Add info from old PR thread: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/brunel/F113228?thread=244564
Edit for clarity and balance
Ley Lines are also tied to the process of dowsing. Being either discovered or used in the actual procedure of dowsing.
Ley lines are tied to the ancient Druids and other Celtic religions, and are reputed to be straight magnetic lines of force in the earth that connect ancient monuments, Churches, Atlantis, Altar stones, Mounds, and many other prehistoric and ancient places of interest. While ley lines have attracted significant attention from some segments of modern culture, others consider it just another example of New Age tosh.
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Most supposed ley lines are in Britain, however there are said to be some in the European continent and America as well. According to New Age interpretations, psychic phenomena occur more often in areas where ley lines intersect. Some new age and occult proponents conjecture that the magnetic properties of the lines act as 'recording tape' and 'store' such psychic events as ghosts or historic replays of battle noises. Scientists and skeptics alike, of course, point out that there is no solid evidence of any of this.
Ley lines have long been staples of New Age bookstores. Historically, their existence was first purported by Alfred Watkins in the 1920s; he wrote the first book on ley lines in 1925, entitled The Old Straight Track.
Clubs were formed from readers of the book to scour the British countryside looking for straight lines between Churches, Mounds, etc. Many Churches line up on these lines because Christian Churches were often built at the site of former Pagan worship. Watkins felt that the lines occurred because of a method of holding up a stick and sighting along it to produce an inline path through the woods, hence the term Straight Track.
Watkins died in 1935. In 1936 an occult thriller captured the public eye with references to lines of force in the earth. Later a member of the straight track club, who was also a dowser, would publicly cite that he had observed cosmic forces at work in Ley lines and brief resurgence in public interest flourished for a while. The straight track movement died out in the 1950’s.
In the 1960’s it was revived after a UFO researcher made up a link between the straight track or Ley Lines and lines of force described by another UFO researcher. It is interesting to note the Watkins had abandoned the term Ley Lines for his observed tracks, calling them instead, archaic tracks.
Soon the concept was absorbed fully the new age movement to include channeling, levitation and other magical and fanciful occupations. The journal “The Ley Hunter” was born in 1965. It only recently ceased publication just before the turn of the millennium.
Important Sites and Their Associated Ley Lines
Buckingham Palace Ley Line - http://www.ahsoc.fsnet.co.uk/royal-ley/intmap.htm
- Blackwardine Ley - First ley discovered by Watkins.
- Burial Lane - A funeral path in Worcestershire.
- Churchway Ley - A Cornwall site supposed to be tied to Ulysses and even Atlantis!
- Holy Hills - Excellent example of a astronomical Ley in France.
- Old Sarum Ley - Said to be the most famous in England.
- Oxford City Leys - Two intersecting Leys run North-South and East-West intersecting many of the churches there.
- St. Michael Line - Another Dragon Ley from Cornwall to Suffolk.
Urban Ley Lines
Ley Lines in Other Cultures
Asian thought seems to take a different path, so to speak. There, the practice of Feng-shui's seeks to break up straight lines and not allow for straight roads or placing a building on a straight line with another. Straight lines are thought to facilitate spirit travel. Spirit traps or mazes around entrance ways are thought to keep spirits out.
The Mayans and the Incas seem to have a preoccupation with straight lines as well, as many of their cities and monuments are also laid out on straight lines. They were probably used to determine seasonal change and are related to the large drawings found there.
More Myths about Ley Lines
Excavations of many Druid mounds unearthed carbon, zinc and iron, which are the constituents of a battery. This was added to the Ley line mythos and thought to be the power source of the Ley Lines. Proponents reasoned that at one time the lines may have been more powerful than their weak remnants of today. Some have written that Druid wizards used Ley lines to levitate and fly from one mound or city to another.
There are many speculations for the straight or near straight lines that have been advanced. One is that they are coffin lines. Paths used for funeral processions that lie between two churches. Since these paths tended to be the shortest distance between the two churches, they are often factored in as Ley Lines. Sometimes these paths are called corpse paths or funeral paths.
Many believe that the Ley Lines attributed to mounds and large rocks are early attempts at astronomy, which was very important in determining planting seasons. This seems borne out in Incan, Aztec and cave dwellers in the southwestern United States monuments, mounds and walls found there.
Most well informed people doubt even the existence of Ley Lines, let alone their claims of ancient mystic power. Modern day magicians from as far back as Houdini have been involved in the exposure of such claims as psychic healing, dowsing, Nostradamus, remote viewing, The Burmeda Triangle, Atlantis, UFO's, and other current myths.
For additional information see these related sites:
The Ley Hunter http://www.leyhunter.com
Earth Energy http://www.mystical-www.co.uk/leylines.htm
Ley Lines http://witcombe.bcpw.sbc.edu/EMLeyLines.html