Well, here is the account I promised of our trip to the West Wycombe Caves near Aylesbury and also Berkhampstead Castle.
It took place about a week ago, and on this ‘ghost spotting vigil’ were Patsy Langley (my secretary, her friend Rick, Gareth Medway and myself.
We started off about11 pm from London en route for the caves; got there in an hour. It was a warm day, and the sunshine seemed to be more than generous in the London area. When we arrived, perhaps in contrast to this, the entrance to the Cave was only dimly lit; and the further you progressed, the dimmer it became, Inside, it as all just dark and ‘rocky’ – the damp walls almost warning you to go back outside. But we persevered along the dimly-lit passages; holding onto the damp chalk walls on some occasions to feel our war way in the semi-darkness. The ground was not slippery at all having been covered throughout with loose gravel. I don’t think I could have managed the slopes if it wasn’t for this. I loaned Patsy my old SLR camera, and told her to just use up the film. Said I didn’t have much hope of any coming out as I hadn’t brought the flash. But I set it on full aperture and delayed speed and said we could just hope for the best.
The caves covered about half a mile and had been cut into a rather steep hill back in 17XX. The chalk excavated from them had been used for a badly needed new road to High Wycombe. This had obviously all been done by hand; the chalk having been brought out in wheel barrows after having been cut with pickaxes from the hillside. It was supposed to have its own ghost; that of a ‘white lady’ who was said to sometimes confront people inside. Her origins were apparently unknown, but one of the visitors signs inside the caves attested to her presence. Patsy, Ricky and Gareth often got ahead of me, this was not deliberate, but due mainly to the dim lighting combined with my slow speed.
It was not easy to see too far ahead – especially as sometimes the cave wound around dark bends – let alone be aware precisely who was behind you, except by way of their echoing footsteps. Without looking back, they would not have known if I was 10 or 20 feet behind; but I always caught up as they frequently kept stopping to read the fairly numerous placards. Patsy randomly photographed some of these information fixtures as these varied along the course of the caves, but about half way along, I caught up with them again to learn that Patsy had just seen a ‘white mist’, in the form of a figure which had glided noiselessly across the gravel path as she was taking a photograph of another one of the information placards. This just seemed to ‘melt’ through the opposite wall of the cave, but from the angle she had taken the photograph, Patsy said it should have been ‘in full view’ of the camera. No-one else had seen this, but she was quite convinced this had not been her imagination.
A little further on – in fact, after following a loop that led back to the distant entrance – I myself had a strange experience that could not really be explained. We had become dispersed again and I heard distinct footsteps walking behind me on the gravel. I was sure they had all gone on ahead, but thought it might be a lone sight-seer who had somehow caught up with me. The footsteps got closer, so I instinctively stepped aside to let the person pass. But as I did so, they abruptly stopped, and looking behind, the cave was completely empty of people. I could see back for about 30 feet, but there was just nobody there. I caught up the others a little further on, and told them about the mysterious footsteps. The combination of these two occurrences (not far distant from each other) seemed to convey to all of us that perhaps there may be some truth in the stories that a ghost lurked inside the Caves.
Back outside. the bright sunlight seem in vast contrast to the poignant atmosphere of the Caves. It was as if we’d left another world which lay in its own denizens beneath the hillside. There was a small souvenir shop and cafeteria in the forecourt, so we picked a table and ordered some tea. We had decided to go next to Berkhampstead Castle, an old Norman ruin about 15 miles away. I will ask Gareth to continue the story of this outing as he may be better at expressing details than myself (but note the word ‘may’!) I am still waiting for the film taken in the Caves, but in the meantime, here is a picture of Berkhampstead Castle which we visited later that day. But that will have to be in the next Blog . . .
Any other news? Well, Patsy phoned me earlier, and I’m glad to say she has now found all the emails requesting her book The Highgate Vampire Casebook, and these are now on their way to Bev. I will keep you updated here as it seems that, once again, a certain person has been telling lies about what really happened. I am used to that, but am only concerned in proving the real facts to other people when called upon to do so.
Talking of which, some more news has reached me from the land of ‘Yorkshire Puddings’! I have been told that a certain person is most upset over the recent publication of my recent book Pact with the Devil. This basically tells a story about love and betrayal – the ‘betrayal bit’ involving a vicious backlash from a person who considered themselves ‘hurt in love’. But all is not lost, because the devil comes to the rescue and whispers in her ear, and the ‘path for revenge’ is set. This is unsuccessful (as told in the story) but love is not to be so easily thwarted, and the person becomes determined to get her ‘lover’ (rather ‘ex-lover’) before a human Court of law. “You can do it if you really want”, the devil mocks – well, he owns her soul now according to the story. Problem is, there seems no human form of redress for revenge; as even some back street Law Centre would quickly ‘show her the door’. So what to do next? But all is not lost, for the devil hatches a plan . . .
But hey! I’m giving the story away here, and the book has only just been published. So you’ll just have to wait – or go out and buy the book! We took some pictures of Berkhampstead Castle and I have posted one above. I will get Gareth to give further details of the trip when next he’s here. But that’s all for the moment – I still have the other book to finish! David