It is likely that the answer is "no."
North Salem Balanced Rock is a strange geological feature in the Hudson Valley of New York, a sixty-ton boulder supported by five smaller stones. As an unknowing visitor to the site, it might appear to be a momentous feat, potentially put there by aliens or even giants. It is hard to believe that the structure could be man-made, or even that it has occurred naturally.
Hugh Newman, an author, researcher, and public speaker, paid a visit to Balanced Rock and produced a video. Newman is convinced that this particular structure was built for a specific purpose, noting that the rock is not native to the surrounding area. He suggests the rocks might have been placed for a specific purpose as a megalithic dolmen. By dolmen, he means an ancient burial site. He comments on the "negative energy" from the magnetic field surrounding the rocks and claims that there is a negative magnetic anomaly below the site and a higher than usual magnetic field around it. This is called “conductivity discontinuity.” It has been said that storms avoid the spot and that accidents are known to happen around it. Newman claims that the site has a “profound energy,” all 90 tons of it. When photographed, orbs have been known to appear around the structure which presents even more mystery.
What is North Salem Balanced Rock? Boiled down, the argument is really whether the structure is man made or whether it occurred naturally.
One idea is that it's a human-made structure, possibly built by ancient Celts who traveled to the New World before Columbus. In America B.C., Barry Fell called Balanced Rock “…the largest Celtiberian dolmen yet discovered in North America…" Fell believed that it is likely the memorial of a Celtiberian king and adds that it parallels a monument in Dublin. Fell also notes that, nearby in Connecticut, are six supposedly Celtiberian megalithic chambers, associated with Ogam and Iberian dedications to the sun god Bel.
Men moving rocks of the size of Balanced Rock is a feat in itself, but not unknown. The largest man-made dolmen is the Brownshill Dolmen in County Carlow, Ireland. Its capstone weighs 100 metric tons. It was built between 4000 and 3000 BC by the earliest farmers to inhabit the land. Another example of a large megalithic burial mound is the Dolmen of Menga. This dolmen was built in the third millennium BCE. The largest stone in this structure weighs two hundred tons.
A simpler idea is that the Balanced Rock could be a glacial erratic from the Ice Age. A glacial erratic is “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” In my opinion, this seems to be the most likely geological explanation considering the material. It is also noted that there are glacial striations present on the structure. It is true that humans could have moved this massive glacial rock, but unlikely. Steven Schimmrich mentions on his blog, Hudson Valley Geologist, that dolmens “typically were a large flat rock supported by three or more uprights.” Strange things often occur in nature and something like this appearing would not surprise me at all.
It's possible that Balanced Rock is a natural formation that was used by Native Americans for rituals or even as a trading post. The biggest mystery to me about the site are the claims of abnormal magnetism. I only wish that I knew more about physics, so that I could come up with my own possible explanation for the phenomenon. A possible explanation could be the iron content in the rock.
I do not think that we will ever know the truth of the North Salem Balanced Rock. As a skeptic, I think that the accidents and ghostly sightings reported near the site could be exaggerated, and the resemblance to man-made dolmens could be simply coincidental. It reminds me of the well known mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. A common explanation for it is that there are magnetic anomalies in the area that cause compass problems. This led to many strange incidents of planes and ships disappearing without a trace causing the area to become notorious. As far as it being a Celtic dolmen, there are known dolmens all over the world throughout history that are likely man-made. I do not think that this theory is completely preposterous, but it still seems like a stretch. I would be interested to know if radiocarbon dating could be done on the site or maybe if someone could dig underneath the site. I feel that it could clear up a lot of questions.
For now, Balanced Rock will remain a tourist attraction bringing visitors to a small, quiet town.
These blog posts were written by students in Forbidden Archaeology (Fall 2016)