An article by Jordan Marie McCaw
At 3 Rede Avenue in Hexham England in 1971, brothers Leslie and Colin Robson were digging around the family garden. Facts vary about which boy found them first (or if they were both present in the exact location when they were found), but what the boys did uncover in the garden were two heads crudely carved out of stone. One appeared to be a boy with slash marks on top of the head to perhaps signify hair; the other resembled a girl—also referred to as the witch or hag. Both heads had part of the stones protruding from the necks, perhaps eluding to bodies they were once attached to.
Excited by what they found, the boys brought the heads inside their home and showed their family. They fit neatly in the palm of one’s hand, around the size of a tennis ball or a tangerine. The material the heads were made up of has been largely debated throughout their examinations and discovery. At one time it was believed the heads could not have been recent carvings because the stone makeup didn’t contain materials commonly found in concrete modern to the time.
When the Robson boys brought the heads into their home, their family was probably fascinated by the discovery and accepted them as interesting new toys or artifacts. Unfortunately, his fascination with the boys’ discovery quickly turned into confusion and horror. The heads were left downstairs as the family retreated to their rooms for the night. In the morning, the family found the position of the heads had moved, as if turning themselves to have a different view of the room they were in.
One of the boy’s hair was pulled in the middle of the night by an invisible hand and shattered glass was found in the sisters’ beds. At night the garden glowed, specifically where the heads were found. When the TV was on, it appeared as though it was trying to reach a different frequency or channel even though no one was trying to change it. When the heads were moved, they always seemed to be found facing a different direction than they were left facing. In the middle of one night, the Robson mother saw a half-man, half-goat creature inside their home. Paralyzed with fear, all she could do was watch the creature leave their home, praying it stays gone. In other recounts of this story, places like The Urban Prehistorian writes the neighbor of the Robson’s saw a half-sheep, half-man creature in her home. The Robson’s lived in a house most similar to a townhouse, where their home was connected to another home. Their neighbors also experienced strange, poltergeist-like things (like the half-man, half-sheep creature) when the heads were brought into the Robson’s side of the house.
The heads were documented on TV and in newspapers. In 1974, Sunday People published pictures of the heads with an article entitled, “Myth of the ‘Evil’ Heads.” They would find their way in the hands of several people interested in studying them. From Hexham Abbey to Museum of Antiquities at Newcastle University to Southampton, these heads were studied extensively and theories were created, rejected, and circulated.
Eventually a man named Desmond Craigie claimed to be the creator of the heads. He said he carved the heads for his daughter in the 1950s. This was shocking for those following the story of the Hexham heads since their discovery in the Robson’s garden..
One archeologist in particular, Anne Ross, talked about these heads on national TV, saying they were from the Iron Age. While Ross was studying these heads in her home, she too was visited by a half-man, half-wolf creature in her home. The heads carried something with them wherever they went, something sinister or something ancient and alive.
Ross focused her historian and archeologist credits on Celtic history. Specifically Celtic religion and folklore. Because of her background, she was familiar with carved heads and their significance in Celtic history. One of the most well-known carved heads from Celtic history is the Corleck Hill stone head. On display at the National Museum of Dublin, this piece of history comes from the Iron Age (between 1st and 2nd Centuries AD). Three faces are carved into this single stone, perhaps representing three deities or a single deity with three aspects. Blogger and writer Ali Isaac wrote a fascinating article about the significance of heads in Celtic history and folklore. In her article she recounts several legends of beheadings in battle and reuniting heads with the body. These types of beheadings weren’t all about war trophies, but also about returning loved ones’ heads to families awaiting their return from battle.
Getting back to the Hexham Heads, Ross believed the garden where the Robson boys found the heads could be an ancient Celtic shrine. Ross was interested in the Cult of the Head, an ancient Celtic cult that believed heads were capable of otherworldly or supernatural phenomena. She included her studies on the Hexham Heads in the fifth edition of the journalArchaeologia Aeliana. She also wrote about other ancient heads found throughout Celtic culture, solidifying her belief that these two small heads should be included with the rest of these ancient discoveries. Ross’s credibility was questioned once she talked about her experience with the half-wolf, half-man creature. The heads were real, tangible objects. This supernatural encounter couldn’t be studied or proven, yet an archeologist was relating it to these heads.
At some point during the studies and stories, the two heads disappeared. From archeologists’ hands to Universities, we now don’t know their whereabouts. Maybe they returned to the shrine they were left at centuries ago. Perhaps they simply passed on from this plane of existence into a more supernatural one. All we have now are complicated reports, studies, and terrifying experiences associated with the heads.
To learn more about the Hexham Heads, the podcast Into the Portal gives an in-depth analysis of this story. Perhaps the most referenced and prevailing source is Quest of the Hexham Heads by Paul Screeton.