The Hexham Heads

gyrtrash

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#31
gncxx said:
There was a letter in the FT recently (last year?) outlining the continuing adventures of the Hexham Heads, so the weirdness is still going on around them.
Don't remember reading that, must've missed it! ... what's the latest weirdness? :shock: :)
 

GNC

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#32
gyrtrash said:
gncxx said:
There was a letter in the FT recently (last year?) outlining the continuing adventures of the Hexham Heads, so the weirdness is still going on around them.
Don't remember reading that, must've missed it! ... what's the latest weirdness? :shock: :)
There were two letters, one in FT217 and the other in FT220. Both outlined strangeness (like a sheepman apparition) experienced around the heads, but the verdict seems to be now that no one knows where they are, the last owner having been seriously injured in a car crash according to the second letter.

There's a great documentary in this somewhere.
 

gyrtrash

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#33
gncxx said:
gyrtrash said:
gncxx said:
There was a letter in the FT recently (last year?) outlining the continuing adventures of the Hexham Heads, so the weirdness is still going on around them.
Don't remember reading that, must've missed it! ... what's the latest weirdness? :shock: :)
There were two letters, one in FT217 and the other in FT220. Both outlined strangeness (like a sheepman apparition) experienced around the heads, but the verdict seems to be now that no one knows where they are, the last owner having been seriously injured in a car crash according to the second letter.

There's a great documentary in this somewhere.
Thanks gncxx, I'll go search the letters out in my back issues...

Cheers
Dave :)
 

eburacum

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#34

GNC

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#35
As an aside, I Googled "Hexham Heads" and found a site apparently detailing a new film about the case. I say "apparently" because the pages wouldn't load. Anyone know anything more?
 

gordonrutter

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#36
gncxx said:
As an aside, I Googled "Hexham Heads" and found a site apparently detailing a new film about the case. I say "apparently" because the pages wouldn't load. Anyone know anything more?
Apparently no - if you go to the cached version on google: Link to cached version on Google
it says
"THE HEXHAM HEAD INCIDENT

1972, Hexham, Northumberland, England.

This series of peculiar events began in February 1972. An 11-year-old boy and his younger brother were weeding their parent's garden in Hexham, Northumberland when they unearthed two carved stone heads. Both heads were roughly a little smaller than tennis balls and very heavy. They were crudely carved and weathered looking, one resembling a skull-like masculine head and the other a slightly smaller female head. The female head supposedly resembled a witch. The heads were cut with hollows for eyes and mouth and a rough protrusion as a nose. Shortly after the boys had taken the heads into their house, a number of peculiar incidents began to occur. The heads would turn around all by themselves and household objects were found inexplicably broken. At one point one of the daughters of the family living in the house found her bed showered with glass. However it was the next door neighbours who experienced the most startling occurrence. A few nights after the discovery of the heads, a mother living in the neighbouring house was sitting up late with her daughter who was suffering from toothache. She and her daughter saw what they described as a "half man, half beast" enter the room. They both screamed and husband came running from another room to see what all the commotion was about. By this stage however, the beast had walked off down the stairs. It could reportedly be heard "padding down the stairs as if on it's hind legs". The front door was found open so it was presumed that the creature had left the house that way. Soon after this incident a doctor who had studied the Celtic culture and had written several books on it took possession of the stone heads to study them. She had several other heads that were similar and she was certain that the Hexham heads were Celtic and around 1800 years old. The doctor lived in Southampton about 150 miles from Hexham and had heard nothing of the strange goings on encountered by the previous owners of the heads. She put the two stone heads with the rest of her collection. A few nights later she too encountered the mysterious creature. She woke from sleep feeling cold and frightened. She looked up and saw standing in front of the door of the room and saw a half-man, half-animal type creature. Her description of the event runs as follows "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 towards the back of the house." After this, the doctor and her family saw what they described as a huge black creature, like a werewolf appear a number of times around the house. It particularly appeared a lot on the stairs where it would always run half-way down the stairs and then jump over the banisters to land in the hall, where it would run then off on padded feet. Sometimes it could be heard padding around although it could not be seen and sometimes doors would fly open seemingly for no reason. The doctor stated that there was "an evil presence about the house". Eventually she decided that the stone heads were the source of the problem and got rid of the whole collection. The two Hexham heads passed into the hands of other collectors who experienced no werewolf phenomena however some did report that a sense of evil seemed to be emitted by the witch like head which made them very uncomfortable. Eventually the heads became untraceable and their current whereabouts is unknown. "

Gordon

Mod Edit Warning: Shortened Url Address. P_M :)
 

stu neville

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#37
I must admit, when accounts of phenomena manage to get verifiable facts wrong, such as:
...The doctor lived in Southampton about 150 miles from Hexham...
..then the rest of the piece starts, to the sceptical mind at least, to lose something. 300 odd miles would be closer to the mark.

Anyway, that account, mileages aside, is pretty comprehensive. When I first read about it, in The Unexplained as well, it scared the living wossname out of me. It's something about things in your house that make them even freakier.
 

Analogue Boy

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#38
The strange case of the Hexham heads

Back in 1973 the Reader's Digest published Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain in which a world renowned Celtic scholar described how exposure to two stone-carved Celtic heads lead to some truly disturbing experiences. Her name is Dr. Anne Ross, and at the time she was working at the University of Southampton in England. The two carved heads were found in a garden in Hexham and passed on to her.

Dr. Ross made the mistake of temporarily placing the heads among her own collection prior to making her assessment of them. A short time after these heads arrived, she woke up in the middle of the night and saw an apparition of a black wolf. The vision seemed so real to her that she got up and followed the creature down stairs to the kitchen, where it vanished. Others who were exposed to these heads had similar visions - sometimes in broad daylight - and all described the experience as being very real and very frightening. This was no "edge of sight" phenomenon.

As far as we know the last man to see the Hexham heads was a dowser named Frank Hyde, who received them from Don Robins (a physicist best known to dowsers for his work on the Dragon Project). Frank Hyde placed the two stone heads inside copper mesh, which seemed to diminish their power. Don Robins subsequently lost contact with Frank Hyde, and he seems to have gone missing.
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ianto/Dowsing ... rt%202.rtf
 

eburacum

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#39
I happen to have a copy of 'Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain' here at my elbow. The story of Dr Ross and the werewolf (where wolf? There wolf!)
is as follows; (transcribed painstakingly by hand)
There is, for instance, the story of Dr Anne Ross, the eminent Celtic scholar and a major contributor to this book. Dr Ross does research work for a number of museums, and late in 1971 she was asked to examine two carved stone heads which had been discovered near Hadrian’s Wall. What happened next is best told in her own words:
‘Though there was nothing unpleasant about the appearance of the heads, I took an immediate, instinctive dislike to them. I left them in the box they had been sent in, and put it in my study. I planned to have them geologically analysed, and then to return them as soon as possible to the North.
‘A night or two after they arrived - I didn’t connect this experience with the heads until later - I woke suddenly at about 2 a.m., deeply frightened and very cold. I looked towards the door, and by the corridor light glimpsed a tall figure slipping out of the room. My impression was that the figure was dark like a shadow, and that it was part animal and part man. I felt compelled to follow it, as if by some irresistible force.
‘I heard it, whatever it was, going downstairs, and then I saw it again, moving along the corridor that leads to the kitchen: but now I was too terrified to go on. I went back upstairs to the bedroom and woke Dick, my husband. He searched the house, and found nothing – no sign at all of the disturbance. We thought that I must have had a nightmare (though I could hardly believe that a nightmare could seem so real) and decided to say nothing about it.
‘A few days later, when the house was empty, my teenage daughter Bernice came home at about 4 p.m., about two hours before Dick and I returned from London. When we arrived home, she was deathly pale and clearly in a state of shock. She said that something horrible had happened, but at first would not tell us what. But eventually the story came out.
‘When she had come in from school, the first thing she had seen was something huge dark and inhuman on the stairs. It had rushed towards her, vaulted over the banisters, and landed in the corridor with a soft thud which made her think its feet were padded like those of an animal. It had run towards her room, and though terrified, she felt that she had to follow it. At the door, it had vanished, leaving her in the state in which we found her.
‘We calmed her down as best we could, and feeling puzzled and disturbed ourselves, searched the house. Again, there was no sign of any intruder- nor did we expect to find any.

‘Since then I have often felt a cold presence in the house, and more than once have heard the same soft thud of an animal’s pads near the staircase. Several times my study door has burst open, and there has been no-one there and no wind to account for it. And on one other occasion, when Bernice and I were coming downstairs together, we both thought we saw a dark figure ahead of us- and heard it land in the corridor after vaulting over the banisters.
‘The reason I associate the heads with the haunting, if that’s what it was, is this. Later I learnt that on the night when the heads had first been discovered, the North-country woman who lived next door was putting her children to bed when a horrifying creature – she described it as half-man half-animal – came into the room. She began screaming, and only stopped when her neighbour arrived. She was convinced that the creature had touched her, but what had happened to it, she did not know. There was no sign that anyone had broken into the house, and the incident, like the incidents which have taken place in our house, is quite without rational explanation. The strange thing is, the heads have gone now, back to the museum. But this thing doesn’t seem to have gone with them.
Spooky, huh?
 

GNC

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#40
Thanks for typing that out! It would be intersesting to know if the apparition appeared in the museum as well once the heads were taken there. Does anyone know if Dr Anne Ross is still alive?
 

taras

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#42
Was just making one of my occasional forays into LO! and came across this:

A story of a wolf in England is worth space, and the London newspapers rejoiced in this wolf story. Most of them did, but there are several that would not pay much attention to a dinosaur-hunt in Hyde Park. Special correspondents were sent to Hexham, Northumberland. Some of them, because of circumstances that we shall note, wrote that there was no wolf, but probably a large dog that had turned evil. Most of them wrote that undoubtedly a wolf was ravaging, and was known to have escaped from Shotley Bridge. Something was slaughtering sheep, killing for food, and killing wantonly, sometimes mutilating four or five sheep, and devouring one. An appetite was ravaging, in Northumberland. We have impressions of the capacity of a large and hungry dog, but, upon reading these accounts, one has to think that they were exaggerations, or that the killer must have been more than a wolf. But, according to developments, I'd not say that there was much exaggeration. The killings were so serious that the farmers organised into the Hexham Wolf Committee, offering a reward, and hunting systematically. Every hunt was fruitless, except as material for the special correspondents, who told of continuing depredations, and revelled in special announcements. It was especially announced that, upon Dec. 15th, the Haydon foxhounds, one of the most especial packs in England, would be sent out. These English dogs, of degree so high as to be incredible in all other parts of the world, went forth. It is better for something of high degree not to go forth. Mostly in times of peace arise great military reputations. So long as something is not tested it may be of high renown. But the Haydon foxhounds went forth. They returned with their renown damaged.
(http://www.resologist.net/lo114.htm)

Linking it all up... :)
 

CuriousIdent

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#43
This is a really fascinating story. Can't believe I've not come across it by now.

A lot of the links on this thread have been lost to the passage of time, but does anybody know if any images were ever posted of the Heads themselves?

Wonder if they're still locked away in the British Museum....?
 

JamesWhitehead

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#44
Google Image Search throws up quite a few photos of the heads. This French site has the biggest:

French Site

I quite like the way Google includes a bemused-looking bloke with a beard among the Hexham Heads trawled up. :shock:
 

GNC

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#45
JamesWhitehead said:
I quite like the way Google includes a bemused-looking bloke with a beard among the Hexham Heads trawled up. :shock:
Scroll down a bit and you get Bobcat Goldthwait and Billy Idol as well!
 

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#46
I'd just like to clarify a few points regarding the Hexham Heads. I am one of the daughters of the Robson family and it was my two younger brothers who unearthed the heads.

They actually discovered them in late May/early June of 1971. I know this as factual as I was on my honeymoon in Scotland when the boys found them an took them to Hexham Abbey to see if the priest could identify them. Initially they were thought to be Roman and ended up at the Newcastle Museum of Antiquities. It was early 1972 when we were paid a visit from someone from the Museum but I can't recall his name. We were told then that they were assumed to be of Celtic origin from about 200BC and that the human head had been worshipped by the Celts and that they would place decapitated heads bought back from battles and place them on posts around the settlement as protection. They apparently also carved heads from stone and place them on pillars in their temples.

The half man half wolf apparition had been reported from other Celtic sites and according to the guy from the Museum there apparently was a site in Germany where the locals would not go near because of similar sightings.

When the heads were in the possession of my family we placed them on a shelf and every morning we noticed that they had moved position to face the spot where they had been found. To ensure no one had tampered with them through the night I decided I would place them under my bed where no one could access them but the next morning they had moved from the top right of the bed to the bottom left - as near as possible to the spot where they had been discovered. Crazy but this is all true.

My elder brother received a call recently as he now owns the family home and it was from someone who is making a film about the heads but I don't know any further details. The last time we new the whereabouts of the heads was that some guy from the local TV news had them.
 

GNC

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#48
Thanks for the extra info, WendyD, it's a fascinating case. I take it you never saw any apparitions yourself when the heads were in your house? Although the fact they moved by themselves is strange enough!
 

Stormkhan

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#49
It's good to hear from someone connected with a "classic" Fortean case.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#50
Finding by coincidence the story in the old Unexplained part-work, I see that the picture on the French site I give above is of two heads that were made as replicas. The original heads are rounder.

Scroll down on This Page to see the originals. Not a very good picture but the scale included suggests they were not "the size of oranges" as the article above states.

Wendy's recollections are very valuable in a case which is subject to Chinese-whispers. Like all Forteana! :)
 

eburacum

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#51
I wonder how Desmond Craigie fits into this interesting story?
http://www.andras-nagy.com/hiddenforces ... %29/04.htm
The story took on a new twist in 1972 when Desmond Craigie - then a truck driver - announced that the Celtic heads were actually a mere 16 years old. They had not been fashioned as votive offerings by a head-hunting Celt - for, Craigie claimed, he himself had made them as toys for his daughter, Nancy. He explained that he had lived in the house in Rede Avenue that was now the Robsons' home for around 30 years; indeed, his father had remained a tenant there until the previous year. One day, his daughter had asked him what he did for a living. At that time, Craigie worked with artificial cast stone, making objects such as concrete pillars. In order to explain to his daughter what he did during the course of his working day, he made three heads especially for her in his lunch break, and took them home for her to play with.

'Nancy played with them as dolls,' he said. 'She would use the silver paper from chocolate biscuits as eyes. One got broken and I threw it in the bin. The others just got kicked around and must have landed up where the lads found them.'

Embarrassed by the publicity that his own handiwork had attracted, Desmond Craigie said he was concerned merely to set the record straight. Speaking of the heads, he said: 'To say that they were old would be conning people.'
 

GNC

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#52
Yes, that's quite a well known twist in the tale, because it makes it even more baffling (especially to Mr Craigie) and in need of that explanation which is out of reach.
 

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#53
No, I never actually saw any sort of apparition myself, thankfully. I think I would still be traumatised to this day if I had. I know Mrs Dodd who did see the apparition was in a bit of a state to say the least when she was telling us of the night it occurred. Unfortunately, both Mr & Mrs Dodd and my father and mother have all passed away now but it is something none of them forgot.

My mother had quite a few people contact her over the years as the story of the Heads was featured in quite a few books and local publications.

As for Mr Craigie's claim that he made the heads, I personally could not believe that anyone would make such objects for a child to play with as they were quite scary looking with sunken eyes and gaping mouths.
 

titch

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#54
And was their any evidence that he DID make the heads? easy enough to say "i made them" but was any solid evidence offered up?
 

GNC

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#55
WendyD said:
No, I never actually saw any sort of apparition myself, thankfully. I think I would still be traumatised to this day if I had. I know Mrs Dodd who did see the apparition was in a bit of a state to say the least when she was telling us of the night it occurred. Unfortunately, both Mr & Mrs Dodd and my father and mother have all passed away now but it is something none of them forgot.

My mother had quite a few people contact her over the years as the story of the Heads was featured in quite a few books and local publications.
Yes, I've read it in a few places over the years and it never loses its mystique. Thanks for giving us a first hand account here, we don't often get actual witnesses to famous cases posting.

As for Mr Craigie's claim that he made the heads, I personally could not believe that anyone would make such objects for a child to play with as they were quite scary looking with sunken eyes and gaping mouths.
And even if he did make stone heads for his kids, there's no proof as far as I know that they were the same ones as the Hexham heads.
 

stu neville

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#56
9 years ago (with an edit 4 years ago) said:
.. I have it on very good authority that the heads are now in private hands (but Ihave promised not to divulge further. Sorry!)...

...I only know that cos I was contacted privately by someone who's doing some stuff on them that may become a book, so doesn't want to give much away.

(Never heard from him again - stu 13/8/07)
...some things do bubble away, don't they? Have been contacted again by the same person, and yes, there's a real book in the offing (these things can take a lot of time!)

However, I was contacted not long after that original post by someone else also researching the story - as all my v old PMs were lost in the last changeover, and I know it's a long shot, but if that person happens to read this could they PM me again?

Sorry if this all seems a little oblique, but it's not my story - if the poster doing the current research wants to talk about it on thread I'll leave it up to them :).
 

taras

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#57
I was in touch with the chap who wrote the original Hexham Heads book earlier this year. He sent me a photocopy and I was about half way through digitizing it for him (as I wanted to 'Lulu' up a bound copy for myself in the process). Then I stopped due to other commitments - must finish it just now while I have a bit of time.
 

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#58
ttaarraass said:
I was in touch with the chap who wrote the original Hexham Heads book earlier this year. He sent me a photocopy and I was about half way through digitizing it for him (as I wanted to 'Lulu' up a bound copy for myself in the process). Then I stopped due to other commitments - must finish it just now while I have a bit of time.
Did you ever finish this? :)
 

GNC

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#59
Terrific in depth article about this case in FT294, and it's to be continued so more next issue presumably. I thought it was going a while without mentioning the werewolf, but it'll be next time. Sad that the Ross family have lost their key witnesses (Anne Ross was the Celtic expert called upon), but there was a lot to be going on with, especially the weresheep sighting.

Hexham sounds really freaky from what it says. I'd really like to see that Nationwide clip on the case, but it doesn't seem to be online.
 

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#60
eburacum said:
I wonder how Desmond Craigie fits into this interesting story?
http://www.andras-nagy.com/hiddenforces ... %29/04.htm
The story took on a new twist in 1972 when Desmond Craigie - then a truck driver - announced that the Celtic heads were actually a mere 16 years old. They had not been fashioned as votive offerings by a head-hunting Celt - for, Craigie claimed, he himself had made them as toys for his daughter, Nancy. He explained that he had lived in the house in Rede Avenue that was now the Robsons' home for around 30 years; indeed, his father had remained a tenant there until the previous year. One day, his daughter had asked him what he did for a living. At that time, Craigie worked with artificial cast stone, making objects such as concrete pillars. In order to explain to his daughter what he did during the course of his working day, he made three heads especially for her in his lunch break, and took them home for her to play with.

'Nancy played with them as dolls,' he said. 'She would use the silver paper from chocolate biscuits as eyes. One got broken and I threw it in the bin. The others just got kicked around and must have landed up where the lads found them.'

Embarrassed by the publicity that his own handiwork had attracted, Desmond Craigie said he was concerned merely to set the record straight. Speaking of the heads, he said: 'To say that they were old would be conning people.'
I'd say that his story, with its level of detail, has the ring of truth about it.

One of the main objections to his account is the argument that the heads were too creepy to have been made as a child's toys, but it could be that Craigie simply wasn't very good at moulding heads, and what he intended to be comical came out rather scary. In a way, the Hexham Heads kind of remind me of Spike Milligan's drawings from around the same time - a similar loose, lumpy, manic feel; if a cement worker were to mould rough 3D versions of Milligan's drawings or similar cartoons during a lunch break they'd probably come out looking something like the Hexham Heads.

The only part of his story that doesn't quite add up for me is how the heads ended up buried in the garden. I'm not sure how they could've been buried by accident - over a century, maybe, but over 15 years?
 
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