The Hell Fire Caves are steeped in dark history and super spooky.
SPOOKY Isles is about ghosts, horror and dark history – the Hell Fire Caves in West Wycombe – just outside of London – pretty much fits all those categories.
The Hell Fire Caves were built in the mid 18th Century by Francis Dashwood – a sometime aristocratic politician and rake – who hired locals to dig half a mile (about 500 metres) into a local hill to create a maze of tunnels for his own enjoyment.
Dashwood used this warren for all sorts of decadent pursuits, including meetings of the Hell Fire Club, where occult practices, including orgies occurred. As a result, the Hell Fire Caves became notorious and many legends grew up surrounding the place.
The spookiest tale involves a White Lady spirit called Sukie (short for Susan) – a former serving girl at the local George and Dragon Tavern in West Wycombe – who was lured to her death inside the caves.
The legend goes that the young girl resisted the advances of the young local men frequenting the pub, hoping to find herself a gentleman and find her way into society.
When a well-to-do suitor did come calling at the pub, the local boys got jealous and decided to play a trick on Sukie. They wrote a letter to her pretending to be the gentleman and invited her to elope with him. The letter said to meet him at the Hell Fire Caves.
Sukie turned up in her white wedding dress but got lost within the maze-like caverns and fell killing herself. (I’ve also read her death was caused when she found out she was tricked got furious with her tormentors and began throwing rocks at them. They threw one back accidentally killing her.)
It is said a woman dressed in a wedding dress can still be seen moving around the Hell Fire Caves.
Since it became a tourist attraction in 1951, the Hell Fire Caves have been very popular. It’s said they get about two million visitors a year, which means if there are any ghosts there they would be very restless indeed.
Visiting the Hell Fire Caves is an fascinating experience.
The tour I went on had lots of children being dragged along by their parents. While it is interesting time for adults, there isn’t much to keep a child entertained therefore they kept crying and screaming throughout the experience. I had a friend who was a bit claustrophobic and had to leave early on in the piece, so take that into account if you go.
I imagine going on a ghost tour at night would be a pretty cool tour, but daytime trips at least show you the very long and involved maze of tunnels that were built into the hill.
The Hell Fire Experience should be on anyone’s tour plans who want to experience a dark and supernatural piece of England.
You can find out more about the Hell Fire Caves here.