Atmosphere and Memory

Dragon hillNicola here, pulling up a Wench classic blog from a few years ago as I’m travelling at the moment, far from my laptop!

Today I’m musing about the atmosphere of particular places. I’m taking us back a long way in English history, beyond the Regency, beyond those ubiquitous Tudors, to a time before the Norman Conquest when England was split into the Anglo Saxon seven kingdoms. The village where I live has a recorded history that goes back to this distant time – there are actual documents from the era relating to events that happened in this very place over a thousand years ago and I find that mind-blowing. As I walk along the footpaths and over the hills I frequently imagine how it might have looked in that time and try to see all the way back through the mists of history to think myself back there.  I can be pretty successful at this; when it’s quiet and I’m standing on the Ravens’ Fort and all I can hear are the birds singing and I feel the breeze on my face I can persuade myself, for a split second anyway, that I have travelled in time. Then an aeroplane flies over and I think perhaps not after all.

Certain places have a very strong sense of atmosphere. I’ve been to battlefields such as Flodden and Culloden where the whole landscape feels as though it is steeped in the bloodshed and suffering of the men who died there. I’ve visited historic houses that feel imbued with the personalities of the people who lived there, and I’ve wandered happily through gardens that feel peaceful or visited buildings that have a joyous atmosphere. How much of this is down to the emotional memory of the place and how much is down to my imagination, I cannot say. As writers and readers of historical fiction I think we all step into that other world. One of my books looks at “stone tape theory” which was an idea popular in the 19th century and later in the 1970s that places retain emotional memories in their very fabric. This is one theory said to account for ghostly sightings. It’s an intriguing idea around which to build a timeslip novel.

Anyway, back to the Anglo Saxons. The area around here, now known as the Berkshire Downs, has been disputed land for generations, on the borderland of several warring tribes and the site Viking great army of a number of battles.

In 870 CE, the Danes (otherwise known as the Vikings) embarked on an invasion of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex. They sailed up the River Thames and came ashore at Maidenhead in Berkshire. Moving inland, they captured the town of Reading and began fortifying the site as their base. The Danish commanders, Kings Bagsecg and Halfdan Ragnarsson, were supported by five Earls. They met considerable resistance from Aethelwulf the Earl of Berkshire, who was backed up by King Ethelred of Wessex and his younger brother, Alfred. After initial successes Ethelred planned an assault on the Danes' camp at Reading but was unable to break through the defences and was driven back to the Berkshire Downs. The Danes, seeing an opportunity now to crush the Saxons and take the whole of the Kingdom of Wessex, rode out from Reading with the bulk of their army in the winter of 871, intent of meeting the Saxons in battle.

The wayteLocal legend tells of Prince Alfred riding to a place called Blowingstone Hill to use the ancient sarsen blowing stone to call all men of Wessex to battle. He then mustered his forces at "Alfred's Castle" (this name only dates from the 18th century though – before that it was called Ashbury Camp) the Iron Age hill fort situated to the west of Ashdown House, joined with his brother's troops who had been encamped nearby, and rode to do battle with the Danes. The actual site of the battle has always been disputed because no one thought to record it accurately. However, field names and local folklore, which often contains more than a grain of evidence, suggests that the Battle of Ashdown took place to the south west of Ashbury village, along the escarpment that borders the Ridgeway. Up until the mid-eighteenth century this escarpment was too steep to cultivate for crops; even now the steepest inclines are covered in trees. Ancient records identify this area of land as called "The Wayte," meaning a look out place or ambush. This meaning is still in use today in the form of "lying in wait." Could this be a record in a place name, a piece of land where the Saxon lookouts patrolled and Alfred's army lay in wait for the Danes as they marched out of Reading?

This brings us to the Rammesburi, the Ravens’ Fort. The raven is the familiar of Woden, the Teutonic god of war and death. It also has sinister connections in literature as a bird that haunts battlefields. Could the Ravens' Fort have been named in memory of the Battle of Ashdown? As a final twist, ravens are birds that habitually nest in the same places that they have inhabited for centuries. Today there are ravens on Weathercock Hill and in the woods around Ashdown.

The description of the Battle of Ashdown in the Anglo Saxon chronicle is superbly bloodthirsty and summons up the atmosphere of that violent era: “In the year 871, which was the 23rd of King Alfred's thorn Alfred’s life, the pagan army, of hateful memory, entering the kingdom of the West Saxons scoured the country for plunder… The great army came to Reading and King Ethelred and Alfred his brother fought with the enemy and there was much slaughter on either hand.  And four nights after this, King Ethelred and Alfred his brother fought with all the army again at Ashdown. And when both armies had fought long and bravely at last the pagans took to disgraceful flight and the Saxons pursued them all day and all night to the gates of Reading. One of their two Danish kings and five earls were slain, together with many thousand men, who fell on all sides, covering with their bodies the whole plain of the Ashdown.”

Asser, the Welsh monk who was King Alfred’s biographer, recorded the event in slightly sparser terms: "Alfred moved his army against the enemy… the Vikings had taken the higher position, and they were deploying from a lower position. A rather small and solitary thorn tree grew there, around which the opposing armies clashed violently.”

Alfred the GreatAlfred became King of the West Saxons a few months after this. King Alfred the Great – the only English King ever to bear that title – may be our most famous local celebrity in the days before the concept was invented. He was born down the road in Wantage and had a royal hall nearby at Lambourn. This was a land he knew well: the Downs; the villages; the kingdom of Wessex stretching away to the west.

We will never know for certain the exact location of the Battle of Ashdown unless some incontrovertible proof comes to light, which seems unlikely. But standing on the edge of Alfred’s castle with its commanding views of the surrounding landscape, it’s easy to feel the sense of history and imagine the desperate preparations for impending battle, the blowing stone calling the men of Wessex, the assembling armies, all in a spot that sometimes feels as though it has barely changed in a thousand years.

Is there a particular place where you feel a strong sense of atmosphere or history? Do you think it’s down to a vivid imagination or a sense of memory that places retain of the past?

100 thoughts on “Atmosphere and Memory”

  1. Nicola, you live in the middle of amazing, stirring history! Perhaps writerly imagination enhances what you feel, but I agree that some places feel embued with the energy of the past. Maybe that is one reason we travel: to feel the past in different places.

    Reply
  2. Nicola, you live in the middle of amazing, stirring history! Perhaps writerly imagination enhances what you feel, but I agree that some places feel embued with the energy of the past. Maybe that is one reason we travel: to feel the past in different places.

    Reply
  3. Nicola, you live in the middle of amazing, stirring history! Perhaps writerly imagination enhances what you feel, but I agree that some places feel embued with the energy of the past. Maybe that is one reason we travel: to feel the past in different places.

    Reply
  4. Nicola, you live in the middle of amazing, stirring history! Perhaps writerly imagination enhances what you feel, but I agree that some places feel embued with the energy of the past. Maybe that is one reason we travel: to feel the past in different places.

    Reply
  5. Nicola, you live in the middle of amazing, stirring history! Perhaps writerly imagination enhances what you feel, but I agree that some places feel embued with the energy of the past. Maybe that is one reason we travel: to feel the past in different places.

    Reply
  6. Hi Mary Jo! Yes, I am fortunate enough to live in a place where you can feel the layers of history! Travel is interesting for so many different reasons isn’t it. You really do get a taste of a very different history and culture.

    Reply
  7. Hi Mary Jo! Yes, I am fortunate enough to live in a place where you can feel the layers of history! Travel is interesting for so many different reasons isn’t it. You really do get a taste of a very different history and culture.

    Reply
  8. Hi Mary Jo! Yes, I am fortunate enough to live in a place where you can feel the layers of history! Travel is interesting for so many different reasons isn’t it. You really do get a taste of a very different history and culture.

    Reply
  9. Hi Mary Jo! Yes, I am fortunate enough to live in a place where you can feel the layers of history! Travel is interesting for so many different reasons isn’t it. You really do get a taste of a very different history and culture.

    Reply
  10. Hi Mary Jo! Yes, I am fortunate enough to live in a place where you can feel the layers of history! Travel is interesting for so many different reasons isn’t it. You really do get a taste of a very different history and culture.

    Reply
  11. I had some elderly relatives who had a farm that I spent a lot of time at as a child. Back behind the house and down the hill was a old well. Next to that well was a huge mound of earth about 5 feet high. My great uncle told us kids that there were Indians buried there. We were located not too awfully far from the Cahokia Mounds Indian site in Illinois so this seemed plausible to my childish mind (ps it was baloney).
    So when I would take a short cut through the woods to get to the far fields on their farm, I could swear I could sense the Indians darting from tree to tree hunting game.
    I think this had more to do with my vivid imagination than any sense memory of the place. Although before the white man came there were only Indians there – so who knows?

    Reply
  12. I had some elderly relatives who had a farm that I spent a lot of time at as a child. Back behind the house and down the hill was a old well. Next to that well was a huge mound of earth about 5 feet high. My great uncle told us kids that there were Indians buried there. We were located not too awfully far from the Cahokia Mounds Indian site in Illinois so this seemed plausible to my childish mind (ps it was baloney).
    So when I would take a short cut through the woods to get to the far fields on their farm, I could swear I could sense the Indians darting from tree to tree hunting game.
    I think this had more to do with my vivid imagination than any sense memory of the place. Although before the white man came there were only Indians there – so who knows?

    Reply
  13. I had some elderly relatives who had a farm that I spent a lot of time at as a child. Back behind the house and down the hill was a old well. Next to that well was a huge mound of earth about 5 feet high. My great uncle told us kids that there were Indians buried there. We were located not too awfully far from the Cahokia Mounds Indian site in Illinois so this seemed plausible to my childish mind (ps it was baloney).
    So when I would take a short cut through the woods to get to the far fields on their farm, I could swear I could sense the Indians darting from tree to tree hunting game.
    I think this had more to do with my vivid imagination than any sense memory of the place. Although before the white man came there were only Indians there – so who knows?

    Reply
  14. I had some elderly relatives who had a farm that I spent a lot of time at as a child. Back behind the house and down the hill was a old well. Next to that well was a huge mound of earth about 5 feet high. My great uncle told us kids that there were Indians buried there. We were located not too awfully far from the Cahokia Mounds Indian site in Illinois so this seemed plausible to my childish mind (ps it was baloney).
    So when I would take a short cut through the woods to get to the far fields on their farm, I could swear I could sense the Indians darting from tree to tree hunting game.
    I think this had more to do with my vivid imagination than any sense memory of the place. Although before the white man came there were only Indians there – so who knows?

    Reply
  15. I had some elderly relatives who had a farm that I spent a lot of time at as a child. Back behind the house and down the hill was a old well. Next to that well was a huge mound of earth about 5 feet high. My great uncle told us kids that there were Indians buried there. We were located not too awfully far from the Cahokia Mounds Indian site in Illinois so this seemed plausible to my childish mind (ps it was baloney).
    So when I would take a short cut through the woods to get to the far fields on their farm, I could swear I could sense the Indians darting from tree to tree hunting game.
    I think this had more to do with my vivid imagination than any sense memory of the place. Although before the white man came there were only Indians there – so who knows?

    Reply
  16. Wow, Mary, you had my imagination going there! Who knows, indeed. Maybe sometimes we think we are making things up when actually there are real!

    Reply
  17. Wow, Mary, you had my imagination going there! Who knows, indeed. Maybe sometimes we think we are making things up when actually there are real!

    Reply
  18. Wow, Mary, you had my imagination going there! Who knows, indeed. Maybe sometimes we think we are making things up when actually there are real!

    Reply
  19. Wow, Mary, you had my imagination going there! Who knows, indeed. Maybe sometimes we think we are making things up when actually there are real!

    Reply
  20. Wow, Mary, you had my imagination going there! Who knows, indeed. Maybe sometimes we think we are making things up when actually there are real!

    Reply
  21. I believe all sorts of places hold a vibration and energy, whether it is uplifting or dark.
    Very intuitive people feel imprinting, which is the energy left in a place from intense emotional interaction from those who lived there.

    Reply
  22. I believe all sorts of places hold a vibration and energy, whether it is uplifting or dark.
    Very intuitive people feel imprinting, which is the energy left in a place from intense emotional interaction from those who lived there.

    Reply
  23. I believe all sorts of places hold a vibration and energy, whether it is uplifting or dark.
    Very intuitive people feel imprinting, which is the energy left in a place from intense emotional interaction from those who lived there.

    Reply
  24. I believe all sorts of places hold a vibration and energy, whether it is uplifting or dark.
    Very intuitive people feel imprinting, which is the energy left in a place from intense emotional interaction from those who lived there.

    Reply
  25. I believe all sorts of places hold a vibration and energy, whether it is uplifting or dark.
    Very intuitive people feel imprinting, which is the energy left in a place from intense emotional interaction from those who lived there.

    Reply
  26. Agree about Culloden. I was so bothered by it that I couldn’t walk out onto the battlefield. I don’t think any of my ancestors were there, and if they were, they likely were on the government side. Nevertheless, it was so so sad. I didn’t get that feeling at Gettysburg, perhaps because I was with a large group of students and a very energetic and knowledgeable guide. But I can certainly imagine that a lone visitor might feel differently while standing on one of the ridges.

    Reply
  27. Agree about Culloden. I was so bothered by it that I couldn’t walk out onto the battlefield. I don’t think any of my ancestors were there, and if they were, they likely were on the government side. Nevertheless, it was so so sad. I didn’t get that feeling at Gettysburg, perhaps because I was with a large group of students and a very energetic and knowledgeable guide. But I can certainly imagine that a lone visitor might feel differently while standing on one of the ridges.

    Reply
  28. Agree about Culloden. I was so bothered by it that I couldn’t walk out onto the battlefield. I don’t think any of my ancestors were there, and if they were, they likely were on the government side. Nevertheless, it was so so sad. I didn’t get that feeling at Gettysburg, perhaps because I was with a large group of students and a very energetic and knowledgeable guide. But I can certainly imagine that a lone visitor might feel differently while standing on one of the ridges.

    Reply
  29. Agree about Culloden. I was so bothered by it that I couldn’t walk out onto the battlefield. I don’t think any of my ancestors were there, and if they were, they likely were on the government side. Nevertheless, it was so so sad. I didn’t get that feeling at Gettysburg, perhaps because I was with a large group of students and a very energetic and knowledgeable guide. But I can certainly imagine that a lone visitor might feel differently while standing on one of the ridges.

    Reply
  30. Agree about Culloden. I was so bothered by it that I couldn’t walk out onto the battlefield. I don’t think any of my ancestors were there, and if they were, they likely were on the government side. Nevertheless, it was so so sad. I didn’t get that feeling at Gettysburg, perhaps because I was with a large group of students and a very energetic and knowledgeable guide. But I can certainly imagine that a lone visitor might feel differently while standing on one of the ridges.

    Reply
  31. Several years ago, my chapter of RWA was hosting several authors at our annual Retreat in Western Maryland. After visiting a bookstore, several of the authors expressed a desire to visit Antietam, a nearby battlefield, which had been the site of a particularly bloody battle of the American Civil War. My colleagues and I drove the visiting authors to the battlefield. As I walked along the grassy surface, I remember feeling the ghostly echoes of what had taken place over 100 years earlier on that very ground. I can still remember feeling/sensing echoes of what had taken place, of walking where so many had fought and died. I’ve never felt anything like those feelings before or since.

    Reply
  32. Several years ago, my chapter of RWA was hosting several authors at our annual Retreat in Western Maryland. After visiting a bookstore, several of the authors expressed a desire to visit Antietam, a nearby battlefield, which had been the site of a particularly bloody battle of the American Civil War. My colleagues and I drove the visiting authors to the battlefield. As I walked along the grassy surface, I remember feeling the ghostly echoes of what had taken place over 100 years earlier on that very ground. I can still remember feeling/sensing echoes of what had taken place, of walking where so many had fought and died. I’ve never felt anything like those feelings before or since.

    Reply
  33. Several years ago, my chapter of RWA was hosting several authors at our annual Retreat in Western Maryland. After visiting a bookstore, several of the authors expressed a desire to visit Antietam, a nearby battlefield, which had been the site of a particularly bloody battle of the American Civil War. My colleagues and I drove the visiting authors to the battlefield. As I walked along the grassy surface, I remember feeling the ghostly echoes of what had taken place over 100 years earlier on that very ground. I can still remember feeling/sensing echoes of what had taken place, of walking where so many had fought and died. I’ve never felt anything like those feelings before or since.

    Reply
  34. Several years ago, my chapter of RWA was hosting several authors at our annual Retreat in Western Maryland. After visiting a bookstore, several of the authors expressed a desire to visit Antietam, a nearby battlefield, which had been the site of a particularly bloody battle of the American Civil War. My colleagues and I drove the visiting authors to the battlefield. As I walked along the grassy surface, I remember feeling the ghostly echoes of what had taken place over 100 years earlier on that very ground. I can still remember feeling/sensing echoes of what had taken place, of walking where so many had fought and died. I’ve never felt anything like those feelings before or since.

    Reply
  35. Several years ago, my chapter of RWA was hosting several authors at our annual Retreat in Western Maryland. After visiting a bookstore, several of the authors expressed a desire to visit Antietam, a nearby battlefield, which had been the site of a particularly bloody battle of the American Civil War. My colleagues and I drove the visiting authors to the battlefield. As I walked along the grassy surface, I remember feeling the ghostly echoes of what had taken place over 100 years earlier on that very ground. I can still remember feeling/sensing echoes of what had taken place, of walking where so many had fought and died. I’ve never felt anything like those feelings before or since.

    Reply
  36. I feel this as well, Patricia. It’s one of the things that can’t be explained by science and perhaps that’s a good thing, but it’s a strong feeling nevertheless.

    Reply
  37. I feel this as well, Patricia. It’s one of the things that can’t be explained by science and perhaps that’s a good thing, but it’s a strong feeling nevertheless.

    Reply
  38. I feel this as well, Patricia. It’s one of the things that can’t be explained by science and perhaps that’s a good thing, but it’s a strong feeling nevertheless.

    Reply
  39. I feel this as well, Patricia. It’s one of the things that can’t be explained by science and perhaps that’s a good thing, but it’s a strong feeling nevertheless.

    Reply
  40. I feel this as well, Patricia. It’s one of the things that can’t be explained by science and perhaps that’s a good thing, but it’s a strong feeling nevertheless.

    Reply
  41. Battlefields can be imbued with such a lot of emotion, I think. I was exactly the same at Culloden – the sense of sadness was incredibly heavy. I do think that if you are in a big crowd it does block some of the atmosphere sometimes.

    Reply
  42. Battlefields can be imbued with such a lot of emotion, I think. I was exactly the same at Culloden – the sense of sadness was incredibly heavy. I do think that if you are in a big crowd it does block some of the atmosphere sometimes.

    Reply
  43. Battlefields can be imbued with such a lot of emotion, I think. I was exactly the same at Culloden – the sense of sadness was incredibly heavy. I do think that if you are in a big crowd it does block some of the atmosphere sometimes.

    Reply
  44. Battlefields can be imbued with such a lot of emotion, I think. I was exactly the same at Culloden – the sense of sadness was incredibly heavy. I do think that if you are in a big crowd it does block some of the atmosphere sometimes.

    Reply
  45. Battlefields can be imbued with such a lot of emotion, I think. I was exactly the same at Culloden – the sense of sadness was incredibly heavy. I do think that if you are in a big crowd it does block some of the atmosphere sometimes.

    Reply
  46. What a powerful experience! I do think people with intuition and imagination can tune in to these things and sometimes it can be completely unexpected.

    Reply
  47. What a powerful experience! I do think people with intuition and imagination can tune in to these things and sometimes it can be completely unexpected.

    Reply
  48. What a powerful experience! I do think people with intuition and imagination can tune in to these things and sometimes it can be completely unexpected.

    Reply
  49. What a powerful experience! I do think people with intuition and imagination can tune in to these things and sometimes it can be completely unexpected.

    Reply
  50. What a powerful experience! I do think people with intuition and imagination can tune in to these things and sometimes it can be completely unexpected.

    Reply
  51. Some years ago I was visited in Arizona by two British ladies. One of them was drawn by a feeling that she had some healing to give to the Native Americans who had been heartlessly slaughtered with no provocation by American troops in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, in the 19th century. When it came to her to do this, she had never heard of Chaco Canyon, which she learned had been home and holy ground to Indians for centuries. We took a road trip there and she had a solemn and profound experience. I am totally grounded in the present and did not feel I was touching the past, but I have a great deal of supportive sympathy for those who do. I felt honored to be a witness to her spiritual experience.

    Reply
  52. Some years ago I was visited in Arizona by two British ladies. One of them was drawn by a feeling that she had some healing to give to the Native Americans who had been heartlessly slaughtered with no provocation by American troops in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, in the 19th century. When it came to her to do this, she had never heard of Chaco Canyon, which she learned had been home and holy ground to Indians for centuries. We took a road trip there and she had a solemn and profound experience. I am totally grounded in the present and did not feel I was touching the past, but I have a great deal of supportive sympathy for those who do. I felt honored to be a witness to her spiritual experience.

    Reply
  53. Some years ago I was visited in Arizona by two British ladies. One of them was drawn by a feeling that she had some healing to give to the Native Americans who had been heartlessly slaughtered with no provocation by American troops in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, in the 19th century. When it came to her to do this, she had never heard of Chaco Canyon, which she learned had been home and holy ground to Indians for centuries. We took a road trip there and she had a solemn and profound experience. I am totally grounded in the present and did not feel I was touching the past, but I have a great deal of supportive sympathy for those who do. I felt honored to be a witness to her spiritual experience.

    Reply
  54. Some years ago I was visited in Arizona by two British ladies. One of them was drawn by a feeling that she had some healing to give to the Native Americans who had been heartlessly slaughtered with no provocation by American troops in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, in the 19th century. When it came to her to do this, she had never heard of Chaco Canyon, which she learned had been home and holy ground to Indians for centuries. We took a road trip there and she had a solemn and profound experience. I am totally grounded in the present and did not feel I was touching the past, but I have a great deal of supportive sympathy for those who do. I felt honored to be a witness to her spiritual experience.

    Reply
  55. Some years ago I was visited in Arizona by two British ladies. One of them was drawn by a feeling that she had some healing to give to the Native Americans who had been heartlessly slaughtered with no provocation by American troops in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, in the 19th century. When it came to her to do this, she had never heard of Chaco Canyon, which she learned had been home and holy ground to Indians for centuries. We took a road trip there and she had a solemn and profound experience. I am totally grounded in the present and did not feel I was touching the past, but I have a great deal of supportive sympathy for those who do. I felt honored to be a witness to her spiritual experience.

    Reply
  56. Thank you for this terrific post.
    Gettysburg took me away. The man who was our guide was marvelously informative. I have been a few other places which made me emotionally vulnerable, but that place made me cry. I had family members who were there. And, I felt for all of those who were there. The fear, the pain and the awful sense of finality for so many. I believe that place is filled with the hearts and minds of men and boys who never got to go home.
    There is a place that I felt almost as strongly. It was a rental property that had one entire floor which was freezing cold in July in Ohio. It felt angry and ugly. We were there for a very short time.

    Reply
  57. Thank you for this terrific post.
    Gettysburg took me away. The man who was our guide was marvelously informative. I have been a few other places which made me emotionally vulnerable, but that place made me cry. I had family members who were there. And, I felt for all of those who were there. The fear, the pain and the awful sense of finality for so many. I believe that place is filled with the hearts and minds of men and boys who never got to go home.
    There is a place that I felt almost as strongly. It was a rental property that had one entire floor which was freezing cold in July in Ohio. It felt angry and ugly. We were there for a very short time.

    Reply
  58. Thank you for this terrific post.
    Gettysburg took me away. The man who was our guide was marvelously informative. I have been a few other places which made me emotionally vulnerable, but that place made me cry. I had family members who were there. And, I felt for all of those who were there. The fear, the pain and the awful sense of finality for so many. I believe that place is filled with the hearts and minds of men and boys who never got to go home.
    There is a place that I felt almost as strongly. It was a rental property that had one entire floor which was freezing cold in July in Ohio. It felt angry and ugly. We were there for a very short time.

    Reply
  59. Thank you for this terrific post.
    Gettysburg took me away. The man who was our guide was marvelously informative. I have been a few other places which made me emotionally vulnerable, but that place made me cry. I had family members who were there. And, I felt for all of those who were there. The fear, the pain and the awful sense of finality for so many. I believe that place is filled with the hearts and minds of men and boys who never got to go home.
    There is a place that I felt almost as strongly. It was a rental property that had one entire floor which was freezing cold in July in Ohio. It felt angry and ugly. We were there for a very short time.

    Reply
  60. Thank you for this terrific post.
    Gettysburg took me away. The man who was our guide was marvelously informative. I have been a few other places which made me emotionally vulnerable, but that place made me cry. I had family members who were there. And, I felt for all of those who were there. The fear, the pain and the awful sense of finality for so many. I believe that place is filled with the hearts and minds of men and boys who never got to go home.
    There is a place that I felt almost as strongly. It was a rental property that had one entire floor which was freezing cold in July in Ohio. It felt angry and ugly. We were there for a very short time.

    Reply
  61. Hi Nicola! I find the stone tape theory absolutely fascinating and totally believe that places can retain memories. I’m sure it explains the deep feelings and the sense of the past I’ve had when I’ve visited some of the wonderful old castles in Wales. Corfe has it in spades, as does Culloden (for me, anyway).

    Reply
  62. Hi Nicola! I find the stone tape theory absolutely fascinating and totally believe that places can retain memories. I’m sure it explains the deep feelings and the sense of the past I’ve had when I’ve visited some of the wonderful old castles in Wales. Corfe has it in spades, as does Culloden (for me, anyway).

    Reply
  63. Hi Nicola! I find the stone tape theory absolutely fascinating and totally believe that places can retain memories. I’m sure it explains the deep feelings and the sense of the past I’ve had when I’ve visited some of the wonderful old castles in Wales. Corfe has it in spades, as does Culloden (for me, anyway).

    Reply
  64. Hi Nicola! I find the stone tape theory absolutely fascinating and totally believe that places can retain memories. I’m sure it explains the deep feelings and the sense of the past I’ve had when I’ve visited some of the wonderful old castles in Wales. Corfe has it in spades, as does Culloden (for me, anyway).

    Reply
  65. Hi Nicola! I find the stone tape theory absolutely fascinating and totally believe that places can retain memories. I’m sure it explains the deep feelings and the sense of the past I’ve had when I’ve visited some of the wonderful old castles in Wales. Corfe has it in spades, as does Culloden (for me, anyway).

    Reply
  66. This subject is so interesting to me. I definitely feel places retain memory imprints. The East Coast of the US has so many sites because of the Revolutionary & Civil Wars. The battlefield of Custer’s Last Stand is the same. Of course, the prison Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco has that same feel for a few different reasons. Maybe that’s why timeslip books are so intriguing. You’re writing about all those feeling you have at these places.

    Reply
  67. This subject is so interesting to me. I definitely feel places retain memory imprints. The East Coast of the US has so many sites because of the Revolutionary & Civil Wars. The battlefield of Custer’s Last Stand is the same. Of course, the prison Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco has that same feel for a few different reasons. Maybe that’s why timeslip books are so intriguing. You’re writing about all those feeling you have at these places.

    Reply
  68. This subject is so interesting to me. I definitely feel places retain memory imprints. The East Coast of the US has so many sites because of the Revolutionary & Civil Wars. The battlefield of Custer’s Last Stand is the same. Of course, the prison Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco has that same feel for a few different reasons. Maybe that’s why timeslip books are so intriguing. You’re writing about all those feeling you have at these places.

    Reply
  69. This subject is so interesting to me. I definitely feel places retain memory imprints. The East Coast of the US has so many sites because of the Revolutionary & Civil Wars. The battlefield of Custer’s Last Stand is the same. Of course, the prison Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco has that same feel for a few different reasons. Maybe that’s why timeslip books are so intriguing. You’re writing about all those feeling you have at these places.

    Reply
  70. This subject is so interesting to me. I definitely feel places retain memory imprints. The East Coast of the US has so many sites because of the Revolutionary & Civil Wars. The battlefield of Custer’s Last Stand is the same. Of course, the prison Alcatraz off the coast of San Francisco has that same feel for a few different reasons. Maybe that’s why timeslip books are so intriguing. You’re writing about all those feeling you have at these places.

    Reply
  71. What a wonderful story, Mary. These things can be such profound experiences for people and although we may not always share that experience you did such a lot to support her and that is amazing.

    Reply
  72. What a wonderful story, Mary. These things can be such profound experiences for people and although we may not always share that experience you did such a lot to support her and that is amazing.

    Reply
  73. What a wonderful story, Mary. These things can be such profound experiences for people and although we may not always share that experience you did such a lot to support her and that is amazing.

    Reply
  74. What a wonderful story, Mary. These things can be such profound experiences for people and although we may not always share that experience you did such a lot to support her and that is amazing.

    Reply
  75. What a wonderful story, Mary. These things can be such profound experiences for people and although we may not always share that experience you did such a lot to support her and that is amazing.

    Reply
  76. Hi Annette. What an interesting reaction to both of those places. I totally believe that battlefields can capture the emotions of those who fought and died there and that we can tune into that sense even hundreds of years later.
    Your reaction to the rental property is also so interesting. I’ve had that sort of response to places a couple of times in my life and even when you don’t know the history behind them it can be disturbingly powerful.

    Reply
  77. Hi Annette. What an interesting reaction to both of those places. I totally believe that battlefields can capture the emotions of those who fought and died there and that we can tune into that sense even hundreds of years later.
    Your reaction to the rental property is also so interesting. I’ve had that sort of response to places a couple of times in my life and even when you don’t know the history behind them it can be disturbingly powerful.

    Reply
  78. Hi Annette. What an interesting reaction to both of those places. I totally believe that battlefields can capture the emotions of those who fought and died there and that we can tune into that sense even hundreds of years later.
    Your reaction to the rental property is also so interesting. I’ve had that sort of response to places a couple of times in my life and even when you don’t know the history behind them it can be disturbingly powerful.

    Reply
  79. Hi Annette. What an interesting reaction to both of those places. I totally believe that battlefields can capture the emotions of those who fought and died there and that we can tune into that sense even hundreds of years later.
    Your reaction to the rental property is also so interesting. I’ve had that sort of response to places a couple of times in my life and even when you don’t know the history behind them it can be disturbingly powerful.

    Reply
  80. Hi Annette. What an interesting reaction to both of those places. I totally believe that battlefields can capture the emotions of those who fought and died there and that we can tune into that sense even hundreds of years later.
    Your reaction to the rental property is also so interesting. I’ve had that sort of response to places a couple of times in my life and even when you don’t know the history behind them it can be disturbingly powerful.

    Reply
  81. Hi Marilyn. The presence of the past is so powerful in some of these places, isn’t it. I think that both personally and sometimes collectively we can tune into these feelings. Fascinating!

    Reply
  82. Hi Marilyn. The presence of the past is so powerful in some of these places, isn’t it. I think that both personally and sometimes collectively we can tune into these feelings. Fascinating!

    Reply
  83. Hi Marilyn. The presence of the past is so powerful in some of these places, isn’t it. I think that both personally and sometimes collectively we can tune into these feelings. Fascinating!

    Reply
  84. Hi Marilyn. The presence of the past is so powerful in some of these places, isn’t it. I think that both personally and sometimes collectively we can tune into these feelings. Fascinating!

    Reply
  85. Hi Marilyn. The presence of the past is so powerful in some of these places, isn’t it. I think that both personally and sometimes collectively we can tune into these feelings. Fascinating!

    Reply
  86. Hi Jeanne. I love writing timeslip for that very reason. Just as I tune into the vibes in some historical places, so do my characters in the story, and I know that readers who love those books feel and understand that too. It’s wonderful!

    Reply
  87. Hi Jeanne. I love writing timeslip for that very reason. Just as I tune into the vibes in some historical places, so do my characters in the story, and I know that readers who love those books feel and understand that too. It’s wonderful!

    Reply
  88. Hi Jeanne. I love writing timeslip for that very reason. Just as I tune into the vibes in some historical places, so do my characters in the story, and I know that readers who love those books feel and understand that too. It’s wonderful!

    Reply
  89. Hi Jeanne. I love writing timeslip for that very reason. Just as I tune into the vibes in some historical places, so do my characters in the story, and I know that readers who love those books feel and understand that too. It’s wonderful!

    Reply
  90. Hi Jeanne. I love writing timeslip for that very reason. Just as I tune into the vibes in some historical places, so do my characters in the story, and I know that readers who love those books feel and understand that too. It’s wonderful!

    Reply
  91. What a great post, Nicola. Your historical lesson surely stirred my imagination, and the photos were an added bonus.
    I wonder if the ‘stone tape theory’ is one of the chief reasons we as readers and writers love what we love in the first place. Because if done well, a story with the research evident will give those who pay attention the atmospheric vibe of the places the story takes place…making us all desire to travel there ourselves.
    I don’t know if I just have a vivid imagination or am easily influenced but Gettysburg hit me pretty hard. We were not guided. Perhaps it was just deep respect. On the same trip (which unfortunately was a quick from-here-to-there) we stopped at another Civil War battlefield Chancellorsville, and that completely unnerved me. This was 25yrs ago and I’d have to go look something up first, but I believe it remains as much as it was back then. Which means two armies camped in a pitch black wood but with few if any trees big enough to hide behind and every sound traveling eerily through those trees knowing the enemy too close by for anything like rest or comfort.

    Reply
  92. What a great post, Nicola. Your historical lesson surely stirred my imagination, and the photos were an added bonus.
    I wonder if the ‘stone tape theory’ is one of the chief reasons we as readers and writers love what we love in the first place. Because if done well, a story with the research evident will give those who pay attention the atmospheric vibe of the places the story takes place…making us all desire to travel there ourselves.
    I don’t know if I just have a vivid imagination or am easily influenced but Gettysburg hit me pretty hard. We were not guided. Perhaps it was just deep respect. On the same trip (which unfortunately was a quick from-here-to-there) we stopped at another Civil War battlefield Chancellorsville, and that completely unnerved me. This was 25yrs ago and I’d have to go look something up first, but I believe it remains as much as it was back then. Which means two armies camped in a pitch black wood but with few if any trees big enough to hide behind and every sound traveling eerily through those trees knowing the enemy too close by for anything like rest or comfort.

    Reply
  93. What a great post, Nicola. Your historical lesson surely stirred my imagination, and the photos were an added bonus.
    I wonder if the ‘stone tape theory’ is one of the chief reasons we as readers and writers love what we love in the first place. Because if done well, a story with the research evident will give those who pay attention the atmospheric vibe of the places the story takes place…making us all desire to travel there ourselves.
    I don’t know if I just have a vivid imagination or am easily influenced but Gettysburg hit me pretty hard. We were not guided. Perhaps it was just deep respect. On the same trip (which unfortunately was a quick from-here-to-there) we stopped at another Civil War battlefield Chancellorsville, and that completely unnerved me. This was 25yrs ago and I’d have to go look something up first, but I believe it remains as much as it was back then. Which means two armies camped in a pitch black wood but with few if any trees big enough to hide behind and every sound traveling eerily through those trees knowing the enemy too close by for anything like rest or comfort.

    Reply
  94. What a great post, Nicola. Your historical lesson surely stirred my imagination, and the photos were an added bonus.
    I wonder if the ‘stone tape theory’ is one of the chief reasons we as readers and writers love what we love in the first place. Because if done well, a story with the research evident will give those who pay attention the atmospheric vibe of the places the story takes place…making us all desire to travel there ourselves.
    I don’t know if I just have a vivid imagination or am easily influenced but Gettysburg hit me pretty hard. We were not guided. Perhaps it was just deep respect. On the same trip (which unfortunately was a quick from-here-to-there) we stopped at another Civil War battlefield Chancellorsville, and that completely unnerved me. This was 25yrs ago and I’d have to go look something up first, but I believe it remains as much as it was back then. Which means two armies camped in a pitch black wood but with few if any trees big enough to hide behind and every sound traveling eerily through those trees knowing the enemy too close by for anything like rest or comfort.

    Reply
  95. What a great post, Nicola. Your historical lesson surely stirred my imagination, and the photos were an added bonus.
    I wonder if the ‘stone tape theory’ is one of the chief reasons we as readers and writers love what we love in the first place. Because if done well, a story with the research evident will give those who pay attention the atmospheric vibe of the places the story takes place…making us all desire to travel there ourselves.
    I don’t know if I just have a vivid imagination or am easily influenced but Gettysburg hit me pretty hard. We were not guided. Perhaps it was just deep respect. On the same trip (which unfortunately was a quick from-here-to-there) we stopped at another Civil War battlefield Chancellorsville, and that completely unnerved me. This was 25yrs ago and I’d have to go look something up first, but I believe it remains as much as it was back then. Which means two armies camped in a pitch black wood but with few if any trees big enough to hide behind and every sound traveling eerily through those trees knowing the enemy too close by for anything like rest or comfort.

    Reply
  96. Thank you, Michelle. I’m very glad you found it thought (and imagination) provoking! I like your thoughts on stone tape theory. The books that really draw me in make me very keen to explore more about a place or topic and can really conjure the atmosphere which is the next best thing to visiting in person.
    Your description of Chancellorsville definitely sent a shiver down my spine. It was very atmospheric. Where these feelings emanate from is interesting but the fact so many of us feel something in these places is the important bit, whatever the cause, I think.

    Reply
  97. Thank you, Michelle. I’m very glad you found it thought (and imagination) provoking! I like your thoughts on stone tape theory. The books that really draw me in make me very keen to explore more about a place or topic and can really conjure the atmosphere which is the next best thing to visiting in person.
    Your description of Chancellorsville definitely sent a shiver down my spine. It was very atmospheric. Where these feelings emanate from is interesting but the fact so many of us feel something in these places is the important bit, whatever the cause, I think.

    Reply
  98. Thank you, Michelle. I’m very glad you found it thought (and imagination) provoking! I like your thoughts on stone tape theory. The books that really draw me in make me very keen to explore more about a place or topic and can really conjure the atmosphere which is the next best thing to visiting in person.
    Your description of Chancellorsville definitely sent a shiver down my spine. It was very atmospheric. Where these feelings emanate from is interesting but the fact so many of us feel something in these places is the important bit, whatever the cause, I think.

    Reply
  99. Thank you, Michelle. I’m very glad you found it thought (and imagination) provoking! I like your thoughts on stone tape theory. The books that really draw me in make me very keen to explore more about a place or topic and can really conjure the atmosphere which is the next best thing to visiting in person.
    Your description of Chancellorsville definitely sent a shiver down my spine. It was very atmospheric. Where these feelings emanate from is interesting but the fact so many of us feel something in these places is the important bit, whatever the cause, I think.

    Reply
  100. Thank you, Michelle. I’m very glad you found it thought (and imagination) provoking! I like your thoughts on stone tape theory. The books that really draw me in make me very keen to explore more about a place or topic and can really conjure the atmosphere which is the next best thing to visiting in person.
    Your description of Chancellorsville definitely sent a shiver down my spine. It was very atmospheric. Where these feelings emanate from is interesting but the fact so many of us feel something in these places is the important bit, whatever the cause, I think.

    Reply

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