Castleton, Derbyshire, is home territory for me, so I leapt at the chance to join Matlock’s Haunted Company on the first officially sanctioned ghost hunt down the dank depths of Treak Cliff Cavern, amongst the veins of Blue John in the Dark Peak District.
No idea what we would find down there in the pitch blackness… no paranormal occurrences had been previously recorded, even though the mine workings had been operating since the 1740s (for lead initially), this would be a blank page ready for the writing!
Arriving late, Jo the hostess had to torchlight me up the steep cliff side path, the cavern entrance already secured by the guide who was showing the group around the inner chambers. We accessed the grotto through the back door and stood tuning into the atmospherics of the cavernous interior. Constant dripping water that takes years to permeate through the carboniferous limestone ceiling is very deceptive aurally. Straight off we thought someone was circling us, footfalls on some unseen path about the cavern perimeter, causing us to call out inquisitively just in case we had received a spectral welcome. Maybe we had, because when the mediums in the group eventually caught up with us they sensed something inhuman lurking in the shadows.
The lights were extinguished, we were free to roam by torchlight, I descended to the bowels of what they call the “Old Series” workings, a low narrow hand carved tunnel.
Armed with a pendulum I tuned in psychically to what I thought was a helmeted miner shuffling toward me!
His name was Bert, he intimated, full name Herbert, he seemed to be on his own in that dark dimension though there were ancient spirit with him, 10,000 or so years old, though he couldn’t say if these were human or elemental. When we regathered, the others had had ‘bestial’ growls directed at them, smelt pipe smoke and also, peculiarly, a lamb roast dinner, with mint sauce!
Trying a human pendulum experiment, we seemed to attract the attention of two spirits declaring themselves witches.
I’m always dubious when witch spirits rear their heads, sure enough, as that session was drawing to a chilled close, I was confronted by the green fluorescent visage of a typical gargoyle face grimacing at me, and one of the mediums declaring that she thought one of these witches was a ‘shape shifter’!!
The candlelit séance we held in the chamber known as the Dome of St Pauls was intense. We were all being pushed, buffeted as a build up of strong elemental energies congregated around us in some form of strong vortex whorl, must have been feeding off the energy of earth, fluorite and water for aeons. Thankfully whatever was generating that force seemed more amused by us than threatened and didn’t come across as negative, even though it took me several days to throw off my psychic hangover afterwards. Another of the mediums thought they’d had a metaphysical pickaxe put through their head!
In the closing moments of that circle séance, we heard a high pitched scream reverberate down the Cavern passages, so we decided to call it a night.
As the guide came to escort us safely out, he told us that he’d never heard the scream, but other guides had – they knew what it was – they take school parties down most days and the highlight of their visit is when the guides turn off the lights, plunging them all into darkness and they scream their heads off!
Stone tape theory in actual practice!
Oh and my mate ‘Bert’ turned out he wasn’t the ‘T’owd’ man of the mine. He was a recorded rope maker.
See you again maybe Bert!
CHRIS WILLCX says he has “been experiencing paranormal events all my life and didn’t fully realise the fact, until an aggressive haunting at a new home brought me into contact with very nice paranormalish people, who gave me some valuable tips in handling the situation, as a result I now go in search of the supernatural whenever I can!”