Sunday, March 14, 2010


Mazes are quite often a component in Horror movies (remember the Hedge Maze in Stephen King's The Shining ?) and are often associated with Castles and Medieval Europe. A fair amount of patience (and a good chuck of land) would be needed if a person wanted to construct a hedge Maze similar to those of days of yore.

Mazes have been around since the Middle Ages, if not longer. Many legends attribute the Minotaur of Greek mythology to living in a Maze while other accounts say it was a Labyrinth. (remember, Labyrinths have one path to the center while a Maze may have many paths, some of which are dead ends, leading to the center).

The Mazes of Medieval Europe were quite often constructed in gardens using hedges as the walls. As time passed, the Mazes became more difficult. These early Mazes are what is called, Simply-Connected Mazes. They are created from one continuous wall to the center. A person can solve the Maze by keeping one hand on this wall and heading toward the center, with numerous detours along the way, of course.

In the early 19th century, Maze design became more difficult. The center goal of the Maze was isolated by a wall of barriers, physically unconnected to the rest of the Maze. A person could not solve it by the 'hand-on' method. These Multiply-Connected Mazes can be developed into very intricate designs with very few dead-ends.

The next evolution of the Maze was the Three-Dimensional Maze. Most Mazes may appear to have three dimensions but in reality they have only two. The third dimension was added by including bridges and underpasses to the design. These types of Mazes have been around since the 19th century but have only become popular in the last 30 years. Many of the Corn Mazes that can be found around the country in the Autumn are three-dimensional Mazes.

The Conditional Movement Maze has also become a reality in the last 30 years. The next move of the participant is dictated by rules or instructions that pertain to the current position of the participant. These Mazes are quite intellectually challenging. (Kinda reminds me of a Freeway Mousetrap!)

And the latest in the evolution of the Maze is the Interactive Maze, quite often found at Amusement Parks. In these, the Maze will respond to the actions of the participants using motion sensors, timed barriers, and other mechanisms that provide a difficult journey to the goal.

To read more on Mazes, click here.


  1. I'd love to have an evergreen maze here. I could send the kids in there they'd be lost for hours. Just kidding. lol! Ok I really love spooky corn mazes in the fall we've got them all around here. Last year the one at our local cider mill was a jolly roger and was pirate themed. Can't wait to see what they come up with this year! Great post.:)

  2. Thanks for the information! I love mazes....but they do not all love me. I remember years ago getting lost in the maze at Leeds castle.....luckly the bus driver waited for us or we would have been taking a cab all the way to London. It was a fun day that I will never forget. Likely the reason I want a maze (very small) in my garden someday.


  3. I love mazes! I do tend to get lost though... but what a way to spend the day! I'd like to have one in my yard too.