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The three faces of the Lake Winnipesaukee mystery stone, New Hampshire, USA

Out of Place Artifact: The Mysterious Stone Egg of Lake Winnipesaukee

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In 1872, construction workers digging a hole for a fence post near the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New England found a lump of clay, with an egg shaped artifact inside it, six feet below the ground. Called the ‘Mystery Stone’, it is one of New Hampshire's more curious and lesser known relics. Amateur and professional archaeologists have speculated about the origin of this strange artifact for well over one hundred years with no clear answers emerging.

The rock type is not familiar to New Hampshire and there are no other known objects bearing similar markings or design in the United States. It may very well have been the work of someone living in a faraway place and time, as nothing like its fine workmanship has been produced by the Native American tribes living locally in the area.

Panoramic view of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire

Panoramic view of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire ( Wikimedia Commons )

Description of the Mysterious Stone

The mystery stone egg is approximately 4 inches (10.2cms) long, 2 1/2 inches  (6.4cms) thick, weights eighteen ounces (510.3grams) and has a dark-hue to it. Hard as granite, it is about the size and shape of a goose egg. The stone is a type of quartzite, derived from sandstone, or mylonite, a fine-grained rock formed by the transference of rock layers along faults. There are holes bored in both ends of the stone and it was drilled through from end to end with different sized tools, and polished along its surface.

Beyond its strange construction and design, the stone is marked with bizarre carvings ranging from astronomical symbols to a human face along its smooth egg faced sides. On one side, there are what appears to be inverted arrows, a moon with some dots and a spiral.  Another side has an ear of corn with seventeen kernels in the row. Underneath, is a circle with three figures; one of which looks like a deer's leg along with some kind of animal with large ears. The “third” side shows a tepee with four poles, an oval and a human face.  The face is sunken with a nose that does not rise above the surface of the egg with lips that seem to give the image some kind of purposeful expression.

Details of carvings on two of the sides of the stone

Details of carvings on two of the sides of the stone ( Noahsage)

History of the Lake Winnipesaukee Stone Egg

It was Seneca A. Ladd, a local businessman, who hired the workers to dig the fence post that is credited with the discovery of this intriguing artifact. When it was first unveiled to the world, the American Naturalist journal described it as “a remarkable Indian relic.” Documents and newspaper articles show that by 1872 Seneca Ladd had the “egg” in his possession and by 1885, it was notable enough to be reported in the county history book. Ladd died in 1892, and in 1927, one of his daughters, Frances Ladd Coe of Center Harbor, donated the stone to the New Hampshire Historical Society in the state capital of Concord. There it was separated from the Native American 1800’s-era cultural artifacts and items of modern day interest.

Seneca A. Ladd.

Seneca A. Ladd. ( Cowhampshire)

Controversial Theories on the Origin of the Strange Egg

As for its purpose, there have been attempts made by historians over the years to come up with an explanation for the stone with no clear answer to date. 

 

Initial interpretations began with the simplest answer.  In November of 1872, The American Naturalist suggested that the stone "commemorates a treaty between two tribes.” However, this idea did not hold up long and it was later hypothesized that the stone was some kind of ancient tool. 

There have also been suggestions that the egg could be Celtic or Inuit in origin and in 1931 a letter was written to the New Hampshire Historical Society suggesting that it was a “thunderstone.” Also known as "thunderbolts" or "thunder axes," a thunderstone is a worked stone object, often wedge-shaped like an axe blade, that is alleged to have fallen from the sky. Stories of thunderstones are found in cultures all over the world, and are often associated with a thunder god. The writer went on to say that such objects " always present the appearance of having been machine or hand-worked: frequently they come from deep in the earth, embedded in lumps of clay, or even surrounded by solid rock or coral .”

The Perfectly Drilled Holes

Another interesting detail worth noting are the two holes bored in both ends of the stone, with different size bits. Each bore is straight, not tapered. Scratches in the lower bore suggest it was placed on a metal shaft and removed several times, according to one analysis done by New Hampshire state officials in 1994. Richard Boisvert, a state archaeologist, believes these holes are highly regular. " I've seen a number of holes bored in stone with technology that you would associate with prehistoric North America. There s a certain amount of unevenness and this hole was extremely regular throughout. What we did not see was variations that would be consistent with something that was several hundred years old," he said.

Boisvert went on to suggest that the holes were drilled using power tools rather than traditional techniques used by Native Americans. He added that there was every chance the holes were made during the 19th century which would mean tampering of the object. This has led some to believe the Winnipesaukee’s stone mystery is simply some kind of elaborate hoax. 

The only thing that seems certain, or of which there is consensus, is that it was created using some type of machine. However, the fact remains that no one knows who made the object, when or why.  At one time this stone attracted the wonder of the scientific world with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. offering to send a map to Seneca A. Ladd to make a casting of the egg. Today, the stone is currently on display in a case at the Museum of New Hampshire History, surrounded by mirrors to show off its features.

The face on the Lake Winnipesaukee mystery stone, New Hampshire, USA

The face on the Lake Winnipesaukee mystery stone, New Hampshire, USA ( Noahsage)

Featured Image: The three faces of the Lake Winnipesaukee mystery stone, New Hampshire, USA ( Disclose.tv)

By Bryan Hill

References

"Lake Winnipesaukee Mystery Stone." Lake Winnipesaukee Mystery Stone. http://theunexplainedmysteries.com/Lake_Winnipesaukee_mystery_stone.html

Klatell, James. "New England's 'Mystery Stone'" CBSNews. July 21, 2006. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/new-englands-mystery-stone/

"Lake Winnipesaukee Mystery Stone." Atlas Obscura. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/lake-winnipesaukee-mystery-stone

"New Hampshire Historical Society - Mystery Stone." New Hampshire Historical Society - Mystery Stone. http://www.nhhistory.org/museumexhibits/mysterystone/mysterystone.htm

Ocker's, J.W. "Mystery Stone of Lake Winnipesaukee." OTIS (Odd Things I've Seen):. June 6, 2011. http://www.oddthingsiveseen.com/2011/06/mystery-stone-of-lake-winnipesaukee.html

"Carved Stone Still Mystifies Scholars." Meta-Religion. July 19, 2006. http://www.meta-religion.com/Archaeology/Europe/other/carved_stone.htm

Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of Merrimack and Belknap Counties, New Hampshire. Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis &, 1885

 

Comments

The ear of corn and the abstract motifs below it, as well as the face, are all consistent with the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th century. The extremely fine worksmanship of the egg shape and surface finish would have been available to anyone with gem polishing equipment. WIth a little time and maybe two trial runs on soft rock, I could achieve the same results myself with quartzite and a rented wheel in a community studio these days. And I'm neither a pro sculptor, gem polisher or anything. Anyone can make a beautiful egg if they want. Also the carvings are not dirty. THey are white-dusty. That screams "recent carving" on a black stone like nothing else. All things considered, I say "Beautiful Hoax!"

i got Black stone having liquid looks like egg i want to know what is this

From a stormwater management view, these holes make perfect recharge basins to replenish ground water which could then perculate down to the valley. This would preserve water for a period of time rather that have it simply run off the hill. In an arid environment it is extermely clever. It is only recently that modern man realized the need for rain water harvesting.

It's obviously a hoax, just look at all the evidence for it being a hoax.
First, the motivation for creating this hoax.
Those who made it benefitted financially, right? Well, didn't they receive a lot of money? ... no?
Well, then, they became world famous and received accolades from world leaders and had fans whever they went, right? ...no?
Okay, secondly, look at the evidence for the construction of the hoax. The people involved said something before they died, right? ...no?
Well, the tools they used were later found, weren't they? ...no?
Okay, other similar artifacts they constructed were found, too, right? ...no?

Well, if there was no obvious evidence that this was a hoax, and there was no clear benefit to those involved, then how come people are so damned certain that this is a hoax?
Ohhh, because it doesn't fit into their worldview; aha!, NOW, I see how we ascertain if something is a hoax or not! NOW I understand science!

What have the inuit to say about it?

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