Watkins, Alfred

Alfred Watkins (1855–1935) At the age of sixty-six, British photographer and businessman Alfred Watkins developed the concept of ley lines, a grid of straight lines that crisscrossed the countryside in England along its border with Wales. Watkins chose the word ley for these lines because it means “a cleared strip of land” in ancient Saxon, in keeping with the appearance that they were made by humans rather than occurring naturally. Watkins believed that the lines had been carefully placed in order to connect ancient burial mounds, monoliths, and other sites that had significance for ancient pagans. Watkins promoted this idea in such works as Early British Trackways (1922) and The Old Straight Track (1925). When his views were published, contemporary archaeologists rejected them, arguing that ancient people did not have the sophistication or motivation to align such sites and that the appearance of alignment could be attributed to chance. Nonetheless, Watkins developed a large following, and in 1927 some of his followers created the Old Straight Track Club and a journal called the Ley Hunter dedicated to his ideas. Watkins participated in this group until his death in 1935.

SEE ALSO:

  • Ley Lines

SOURCE:

The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning

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