A Grooved Bluestone and the Sensation of “Presque Vu”


Over the years, there have been several occasions when I’ve been prompted to compose and publish posts dealing with the eerie sensation of deja vu that I’ve experienced when I’ve inadvertently encountered “Stonehenge Revelations!” penned by others. For better or for worse, it goes against my nature to sit quietly by when these things happen, while by coincidence, I noticed a particularly flagrant and shameless example just a few days ago that didn’t improve my already bilious mood one iota. I’d like to say that my feelings were civilised ones of mild regret and disappointment with the person concerned, but this would not be true, because my reaction was more akin to Hitler’s in this Downfall parody when his grammer was found to be at fault.

So, I’ve been aware of deja vu for decades, but it wasn’t until I read a BBC article a few days ago that covered the strange case of a man trapped in a time loop that I learned of the term presque vu, which was defined by the BBC as “…the sense of being on the edge of an epiphany or realisation…” and the instant I read this definition, my mind went to the bluestone pictured at the top of this post.

I’ve spent around a decade writing about the many mysteries of Stonehenge and I’ve derived incalculable pleasure during that time from contemplating the vast majority of these ‘unknown things’. For example, I often find myself wondering about the precise nature and significance of the North Barrow, which appears to be the earliest manmade feature on the site; along with others, I’ve hazarded many hopefully informed guesses as to why the tops of the sarsen lintels are so flat and so level, things that evidently came about as a result of a huge amount of effort on the part of our ancestors who constructed these things, while I’m puzzled by the existence of the counterscarp, because I can’t think of a good reason why the material comprising this feature wasn’t placed on the other side of the ditch as the foundation for the internal bank.

I find it enjoyable and satisfying to wonder at all these Stonehenge-related things, but I actively try not to think about the grooved bluestone. It seems obvious that this groove was fashioned so that a ridge on another stone could slot into it, but why? What did the end result look like and what function did it serve? Whenever I think of this matter, some nebulous memory comes back to me of some game I had when I was a child, where I tried forever to make two pieces fit together without success, only for an adult to perform the magic trick and produce something wonderful as a result, but I’m far from convinced that these tenuous mental images are any kind of childhood memory, because they’re far more likely to be the result of my frustrated mind performing mental gymnastics and producing a false memory as a result.

I can’t even picture these supposed game pieces, let alone the way they apparently once meshed together to produce something that was far more than the sum total of their parts, so there’s nothing from my mental arsenal that I can apply to the real world. All I’m aware of is the supposed ‘fact’ that I once saw solved a problem virtually identical to the one posed by certain bluestones at Stonehenge, but this is no use whatsoever, while the sensation of presque vu or of being on the edge of an epiphany or realisation is so indescribably frustrating that I avoid the existence of the stones in question to the best of my ability.

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