Our K2 meter arrived on Wednesday, along with our camera bag & in-car camcorder charger. So the trip to Hell Fire Caves was on! We were so excited we couldn’t keep still. Friday night was spent eating chip shop chips and watching Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International and Most Haunted – the Hell Fire Caves episode. Saturday morning dawned bright and warm – not the type of weather you associate with ghost hunting. We set off at 9:05 for the two hour, twenty four minute journey to West Wycombe. We’d arranged to meet L K Jay there and were looking forwards to meeting her for the first time.
Surprisingly, we didn’t get lost. Apart from going to the wrong car park, but that’s an easy mistake to make and entirely Ryan’s fault. We met L K outside the car park and walked up to the caves together. The entrance is beautiful and not what you’d expect a cave entrance to look like. Especially one that hosted the infamous Hell Fire Club. We sat outside for a bit, chatting then decided to venture in.
The caves are amazing. They’re not too brightly lit, which lends an eerie atmosphere. Throughout the caves, there are cages which house mannequins. At one point, Ryan rounded the corner and spied a cage with child mannequins in it. He saw a shadow dart inside it. Creeped out, he edged towards the cage. And discovered Cat inside it with the mannequins. We couldn’t figure how the hell she had got in. Turned out, the gate was unlocked. All the gates were unlocked. Even the gate to the Inner Temple, which is situated 300 ft directly below St. Lawrence Church and was where most of the fun took place. There were mannequins seated around a table. So we joined them for a group photo.
Sadly, we didn’t see any ghosts. But we had lots of fun and highly recommend these caves to anyone. After the caves, we walked to the George and Dragon pub, in the ghost of the doomed barmaid, Sukie’s footsteps. The most terrible thing that happened was that the pub didn’t serve Smirnoff Ice or Red Bull. Luckily we’d bought plenty of supplies.
The caves were built in the 1750’s by Sir Francis Dashwood, who employed local men to keep them in employment. The caves were used by Dashwood and his friends, for their meetings, which would consist of drinking, feasting and wenching. We’d been looking forwards to participating in some wenching but unfortunately, the caves didn’t sell hotties in the gift shop. The Club members would often dress in white robes, with the leader wearing a red robe and they called themselves the Friars of Francis.
In the Most Haunted episode, they claim that Satanic rituals took place in the caves. We’ve found no evidence of this. However, they did hold mock PAGAN rituals. The last time we checked, Paganism is an entirely different religion, but who lets the truth get in the way of a good story?
The most famous ghost that reputedly haunts Hell Fire, is Sukie. She was a local girl who worked in the George and Dragon pub. She repeatedly spurned the advances of the local lads, because she wanted to marry a Lord. One day, a Lord came into the bar and flirted with Sukie. Three of the lads were so incensed, they set a trap for Sukie. They wrote a note, claiming to be from her Lord, asking her to meet him in the caves, in a white wedding dress. When she arrived, the lads scared her and taunted her. She ran into the caves, they threw stones at her, she fell and hit her head. The lads took her back to the pub, where she died a few days later. Visitors to the caves have reported seeing a woman in a wedding dress.
This is a great story. But we think that’s all it is. In the late eighteenth century, the local lads would’ve been farm workers, or labourers – they wouldn’t have been able to read or write. Even if one of them could write, would he have been able to write well enough to convince Sukie it was from her Lord? We don’t think so. Where would she have got a wedding dress at such short notice?
However, in the Hell Fire Club, they would smuggle prostitutes into the caves and they often liked indulging in role play. One of their favourites was of Ariadne, a quasi-virgin Greek bride. The prostitutes would often give themselves exotic names. Could a prostitute have died during one of these games? Is that who visitors have seen? If it is her, how did she die? And why does nobody know about it?
Watch the episode of C.A.T.S Calamityville Horror Hell Fire Caves with L K Jay here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMyVXYJb2f4