Enter the Darkness
During the Spring Solstice, four people enter the caves under London
Garth: A shy young man, who seeks to save the girl of his dreams
Cassie: A beautiful young woman who seeks to use the dark magic of the caves for her own purposes
Bill: An older man with a terrible secret, who seeks to find Garth and Cassie before it's too late
Sienna: A con artist with a dark past, who seeks to escape her fate
Four people enter. Each of them must battle their personal demons before facing the White Lady, who rises each year during the Spring Solstice, with a hunger for human flesh.
Only one of them will survive
Who will it be?
A couple of years ago I visited Chislehurst Caves and fell in love with the place. I had never known anything like it, the atmosphere was so eerie and otherworldly. If ghosts do exist then this would be where you'd find them. It really feels like there's magic in the walls, it truly is a special place.
As the tour guide took us down further into the darkness we were lost in a mezzanine of dark tunnels armed with only a lantern to light our way. The caves are so old no one truly knows how old they are, who built them and for what original purpose. I knew I had to write about it, which is how Enter The Darkness was born.
Over the years, Chislehurst Caves fell into obscurity until they were “rediscovered” by Sir John Lubbock, a friend of Charles Darwin who explored the caves in 1863. The caves soon became an Edwardian tourist attraction after in 1903, William Nicholls, local resident and vice president of The British Archaeological society came up with his theory that the caves could be section into three areas: Romans, Saxons, and Druids. He suggested that there were sacrificial altars carved into the rock used by the Druids. There is very little scientific evidence to support his argument but soon people flocked to visit them.
With the outbreak of World War One in 1914 the caves were used as an ammunition depot, and during the Second World War it served as a bomb shelter for 15,000 local residents as well as being used as a mushroom farm.
The caves have also been used for the filming of various tv programs and films such as Doctor Who, Neverwhere a BBC series of the book by Neil Gaiman, as well as being used for a role-playing club.
It’s also been used as a music venue for many iconic bands and performers, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, David Bowie. From the 1950’s right up into the 90’s where it was used as an underground rave venue but got shut down due to noise complaints as the area became more built up with housing.
What I found so interesting about the caves was its rich and varied history. I grew up in Cornwall which is still heavily influence form it’s Celtic past. It is also home to Tintagel a castle that was said to have once been the home of King Arthur. I have always loved myths and legends. When I visited I could the power of the place and could really picture it as a site used by the Druids, in James Wilkinson’s book The Ghosts of Chislehurst Caves, he speculates that once the Romans had invaded the British Isles, it is plausible the Druids could have moved down into the caves to carry on their clandestine worship and rituals of the old ways without being detected.
It has such a unique atmosphere and has been used for so many different purposes for providing early man with the chalk and flint necessary for survival in their harsh world of the Stone Age, as a life saving shelter during Britain’s Darkest hours the 2nd world war, the largest in Europe and as a music venue.
As soon as you are taken down there’s such a palpable sense of excitement you really feel like you are exploring a new world. The chalk gives it a strange glow under the lamplight and it really feels like you’re on another planet. Once I heard about the theory of the caves being used by the Romans, Saxons and Druids I just knew I had to write a story about it.
My fascination deepened when I came across a book of the caves by James Wilkinson, who like me became fascinated with the caves and spent many hours alone underground searching for answers to the mysteries of the cave. I found this book so fascinating, and it gave birth to theories that the caves would have most likely been used by the Roman, Saxons and Druids at various points in history. The book provides a really detailed history of the cave but also contains many first witness amounts of previous tour guides who worked there and their unique experiences.
Hauntings in Chislehurst Caves
Once the caves were opened as a tourist attraction many visitors and tour guides started reported strange occurrences and sightings. Whilst my mind is not entirely made up about whether I believe in ghosts I do believe if they are real then they’re definitely in the caves!
Chislehurst Caves have been used by modern man for thousands of years. I feel that some places particularly old homes sometimes retain something of their previous occupants, which explains why some homes feel really happy to me whilst others feel bad.
I feel that some of the fear from mining down there must still be there, that job would have been terrifying in the early stone age all they would have had was a flame torch and basic tool plus the fear that the cave could collapse, or one could get lost. People hiding out from the bombing raids not knowing if their homes would still be standing in the morning.
Book contains some really accounts from previous tour guides who saw and felt unusual things whilst being down there alone carrying out maintenance. Many reports of whisperings, voices of children playing, of very unpleasant sensations in certain spots of the caves, particularly the underground church and cinema. Being have said they were pushed hard in the dark particularly by the druid’s altar. Animals have been spotted in Roman areas such as large black cats. Also, sightings of strange lights, small flashes of blue light in Druid section,
The Haunted Pool
There was an underground lake in the caves which was the site of numerous reporting’s of a vengeful woman in white, who was said to scratch passers-by.
As the caves grew in popularity it was decided to drain the underground lake and fill it with stones which is when a brutal discovery was made. The skeleton of a young woman named Beckett was found at the bottom of the lake.
It was believed she was murdered sometimes in the 1800’s when the cave was still being mined. It was speculated that a miner must have murdered his wife and hid her body down in the cave where it remined undiscovered for hundreds of years.
The Roman Well
Many reporting’s of monks or hooded figures by the Roman Well. Sometimes there is a strange smell.
The Lost Priest
There were reported sightings of a spectral lost priest roaming the caves. In the 1950’s the body of a man was found in the caves matching the description. It was said his fingertips were bloody from trying to scratch his way out of the cave.
The Infamous £5 Challenge
The aim of the challenge started in 1961, was to spend a night alone in the caves by the haunted pool, with just candles for company. The challenge was born in 1961 and was stopped for good in after the infamous 1985 challenge. In that time only one person manged to complete the challenge, a policeman named Tony Bayfield.
What’s interesting is that in all of the challenges everyone experienced strange goings on between 2-3am in the morning.
The challenge kept being stopped because of safety concerns but in 1985 it was stopped for good when one participant almost died.
In 1985 two tour guides, Dave Duker and Chris Manning Perry decided to give the challenge a try and raise money for charity. They never completed it.
On that night they decided to sleep around the corner from one another and had agreed to sleep in shifts. They took their positions by the haunted pool. Around 2am Dave heard footsteps, he wasn’t alarmed as he assumed it to be Chris but when he called out there was no answer he went over to investigate and found Chris in a terrible state, he was writhing on the floor, his eyes didn’t look like his own. There was something very changed about him, he no longer recognised his friend. Dave had no option but to call off challenge and get help. An ambulance was swiftly called. The only explanation from the doctors was that Chris had had some sort of fit. He was left severely injured, and the incident made all the national newspapers.
Only Tony Bayfield, a police officer was able to carry out the challenge successfully. He said the whole time he felt watched by something very close by. He managed to get through his ordeal by carving a horse onto the soft chalk wall of the cave. He surrounded himself with candles and spent the whole night concentrating on his task in hand. He said later he was too afraid to look away from the horse as he feared of what he might see.