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English villagers scratch heads over mysterious gargoyles

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Author Topic: English villagers scratch heads over mysterious gargoyles  (Read 55 times)
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Using rocks and minerals to heal the earth and us.

« on: October 03, 2007, 10:40:43 am »

Solved: the mystery of the stone heads that invaded sleepy villages

Their mysterious appearance in sleepy English villages across the north of England has left residents baffled.

But now it appears there may be an answer to the riddle of the carved stone heads which have been slowly spreading across Yorkshire.

And like the artful carvings themselves, the possible source of the connundrum - an enigmatic artist called Billy Johnson - is equally illusive.

Riddle: The stone heads have been appearing across Yorkshire

Personal details about the sculptor are slim and efforts to contact him have so-far proved fruitless.

A spokesman was also distinctly reticent and would only say Mr Johnson was "out of the country for a few weeks" and was not contactable as he does not use a telephone or a computer.

Is this the mysterious stone carver?: CCTV shows man carrying suspicious object

Mr John's website however, reveals he is a Yorkshire-based artist who "spends a great deal of time combing beaches for fossils and rocks which he later uses in his artwork."

He is "inspired by the natural environment, his work is about cultivating a timeless essence of personality in each individual stone, rock and fossil matrix."

To date, the mystery interloper has dumped at least 13 of his curious carvings at various locations 90 miles apart across the Yorkshire countryside.

They all accompanied by the same intriguing handwritten rhyme and mystic symbol.

Snap?: Some of Billy Johnson's heads

Now, with the area in danger of looking like a miniature version of Easter Island, a clamour is growing for the conundrum of the surreptitious sculpture-spreader to be cracked.

At the latest count, 13 heads have been found - one of them in a village phone box - and seven more were reported, but then vanished.

The recipients appear to have no connection.

Each sculpture carries a tag, clearly written by the same person, saying: 'Twinkle, twinkle like a star, does love blaze less from afar?'

On the reverse side is an ancient symbol - the Chi Rho cross - with letters arranged around it to spell the word 'paradox'.

The Chi Rho cross was first used in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor Constantine as a military emblem and later became a familiar Christian logo.

So far, the link between the sculptures, the rhyme, the cross and the word paradox has defied explanation.

Several bemused villagers have turned detective in a bid to identify the dumper and discover why he is doing what he is doing.

Prolific: and some more of Mr Johnson's work

It is hoped a grainy closed-circuit television image of a man leaving three of the heads outside a post office in Braithwell, near Rotherham, in the early hours may lead to him being unmasked.

The footage has been handed to South Yorkshire Police. But unless there is evidence of a crime, the chances of detectives launching an investigation are slim.

Valerie and Mike Hoyes, who run the post office, found the heads outside when they woke up on August 23.

They checked the CCTV images from the night before and saw that a "big man with longish hair" had been captured on camera dumping the carvings at around 4am.

Mrs Hoyes said: "You can see the car drive up, the chappy gets out, and takes these three very heavy stones out of the back - you can see the suspension lift as each one is taken out.

Symbol: Chi Rho spells 'paradox'

"It's a smallish car, maybe a Peugeot 206 or similar. You don't get a front view of him, as he is bent over with the weight.

"If he didn't get a hernia then, he must have one by now. He looks to be quite mature, say in his 40s.

"I just thought, 'silly man' when I saw the pictures later in the day.

"They are a bit like gargoyles. We're just a bit nonplussed, really. It's very weird."

Measuring around 18in to 24in high, each carving has its own design.

Different types of stone, including Yorkshire limestone and red sandstone, have been used.

A mason who has seen several of the heads said they are the work of a skilled craftsman and each would have involved several hours work.

The mystery was first reported last week after six stone heads, wrapped in paper advertising a brand of German cigarettes, were left in Kilburn, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, on September 18.

Fiona Gould, who runs the Forresters Arms Hotel in Kilburn, found one on her patio.

Others were discovered outside a gift shop and a furniture workshop and in a cottage garden.

Villagers suspected a practical joker, until news arrived of the other head-dumpings across the region.

Artist George Griffiths, 77, received one head on August 23 and another two weeks later outside his home in Arthington, near Leeds. His neighbours got two.

Six others were said to have appeared in Goathland - setting for the TV series Heartbeat - before vanishing.

Still more were reported in Collingham and Selby.

Stony gaze: Valerie Hoyes with the three heads left outside her post office in Braithwell

Mr Griffiths said: "I thought someone had just dumped them, but then I read the message and thought, 'That's queer.'

"My wife said don't bring them inside because they are a bit sinister, but I think it's harmless.

"I originally thought I was the only person to get one and that someone was playing a joke on me, but it's a real mystery."

« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 10:53:52 am by rockessence » Report Spam   Logged


Thus ye may find in thy mental and spiritual self, ye can make thyself just as happy or just as miserable as ye like. How miserable do ye want to be?......For you GROW to heaven, you don't GO to heaven. It is within thine own conscience that ye grow there.

Edgar Cayce
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