Surely we are all aware of King Arthur and the sword in the stone, right? This story I’m going to tell you is believed to be the real deal, the inspiration behind Excalibur, and it’s just as interesting.
A man named Galgano Guidotti, born in 1148, spent his childhood training to become a knight. He had been a noble man, his life full of earthly pleasures. In 1180, he began to see visions from the archangel Michael; Galgano believed that God wanted him to forfeit the life he’d loved as a knight and to go live in the woods as a hermit.
Eventually Galgano’s visions prompted him to go to the hill at Monte Siepi. The man was told to renounce all of his earthly possessions, and Galgano responded that this would be as hard to do as splitting stone. In Galgano’s vision, he then thrust his sword into a nearby stone, and this sword went through the stone like butter.
After this vision, Galgano physically went up the hill where he planted a cross. There was a stone, and just as in his vision, he trust his sword into it; just as had been in said vision, Galgano’s sword penetrated the stone as if it were water. This proved to Galgano that it had been God’s wish that he forsake his life and do as he’d been told. At this point Galgano did what had been asked of him.
Galgano died a few years later. In 1185 Pope Urban III named Galgano a Saint; the Montesiepi Chapel was built around the Sword in the Stone and there it remains to this very day!
Now, just as in the story of King Arthur, many have done their best to pull this sword from the stone; there are even the pair of mummified hands which had belonged to a thief on display at this church. It’s said that the thief had been attacked by wolves, the only part of the man which hadn’t been mutilated by those wolves were his hands. It’s written that another man had been stuck down by lightening during his attempt.
So in recent years people have heard of this story and, just like many of you are probably calling bs right now, many of them didn’t believe it, either. In order to disprove this whole thing, scientists have run some tests to find out for sure. It turns out that the sword does date back to the 1100 through the early 1200’s, the exact time frame in which Galgano had been alive. In other words, science can’t disprove the story; it can not be proven fake.
I try not to get real religious here, as I do respect your beliefs – whatever they may be. But this is pretty cool, isn’t it? Whatever it is you believe, this is history! Today you can go see the sword in the stone at the Montesiepi Chapel in Tuscany.