Ilton Druids Temple Sacrifice

What's Going on at the Ilton Druids Temple?

There has been some growing concern over the past couple of decades that something mysterious is happening at the Swinton Druids Temple in the forest near the town of Ilton, North Yorkshire. Several ‘animal offerings’ have been found on the Altar Stone raising questions again about dark rituals and witchcraft.

In 1820, the folly that has now come to be known as the “Druid’s Temple” was commissioned by the then-sheriff of Yorkshire and owner of Swinton estate, William Danby. He claimed that he created the stone temple in order to produce work for the local population of the nearby town of Ilton, many of whom were paid one shilling (approximately five pence nowadays) a day to do the work.

The idea that wealthy landowners would pay local unemployed men to build these follies purely out of the goodness of their hearts needs to be challenged. For example, Sir Francis Dashwood of West Wycombe also used unemployed locals to dig out a network of caves and tunnels supposedly as an act of charity. He later used this underground lair as the headquarters of his notorious Hellfire club.

Other wealthy landowners that used their private estates to live out their more eccentric views included Charles Howard, third Earl of Carlisle, Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham and parson Thomas Eyre who recreated the Druid Caves at Rowter rocks.

From his own writings, Ideas & Reasonings 1876, we can see that Danby was torn between the call of good and evil. He warns that: “How watchful ought we to be over the humour of the moment.” “There are things in the sacred writings that are beyond our comprehension.” He also accuses the church of being more concerned about creating fear and awe rather than dealing with the inherent weakness of man and ‘our’ attraction to evil. He also said: “one must feed the mind, or it will prey on itself.”

Ilton Druids Temple
Ilton Druids Temple (C) Clint Pavenu

It seems odd that a man so philosophical and conscious of classical literature and moral values should choose to build a temple to pagan gods.
Danby also offered a regular salary to a person who would live at the temple as a hermit for seven years; however, the longest a person has stayed at the temple was reportedly just over five years.

A SECOND STONEHENGE

Much of the Druid’s Temple’s architecture and aesthetics were influenced by the then popular Stonehenge. The same size stones were used and were placed in order to create a room that measures around 30 metres by 15 metres, with some of the stones being over 3 metres tall.
The temple also features a central sacrificial stone altar, which had been placed according to the positions of similar stones at other similar historical temples scattered around the country.

Ilton Druids Temple Gate Stones
Ilton Druids Temple Gate Stones (C) Clint Pavenu

The temple also features pillars of flat stacked stones, much like similar ones seen at the classic Stonehenge. The layout of the stones is said to be extremely accurate for the Neolithic period. Again, this is bizarre as Danby writes that any religion that combines violence with ritual is abhorrent.

SACRIFICAL OFFERINGS OR STUDENT SILLINESS?

According to the Megalithic Portal, Baroness Masham of Ilton allegedly claimed that her secretary was walking past the stones and found a pig’s head on the Altar stone. According to the Baroness, on another occasion she found a small group of Leeds University students who had spent the night at the druid’s temple. They were cold and frightened. The claimed to have seen shadows amongst the stones and together with the night country noises, such as owls hooting, they had fled.

Ilton Druids Temple Stack Stones
Ilton Druids Temple Stack Stones (C) Clint Pavenu

One of our researchers visited the site in 2012 and took the photos in this article including the one of the Altar stone. He also spoke to several local visitors who claimed the site had an urban legend reputation for dark magic and pagan offerings but disputed that anything sinister actually went on in the area. They attributed the strange happenings to local pranksters. Even so rumours persist to this day. The site was recently featured in the BBC programme – The Mysterious Moors of Yorkshire.


Ghosts of Woodchester Mansion

Meeting the Ghosts of Woodchester Mansion

It’s the question that sceptics love to ask – “Have you ever seen a ghost?” Naturally, it’s a trick question. If you answer yes, then they look at you as if you’re crazy and need to be locked up. If you say no, then they usually say something like – “well there you go, of course ghosts aren’t real”.

It’s hard to convince a sceptic that ghosts are real until they experience it for themselves – like I did at Woodchester Mansion.

The old building is a Gothic Revival Country House commissioned by William Leigh in 1857 and designed by Benjamin Bucknall. It’s located in the hidden valley of Woodchester Park near Nympsfield, Gloucestershire. The building appears reasonably complete from the outside but is largely a shell with many unfinished rooms, missing floors and open ceilings that reveal the complexity of the timber supported roof. Many questions about its design, purpose, positioning and occupants still remain unanswered.

When William Leigh died in 1873 work on the house was discontinued and his descendants seem to have lacked the funds and William’s passion to see the project completed. The architect, Benjamin Bucknall even wrote to William’s son in attempt to encourage him to complete the project. He is said to have written:

“There is nothing sadder to the sight than an unfinished work and it is even more forlorn than a ruin of a building which has [at least] served its purpose.”

Woodchester Mansion Unfinished Interior
Woodchester Mansion Unfinished Interior (C) Paul V.

Although William Leigh had hoped to sire a great Catholic family with Woodchester at the heart of a new catholic community, the last of his line, Beatrice Leigh, died in 1949. After passing through several owners, the unfinished mansion was acquired by Stroud District Council, who leased it to a building restoration organisation, the Woodchester Mansion Trust, in 1992.

We do know that for a while the house was used as hideaway for William’s brother, Vincent Leigh who was considered to be a borderline recluse and very odd fellow.

It was later used as a secret training ground for soldiers who would storm the French beaches during D-day when the Americans and British fought to recapture France.

It has been highlighted in television programmes such as Most Haunted Live (2003 and 2005), Hauntings and Ghost Hunters International.

in 2006, it was used as the location for a horror film based on the story of Dracula.

Ghosts believed to haunt the area include a phantom horseman, a floating head and a poltergeist said to shove the unwary. These phantoms are largely believed to relate to an earlier building, Spring House that was demolished prior to the construction of the mansion.

Woodchester Mansion Masonry Block
Woodchester Mansion Masonry Block – Makeshift Seat (C) Paul V.

I didn’t see any of these restless spirits when I visited during May of 2011. In fact, I found the property both charming and peaceful. I was inside the ruin when I heard the singing. It was beautiful! A girl’s voice with the lilting Somerset accent that is so endearing and recognisable. I looked around for the singer and, when I couldn’t find her, I assumed it was being broadcast on a hidden audio system and sat on a block of masonry near the inner courtyard just enjoying the folk songs. Most of these I didn’t recognise, but one reminded me very much of the tune Scarborough Fair but with different lyrics.

Woodchester Mansion Haunted Courtyard
Woodchester Mansion Haunted Courtyard (C) Paul V.

Eventually the music stopped, and I wandered over to a window.  There was a light mist in the courtyard that quickly evaporated. I headed back to the main entrance where I met up with my wife and my son who were both highly annoyed. According to them I had been away for at least an hour though to me it seemed like less than 20 minutes.

As we left, I mentioned to the volunteers at the entrance what a great Idea it was to have a hidden music system. They looked surprised and told me that they didn’t. I explained about the singing and an old local man on gate duty just nodded and just said I was lucky to have heard it and I wasn’t the first.

One of the old men did say that there had been some accidents with training down on the lakes and that there were still unrecovered amphibious tanks at the bottom of the water with the bodies of the soldiers still inside. Maybe he was just trying to spook me.

Swimming in these lakes is strictly forbidden and yet people still do it. Allegedly, several people have drowned over the years.

Since my visit, Woodchester Mansion has been in the news for paranormal events. As recently as 2012 the mutilated carcasses of at least two deer and three pet wallabies  were found nearby leading to speculation that a ‘beast’, probably a large cat, was on the loose in the estate. The story was featured in several British newspapers including the Guardian and the Daily Mail. In 2013, it was portrayed as a commune for wiccans in the novel ‘Caballito’ by Robin Baker.

Deer Attack Image Credit: BLM News

In 2018 a teenage boy went into the lake and soon felt a terrible pain in his foot. His friends dragged him out and found a serous crescent shaped wound. According to Bristol Live he needed nine injections into his foot and antibiotics. The cause of the wound is unknown. According to a spokesperson for the grounds, “”We do not allow swimming in the lakes. The water is deep and hides many dangers.” (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/warning-not-swim-popular-lake-1756410)

There’s no doubt that the area is seen as a paranormal hotspot and although I started out as a sceptic, I can’t help feeling that I really did experience the ghosts of Woodchester Mansion. I’m sure there are many who will read this and scoff at this story. All I can say is this – wait till it happens to you.

Contributed by Paul V.
Worcester
Full name withheld by request


Black Shucks - Ghost Dogs or Mutant Wolves?

Black Shucks – Ghost Dogs or Mutant Wolves?

According to eyewitnesses, they have been seen from the northern Highland mountains of Scotland to the desolate moors of Devon and Cornwall in the south. They are believed to be at the root of many legends including the Beast of Bodmin Moor and the Witch Hounds of Sussex. It would be nice to think that they were just ancient legends, but people still keep reporting encounters with these Black Dogs that defy rational explanation.

Records show that this phenomenon has been happening in Britain for at least a thousand years and has had a significant impact on the culture of the country. There are Black Dog roads, Black Dog pubs, Black Dog hills and even Black Dog woods. The have different names in different parts of the country but are generally the same creature. In the north they are known as a Shriker or Barguest while in the south they are Yeth Beasts, Witch Dogs and Hellhounds. In the east they are Skeffs, Grimms, or Haidens. So, while ordinary dogs may be man’s best friend, Black Shucks are definitely not.

Black Shuck Hellhound
Black Shuck Hellhound (SSPL / Clint Pavenu)

Both Ghost and Flesh

There seem to be two types of demon dog, the ghostly kind, and the very real kind.

The spectral version can appear and disappear at will, is able to pass through solid objects and has either one or two red eyes that sometimes glow in the dark. They are believed to be portents of death or disaster but rarely seem to attack people directly. Often seen near graveyards or in old forests, they are said to have a smell of decay about them and cause those who see them to literally shake with fear.

These black dogs are the ones described in the popular Harry Potter wizarding books as Grims where they are also portrayed as death omens. JK Rowling cleverly intertwined real legends into her wizarding world and by doing so reached out to our primal memories.

Paranormal investigators believe that these are real phenomena that are able to pass between the worlds of life and death. This connection with mortality might explain why they are seen in areas associated with decay or places of violent death such as old battlefields or hangman hills. Sometimes the Black Shuck even appears as if it has been dead for some time and has already started decomposing. Occasionally, these demon dogs are associated with hunting or war.

The Peterborough Saxon Chronicle written (1134-54) describes many witnesses seeing a ghostly group of ‘loathsome’ hunters who rode on black horses and were accompanied by a pack of jet-black hounds with eyes like saucers and horrible in appearance. This spectral apparition was allegedly seen on many occasions and last recorded at the end of Lent in 1127AD. It worth noting that archaeologists have discovered that at nearby Flag Fen Neolithic site, dogs were often sacrificed as offerings to the gods.

Sightings of this spectral beast have occurred regularly throughout history and even into modern times.

The author Alasdair MacGregor reports that around 1944, An American airman and his wife had rented a small flat-topped house on the edge of Walberswick Marsh. They were both at home when a terrible storm rolled in with both lightning and thunder – a fairly rare event in Britain. They heard something thumping against the door and, looking through the window, saw a gigantic black hound with shaggy fur trying to break in. Frightened, they piled furniture against the door and waited for hours until the sounds stopped as the storm dissipated and dawn broke. They went outside to see what damage the beast had caused but couldn’t find any nor did they find any pawprints in the wet mud.

Ghost of the Black Shuck Bungay Church
Ghost of the Black Shuck Bungay Church

In 1999 a boy living near the village of Foulden, on the outskirts of Thetford Forrest, reported that he was chased by a gigantic black dog along the street to his house. As he arrived at the gate to his home the dog simply disappeared. The victim has described the feelings of absolute terror that overwhelmed him and continue to trouble him many years later. (Source Hidden East Anglia)

As recently as March 2021, Dean and Veronica Buckley were researching the ghosts of Conisbrough when their cameras picked up and photographed the image of a ghostly dog. Research revealed that during the 1500’s a great dog had once rushed out of the nearby castle and killed a man close to where they took the photo. (source; Doncaster Free Press)

It seems that the ghostly version of Black Shuck is more a sign of danger or bad luck than actually being dangerous itself. This isn’t the case when the flesh and bone version seeks you out.

Flesh & Bone

A Suffolk Legend claims that on the 4th of August 1577, a gigantic black dog smashed open the doors of St Mary’s Church in Bungay. Outside there were flashes of lightning and a terrible clap of thunder. The foul beast ran up the nave where it attacked and killed a man and a boy. It then savaged another man who collapsed into a shrivelled heap with skin that looked as if it had been drawn together like a purse. The animal kept ripping flesh with cruel teeth and sharp claws. Lightning then struck the steeple of the church which collapsed injuring many people including the Rector who fell in front of the beast but escaped otherwise unharmed. When folk opened their eyes, the beast was gone. These events were recorded by Reverend Abraham Fleming in an essay he penned about the event entitled ‘A Straunge and Terrible Wunder’.

Fleming went on to state that the demon dog then reappeared at the Holy Trinity church in Blythburgh some 12 miles away where it killed another two people before vanishing into the woodlands nearby.

Black Shuck a Real Wolf Hybrid
Black Shuck a Real Wolf Hybrid? (C) Clint Pavenu

Unlike the more spectral versions of Black Shuck, this creature appeared very real and savage. There are researchers who believe that the beast behind this event was very much living flesh and bone. For the past four centuries wolves had been a constant source of problems for the folk of Britain. Historians record that Athelstan demanded tribute paid in wolfskins and the Norman kings offered land and lordships to men who could clear away the terror of wolves. By the early 1500’s most of the wolves in England had be driven out. However, during 1577, the same year that Black Shuck appeared in Suffolk, King James IV had made it compulsory to hunt wolves at least three times a year as so many cattle had been killed in Sutherland.

Some historians believe that the giant black dogs that were appearing around this time were the result of interbreeding between Great Danes and isolated female wolves under pressure from regional extinction.

There has even been the suggestion that the progeny may have experienced a phenomenon known as growth dysplasia. This is where the offspring is considerably larger than either of the parents. This is well document in Ligers, the cubs of a Lion and Tiger. This effect has also been noticed occasionally by dog breeders.

Of interest is that there have been many recorded animal attacks across Britain over the years that defy explanation. This has been consistent for hundreds of years and are still happening today. This is particularly bizarre as the last wolf in Britain was killed in 1680 and the UK has no large predators in the wild.

Sheep Attacked by Predator
Sheep Attacked by Unknown Predator

In 1988 many sheep were viciously attacked in the vicinity of by Rhayader by an unidentified animal that became known as the Beast of Bodalog. The sheep were always killed by a single large bite on the chest which was followed by massive blood loss. Once dead, the fleshy parts of the animal were eaten by the unknown predator.

Just under a year later in 1989, the incidents started again near the village of Clyro. Over the summer dozens of sheep were attacked and killed. This time though witnesses claim to have seen a huge black hellhound or wolf leaving the crime scenes.

Steve Weston from Selby Yorkshire described seeing a huge black creature like a dog but far too big to be a dog hunting in the fields between Birkin and Selby. He was so concerned he reported the incident.

During January of 2018, a ‘mystery beast’ broke into the house of a pensioner from Thurnby Lodge in Leicestershire and savagely mauled the occupant. The man was unable to identify the animal except that it was exceptionally large and black.

Beast Attack WoundsIn 2019 Mathew Wild of Cornwall claimed he was attacked by a large and aggressive jet-black creature that got in through his window. He claims it would have easily been 6ft tall if stood on its hind legs and growled like no animal he had heard before. He believes the animal might have been a Panther.

During December 2020, some 30 sheep were killed when police believe a large dog got into the enclosure and either killed or terrified the sheep to death. The incident happened in Utkinton Cheshire and both the farmer and police have appealed for help in tracking down the culprit. What made this incident so concerning was that many of the sheep had died without any sign of visible injury.

The mystery of Britain’s demon dogs and unexplained livestock attacks continues. So … if you happen to see a giant ghostly dog with red eyes padding towards you – just run as fast as you can. Real or ghostly, the Black Shuck is not something you ever want to meet.


Ghosts and Other Mysteries of the Moscow Underground

Ghosts and Other Mysteries of the Moscow Underground

Underground railways can be scary places at the best of times, but some are definitely worse than others. At the top of the list of weird and disturbing underground rail networks is the Moscow Metro.

Beautiful Architecture of the Moscow Metro
Beautiful Architecture of the Moscow Metro (C) Envato

The metro has long been a great way of getting around the city. There are hundreds of stations and countless miles of rail lines. In fact, the majority of Moscow residents go down to the subway every day. They also have to deal with a ton of potentially weird and disturbing legends from ghosts to secret underground military bases.

As with any older metro system there are plenty of forgotten places, walled up stations and half-finished tunnels leading nowhere. There are rarely used sections where slime slides down the walls and stations built directly under cemeteries. The Moscow network is also supposed to have a complete second set of underground lines linked to sealed up military facilities all built during the nightmare WW2 days of Stalin, Beria, and Molotov.

Mysterious Tunnels of the Moscow Metro
Mysterious Tunnels of the Moscow Metro (C) Envato

It’s a strangely complex system and old enough that few if any people know exactly what’s down there. Located underground, in eternal darkness, and only lit by the occasional dying bulb, the metro and Subway II has become the source of many legends, stories of strange events and unexplained incidents.

Urban explorers and paranormal investigators are convinced that much of the Moscow Metro is still hidden from the eyes of both passengers and even employees. They believe that deep underground dreadful things lurk, living according to their own rules and purpose far from the ordinary train routes.

Stations of the Dead

Its widely believed that some stations on the Moscow subway were built either on or directly under graveyards and that this was kept quiet so as not to put people off using them. One of these stations is Sokol, where the graves of those who fought on the battlefields of the First World War were buried. To make things worse, this was the same place later used for state executions. Workers at the station say they often feel as if they are being watched. At other times they claim to have seen wounded people walking around with some partially dressed in prison clothing.

Savage Dogs and Maybe Worse

Another location built on a cemetery where ghosts are seen is Vladykino Station. According to the staff they sometimes hear terrified howling late at night. They are unsure whether the sound is from an animal or a human. Still, the area around Vladykino Station is known for packs of feral dogs and in 2005 a woman by the name of Valentina Arkhipova was bitten to death. There are those that believe her ghost now haunts the area.

The Lonely Lineman

One of the most famous legends of the Moscow metro is the Lineman. It is said to be the ghost of a man who worked as a lineman for forty years. He died at the age of 82 but continues to come to work to check the tunnels and the systems. His ghost has been seen many times.

Black Machinist

A train once derailed, and the first carriage burst into flame. The driver was able to bring the train to the station, but after a few days he died of his burns which covered his entire body. Apparently, the authorities blamed the driver even though it wasn’t his fault and refused to pay compensation and support to his widowed wife. Soon, the ghost of the driver began to be seen in the metro in the form of a man burned black. Paranormal researchers claim that he will haunt the metro until his reputation has been cleared.

Black machinist - Moscow Metro
Charred Man – Moscow Metro

The Bunker Children of Chistye Prudy Station

Many people claim to have seen children and young teenagers looking lost at Chistye Prudy station. When approached these youngsters simply vanish – usually through the marble of the east wall. The story goes that Stalin wanted an ultra-secret bunker built and used orphans and abandoned street children to do much of the work. They chose Chistye Prudy as it was the deepest part of the metro in 1939 at the start of WWII.

When the Bunker was finished the children simply disappeared and were never seen again. People speculate that they were killed and buried near the station to keep the location of the bunker secret. Researchers believe that the ghosts of those children still roam the subway tunnels until their bodies are found and given a proper burial.

Radioactive Rats

New York may have albino alligators in the sewers but many people who use the Moscow metro believe that they share the tunnels with huge radioactive rats. The story goes that a second covert metro was built under the first so Stalin, and the soviet leadership of the old USSR, could move about in secret if the need arose.

Radioactive Rats of the Moscow Metro
Radioactive Rats of the Moscow Metro (EE/SSPL)

Part of the network was a series of bunkers that were later used for experiments involving radiation. It was a perfect place to hide Russia’s secrets from the prying cameras of the American U2 Spy planes. As it was part of the metro, people could come and go in their hundreds and never be noticed. Then something went wrong, and part of the system had to be closed in the late 1950’s.

Alone in the dark the rats were exposed to chemical and radioactive leaks. Over the decades they have grown to the size of large dogs which incidentally is their main source of food. Although some claim that, from time to time, the odd railway worker will also mysteriously go missing.

Moscow tabloids actually ran a number of stories about sightings of the rats which seemed to peak during the late 1990’s. Famous Russian urban explorers like Vadim Mikhailov actually claim to have seen giant rats close to where he believes is the entrance to the Secret Soviet metro.

Commuter Dogs

The whole idea that a tribe of giant rats could live off stray dogs isn’t as weird as it sounds. Moscow has long had a problem with feral dogs. The crazy thing is that they’ve learned to use the metro to get around the city.

There are an estimated 25,000 stray dogs in Moscow and many of them have ties to the subway. They’ve learned how to travel the lines, trick people into giving them food and even know how to use pedestrian crossings. The authorities have largely given up trying to cull them and now just neuter them as it’s believed they are effective at keeping down the rat populated and cleaning up old food. Maybe sometimes that rats bite back.

METRO 2

For many decades Muscovites have believed that there is a vast network of tunnels, bunkers and secret railways hidden under the existing Moscow Metro. There was apparently accommodation for 15,000 people as well as vast stocks of food, weapons, and defence laboratories. The fact that government officials rarely deny the existence of the network has added fuel to the fire.

Metro 2 Moscow Explorer
Metro 2 Moscow Explorer (SSPL)

Rumours circulate about urban explorers – known as diggers – that have mysteriously disappeared. One digger has even claimed to have seen her friend shot by shadowy guards that lurk in the depths of the tunnels.

According to researchers, the Metro 2 network is still operating and functions as a government underground communication system that connects all strategic assets not only in the city but also outside the city. Subterranean passages and railways are said to go as far as Ramenki, Pushkin, Fryazino, Odintsovo, Krasnoznamensk, Vnukovo and Barvikha.

Many people doubt it actually exists as there are no photos or video recordings, but many senior Russian officials believe it that it’s true. A US intelligence report from 1991, even verified its existence.

Some of the dangers of the Moscow metro are clearly real and some are probably no more than soviet inspired horror stories. The problem is nobody knows which is which.


Are Ghosts Real

Are Ghosts and Hauntings Real or Not?

Are Ghosts and Hauntings real or something else?

To separate Ghosts from other unexplained phenomena, a starting point is to agree that a Ghost is the visible, audible, or telepathic experience of something that was once alive and that is now dead. So, a ghost could naturally be a human being but could also be an animal or a plant. In fact, all of these have been reported at some time.

Are Ghosts real? It’s a question often asked and especially on the Internet. The question would be better if it asked: Do ghosts exist?

Beware of the Ghosts
Beware of the Ghosts (SSPL)

One pseudo-scientific explanation is that all living creatures have a form of measurable electrical (spiritual) energy when they are alive that fades away after their death. For lack of a better word let’s call this energy: “Life”.

Now just about all scientists agree with the Law of Conservation of Energy that states: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another or be transferred from one body to another, but the total amount of energy remains the same

Given this as a concept, the question arises whether or not a “Life energy” continues after the body in which it existed has ceased to function? So, the first explanation is that a ghost is the “Life energy” of a once living thing that does not fade away or move on as it is supposed to. Death is not the opposite of life it is merely its absence – so where did the Life go?

If this is the explanation then it certainly does not explain why there are apparently ghostly carriages, cars, ships, planes and so on. The definition of ghost then has to be: “The manifestation of anything that once existed but now does not.”

Is the latest definition realistic? In theory it is possible that every single event that has occurred since the beginning of time has left an imprint of itself on the matrix that is the universe. This is a very new “big” idea that only now are scientists beginning to seriously explore.

The theory behind it is deceptively simple and draws its formulation from Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in which he shows that time is not a constant. Think of life like a film made up of thousands of “frames”. Each frame is a moment in time permanently captured and now real forever. If they are flashed quickly, one after another, then the illusion of motion and reality is created. This is what a person experiences every time they watch a Film or DVD. But what if two films were experienced at the same time? The experience would be very much like that of experiencing a ghost and, as we now know, time is not a constant so in theory it could happen. In paranormal language this is often referred to as a “time-slip”.

Ghost Stories Magazine 1930
Ghost Stories Magazine 1930 (WMC)

Three Great Questions!

Let’s look at these three incredible unanswered questions.

Firstly, not even the cleverest person alive or dead has effectively explained where the universe came from! They can now explain that once there was nothing and then after a significant explosion – “The Big Bang” it all started to materialize but they fail to answer what it was created from.

The second great unanswered question is: “How big is the Universe?” And again, there is no answer other than “infinitely big” or “never ending”. In an infinitely large universe the possibilities are, by conclusion, infinite. In short, anything really is possible.

The third question is: “Is there life (energy and consciousness) after death? The safe scientific answer is “no”. However, ask scientists to prove this and they cannot. The truth is that history is littered with scientific facts and beliefs that have turned out to be wrong.

Universities and other scientific institutions rarely hire people that do not conform to the current accepted beliefs. Science is more similar to a religion than many of its priests, sorry – scientists, would like you to believe.

Religion

Now that we’ve raised the subject of religion it’s important to consider that the majority of people are religious – even if somewhat vague about their beliefs and project these onto other passions. At their most basic most religions are remarkably similar. They say:

There is a God. This God created everything. This God wants you to behave in a certain way that is “right”. If you behave as you are told, then when you die your soul (you) gets to carry on in a nice place. If you don’t do and believe what you’re told then something unpleasant happens to you – quite often even before you die.

Most religions believe that all living things have a soul – a form of energy and consciousness – that continues to exist in some form or another after death. Many paranormal experts propose that after death the soul usually moves on but sometimes fails to do so and remains linked to this world (reality).

The force of this presence can be weak and so merely create an awareness sensation in those that are sensitive to its presence or it can be strong to the point where the “ghost” can actually interact with the living. This interaction can be protective, benign, or even aggressive. They further propose that the anomaly created by this remaining soul can be so strong that it can project the appearance of objects with which it was strongly associated. This is quite a good explanation for why the Headless Horseman still has his horse or why ghosts are often seen with their cloths still on.

The Evidence Against Ghosts:

Scientists say they are just not possible. They can’t prove that they are not possible but say that every investigated ghost has turned out to be explainable. We would just like to point out that it would take the collective manpower of every scientist alive to investigate every claim so clearly there is some exaggeration going on here.

Some clearly faked photographs. True, but people still can’t make up their minds whether the photographs of the Moon Landings were real or not. Hmm, makes you think! Also, some faked photographs do not mean all photographs are faked.

Hallucinations, peripheral vision, and psychosomatic belief (the desire to see / believe).

The Evidence for Ghosts:

Millions of sightings over thousands of years recorded by many very respectable people from Pliny the Younger (Athenodoros Cananites c. 74 BC – 7 AD) to members of the modern American Senate.

If, as the major religions would have people believe, we have a soul then ghosts (the spirit) almost certainly exist.

Photographs, videos, and documented eyewitness accounts.

An infinite universe does equal anything is possible.

Personal experience! This is perhaps the single most compelling reason for any individual to believe – their own experience.

The Christian Bible has references in it to ghosts. Luke 24:36-43 (37) They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.

Some very smart scientists, doctors and psychiatrists believe in ghosts or ghost-like phenomena. Some of these interesting names include, Sigmund Freud, Jung, quantum theorist Wolfgang Pauli, modern day physicists Freeman Dyson and Brian Josephson, Epidemiologist Viggy Hampton, Armin Gadit, a psychiatrist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Rupert Sheldrake of Cambridge University, the list goes on.

Belief! “49% of people interviewed said that accepted the possibility of ghosts. 29% of Americans say they’ve felt as if they’ve been in touch with someone who has died, and 18% say they’ve been in the presence of a ghost according to a 2009 Pew Research poll.

So, could they be real?

A good answer would be that ghosts are definitely possible but our methods for understanding the phenomenon are woefully inadequate. To put it into context it would be like an ancient Egyptian astronomer try to understand string theory. Perhaps if mainstream science put the effort into understanding this possibility without immediately setting out to debunk it, then we would have a better understanding of this issue and maybe even some answers.

Some Ghostly Information:

  • The number of ghost sightings vary dramatically from country to country. The United Kingdom is one of the highest.
  • The belief in ghosts can be traced back to prehistoric ancestor worship circa 4,000BC.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed in ghosts.
  • Many researchers believe that ghosts are often mysteriously linked to places or objects that may in some way keep them anchored in this world.
Ghosts of Attachments Past (C) EE/SSPL Clint Pavenu
  • Allegedly, Anne Boleyn is the ghost with the most sightings. Executed at the Tower of London in 1536 for allegedly cheating on her husband Henry the Eighth, she has been sighted over 70,000 times in nearly 500 years.
  • Children seem to be able to see or experience ghostly phenomenon more easily than adults.
  • The original Headless Horseman is a fictional character that appears in a story called “the Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.
  • Animals, especially cats, are supposed to be sensitive to the presence of ghosts and are often observed to be watching something that is clearly not there.
  • Ghosts seem to be associated with extreme deaths such as murder, war, and accidents.
  • Digital cameras using their “flash mode” seem particularly able to photograph ghosts.
  • Haunted houses are becoming a highly profitable tourist industry.
  • 112 Ocean Avenue, Long Island, New York is the address of the haunted house featured in the film the Amityville Horror and was really the scene of a horrific murder.
  • There are many places that claim the title of most haunted house in Britain, but Borley Rectory in Essex seems the most popular.
  • According to many “paranormal researchers” most ghosts don’t know that they are dead.
  • Most ‘Orb Ghosts’ are probably just camera flash reflections on air particles such as water droplets, insects and pollen. However, Orb ghosts sometimes do appear where there is no material to create backscatter.
  • Ectoplasm – or more simply a clear jelly-like substance is reputed to often appear on the ground after a ghostly encounter. No DNA analysis of Ectoplasm is currently available.
  • Poltergeist means “Noisy Ghost” or “Noisy Spirit”.
  • Angel Hair is a substance similar to ectoplasm and appears as fine strands of mucous-like substance near sites of ghostly visitations. Although well recorded and documented every attempt to preserve this substance for more than a few minutes’ results in it literally disappearing.
  • If you type “Ghost” into Google’s new variant search engine you will discover that there are more than 360 million results relating to this subject.


Rare Orbs in the Hellfire Caves - Not Backscatter

Meet The Ghosts of the Hellfire Caves

Located in West Wycombe in the British county of Buckinghamshire, the Hellfire Caves have a notorious history and are reputed to conceal many mysteries. They are actually a manmade network of tunnels carved out the chalk and flint of West Wycombe Hill and were commissioned by Sir Francis Dashwood to be one of the secret meeting places of his libertine society.

There is a fair amount of circumstantial evidence that these chalk caves were by the members of the Knights of St. Francis as both a place of lewd entertainment and political intrigue. Certainly, many of the Knights went on to hold high office and Dashwood himself became Postmaster General a position that was often associated with spying.

What exactly went on in the caves is still a dark mystery, but they are said to be haunted by some very restless spirits.

Suki’s Ghost – The White Lady of the Caves

The story of Suki, the ghost bride of the Hellfire Caves, is an odd one. According to the legend written on a plaque in the tunnels Suki was a servant girl who was employed at the nearby Public House (pub/bar), the George and Dragon.

Apparently, she was most appealing and had high hopes of being noticed by the local squires and nobility. The plaque states that she desired to be a bride of an aristocrat. As such, she kept herself pure and rejected the propositions of the local lads who grew increasingly irritated by her manner. There came a day when a young and wealthy nobleman visited the George and Dragon and seemed quite taken with Suki who flirted “most seriously” with him.

After he departed, the angry local lads who had witnessed this interchange decided to teach Suki a lesson. Apparently, they wrote her a letter purportedly from the young man that she had just met. It stated that he wanted to elope with her and that she was to meet him in the caves in her wedding dress.

Suki did as she was asked and arrived at the caves to find that she had been tricked and it is said that “Stones were thrown”. It seems that one struck Suki on the head and she collapsed to the ground. Horrified at what they had done the young men carried her to the Inn, but she died during the night.

Sukis Ghost in the Hellfire Caves
Suki’s Ghost in the Hellfire Caves – Artists Impression (C) Clint Pavenu

Her ghost is said to roam the caves and is also sometimes seen at the George and Dragon and many paranormal experts have claimed to have been able to make contact her.

Some researchers believe that the story of Suki is based on an incident that happened earlier during the time of Sir Francis Dashwood, when women were brought to the caves and encouraged to dress up and ‘play’ with the Friars. Something awful may have happened and poor Suki wound up dead and dumped at the nearby pub.

Franklin’s Ghost

Benjamin Franklin is recognised as one of the founding fathers of America, but it is often overlooked – particularly in American histories – that he lived for a considerable part of his life in England and found it an agreeable place for a man of his talents.

As a man fascinated by science, freemasonry, politics, Europe, and history, it should be no surprise that he eventually became a close friend of Sir Francis Dashwood. Franklin travelled to Britain in 1757 having already established himself with both wealth and renown in the American Colonies. Some of his notable achievements before leaving America included his success with newspaper publishing, the foundation of the Union Fire Company, experiments with electricity and his appointment as Deputy Postmaster General for the Colonies.

Over the next two decades he would energetically engage with British society and become a member of the Friars (Knights) of St. Francis. There is actually a cave named for him as a token of respect. It has even been alleged that this was the very “chamber” that he used for more intimate engagements while taking part in the rituals and ceremonies of the Hellfire caves. There is a record that he officially visited them again in 1770 – possibly out of nostalgia or for some other purpose yet to be revealed.

Benjamin Franklins Ghost Hellfire Caves
Benjamin Franklins Ghost Hellfire Caves / Artists Impression (C) Clint Pavenu

Benjamin Franklin’s ghost is believed to haunt the caves where he took part in extraordinary things. Some say he is looking for something he lost or is still trying to hide something in the caves. Numerous visitors claim to have seen a man at the back of Franklin’s cave dressed in old fashioned clothes. Some American tourists apparently even claimed he looked like the man on the back of the $100 dollar bill. Franklin’s Ghost has also been seen in the nearby tunnels.

Paul Whitehead

When Sir Francis formed his version of the Hellfire club – The Friars (Knights) of Sir Francis in 1746. it was Paul Whitehead who was appointed to manage the Order as both Secretary and Steward. Unfortunately, Whitehead had two characteristics for which history has never forgiven him. Firstly, he was drawn to the “rakes” and had a love of wine, women, and the erotic. Secondly, he wrote materials for which he was loved by the masses and hated by politicians. He soon became the record keeper for Dashwood’s ‘hellfire club’ and reputedly knew all the secrets.

Over the next thirty years it would be Paul Whitehead who would be the “fixer” for the various secret societies founded by Dashwood including the Monks of Medmenham.

Paul Whiteheads Cave with the Heart Urn
Paul Whitehead’s Cave with the Heart Urn (C) Clint Pavenu

His various duties appear to have included the procurement of prostitutes, political advisor, satirist, speech writing, keeper of the wine lists, blackmailer, researcher, and master of the minutes. It is likely that there has never before or again been a man who knew so many secrets about so many powerful British, European, and future American leaders. However, his most important role was to record the “Testament of St. Francis of West Wycombe”.

Whatever Paul Whitehead knew about the Monks of Medmenham, he was determined to keep it secret. A week before his death a messenger arrived at his house and delivered an important letter and then, three days before his death in 1774, he summoned the servants of his home, Colne Lodge, and ordered a great bonfire be built in the garden. It burnt as a “conflagration” for the next 76 hours as books and papers were piled onto it day and night. He is reputed to have said: “Neither history nor my critics shall judge me by my works. No man shall pick over my words and divine the sublime.” Once the last of his papers were ashes he took to his bed and within six hours was dead.

Bizarrely, his will stipulated that his body was to be left to medical science, but his heart was to be given to Sir Francis Dashwood and placed in an urn for which he bequeathed 50 Pounds for said purchase. His wish was duly carried out and a satirical procession of the Bucks Militia did deliver both the Urn and Paul Whitehead’s heart to the Mausoleum of Sir Francis Dashwood. There is a record in a 19th century pamphlet that visitors to the Mausoleum would open the urn and throw the shrivelled heart to each other until one day it was stolen by an Australian soldier.

Legend has it that the ghost of Paul Whitehead haunts the caves and hill until either his heart is returned, or the secret testimony of Sir Francis is revealed. Some visitors have claimed to have seen a man in old fashioned clothing shuffling around near the entrance and then staring at them before vanishing into the gloom.

The Floating Monk

This is a rarely seen apparition but seems to be a man dressed like a monk floating near to the Lord Sandwich circle.

The Chanting Friars & Mysterious Mists

Ghostly Mist Hellfire Caves
Ghostly Mist Hellfire Caves – Actual Pictures (C) Clint Pavenu

You won’t ever see these ghosts but quite a few people to hear them. Visitors to the deepest part of the caves, where the inner circle of the hellfire club often met, sometimes hear strange chanting. Visitors are unable to make out the language, but some say that it sounds like Latin. Strange light mists have also been witnessed at the point where you cross the River Styx. Sometimes these just show up on photographs like the one above.


The Hellfire Caves - Peeping Skull

Revealing the Mysterious Carvings of The Hellfire Caves

The hellfire caves were originally made for Sir Francis Dashwood of West Wycombe hall. Dashwood was the leader of a notorious hellfire club known as the Knights of St Francis who would meet in secret and perform rituals mocking the popular religions of the time. There would also be excessive drinking and casual fornication with prostitutes and the equivalent of 18th century groupies.

The entrance to the caves is designed like a church and the tunnels spread out under the hill linking many chambers, mazes and even an underground river. Ironically, there is a real church built on top of the hill.

As you wander deeper in the caves, you’ll suddenly notice that there are strange faces, skulls and imps carved into the stones and chalk of the walls. Once you realise that they are there you start to see them everywhere. There are those that claim that the senior members of the club were expected to carve their face into the wall as part of the ceremony mocking the statues of saints found in churches.

The Hellfire Caves - Kelly Carving
The Hellfire Caves – Lord Kelly Carving (C) Clint Pavenu

There is the suggestion that these were made by the original flint miners, but this is unlikely. The reality is that life was pretty harsh for the common folk back in 1751 and after a back-breaking day of shovelling and hauling chalk to the surface the last thing on your mind is to carve some random faces. (But … who knows for sure.) It’s also worth noting that carvings such as these do not exist in other such quarries.

The truth is that nobody really knows what took place both at the caves and at Medmenham Abbey and it is now widely believed that all the records were burnt by Paul Whitehead (along with his own works) three days before he died.

The Hellfire Caves - Man with Donkey Ears - Pan
The Hellfire Caves – Man with Donkey Ears – Pan (C) Clint Pavenu

However, if you read authors such as Daniel Mannix then these caves were a hotbed of demon worship, human sacrifice, and the seduction of virgins. If you read other sources, then you will perceive a different view. Libertines and radical liberalism amongst the upper-classes were all part of the rich but drunken tapestry of life in the 1700’s. Secret societies were all the rage and the “must-have” accessory of the time. In addition, prostitution and mistress-keeping was a far more accepted activity then than it is today.

The Hellfire Caves - The Wizard
The Hellfire Caves – The Wizard (C) Clint Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - Monkey Head with Legs
The Hellfire Caves – Monkey Head with Legs (C) Clint Pavenu

The Hellfire Caves - Square Head Man - Demon
The Hellfire Caves – Square Head Man – Demon (C) Clint Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - Peeping Skull
The Hellfire Caves – Peeping Skull (C) Clint Pavenu

The Hellfire Caves - Cross and Ghost Man

The Hellfire Caves – Cross and Ghost Man (C) Clint Pavenu

The Hellfire Caves - The Red Man
The Hellfire Caves – The Red Man (C) Clint Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - The High Priest
The Hellfire Caves – The High Priest (C) Clint Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - Masked Man and Cross
The Hellfire Caves – Masked Man and Cross (C) Clint Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - Man with Pointed Beard
The Hellfire Caves – Man with Pointed Beard (C) Clint Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - The Hooded Ghost
The Hellfire Caves – The Hooded Ghost (C) Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - The Fat Friar
The Hellfire Caves – The Fat Friar

 

The Hellfire Caves - The Shocked Man
The Hellfire Caves – The Shocked Man (C) Clint Pavenu

 

The Hellfire Caves - The Three Screaming Men
The Hellfire Caves – The Three Screaming Men (C) Clint Pavenu


Ghost Child Caught on Camera

Ohio Ghost Child Caught on Camera

Continued from above …

On 10 March 2021, a law enforcement officer from the Mentor Police Department responded to a call regarding a “seven-year-old girl” running on a street in the Bellflower Elementary district. The officer arrived on the scene and  got out of the car, but the “girl” had vanished without a trace – the area was wholly deserted. The officer reviewed his DVR, but the youngster was not visible on the video. However, one of the street surveillance cameras, some say a door camera,  recorded the peculiar figure. The recording, which was provided to the WKYC TV channel, became the subject of discussion in the Facebook group for the investigation of the paranormal in Mentor, where it was believed that a ghost had turned up in the area. However, some sceptics claim that it was an ordinary person running along the pavement and the camera was unable to accurately focus on the person. There have also been speculations that it might have been a wind-blown plastic bag.  Comments on the YouTube channel claim to be from people living in the exact area and assert that this ghost is real and has been seen on several occasions.