Heads of the Supernatural Kind

Today, I’m sharing with you the strange saga of what became known as “The Hexham Heads.” It all began in 1972. An eleven-year-old boy, Colin Robson, and his younger brother, Leslie, were digging in their parents’ back yard in the town of Hexham, England, when they unearthed two carved, stone heads, slightly smaller than a tennis ball and heavy in weight. Crudely fashioned and weathered-looking, one resembled a skull-like male head; while the other was a slightly smaller female head. Shortly after the boys took the heads into their house, a number of peculiar incidents occurred in the family home. The heads moved by themselves. Household objects were found inexplicably broken. And at one point the boys’ sister found her bed showered with glass. It was, however, the next-door neighbors who would go on to experience the most bizarre phenomena of all.

A few nights after the discovery of the heads, a mother living in the neighboring house, Ellen Dodd, was sitting up late with her daughter, who was suffering with toothache, when both saw what they described as a hellish, “half-man, half-beast” enter the room. Naturally, both screamed for their lives and the woman’s husband came running from another room to see what all the commotion was about. By this stage, however, the hairy creature had fled the room and could be heard “padding down the stairs as if on its hind legs.” The front door was later found wide open and it was presumed that the creature had left the house in haste.

Soon after that incident, Dr. Anne Ross – who had deeply studied the Celtic culture and who was the author of several books on the subject, including Pagan Celtic Britain and The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands – took possession of the stone heads to study them herself. She already had in her possession a number of similar heads and, as a result, she was certain that the Hexham Heads were Celtic in origin, and probably nearly two thousand years old. The Urban Historian notes:  “It was not surprising that Anne Ross showed an interest in these strange little objects. She had long had a research interest in ‘the cult of the head’ across Celtic Europe, writing in 1967 that ‘the human head was regarded by the Celts as being symbolic of divinity and otherworld powers.’”

The doctor, who lived in the English city of Southampton and about 150 miles from Hexham, had heard nothing at that time of the strange goings-on encountered by the previous owners of the heads. Having put the two stone heads with the rest of her collection, however, Dr. Ross, too, encountered the mysterious werewolf-like creature a few nights later. She awoke from her sleep feeling cold and frightened and, on looking up, found herself confronted by a horrific man-beast identical to that seen at Hexham.

Of the terrible creature, Dr. Ross said: “It was about six feet high, slightly stooping, and it was black, against the white door, and it was half animal and half man. The upper part, I would have said, was a wolf, and the lower part was human and, I would have again said, that it was covered with a kind of black, very dark fur. It went out and I just saw it clearly, and then it disappeared, and something made me run after it, a thing I wouldn’t normally have done, but I felt compelled to run after it. I got out of bed and I ran, and I could hear it going down the stairs; then it disappeared toward the back of the house.”

The fear-filled affair was not yet over, however: the man-monster manifested in the family home on several more occasions, usually on the staircase and making heavy, “padding” noises as it roamed around under cover of darkness. It wasn’t just Dr. Ross who saw the beast: her daughter, Berenice, did too. It soon became clear to Dr. Ross that not only was her family being plagued by a monster, but the house itself appeared to be cloaked by an “evil presence.” So, she did the only thing she could to rid the family of the turmoil: she got rid of the stone heads.

For a while they were  on display at the British Museum, later falling into the hands of a man named Don Robins, the author of a book titled Circles of Silence, on the subject of ancient, sacred sites. Robins, apparently concerned by the air of negativity that descended upon him when he came into possession of the heads, passed them onto a dowser by the name of Frank Hyde. He decided to try and lessen the malevolent powers of the stones by coating them in a mesh made of copper, which he believed would prevent and supernatural phenomena from being released. Hyde, however, had no wish to hold into the heads for too long and, as a result, they made their way around more than a few researchers of ancient anomalies. It’s most revealing that no one kept them for long. Today, the location, and ownership, of the Hexham Heads is a mystery.

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