I have just been for a walk on Holdstone Down. Holdstone Down has two unique claims to fame.

  1. It is the best spot to view the highest sea cliffs in England from.
  2. According to the Aertherius Society, this is where Jesus appeared in a spaceship.

The first claim is undoubtedly true. Exmoor has the highest coastline on the British mainland. If you define a cliff as having a slope greater than 60 degrees, which is, I believe, the accepted definition, Great Hangman near Combe Martin, is that point. The hill of Great Hangman is 320 metres high with a cliff face of 250 metres. Neighbouring Holdstone Down peaks at 350 metres, which makes it an awesome viewpoint.

From the cairn at Holdstone Down’s highest point, there are staggering views in both directions along the North Devon coastline; Lundy Island on the horizon to the west, Exmoor to the east. Wales’s blue-hued shore is to the north and rolling hills backed by brooding Dartmoor surf inland, to the south.

The second claim is perhaps a little more controversial. To the Aertherius Society, Holdstone Down is far more than just a pretty place. It’s nothing less than a holy mountain.

Aertherians believe that Jesus (strictly speaking, ‘Jesus’ is Earth’s incarnation of an extraterrestrial “Cosmic Master”) appeared to Dr George King, their founder, on Holdstone Down on the 23rd July 1958. On that day, they say, King was contacted by “the great being of Love we call The Master Jesus, who appeared before him in radiant physical form.”

There are 19 Aertherian holy mountains, scattered throughout the British Isles, America, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, France and Tanzania (the latter being Mount Kilimanjaro). But Holdstone Down is the most important.

“This great Cosmic Avatar sent streams of spiritual power through Dr. King, deep into the mountain itself, making Holdstone Down forever holy. This was the first mountain to be charged in the great Mission called Operation Starlight.”
The Aertherius Society

Every year on the 23rd July, hundreds of people gather on Holdstone Down to charge a special battery with spiritual energy to be released when the Aertherians decide the world is in most dire need of it.

What do the locals make of it all? Well, Devonites are generally an open-minded lot. Quoted in the North Devon Journal, Merv Lethaby, at the Royal Marine pub on Combe Martin seaside, summed it up nicely: “I’d never really given it a thought, but I’m all for people believing in what they want to believe in…”

Who can argue with that? The Aertherius Society describe themselves as a “worldwide spiritual organization comprised of people dedicated to help heal and uplift humanity through spiritual action” who work to “bring a state of balance back to humanity”. Unusual as they sound, their intentions are good.

And one thing is for sure. If I were a Cosmic Master, Holdstone Down is where I would choose to land. As far as picnic spots go, you can’t beat it.

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