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Reverse Stealing

April 4th, 2008

One of the reasons why the ‘Holy Blood & Holy Grail’ story generated such a lot of mileage was because it never occurred to anyone that someone might have engaged in the obscure but karmically less dangerous activity of ‘reverse stealing’. Security at libraries is designed to prevent people taking books and manuscripts OUT of the library, but not bringing them in and leaving them there. This is how Pierre Plantard managed to plant a forged document in the Bibliotheque National which he then drew attention to, and which then sparked off the whole ‘Priory of Sion’ story.

I’ve just discovered a Druid has been up to this same activity, but in a far less harmful way. Read on for the story!

Grand Bard of Exeter Mark Lindsey Earley has been unmasked as the mystery Druid who “infiltrated” a West model village.

Little figures of Druids started to turn up mysteriously – similar to the way graffiti artist Banksy’s works would appear in galleries – in the miniature Stonehenge at Babbacombe Model Village, near Torquay.

They were placed inside the model of the stone circle. But one of the tiny figures carried a banner for the Bardic Chair of Caer Wyse – the Celtic name for Exeter – and that gave the game away.

“They didn’t have any Druids at Stonehenge, so I thought I ought to sneak some in,” confessed Mark, of Stoke Gabriel, Devon.

“It’s the opposite of burglary, really. It was just a bit of fun.”

The model village removed the mini-Druids, saying they are “out of scale”, but has offered Mark the chance to sponsor some new ones which would be made specially for the site.

General manager Simon Wills said: “We’ve found this quite amusing. It was the most appropriate place to put Druids, after all. But we couldn’t have everybody coming in and adding their own figures – it would be chaos.”

The model village, founded in 1963, has more than 13,000 miniature people in it, and offers visitors the chance to have models of themselves made for display in a scene at GBP190 for a year.

Mark has announced that the search is now on for a new Bard of Exeter, following the resignation of Farren Gainer, reported on this page last month. It was Mark who revived the ancient Bardic Chair tradition at Exeter and who has now resumed it in a caretaker capacity.

He is calling on aspiring poets to compete for the title in a competition to be held soon.It’s part of a wider informal network known as a Bardic Gorsedd to which membership is free and which will appeal particularly to lovers of the arts, folklore and ceremony. Seven Bardic Chairs have been reclaimed – including Bath, Bristol and Glastonbury as well as Exeter – and it is hoped this will form the basis of an English Eisteddfod at which an annual Bard of England can be elected.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Financial Times Ltd.

(From Western Daily Press)

3 Responses to “Reverse Stealing”

  1. I love this – what a great story! I remember that model village from when I was a little girl – it captivated me – glad to see that Druids (will soon be) represented as part of that microcosm of Britain – even if the reverse stealing has been reversed (if you see what I mean!)

  2. lovely idea – wasn’t there something in the news last year about someone leaving little gargoyles on people’s doorsteps?? Anyway its very sweet…

  3. Thanks for posting this story! Leave it to a bard to be so creatively constructive and leave little druids in his wake. Bravo!!

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