OK, don’t get overly excited by the title. While Indiana can boast of its own Stonehenge, regretfully for Hoosiers and enthusiasts alike, it is by no means comparable to the real Stonehenge or henges found throughout the world. The closest place known in North America which could be a real henge is found in New Hampshire.
Still…there’s something ‘odd’ In the Indiana woods.
A circle of stones can be found in the Hoosier National Forest, near Bedford, Brown County, in the southern part of the state. It is also known as Browning Hill or Browning Mountain. It’s actually a hill; there are no mountains in Indiana. The site itself sits atop a peak. As to why it got dubbed a Stonehenge varies on who you ask.
Instead of the towering bluestone of England’s Stonehenge, this variation has large slabs of sandstone seemingly set in a circle at the top of a hill. The stones are hand-hewn. The sandstone is not native to the area. It’s Keokuk limestone some think come from maybe 85 miles away, the closest source.
Some think it was a sacred Miami site. Others opt for it being an ancient temple. The requirement for a site to be considered a henge, a ditch surrounding the stones, is absent. It is Stonehenge to some in name only.
That doesn’t stop the curious tourists who hike to the spot.
What’s not to like? There are even some strange carvings on nearby rocks to add to the mystery of the spot. If that’s not enough, many think supernatural events occur here. Cue the UFO sightings.
And oh yes, the idea of blood sacrifices. A site is not complete without that. There is one stone that is thought to be an altar.
As one legend goes, some young men are thought to have been disgusted by graffiti that on the stones and surrounding trees, until they realized that it was a vast collection of graffiti, left by generations of hikers, some dating back to over 200 years ago. As they were musing over what appeared to be a stone grave marker with the etching “Here lies John Baurle, Born 7/31/47, Died 9/14/52,” they were suddenly hit by a strong cold blast of wind and an heard an eerie ringing in their ears.
Shivering, they looked up and were startled to see an old Native American man sitting quietly at the base of a tree just outside the circle. They had not heard the old man hike up the trail and had no idea how long he had been sitting there. Tentatively, they called out hello. The old man didn’t reply, but shook his head and looked up at the sky. Thinking he didn’t hear them, they called out hello again. The old man continued staring at the sky without response. Feeling uneasy and intrusive, the young men muttered a nervous apology and quickly walked out of the circle. Turning away from the sky, the old Native American man watched them for a moment and then said, “Looks like rain.”
Startled, the young men stopped and automatically looked up. The sky was clear and sunny, just as forecasted. Puzzled, they both turned and stared at him. The old Native American man smirked and said again, “Looks like rain.”
At that moment, they heard a booming crash of thunder. Wide-eyed, the young men watched as seemly out of nowhere dark clouds rolled across the sky. Hastily, they turned to thank the old man, but he was gone, vanished into thin air. And, then it started to rain.
Whatever the area is, it certainly attracts local hikers. The rest, well, it just isn’t known. Scientists are inconclusive on what the site is and who really built it. Or the all important: WHY.