The Oracle’s Chamber & the Stone of Sacrifice: Part 4 of my visit to America’s Stonehenge #traveladventures #sacredsites #ancientsites #americasstonehenge

Continued from part 3

This curious serpentine slab above the wall faces west toward the “V” Hut

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 believe this is part of the restored wall of the East-West Chamber, but I did not get the site number in the photograph for confirmation.

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.

En route to the chamber. There are several areas that are enclosed by chains, but the majority is accessible to visitors.

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.

The stone-faced open area with channels and holes of unknown origin/cause believed to be post-holes for wooden beams and channels to divert the flow of water.

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.

The Sundeck Chamber with my family above in April 2014

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.

As you approach the entrance to the Oracle Chamber, you get a glimpse of the sacrificial table behind the chainlinks.

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.

My husband standing at the entrance to the Oracle Chamber (but facing toward the sacrificial table) during our 2014 visit.

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.

The entrance to the Oracle Chamber at America’s Stonehenge

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.

A bird’s nest inside the Oracle’s Chamber. All photographs were taken with a flash, giving the deception of much more light than there actually is inside the dark chamber.

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.

The Ibex inside the Oracle’s Chamber

There are also niches and shelves…

A rectangular niche inside the chamber can be seen at the end of this walkway.

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.”

Across from the seat, there is a closet with a 21 ton stone below it. I’m not sure I took the best photograph, but it is marked here.

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.

“C” marks the entrance to the Secret Bed, which is a “niche large enough for a person to crawl into and be completely hidden,” according to the Trail Map.

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.

Looking into the Secret Bedchamber: The photograph was taken with a flash, like the others, and it is much darker than it appears here. All you can clearly see with your naked eyes are the two slits of light.

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.

The Sacrificial Chamber: I’ve marked with a speech bubble where I think the speaking tube hole may be. The Secret Bed is just beneath it.

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.

I found this photograph in my collection taken inside the Oracle Chamber. It may be in the area of the speaking tube, but I can’t be sure.

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.

The view from the ramp leading away from the Chamber: You can see the Table flanked by standing stones. There are more larger stones littering the area, making it difficult to know what it once looked like.
This photograph taken, in April 2014, offers a wider view of this area. According to the Trail Map, #29 marks the “Exit to Ramp Drain. This is another stone-on-stone constructed drain; part of a series which begins near the “V” Hut, exits here and extends to the north of the Sacrificial Table.”