Did the Stonehenge hippies really disappear?

LIGHTNING STRIKE ... but what happened at Stonehenge?
LIGHTNING STRIKE ... but what happened at Stonehenge?

Over the years I’ve covered a good number of mysterious disappearances in this column – some of them simply unsolved, but not of paranormal provenance, others truly bizarre.

Recently, a reader asked me if I could explain the disappearance of a group of people back in 1971, who had simply vanished into thin air.

One of the odd things about this case is that some accounts contain a number of specific details not normally found in hoaxed events or stories.

The incident had taken place within the enigmatic stone circle of Stonehenge.

I’d heard this story many times, but hadn’t investigated it. I decided to put that right.

The story goes something like this: In August 1971, a group of people usually described as “hippies” decided to camp out at Stonehenge.

Their purpose was two-fold; to party like there was no tomorrow, but also to imbibe the “spiritual vibrations” which allegedly surrounded this architectural marvel.

Personally I find these two ends mutually contradictory, but that’s just me.

Anyway, around 8pm, or so the story goes, the travellers pitched a number of tents and got the party underway.

By 1.50am the revelry was still showing no ends of drawing to a close, but 10 minutes later there was a sudden flash of lightning and the heavens opened.

A storm manifested itself without any warning, and the hippies decided to carry on their festivities within their raggedy tents.

As they ran for cover, more lightning bolts arced down. Some struck trees in the vicinity, others allegedly hit the huge stones themselves.

And it is at this point when things seem to have taken a very mysterious turn.

It seems a local policeman was on patrol in the area, and at some point he happened to glance over at Stonehenge and, to his amazement, observed that the stones were bathed in an eerie blue light.

A farmer who was outdoors at that time – no one has ever explained why – is said to have supported the officer’s account.

As both witnesses looked on, the light became so intense they had to avert their eyes.

As they did so, a cacophony of bloodcurdling screams came from the vicinity of the tents in the middle of the circle.

Both the policeman and the farmer ran towards Stonehenge to see if they could help.

When they arrived at the scene, they were under the impression that the partying hippies must have been struck by lightning themselves.  

However, they were amazed to discover that nothing remained except a few shattered tent-pegs and the extinguished remains of their campfire.

The tents – and their human occupants – were nowhere to be seen. They were never seen again.

Well, it’s a great story, if a somewhat macabre one. But is it true?

Well, back in 1971 Stonehenge was freely accessible, so there is no difficulty in thinking that a party of hippy travellers may have set up camp there.

There’s also no problem in assuming that a police officer in a panda car may have been driving along the road only a few hundred yards away.

But I do have a problem with the presence of the second witness, identified as “a local farmer”.

What on earth was the farmer doing out by Stonehenge at 2am? That seems a bit odd to me.

One of the odd things about this case is that some accounts contain a number of specific details not normally found in hoaxed events or stories.

For example, the names of the missing people are given as, Julia Ashton, Lucas Addams, Shary Wilson Jr., Danniel Wilson and Wilma Rupert.

There are also copies of Danniel Wilson’s journal on line, leading up to the day of the disappearance.

The journal was alleged to have been found several kilometres away from Stonehenge after the event.

I figured that the best place to start my investigation was with Wiltshire Police.

I’ve just spoken to them, and they’re going to do some checking for me to see whether five hippies really did disappear on that summer’s evening all those years ago. Watch this space ...

Seen something strange? Tell Mike at wraithscape@mikehallowell.com