Bexell's Talking Stones – Varberg, Sweden - Atlas Obscura

Bexell's Talking Stones

Hundreds of mossy stones engraved with bits of philosophy, literature and random musings.  


For decades, hundreds of engraved stones covered in moss were lying around in this forest just waiting to be discovered.

They were engraved in the late 1800s by Alfred Bexell, a landowner and member of Parliament. He had two stonemasons engrave hundreds of stones and rocks in a forest on his property — why he did this is unknown until this day, but it is believed that he wanted to share his interest in history, philosophy and aphorisms with generations to come.

The engravings were forgotten for decades until a few of the moss-covered letters were discovered in 1925 by a family on picnic in the forest.

So far over 600 names of famous writers, philosophers, scientists, politicians and statesmen been identified in the carvings, as well as more than 180 aphorisms, sayings, quotes from literature and pieces of Bexell’s own thoughts like a sort of petrous journal. They include messages like, “Do not say all you know but always know what you say” and “What is sleep but the image of death.”

The summer of 2014 marked the start of an ongoing work to discover, clean and fill in the engravings to make them easier to find. From Bexell’s own notes it is clear that there are more of them out there to discover. Alfred Bexell himself died in 1900 at 69 years old. The last message he left to the world was the one on his tombstone saying “Man’s history is his character.”

Know Before You Go

The map shows position of the parking lot next to the area where the stones can be found. There are leaflets in Swedish, English and German with a map over the area and a few translated engravings. From there it is just a shorter walk to the area where the stones can be found.

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