Hellfire Caves - West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
A morbid history of murder and Satanic rituals, a perfect location for ghost hunting

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The infamous Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe are notorious for their dark, satanic past. Hellfire caves, with haunted recesses and intense paranormal activity is an incredible location for an overnight ghost hunt. Rituals, worship, sacrifice and a documented death form part of its dark history and possess a truly sinister feel with only one way in and one way out. Ghost Hunts here have delivered some incredible results with whole groups hearing chanting coming from the Inner Temple, guests hearing voices, people being touched and feelings of sheer terror. Despite now being unused and 200ft below ground level, Hellfire caves has lost none of its fear factor. Your ghost hunt here will be an experience you will not forget.

Hellfire Caves

Ghosts of Hell Fire Caves

The Hellfire Cave ghosts are well documented and many sightings have been reported over recent years. Benjamin Franklin, a regular visitor to the caves in the 1750s is said to haunt the many corridors along with Paul Whitehead, once a Steward of the Hellfire Club and friend of Sir Francis Dashwood. Whitehead requested in his will that his heart be placed in an Urn and kept in the Mausoleum at West Wycombe but it was allegedly stolen by an American soldier and legend has it that his ghost now haunts the caves and the hill above, in an endless search for his heart.

Another legend is the tale of Suki, a young local girl tricked into a meeting by the man she intended to marry that ended in her death at the hands of several men. Her ghost is said to have been seen many times in the Banqueting Hall where she met her fate and one guest captured the figure of a woman in white matching Suki's description in one of the many alcoves. Will we encounter this desperate soul as we carry out ghost vigils in this very room?

History of The Hell Fire Caves

The History of The Hellfire Caves which are an elaborate system of corridors and rooms carved into the chalky hillside of West Wycombe, once used as a meeting place for the notorious Hellfire Club. Commissioned by Sir Francis Dashwood and completed in 1752, this was a natural cave system which was extended to create secret tunnels and vast chambers. Here they carried out their Satanic rituals, dabbled with the Occult and performed black magic.

Their behaviour was drunken and debauched and the preservation of their inner sanctum meant everything to them. The tunnels have remained almost totally unchanged for Centuries, leading down almost 300 feet below ground until you reach the River Styx and the Inner Temple beyond.

A chalk mine of supposedly ancient origin is believed to have existed above West Wycombe for centuries.
During the late 1740s, to try to combat local poverty, Sir Francis Dashwood commissioned an ambitious project to supply chalk for a straight three mile (5 km) road between West Wycombe and High Wycombe (then on the busy London-Oxford road, now the A40). Local farm workers, impoverished by a succession of droughts and failed harvests, were employed at one shilling per day (enough to sustain a family in the Georgian era) to tunnel beneath ground and mine chalk and flint. The chalk was used to build the West Wycombe-High Wycombe road and also houses in the village and the church and Mausoleum. Considering they were all dug by hand, the caves are often regarded as an incredible feat of engineering.

The caves were used as a meeting place for Sir Francis Dashwood's notorious Hellfire Club, whose members included various politically and socially important 18th century figures such as William Hogarth, John Wilkes, Thomas Potter and John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Though not believed to have been a member, Benjamin Franklin was a close friend of Dashwood who visited the caves on more than one occasion. The Hellfire Club had previously used Medmenham Abbey, 8 miles (13 km) away from West Wycombe on the River Thames, as a meeting place, but the caves at West Wycombe were used for meetings in the 1750s and early 1760s.

At the time, Sir Francis' club was not known as the Hellfire Club - this name was given much later. His club used other names, such as The Brotherhood of St. Francis of Wycombe, Order of Knights of West Wycombe, and The Order of the Friars of St. Francis of West Wycombe.

According to Horace Walpole, the members' "practice was rigorously pagan: Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they almost publicly sacrificed; and the nymphs and the hogsheads that were laid in against the festivals of this new church, sufficiently informed the neighbourhood of the complexion of those hermits." Dashwood's garden at West Wycombe contained numerous statues and shrines to different gods; Daphne and Flora, Priapus and the previously mentioned Venus and Dionysus.

Meetings occurred twice a month, with an AGM lasting a week or more in June or September. Many rumours of black magic, satanic rituals and orgies were in circulation during the life of the club. Dashwood's club meetings often included mock rituals, pornographic materials, much drinking, wenching and banqueting. The early 1760s saw the downfall of Dashwood's exclusive club, and The Hellfire Club had been dissolved by 1766.

During the Second World War plans were made to use the caves as a large air-raid shelter if nearby towns were bombed, but Buckinghamshire's rural position meant that High Wycombe and surrounding towns were not an enemy target, and so the plans were not carried out.

During the late 1940s and early 1950s the caves were renovated and turned into a local visitor attraction

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