Belas Knap, a neolithic burial mound that lies two miles south from the beautiful Cotswold village of Winchcombe is known as a place of power, a fairy mound, a place of antiquity and the supernatural.
Belas is thought to derive from an ancient storm god, Baal (Belus in Latin), and Knap is Old English for the crest of a hill. The mound is remarkably well preserved and the excellent restoration has left a monument that doesn’t need the imagination to see how it would have looked four thousand years ago. It is a mound within a low retaining wall of fine dry stone masonry and it possesses the characteristic “horns” or recessed forecourt at the larger end. There are two main chambers on both the left and right hand side of the mound as well as a false chamber.
It was believed the false chamber was intended to mislead grave robbers, which seems unusual, is it more possible that the false entrances were to mislead not human beings but supernatural creatures or evil spirits. It’s also believed that the back-end of the barrow with it false door could also have been for this purpose.
Sue Laxton reported a strange experience that occurred at Belas Knap early one winter evening, a couple of years ago.
“It was a very still evening in early September about 6.00 pm. I was sitting on the top of the burial mound while my husband was walking around the outside, suddenly I noticed a small patch of mist just next to the mound, I called to Nick to look and he came round the corner and saw it too. We took a couple of photographs but nothing came out that we could see either on the negatives or photographs.
The previous year to this we had been at Belas Knap at the same time and I had a very strong feeling that we were being watched by someone but we couldn’t see anyone at all.”
Another incredible incident was witnessed by Paula C and detailed in Paul Devereux’s “Haunted Land”.
Paula had climbed to the top of the ancient burial mound (like Sue Laxton) when she was from that height a group of hooded figures walking briskly across an adjacent field towards the monument. She couldn’t see their lower limbs and assumed they were walking through tall grass. The hooded and apparently robed figures never seemed to get any closer despite their energetic gait. Concerned that they were about to be disturbed by strangers, Paula climbed down to where her family waited. When no newcomers appeared, she returned to the top of the mound. No one was in sight, but the field looked different – there were fewer trees around it, the path was in a slightly different location, and what had seemed to be a deep dip in the ground was barely apparent.
Many prehistoric locations seem to spark off paranormal experiences and sensations. Sometimes I often think that you can feel presences around you and almost feel the earth energies pulsating from the very monument. Is it just that I am overcome by my surroundings or that I am really getting in touch with the earth?
Whatever your beliefs and views I can’t recommend enough that you should visit your local ancient monument and spend a little time in peaceful meditation or relaxation.