Places, that shiver.

We’re all concerned with things larger than life. For the religious, that translates into belief of a greater, guiding power. For those lacking the comfort of religion, the same thoughts are troubling. Regardless of which camp you fall into, each of us knows that there is more to life than, well, just being alive.

Experiencing, firsthand, the power of certain mystic places drives this intuitive knowledge home. I call such, the places that shiver, and I’ve been fortunate enough to find a few. Where are they, and why the connection? I’ll describe several of them, and expand on my thoughts as to what causes the electric shiver that makes these places so powerful.

The first time I experienced a connection was in the country of my origin. Rhodesia at the time, Zimbabwe now. I was travelling with my Godfather, who drove us to a small solid granite mound protruding perhaps a hundred feet from the ground. He never told me what it was, just stopped the car and asked if I felt anything. I did – a wave of goose bumps on a warm day. My Godfather pointed out the remains of an uncharacteristic, low stone wall about a hundred yards off the road. He made no move to approach, and I didn’t feel like moving – not with such an extraordinary feeling washing over me. After a few minutes of shivering beneath the sun, we got back in the car and drove away. Apparently, there were hundreds of similar places throughout the countryside, generally avoided by the local tribes, who held them sacred. After agreeing sacred might be an appropriate description for the strange feeling, I asked what he meant by “generally avoided”. He replied that we were on our way to visit the most famous one of all – the Zimbabwe Ruins, and that people are often willing to disregard their intuition for pay.

A long time passed before I felt the shiver again, this time during a visit to Spain, where we visited a place called the Alcázar. It happened again while travelling around Ireland, at a place called the Riasc Monastic Settlement. More recently, I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with my wife – though the site is impressive and solemn, I felt no shiver and left somewhat disappointed.

Looking back, I notice several similarities. Each of them contains worked stone. Each has a dark past in which I suspect people suffered, and died in substantial numbers. On each occasion, I accompanied my Godfather. There are probably more, all of which collapse before logical analysis. As someone who considers themselves logical, it should be simple to dismiss them out of hand as the working of an overactive imagination. However, I can’t – you see, I was there, I know what I felt, and I also know nothing had been said beforehand to suggest something strange was about to happen.

Perhaps you’ve felt something similar without need to travel to exotic places. I’ve experienced the graveyard chill, and it does hold similarities. However, the creepy feeling we get venturing into a place we know holds the mortal remains of people, is weak in comparison. Sort of like dipping your fingertips into a cold stream, versus falling into an icy lake you had no idea was there. The graveyard chill is also quite unpleasant, while the shiver of a mystic place is very strange, but not scary – rather, it serves to focus your mind, which renders you fully alert and open to other possibilities.

Some things are larger than life, and that’s OK. After all, life is magical, and connected. I’d love to hear your feelings and experiences, contact me on Twitter where you can find me as @CGAyling. Till then, search out the places that shiver, in a good way.

{Originally posted here.}

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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One Response to Places, that shiver.

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