Can we turn into the stone?

From all around the world we can hear to legends and stories about how somebody turn into the stone. Whether it was unfortunate bride, sinful monks, knights who return to life when the nation will be in the worst situation, etc. can be something like transformation of man into the stone real? Where actually stem similar stories?

Probably the most famous story can be find in Greek mythology, where were men turning into the stones by the creature Medusa, which was most famous Gorgon.  Medusa had ability to turn into stone everyone she gazed upon and was killed by the hero Perseus, who used the reflective shield, in which he looked to see the reflection of Medusa, curved sword, winged boots and magic helmet.

In Greek mythology we can further find a story about Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, who survived the flood sent on people and eventually settled back the Earth by throwing stones behind themselves. From Deucalion´s stones raised men and from Pyrrha´s women. A similar story can be found in Inca´s mythology, where god Viracocha created human beings out of stone.

The legend of the petrified can be find also in the biblical story about Lot and his wife. Lot, warned by angels went away from the city of Sodom because it should be destroyed. Lot with daughters run without looking back but his wife  looked and in that moment she turned into a pillar of salt.

Petrified can be find also in different fairy tales. In Slovak fairy tale named Worldly beauty is helping to prince, who fell in love with girl named Worldly beauty the Month. After Month revealed the secrets that he learned and used to save the newly married couple, he turned into the stone. Finally this was broken when he rescued prince´s son.

On stone pillars should also turned the Roman soldiers, who persecuted St. Cornelius. To these days, megaliths, or rather mysterious petrified army is still standing around Carnac, Brittany.

Thus we can see, that the stories of the changing to the stone come from different parts of the world. Could it be some type of general knowledge which we have from old times? As stated Sarah Bartlett according to Jung „in mythology, reflects the ideas and memories accumulated throughout the history of mankind (...) for a detailed view exists in mythology differences resultin from geographical conditions and needs of people living on the ground.“ Can be possible that it is only a common bygone memories that every nation explained and interpreted differently in different stories, or something like that can really happen? Can we really turn into the stone, or just our ancestors badly explain different phenomena, situations or disease?

One from the possible explanation can be the rare genetic disorder named Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, which causes that soft tissues within healing after injury transform into the bones. One of the symptoms of this disease are much shorter toes then the rest of fingers on legs or painful fibrous nodules on man´s back and shoulders.  As stated Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products „it is caused by a mutation (defect) in the gene for a receptor in cells that form bone and cartilage. This receptor is normally switched on by a protein called bone morphogenetic protein, triggering processes that lead to formation of bone.“ Currently there is no effective treatment.

Can be possible that people suffered from this rare disease in the past and people seek various theories and explanations why someone basically turns into stone?

In recent years, also to us leaked informations about the strange Buddhist monks, whose intact bodies are still in the meditation position. It is possible that some were buried alive by landslides and so on. Some theories say that this is actually only a state of deep meditation, when the monk´s body reduces and remain only hair and nails. However, the one of the best preserved mummies are considered Inca child mummies that were part of a sacrificial ritual discovered on top of a volcano Lluaillaco. Researchers by physical evidence and hair tests found that children were chosen some time before the sacrifice and before choosing and the sacrifice was with them better handled, for example, they went from normal food to each which was for elite like corn and meat. Scientists have even found evidence that these children taking also alcohol or coca. These substances were given either to them for more easily manipulated or to don´t realize what is happening around them. These extreme conditions very well preserved their bodies. It could be that similar incidents happening elsewhere in the world, or have been similarly preserved bodies whether people in extreme winter conditions or animal carcases falled to asphalt discovered and invented to them different stories?

The Curse?

Is possible to explain all these ancient stories, or is possible turning into the stone? This option deepen megaliths located between the villages of Great Rollright and Little Rollright, England. Megaliths in this area are Stone circle, consisting of 77 different stones that once formed a continuous wall interrupted by the entrance; Kings stone that currently has a strange shape because of people, who used to split off small pieces for luck what is now prohibited; and Whispering Knights, representing five stones erected facing opposite to each other while they look like something whispering.

The legend of these stones says that once wandered there king and his entourage. Suddenly appears before king a witch, who said that if he will make seven steps and then will see Long Compton he will becomes King of England. King make seven steps but suddenly from the ground grown hill and covered his view on the village of Long Compton. At that moment witch turned everybody to stone.

In 1978 starts scientist G.V.Robins project to examine the electromagnetic fields between the stones. Gadgets recorded before sunrise pulsation, which lasted about three hours and was first measurable around King´s stone and later at Whispering knights, thus it looked as if they communicate with each other.

Emit these stones a certain kind of energy naturally, or is the answer more mysterious? Can be all of the ancient stories and legends explain thanks to the medical and technical progress, or is in myths still a piece of the truth?


European Medicines Agency. Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products. Public summary of opinion on orphan designation. Palovarotene for the treatment of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. EMA/COMP/637026/2014. Availabe at:

Sarah Bartlett. Mýty a báje od A do Z. Všechno, co chcete vědět o mytologii celého světa. (Praha: Metafora, 2009).


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