Knavesmire, York, North Yorkshire

Site of York Gallows

Dream listening

I walked past Knavesmire several times on my way between my hotel and York city centre. A commemorative plaque situated near to the road informed me that it had been the site of public hangings until 1801.

On first acquaintance, I could tell that the place didn’t have any particular need of assistance and I had no interest in listening to it simply for the sake of it – a kind of aural rubber-necking, if you will. But eventually, I stopped. I noticed the flowers that someone had left on the plaque, but I also noticed something else. Can you see it too? How the benches, the trees, the paths, everything, was perfectly balanced. Interesting, I thought, and walked on.

Later that evening, I couldn’t stop thinking about the symmetry of the site. Was it a positive symmetry, showing balance and harmony, or an unnatural symmetry, showing constriction to the area’s life force? I couldn’t tell. At some time in the night, I had a vivid dream in which I dreamt that I was an “aural archeologist” investigating the symmetry question. One of the first things my dream showed me was that the plaque wasn’t situated exactly on the site of the gallows – it had last been about 2 metres to the southeast. Before that, the gallows had been reassembled several times in slightly different locations, but the strongest energetic imprint was from its most recent position. The design of the site, the placing of the raised platform, benches and path and the planting of the trees had indeed imposed a constrictive symmetry on the site, which was successfully containing its negative energies. But I could hear a low rumbling which – I knew in my dream – was the undercurrent of the trauma associated with the site that had not yet been cleared. If any of the surrounding containers were to change, the negative energy could well be released again.

When I woke up, I could still tune into the site as I had in my dream. The rumble was still discernible, but now I could also feel a tension between the plaque and the actual position of the gallows. Whoever had put the plaque in the middle had played a master stroke because it was pulling the energy into an uneasy, but relatively stable, alignment. 

All of this is interesting enough in its own right. But what has really peaked my interest about the whole dream is that it has started me wondering about intentional remote listening. Is it possible to listen to places remotely? It’s certainly a question that is worth investigating further…

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