The Hellfire caves at West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire are considered to be one of the most haunted locations in the UK. The caves were commissioned by Sir Francis Dashwood and completed in 1752 it had taken 6 years for the workman to finish extending the natural cave system to the half a mile tunnel complex that you can see today. A long winding passage leads past various small chambers to the Banqueting Hall and then over the River Styx to the Inner Temple. The original cave system was thought to have been the site of a pagan alter in ancient times.
Sir Francis Dashwood in his younger years travelled Europe where he was introduced to freemasonry, Sir Francis joined several freemason lodge’s on his travels and when he came back to England he decided to start his own society the Monks of Medmenham. The group was only called the Hellfire Club in more recent times. Those involved included Lord Sandwich, John Wilkes, senior aristocrats, statesmen and Benjamin Franklin who was an occasional visitor.
The Hellfire Club’s main activities included drink copious amounts of alcohol debauchery and occult rituals, which were carried out in the inner temple directly 300 feet below St Lawrence’s church. These black magic rituals are thought to be one of the reasons for the paranormal activity in the Hellfire Caves.
Famous poet Paul Whitehead, a friend of Sir Francis Dashwood, gave Dashwood fifty pounds to put his heart in an urn after he died and keep it in the caves. The urn is still at the caves today but the heart was stolen by an Australian soldier 150 years ago. Paul Whitehead’s ghost is seen wandering the caves and the grounds above, some say that he is looking for his heart. He is dressed in 18th century clothing, and is thought to be the source of poltergeist activity.
The most seen ghost at Hellfire Caves is Sukie, a local girl who was murdered here. A chambermaid at the local George and Dragon, she longed to marry into the gentry and spurned the advances of the local boys, eventually accepting a proposal from a wealthy local man. One night, she received a note asking her to meet him in the caves so that they could elope. Arriving in her wedding dress, she discovered that the local boys had sent the note and were waiting for her. A fight erupted, stones were thrown and she died in the passages from a blow to the head.
Sukie’s ghost is most often seen in the banqueting hall numerous sightings of a young lady dressed in a white Victorian wedding dress. Visitors have also reported hearing screams and crying coming from the banqueting hall.