Was Stonehenge the result of an extraordinary hallucination after frenzied flute playing?

Mysterious: No-one knows why, or how, Stonhenge was built. But an independent scientist has suggested they were laid out according to a sonic illusion

Its iconic stones are said to mark an ancient burial site, form an astronomical calendar or even be a monument to the fertility gods.

But no one has claimed Stonehenge to be the result a trick of the mind – until now.

A major science conference heard yesterday that the blueprint for the mystical stone circle came other-worldly visions triggered by music.

While the theory may seem outlandish, legend has it that some stone circles were formed when maidens who danced in a circle to magical pipers were turned to stone.

The intriguing idea comes from Steve Waller, an independent scientist who believes art and architecture are inspired not only by what we see but also by what we hear.

He is particularly interested in the effect of something called an interference pattern – the variation in sound created when two noises collide.

Depending on how they interact, sections of the sound can be dampened.

The effect can confuse the brain, tricking it into thinking that there is a building or other structure in the way, blocking the sound, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in Vancouver heard

The first experiment ran by Dr Waller demonstrated this – and tied it to Stonehenge and other stone circles.

He took two groups of volunteers, blindfolded them and led them in a circle around a pair of recorders that were being played.

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