Holy Wells: Wormholes in Reality? – 2

by Alan Cleaver

In the first part of this article [Source 3 (First Series)] I suggested that the repeated occurrence of dragons in association with sources of water and holy wells in particular, was beyond coincidence; from the ancient Greek legend of a dragon stopping people reaching the spring of Ares in Thebes, to Nessie the serpent reputedly living in Loch Ness – the loch apparently formed when a holy well over-flowed. The theories which might explain this coincidence include the use of wells as loci for legends, a dragon as a device to keep children away from water, and so on. But in this second part, I would like to suggest some ideas towards another theory. They will only be ideas, for while I stayed on fairly orthodox lines before, now I shall be wandering onto the more inspirational path! I would be interested to receive readers’ comments on what follows.

I had no real interest in holy wells until 1985 when the Holy Wells Group started. However, in 1982 I was working with psychic Graham Phillips on the theory of parallel universes when the subject of holy wells came up. The theory states that each time a decision is made this reality splits into two and creates another universe, so eventually creating thousands of universes. Hence, if I decided to go for a walk now instead of writing this article, Alan Cleaver in Earth 1 would be walking the streets of High Wycombe, while Alan Cleaver in Earth 2 would be writing this article. It is not a new theory but while Graham was doing some automatic writing the communicator told how a man living near Exning, Cambridgeshire had physically slipped from one reality to another. It said the man, Donald Dent, had tried to use the ‘power of a holy well’ near his home to cure his sick son. This holy well also marked a point where, under the right conditions, you could go from one reality to another. It was a bizarre idea but we checked with the local newspaper and they said a man of that name had vanished from his home near Exning in the 1970s under mysterious circumstances. He had seemingly just walked out his front door and vanished off the face of the earth. I always intended to research this holy well link further, including the remark made in the automatic writing that, ‘at the holy wells you will find that many people have disappeared over the years’.

But I never got round to it. Then, in 1985 I was talking to a fellow reporter, Amanda Cowley. She told me of a girl who vanished from Eastbourne in 1980. The girl, Jessie Earl, took no money, extra clothes, nor any medication needed for her asthma. She was very close to her parents but never told them where she was going and has not been in touch since the day she vanished, 15th May 1980. I told Amanda of the Donald Dent case and mentioned the holy well link. Amanda gasped. ‘The area near to where Jessie vanished is called Holywell’.

This rekindled my interest. Further investigation showed there was a holy well at the sea-side location (it has now been taken over by the water authority and the site is inaccessible). When Amanda said about Jessie Earl, I was already working on the dragon/holy well link and the possible way this fitted in with missing people came when I opened up Janet Hoult’s booklet, Dragons [1] and saw the diagram reproduced. This design shows how the curled up dragon is a plan view of a spiral mound or hill – a labyrinth, traditionally the pathway from one world to another. It is common to find holy wells and holy hills associated. Geoffrey Ashe [2] discusses the idea that Glastonbury Tor may once have had a labyrinth around it. He details the route and how it spirals to the top. But he doesn’t make much of the holy well at the base of the hill, which I would regard as important. Now even the tag ‘wormhole in reality’ used by Graham’s communicator seemed deliberately chosen; worm being a synonym for dragon. Indeed the communicator also made a remark about ‘the dragon at the well’ but we thought nothing of it at the time.

The suggestion is that the dragon represents an energy path linking one reality to another, this path perhaps being marked out physically on a nearby hill as a maze or labyrinth. All that was needed to use it was the correct way of walking or threading a maze – perhaps the origin of traditions about how to walk up to or around certain holy wells.

If some holy wells do mark a point where two realities meet, we might expect various anomalies there. For example, ghosts have long been associated with certain springs. In Earthlights [3], Paul Devereux tells of the connection between UFOs and other anomalous lights at fault lines, a frequent source of springs. While Jean Astle and others were reinvestigating light phenomena in the area of Burton Dassett in the 1920s, she noticed how all the lights were seen near water, particularly the holy well near the church. It is of interest that Burton Dassett means ‘the abode of wild beasts’ and the church is decorated with carvings of dragons and other mythical beasts. In The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary [4] the visions are shown to persist near springs. Are all these phenomena indicative of a point where there is a thin link between one reality and another – a wormhole in reality?

If a labyrinthine route to another world exists there is obviously more to it than described here or anyone walking the wrong way round a holy well would vanish. But an article by a researcher involved in the Green Stone saga [5], published in disguised form a relevant experience [6]. Andy Collins told how researchers had received psychically the design of a maze. They drew it on large brown paper covering the lounge floor. Shortly after a fuse blew in the house, and kept on doing so. A 10 pence coin placed in the middle of the maze incredibly started to burn, and other burn marks appeared. Psychic information said if the maze was constructed outdoors sunlight would be absorbed and channelled by the maze. What is interesting, bearing in mind holy wells, is Andy’s remark; ‘To enhance this energy, the psychic information said, a pool of water would have been placed where the path ended, directing it upwards to a focal point’.

All the above are just ideas – they may be wrong. But I hope my article sets readers thinking about some of the mysteries of holy wells, and I would welcome comments.




1. Hoult, Janet; Dragons.
2. Ashe, Geoffrey, (1979); The Glastonbury Tor Maze. Gothic Image.
3. Devereux, Paul, & McCartney, Paul, (1982); Earthlights. Turnstone Press.
4. McClure, Kevin, (1983); The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary. Aquarian Press (in conjunction with The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena).
5. Phillips, Graham, & Keatman, Martin, (1983); The Green Stone. Neville Spearman.
6. Collins, Andy, (1982); ‘An Amazing Maze Story’ in Caerdroia 9. Caerdroia Project, Essex.


Text © Alan Cleaver (1986) | Illustration © Janet Hoult (1986)

Designed & Maintained by Richard L. Pederick (© 1999) | Created 04/01/00

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