehenge! The impulse to have a laugh outdistances everything else about human nature. You have to love us. Ish.So, until next time—happy henging!

*Note: We have been prevailed upon by the great Simon Burrow, recent winner of the End-of-the-World Clonehenge Contest, and venerated Hengefinder, among the oldest friends of the blog, etc., to reconsider the Peghenge scoring. So Mr. Rushing’s fine creation is now awarded 6½ druids! Use them well, sir.

21 December, 2012: Apocalypse No!

Poster from Allan Sturm's LoveSmack Studios

Poster from Allan Sturm’s LoveSmack Studios

Greetings, henge lovers everywhere, and a happy solstice to you all from your friends at the Clonehenge blog!

Yes, you read the poster right. It says, “Dance inside a giant to-scale Stonehenge!” Yes, it says other things, too, but we are not the sexism police. We are the Stonehenge replica fandom. Focus! We have before us an exciting henging first–the Stonehenge dance floor!

This is a poster for an End of the World Party. (Apparently at the end of the world, fonts turn into zombies and parts of them begin to fall off. But once again, focus!) The end of the world. Ish. As of this writing, it is 21 December in Europe and Great Britain, but there have been no signs of the world ending. How Stonehenge ties in with the end of the world we’re not sure, either, but who are we to blow against the wind? Let’s see a few of the other pictures posted on the Clonehenge Facebook group recently as the apocalypse approacheth.

Citrus henge, courtesy of champion henger, Simon Burrow

Citrus henge, courtesy of champion henger, Simon Burrow

Friend and recent poster on this blog, Simon Burrow, posted this artistic citrus henge two days ago. Mr. Burrow is known for henging with unusual materials and with some frequency. If there were a thing like a henging problem, this henger might be said to have one. BUT there is not! So onward.

Photo posted by Bob Carlson, not sure who did the henging

Photo posted by Bob Carlson–not sure who did the henging

Ah, the days when Stonehenge was beset by eldritch creatures of the sea! Who wouldn’t want to make a replica of those epic times? Here’s one, a little short on lintels, but impressive nonetheless, posted by the mysterious Bob Carlson. We don’t know much about him, but anyone who henges AND speaks Welsh is all right by us!

A snowhenge, posted by Rufus T. Firefly

A snowhenge, posted by Rufus T. Firefly

And from R. T. Firefly of Henge Collective fame we have this snowhenge from another year. Don’t let that smile fool you–the creature shown here has teeth like a piranha and a temperament to match! If you see one at a henge, turn and run for your life. You have been warned!

miniature Stonehenge garden by Two Green Thumbs Gardens

miniature Stonehenge garden by Two Green Thumbs Gardens

And, yes, we have posted this last one before, but its popularity never dies–the miniature Stonehenge garden by Janit Calvo at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center. We include it again because she has furnished the curious with a blog post called How to Make a Miniature Stonehenge Garden for the End of the World. Timely! Briefly. Even better, she mentions us!!!

So there is our solstice/apocalypse post. Another year gone by, another turn of the sun, another special day for henges and hengers. It is also the last day for submissions to our henging contest. If you don’t know how to submit your entries, leave a comment on this post and we’ll answer.

Until next time friends, in this world or the next, happy henging!

Walkerhenge: Not Quite the Kind of Exciting Innovation It Sounds Like

photos by Michael H. Walker, Jr., used with permission

Walkerhenge. When we heard the name, it conjured up a vision of a Stonehenge replica robotised to be able to walk about, a peripatetic henge, or maybe a fleet of them… Yes, dozens, no, hundreds of Stonehenge replicas roaming the countryside, eating and reproducing, everything from little baby henges in the care of their mothers to huge bull henges bellowing and running the young single male henges away from the females. Wow, wait until David Attenborough gets hold of this one!

But no, Walkerhenge is named after its creators, Edith and Barry Henge. Oops, no! That should be Michael and Tim Walker, seen here being infected with the Stonehenge brain virus on a typically sunny warm day in Wiltshire.

Mike tells us, “…my brother and I went to Stonehenge a few years ago and when we got back I acquired these rocks. We decided to build a mini Stonehenge. We built it by hand in 2009 and its made out of old granite curbs from the 1850′s from Camden, NJ.” Another cautionary tale illustrating the Clonehenge Effect. (But the bit about the old curbs is brilliant, of course, even if it is Camden.)

Most people don’t understand the risks when they visit Stonehenge. They think, “Chevy Chase went there and he’s fine” or “The Doctor went there and he hasn’t been going around building henges.” Ah, but they are both Gallifreyans! Humans are different. They go home and then the worms in their heads make them build Stonehenges. So far there is no cure.

But on to the matter at hand. This belongs to the category of personal garden henges, like the  paved structure in Red Oak, TexasTremont Henge in Cleveland, or  the circle in Kennewick, Washington. Typically these are not large and sport only one or two trilithons. They often include benches in the form of very low trilithons. This one, like the Tremont, adds standing stones, representing, we suppose, the blue stones and maybe a stray sarsen. Its unique touch is the fire pit, which we are inclined to think is a touch the original Builders at Stonehenge would have recognised.

Another for our list of Large Permanent Replicas! As for score, well, we like this. Well suited for celebrating the Four Festivals, for marshmallows and story telling, or just drinking beer and howling at the moon, all of which except the marshmallows probably took place at the original. Score: 6 druids. (It is actually a 5½ druid henge, but I think readers will understand when we remind them that this poor fellow lives in New Jersey. If an extra half druid will give a little glow to his sorry life, how can we deny him?)

And anyway, we don’t live all that far from Juliustown, New Jersey, home of Walkerhenge. We don’t want to risk a whole herd coming after us. This time of year they are in rut and their horns are very sharp!

Many thanks to Monsieur Walker for his photos and his patience. And until next time, friends, happy henging!

Joyous Yule!

Photo by Jill Warvel.

Season’s greetings. The blog has been inactive for a while, but we still exist floating somewhere out in the blogosphere, and we want to say hello and best wishes for a lovely solstice or holiday of your choice, and happiest of New Years to all who wander here!

We have featured this garden Stonehenge replica once or twice before on Clonehenge, but we recently received this photo in an email from lovely Friend of the Blog Jill Warvel and it was too good to pass up! Thank you, Jill and thank you to all of our lovely readers. Enjoy the rest of December and all of 2011. And think of us when you here of, create, or wake up naked next to a Stonehenge replica. Pictures are always welcome–of the replica we mean, of course!

Remember, you don’t have to be at Stonehenge to notice the path of the rays of the rising solstice sun. Mark your desk, mark your wall, mark your garden or trees. Honour the play of the sun with the land! Something real that enters all our virtual lives.

Bonsai Stonehenge–Yes, It’s Salisbury But It Isn’t Plain!

photo courtesy of Salisbury Newspapers www.journalphotos.co.uk

No one does a Stonehenge like the locals! Above we see bonsai hengers (wouldn’t Bonsai Hengers be a great name for a rock band?!) and gardener/artists Tony Oswin & Wilf Colston with their prize-winning creation at the Salisbury Community Show recently–a charming Stonehenge model landscaped with bonsai trees and a bit of whimsy.

We have to say this is one of the finest and prettiest Stonehenge models we have seen! True, the landscape around it is not true-to-life, but we see no reason English Heritage shouldn’t run out and make it so. It would cost a great deal less than not putting in the tunnel and not putting in the new visitor centre has cost them so far!

The photo above, used courtesy of the Salisbury Bonsai Society, to which the gentlemen belong, shows the thought that must have been put into the Stonehenge section of the display. The stones themselves were cast in molds to make blocks all the same size and then hand carved with a knife and painted. No buying a little Stonehenge kit and quickly standing the plastic pieces in a circle for these fellows!* Care has been taken to make the assemblage resemble the original. We’re impressed!

Score: 8 druids! (New readers–no we do not believe druids built Stonehenge. Our scoring is a bit of a joke.) That’s very good for a small model. Mr. Oswin and Mr. Colson now have Clonehenge score bragging rights. That and £3 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Unless prices have gone up!

We want to thank Matt Penny, aka @salisbury_matt , friend of the blog, Salisbury and Stonehenge enthusiast, and perpetrator of the Salisbury and Stonehenge website for spotting this Stonehenge replica and sending us a link. We count on you, alert readers! Here’s a deal: you keep sending us Stonehenge replicas and we’ll keep wasting your time with our drivel! We promise.

We wish someone would start a serious site about Stonehenge replicas so that lovely ones like this would get their due from a thoughtful writer. But alas, it’s just us out here, I’m afraid, and we’re deficient in the genes that make one serious. They’re lucky we don’t live closer or we might have slipped in some mini-druids like those that mysteriously appeared at Babbacombe Model Village in 2005.

Our next post will bring our list of large permanent replicas to 65, and it’s another British one, so stay tuned! Until then, gentle readers, happy henging!

*You know we love you, Two Green Thumbs Gardens! ;-)

Stonehenge Adventure Garden in Austria

photos from the Landgasthof Feichthub website

It has been a while since we found something to add to our list of large permanent replicas. Not only have we found one this evening but we’re delighted to add a new nation to the list. This Stonehenge garden is on the grounds of Landgasthof Feichthub country guest house in Austria.

A Stonehenge in the garden of a country inn may not sound interesting, but the designers and builders on this one have gone above and beyond the call of duty. They’ve placed a glass sun (we regret to say we have no picture of it!) 149 cm (almost60 inches) in diameter in the Stonehenge replica and surrounded it with minerals representing earth, air, fire and water, repeated 3 times so they represent the signs of the zodiac.

But that’s not all! A path around the Stonehenge with a diameter of 16 meters (about 52 feet) is used to represent the sun in a model of the solar system, with stone balls proportionally sized to represent the planets scattered about the garden. Of course it isn’t possible to make the distances proportional, but still we think this is a delightful bit of whimsy, used at no other replica we know of.

The Stonehenge itself appears to be built of sandstone of a similar colour to the Tasmanian replica and the one in Orem, Utah. It’s just a linteled circle with five or six uprights, but that’s better than a circle of trilithons, and this comes close to having Aubrey holes and a bank, sort of.

Score: 7 druids! That’s not for the structure alone but includes the educational and aesthetically-pleasing additions that provide several ways to contemplate the sun in its relationship to Stonehenge and its effects on our lives. The innkeepers seem justifiably proud of their Stonehenge, which was built by the stone design firm of Alfred Schnellnberger. (No, that is not misspelled–it’s just Austrian!) The inn may be his baby, too.

For a few more shots of the Stonehenge, check out this Youtube video, in German, of course, about stone building and design.

That’s how it is, folks. We thought (hoped?!) we’d run out of Stonehenges to post and then we run across this. We know there have to be more out there. Help us find them! Or just give us money and let us tour the world looking for them. Either one is fine with us!

Happy henging!

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Henge Shui: A Garden Henge in Red Oak, Texas

Thos 3

photos and henge by Thomas, and Power Feng Shui, with permission

Building a large trilithon of stone is no easy task. The stones  have to be much larger than the portion visible above ground, and stone weighs a lot. We bring this up in order to underline the respect due to anyone who manages to build a large stone replica, no matter what the motivation.

And we bring that up because we suspect there are some among our readership who may be inclined to jeer, to cavil, indeed even to scoff, at the stated motivations of Thomas, the man who imagined and then built the replica above. He gives an explanation at this website, and in it he mentions Celtic magic and power and a bridge to the underworld, spirits and elementals–even white robes.

Thos 5Now we know that these topics rub many of our readers the wrong way, but they are, as inevitably as archaeology, engineering and astronomy, tied up in people’s perception of Stonehenge. And when the henge parasite hatches in the mind, it goes straight as if by instinct for the most vulnerable area. Sometimes it’s art, sometimes it’s science, sometimes it’s tourism, sometimes it’s bravado, sometimes it’s nostalgia, sometimes it’s play and sometimes it’s a mystical inclination. That last is the case here.

We’ve made the argument often that the Celts and druids could not have built Stonehenge, having arrived at least a millennium too late, but that does not technically preclude the possibility that those descended from Celtic peoples have some blood of the megalithic builders in their veins.  Celtic culture could have arrived as a style embraced by the indigenous people of the isles, rather than as a race who arrived to exterminate them–and some DNA testing suggests that is precisely the case.

Thos 7So scoff if you must, scoffers, but in the henging world there are many mansions and all who henge are welcome. You can read more by and about Thomas and his henging inspiration here.

Score for this nice garden trilithon and stone circle: 6 druids. He included a heel stone and a few small bluestone-like uprights. And to be honest, we would be thrilled to have this in our garden, an intimation of a magical world. We’re also thrilled to have another large, permanent replica!

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