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1966 Bogle invasion of Stonehenge
It's taken 42 years to flush out the group behind the infamous Bogle invasion of Stonehenge.
The Bogle invasion
Wiltshire has always had more then a bit of the Twilight Zone about it with everything from intricate crop circles to massive chalk hill figures mysteriously cropping up overnight.
But in the winter of 1966 it was Bogles that were making the headlines after a gang of 18 of them took over the ancient site of Stonehenge.
Bruce, Brian, Bob and Boris
Sporting Beatle hair-dos and brandishing mallets the bandy-legged stick men were discovered clambering all over the Neolithic stones early one February morning:
"People thought that they were druid figures or strange pagan things," says archaeologist and Stonehenge enthusiast Julian Richards.
"They're rather strange looking. They've got bandy legs, thin bodies and very smiley faces and they're all painted with their names: Bruce, Brian, Bob and Boris Bogle etc"
The smiley face of a Bogle....
But despite their cheeky smiles, red clown noses and double 'B' names… the life-sized Bogles appearance at the ancient site was set to be brief:
"The sad thing really," says Julian, "is that the custodian of the site at the time didn't really have much of a sense of humour and so as soon as they got there, in the morning, they ripped the Bogles down and burnt the lot."
Or so it was thought… in fact two Bogles (Bruce and Bob to be exact) managed to escape the fire on top of a local school teacher's car:
"It was Austin Underwood, who'd taken the only photographs recording the event, who actually rescued two of them on the roof rack of his car and driven home with them," says Julian.
"And when I was putting together the Inspired by Stonehenge exhibition, at Salisbury Museum, Austin Underwood's widow announced that they were still in their garage."
One of the surviving Bogles - Bruce Bogle
With Bruce and Bob headlining the Museum exhibition… the story was picked up by the media and the hunt was on to flush out the creators behind the infamous 1966 Bogle invasion:
"It turned out to be a Rag prank that hadn't really gone as it was supposed to," says Julian. "The idea had been that it would get lots of publicity for the Manchester Rag the Bogle which was the symbol of the Rag."
With military precision, the Manchester Boglers had carried out the elaborate operation under the cover of night. Descending on Stonehenge with blackened faces they had managed to stealthily drape their stick men all over the stones without being discovered.
Bogles reunited with their makers at Stonehenge
42 years too late
In fact they had been so stealthy that despite their creations hitting the headlines the creators themselves never did:
"There was a deafening silence," says Julian. "Nobody got the joke and the students didn't get the publicity they wanted. "But now that the original perpetrators have come forward they've been quite surprised by how much interest there's been.
"In some ways it's strange that they've finally got the publicity they wanted but it's just 42 years too late."
And if you want to see Bruce Bogle, one of the two surviving Bogles, then head to the Inspired by Stonehenge Exhibition at the Salisbury Museum. The exhibition will be at Salisbury Museum until Saturday 20th September 2008 before heading to the Chippenham Museum in the autumn and Devizes Museum next summer.
last updated: 18/08/2008 at 11:50
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