Continued from part 3…
From the “V” Hut we began to move into the disturbed remains of the Pattee Area of America’s Stonehenge. Passing from the west, the place of the womb-like chamber of the V-Hut where water seems to collect intentionally before it is diverted through channels, the three of us followed the East-West Chamber east.
I think this was around the time I grabbed my granola bar from my bag and started shoveling it into my mouth. Grounding was needed after the experience at the “V” Hut and I was not feeling wholly myself. We were now heading to the most controversial area of the site, the Oracle’s Chamber, which runs alongside and beneath the 4.5-ton slab of stone called the Sacrificial Table.
According to the Tour Guide Map, there may once have been two chambers here. Radiocarbon dating performed in this area of the site indicate that part of it is as old as 4,000 years. Unfortunately, much of what was once here can only be surmised. There are chiseled holes that may have held the posts of tents in the large open area where no structures remain aside from a small slab that might have been a seat.
Walking along the upper edge of this rock face, you pass the Sundeck Chamber, which shows signs of having been altered over time. It is worth noting that all chambers aside from the East-West chamber on Mystery Hill face south.
Some people believe this area of the site that we are now approaching resembles the oracle chambers found in ancient Greece and Egypt. Having yet to visitor these lands, I cannot lend my opinion on this, I can only tell you what I experienced during my visit. Others more skeptical of the age of America’s Stonehenge believe Pattee constructed these stone chambers for storage, hoisted the 4.5-ton slab onto its platform, and drilled a moat around its perimeter to make soap.
There are some impressive stones in this area, as you can see from the above photograph. The stones in the walls may have been moved several times by hands over the course of many years, but the more massive stones have the feeling of permanence to them. I was both eager and apprehensive to be entering the chamber that stood before me. The sun was searing my skin, though, and while my companions Deb and Sophia studied the map and the stones before the enclosure, I ducked my head inside.
Just in time, it seems, to see the chipmunk scurrying out the other end. My faithful guide once again steering my feet and directing my eyes. It’s now time to go inward with me for the next part of the journey, into the narrow opening that awaits. In the above photograph, you can see the Chamber marked 28-A, walled by stone and covered by earth.
It is dark and cool inside the passageway, and the eyes take a moment to adjust after leaving the sunlight. No longer used by humans, small animals and birds find refuge here.
Although the chamber is not large, like the ones it may be modeled after in other parts of the world, there are places that draw the eye and make one think of what might have been. This is where the Running Deer Carving exists, chiseled into a side wall.
There are also niches and shelves…
A carved bench in a rock estimated to weigh 45 tons can be seen in the left foreground of the above photograph, where up to three adults can sit in wait outside the area that houses the “Secret Bed.”
Sophia and I sat on the damp stone of the seat while Deb read from the Trail Map. I was seated right outside the entrance to the Secret Bed, and while Deb read, my eyes wandered to the dark tunnel within.
I’m not sure how much I listened to Deb’s words as I turned away and peered into the tunnel. An overwhelming impulse to crawl inside consumed me, and I found myself grappling with reason. Don’t be silly, who knows what you’ll find inside, my logical brain told my illogical longing. The area did, in fact, look just large enough to hold my form lying down, but I knew the rocks would be even damper than the one upon which I sat.
Visions began to play inside of my mind as I peered into the small tunnel. A pair of eyes peered back at me, the only light in the darkness before me. Inside my mind, I saw the table above the eyes covered by a sacrifice. I saw blood dripping through the eyeholes and collecting into a mouth open to receive as its body lay supine, listening without seeing.
I don’t remember Deb reading these words, which are written in the Trail Map: “D) Speaking Tube. Words spoken through this stone-lined tube [the Secret Bed] exit under the Sacrificial Table (#31), outside the chamber, and give the impression that the table is talking — hence the term ‘Oracle.’ This small tunnel was found blocked at both ends with small stones.” I can’t tell you with certainty where this speaking tube is, as I was lost in my vision for most of our time in the Chamber.
We probably spent no more than ten minutes inside the Oracle’s Chamber, and they were not wholly comfortable minutes. Although I had that eerie, nearly irresistible impulse to climb into the Secret Bed, I was also eager to walk back out into the sunlight. Even if it was blistering hot.