One thing that I find interesting being a devotee of fantasy and being married to a physicist is that I like to see the points where reality and fantasy or sci-fi intersect (ex. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and Star Trek).
I have been coming across the concept of Ley Lines ( pronounced Lays Lines) a lot of late. They are mentioned, perhaps not by name in the Outlander series, in Torchwood, apparently in the Vampire Diaries, Dresden Chronicles, and in the latest series I am reading by Kim Harrison, The Hollows. I think they are mentioned in Laurel K. Hamilton's Fever series and the Highlander series. So, judging on how adopted they are in the literature and in some TV, I thought they were known as an ancient phenomenon. They seem tied to crop circles, Nazca, Buckingham Palace and Stonehenge among other locations.
A bit of research revealed that they were first proposed in the 1920's.
Ley lines are alleged alignments of ancient sites or holy places, such as stone circles, standing stones, cairns, and churches. Interest in ley lines began with the publication in 1922 of Early British Trackways by Alfred Watkins (1855-1935), a self-taught amateur archaeologist and antiquarian. http://www.skepdic.com/leylines.html
Disappointingly, this was the most cogent description of the concept I found and it occurs in Robert Carroll's the Skeptic's Dictionary "a website and a book. Each features definitions, arguments, and essays on topics ranging from acupuncture to zombies, and provides a lively, commonsense trove of detailed information on things supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific." http://www.skepdic.com/
My friend Shannon gave me a book, "The Witch Book" by Raymond Buckland, which tells me much the same with out the skepticism, however. According to this book Watkins actually invented the pinhole camera (I thought it was invented by the Renaissance painters) and he showed that there was a "vast network of straight lines [that] crisscrossed Britain and aligned large numbers of ancient sites, standing stones and burial mounds." Watkins proposed that similar lines existed in other parts of the world. These lines are thought to indicate subtle earth energies. In The Hollows series they are sources aof power that connect to another realm, the ever after and are used by "ley-line witches."
Something I read suggested that lines radiated from hot spots (volcanoes, hot springs) and that the mid point was a point of power.
My general philosophy is that I only know that I don't know or "there are more things in heaven and earth" than are dreamed of in my philosophy, so I am not poo-pooing this idea. I think that there are probably ancient locations, imbued by practice or whatever, that are more conducive to conducting spiritual energy than are other spots. One such location these days is Sedona. It may be that people feel so at one with themselves and the universe in that location that they are able to better harness their energies than they can in their office on 5th Avenue. Is it because aliens (Nazca), the Goddess, the God, a god, magnetic forces empowered that location? Or is it because it is stunning, peaceful, inspiring like Stonehenge, or filled with the hopes of thousands of individuals who have come before me? I have no idea.
The picture of Stonehenge at Midsummer (left ) from Nordisk familjebok are supposed to show the ley line described by the Mid-summer sun (solstice?) from a marker at Stonehenge.(Wikipedia Commons)
I would guess that the feeling that there were these points or paths of energy long before Mr. Watkins wrote it down in the early 1920s. There are surely hard things to explain about certain areas. Was it only political that one temple superseded another on the same location. Did power confer belief or does belief confer power? I read a book once, Sarum, that hinted that straight and powerful lines were caused by lightning being attracted to very straight Roman roads which often contained metal filings. Like I said - I only know that I don't know.