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Weird anti-witch marks discovered at 700-year-old medieval church in England

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Oct 26, 2020, 10:11 AM EDT

If the crumbling stones of the U.K.'s historic St. Mary's church could speak they'd brag about their occult powers to ward off sinister witches and evil spirits, but apparently not the progress of a planned railway line cutting directly through the excavation site.

HS2 Ltd. archaeologists working a demolition location at the English village of Stoke Mandeville, a quaint burg which happens to exist directly in the way of the company's proposed transporation corridor, have discovered some true Halloween-time "witch marks" on the town's 700-year-old church's medieval stone beams. Scraped into the rocks are bizarre circular patterns known to repel dark forces or all those with unholy intent.

Credit: HS2 LTD.

According to project officials, these devilish designs are meant to depict the spokes of a wheel with a hole drilled into the center, and were applied to "ward off evil spirits by entrapping them in an endless line or maze." 

Michael Court is HS2's chief archaeologist and he believes the strange superstitious markings present an intriguing window into society's more fearful yesteryears.

“The archaeology work being undertaken as part of the HS2 project is allowing us to reveal years of heritage and British history and share it with the world," he noted in an official statement. "Discoveries such as these unusual markings have opened up discussions as to their purpose and usage, offering a fascinating insight into the past.”

Credit: HS2 LTD.

Emerging like the plot of some classic late-night fright flick, Great Britain intends on laying down steel track for a new high-speed rail project that will tear directly through the former site of this ancient church which has long been fortified with supernatural protection. The ominous graffiti are usually drawn into stones close to doorways, windows, hatches, furniture, and fireplaces.

Credit: HS2 LTD. - CG rendering of St. Mary's 700 years ago

Originally built circa the year 1070 as a personal chapel for the wealthy lord of Stoke Mandeville, St. Mary's ruins now lie in the area called Buckinghamshire, England. The private church was remodeled and enlarged in the mid-14th century to seat more hometown villagers, then was leveled back in 1866 when a more modern place of worship was erected nearer the town center. 

While dismantling the church, HS2's crew found many parts of the medieval structure to be in shockingly good shape, with entire walls surviving to a height of nearly five feet and its original floors still intact.

These odd witch marks were engraved into two different stones, one positioned at ground level and the other slightly higher up. The archaeologists dismissed the notion that the weird radial patterns operated as a common sundial due to its low-level placing near the ground.

Credit: HS2 LTD.

Witch markings have appeared at other medieval dig sites across the country, most significantly with a collection revealed last year at Creswell Crags, a deep limestone gorge and cave complex that has been used as shelter for various peoples since the last ice age. 

As HS2 completes its St. Mary's excavation work, their staff looks forward to sharing their eerie discoveries with the local communities.

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