Sometimes as we bounce back and forth around the world of the paranormal we can often find ourselves in places or situations that we really hadn’t expected. This was my Saturday at the beginning of July, which unfolded in a particularly random fashion. Firstly, Gemma and I decided to visit a supposedly haunted location not too far from where I live; the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker. Also, a location where I may have possibly witnessed an apparition myself.
Oddly, whilst on route to Kelvedon Hatch, Gemma and I chatted; during which the Hellfire Caves were mentioned and so was Rachael Darby (Mrs D). As walked from the car to the bunker entrance Gemma checked her phone, where she found a message from Rachael asking for her help at the Hellfire Caves! Such a random set of events during one day, such meaningful coincidences should surely be regarding as a synchronicity.
So, after our time at Kelvedon Hatch we popped home for dinner before making our way to West Wycombe and the Hellfire Caves.
As we arrived we met with the GCUK South East team, which was quite surreal as I recognised a couple of people I had been on ghost hunts with previously. Following a brief catch-up with the team, which was a good laugh, Gemma and I decided to take a quick walk down the caves. This is something I always like to do at a location, simply just to gain a good understanding of the location itself.
The caves themselves are a network of man-made chalk and flint caverns, which can be found near West Wycombe. The tunnels and caves lead deep underground, extending for over half a mile. Throughout the long winding passages, great Banqueting Hall and various chambers; with some mannequins, there is snippets of information scattered too. The final destination being the Inner Temple past the River Styx. Equally oddly this is all located several hundred feet below the church on top of the hill above.
The Hellfire Caves and the Knights of St. Francis of Wycombe (better known as the Hellfire Club), are swamped in history. However on this occasion I’m not going to discuss the history of the Hellfire Caves, but I am sure it’s a subject I will return to another time as its fascinating; comment if you would like this to be sooner rather than later. I would like to take this opportunity to focus more on what was a thoroughly enjoyable night with a lovely bunch of people.
As Gemma and I walked through the passageways I could immediately understand the lore of this amazing place. I’m not going to lie I felt a little like Indiana Jones as I made my way down and passageways opened up into the large cavern that is the banqueting hall. In fact I was a little like a small boy at the time too, dumb-struck with amazement. I wasn’t expecting a cavern as large as it where we were. Then beyond that and further down was a water source aptly named the River Styx and then the Inner Temple. It truly is an interesting location that is for sure.
Realising that time was ticking on we decided to make our way back to the group. Of course me being me, ensured that I stopped and read various pieces of information on the way. It’s good to understand what information is situated in our environment as this can often make its way into our investigations. As odd as that sounds that can even sometimes happen when the information isnt directly observed. For example, you could walk past it and register it unconsciously, then later recall it. During this recollection, we can often attribute the source of the information to something supernatural.
Once we completed the climb out of the various passageways we grabbed ourselves a coffee, as the GCUK South East guests began to arrive.
Following an introduction by Rachael and then a little spiritual protection by the team, we were ready to head off into the Hellfire Caves. Now, spiritual protection isn’t for everyone and to be fair participation is voluntary. That said it did have me wondering how many groups practice this and what differences there are to ghost hunts of groups that don’t practice it. Still, on this occasion the guests all seemed to be taking part or perhaps just going through the motions as a part of the group.
Rachael then split the guests and team into two teams; and we headed off for our first of three vigils. Gemma and I joined Rachael to lead the first team; Keira, Zoe, Julie, Anton, Liam and Emma. Whilst team two; Lara, Samantha, Jo, Lauren, Lynn, Emma and Tracey; were led by GCUK South East team members Angela, Julie, Stuart and Lucy. Team two spent their first vigil down near the inner temple, whilst we spent our first vigil near Franklins cave.
During the first vigil our team focussed on using dowsing rods, a KII and the Boo Bear. Okay I know, not my usual choice, but still something for the guests to use and sample the paranormal with. Firstly, the Boo Bear or ‘Dave’ as he was named didn’t last long. ‘Dave’ wasn’t subject to anything paranormal, he was just irritating and a little rude as he constantly chatted in the background. The KII was no help either really, so although it was on in the background, the KII didn’t detect anything. However, the team members had some success using the dowsing rods.
To begin with the two guests, Julie and Keira, began by attempting to establish positive and negative responses. In this case, when the rods crossed it was taken to mean ‘yes.’ The group quickly began to ask questions and in return received what they believed to be answers to those questions. These questions soon allowed the group to establish what they believed to be two separate spirits, one male and one female. Rachael and Julie established that the spirit possibly communicating through the dowsing rods held by Julie as being her Grandmother ‘Irene.’ A spirit whom Julie told me often made an appearance during ghost hunts, perhaps joining her granddaughter on her paranormal adventures. The name of the second spirit came from Emma, who believed she heard the name ‘Benjamin’ almost shouted in her ear. Using this name had positives results, so the group continued to address this probable as such.
However, soon after this Emma complained of her head hurting and was escorted out the caves for her safety. Later Emma would pass onto the group her experience, which had her feel as if she had been hit on the head and beaten. Her jaw also hurt too and she also felt really hot. All in all a rather odd experience.
The remaining members of the team continued to attempt communication using the dowsing rods. Julie continued to receive responses from what she believed to be her Grandmother; including the rods pointing out the probable location of the spirit. Meanwhile the possible spirit ‘Benjamin’ continued to answer questions related to the Hellfire Club and the Caves.
Now I’m not stating that these interactions are evidential proof of the paranormal or even spiritual communication. After all it was the guests that experienced this and not me, so only they can tell us about that experience. There are a number of psi theories I could throw at this, but not in this blog post. Something perhaps for another post.
Our team completed that first vigil and headed out of the caves to join Emma and company, but more importantly grab that needed coffee fix. It wasn’t long after we had sat down with our coffee’s that the second team joined us at the tables outside the caves. I also noticed something that caught me by surprise at this point; the GCUK South East team talked to the guests and began to capture their experiences down for future reference. I also spoke to Rachael about this and it was explained that this was something they always try to do as a part of their own research. It was a breath of fresh air to hear that a team running events was equally interested in capturing the anecdotal experiences. Some of which I saw was posted publicly on social media a day after the event, which was really good going in my book. We need to be able to share all of those anecdotal experiences between all paranormal groups, so a greater understanding can be found. Let’s all work collaboratively shall we?
Following the break our team headed deeper into the caves, all the way to the end where the inner temple is located. After briefly standing close to the entrance for a little time, we realised it was quiet. Even for a cave system deep underground. However after a short while Rachael picked up on something further up the tunnel, oddly in this case she decided to chase after it. Interested in what Rachael was going after, Gemma was quick to follow her to investigate this oddity.
After a brief quiet pause I decided it would be better to involve the guests in whatever Rachael and Gemma were investigating; especially as its really their night. We headed a little further up the tunnel to join them and Rachael then told us what she had picked up on. She described an animal being led down the passageways and that was on all fours, but not a dog or a cat. As Rachael continued to describe the animal it became more familiar to me, until I realised that I knew what she was describing. I believe it was on a sign close to the inner temple, which described one John Wilkes who brought a baboon into the Hellfire Caves as a particle joke.
The group decided to continue communication with the probable spirits of the Hellfire Caves, this time using the dowsing rods held by Anton and the Ovilus too. I believe the group felt this was quite interesting as Anton received many positive responses on the rods, which he felt was interesting as he was originally very sceptic of their use. As Anton received responses via the dowsing rods, we also saw the odd words come through on the Ovilus too. These communications were quite interesting, especially when we started to see if the dowsing rods would support the words seen on the Ovilus.
However that said Rachael was good to advise the group that they shouldn’t try and force the words from the Ovilus to fit. Which I thought was good advice. We did try to utilise a colour as password through the Ovilus, but it was unsuccessful.
I have to admit at one point my ears pricked up when the Ovilus spurted out the word; ‘telekinesis.’ We then asked if the Hellfire Club knew about and practiced telepathy and telekinesis, oddly this received a positive response. Perhaps the Club knew about such supernatural abilities. This interaction was certainly quite interesting and we did manage to throw some interesting questions at the probable spirits.
Once again though time was against us and before long we headed back out of the caves for another coffee break. The GCUK team once again gathered further information from the guests for their files.
It wasn’t long though before we all headed back into the caves again, this time as one team and heading for the large banqueting hall. We began by standing in a circle, holding hands to build up our spiritual energy. Oddly team member Lucy felt the strange urge to lay down on the floor at the centre of the circle. One of the guests picked up on a male energy near to where she had sat down. She felt the entity watching her quite intensely at times. The group also used a green grid laser pointer pen with new batteries, which appeared to dim almost on command. As this last vigil was heading towards its conclusion, Emma felt some pressure on her shoulders. She described it as if she was being pushed down by her shoulders. This also made her feel quite emotional. It was also around this time that another guest on the other side of the hall, witnessed a hand and forearm directly in front of one of the GCUK team members. What was very interesting about this experience was it took place for the guest whilst the team member and I looked on, but didn’t physically see what she was seeing. However that doesn’t mean this experience didn’t happen for the guest. I have witnessed something similar at a different location in the past. It reminded of Tyrrell’s apparitional drama somewhat.
As the time was very much against us now and Emma beginning to feel unwell, we decided to call it a night. So, we all headed out of the Hellfire Caves for the last time that night.
Rachael closed off the event by taking the time to ask all the guests about their favourite experiences of the night. Which they did as they completed a little paperwork regarding their night, one piece I think was a feedback form. Then the GCUK South East team closed down spiritually and wished their guests a safe journey home.
All in all it was a great night enjoyed by all that attended; GCUK South East team members and guests alike. In the whole the group that night were a fantastic bunch of people and we all made the night enjoyable for one another. The Hellfire caves themselves is a pretty awesome location paranormally speaking carrying all the signature elements of a spooky location. The staff at the location were also a great couple of people too.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Rachael and the GCUK South East for inviting Gemma and I to join them. It was a hugely enjoyable night at an awesome location, with a great bunch of people. I look forward to our next ghost hunt together.
If you would like to join the GCUK South East Team on any of their future paranormal events, please check out their Facebook page below:-