David Wyrick, who passed away in 1864 from a laudanum overdose, was a surveyor and mathematician in Newark in the nineteenth century. Wyrick is most noted for his discovery of the “Holy Stones” in 1860. Wyrick claimed to have found a total of five stones buried at different locations in Licking County, including four that were inscribed with Hebraic text and one with what appeared to be early Arabic markings. In 1872, Col. Charles Whittlesey, founder and president of the Western Reserve Historical Society, declared that the stones were fake artifacts created by Wyrick. The colonel’s claims were supported by the discovery of a Hebrew Bible and stone carving tools among Wyrick’s personal effects. Defenders of the Holy Stones claimed that the Bible was purchased by Wyrick after his discovery and was used to translate the inscriptions.
The stones were said to have been discovered buried within mounds. When translated, the inscriptions said “Holy of Holies,” “The Word of the Lord,” “The Laws of Jehovah,” and “The King of the Earth.” The fifth stone, found a few weeks after the others, was an egg-shaped stone with the Ten Commandments carved on one side and an image of Moses on the other. The stones served as evidence to support Wyrick’s belief that the mounds throughout the area were built by Hebrews, or that the Native Americans who built them were descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel.
The stones are now kept at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton, Ohio. The museum provides information on the stones for those who are interested, but does not take any stance on the validity of Wyrick’s claims of their authenticity.
- “Sudden Death,” The Newark Advocate, April 15, 1864.
- “113-Year-Old Legacy Left By Man’s 5 Small Stones,” The Lima News, December 22, 1977, 38.
- Norris F. Schneider, “’Holy Stones’ Considered To Be Hoax,” The Coshocton Tribune, January 2, 1972, 2.
- Schneider, “’Holy Stones’ Considered To Be Hoax,” 2.