The Hellfire Club: Ghost Caves, Paranormal Activity and Shocking Ceremonies
The Hellfire Club: debauchery and raising hell in 18th century England. Take a journey with us to discover the depravity and excesses of one man and his friends in 18th century England. You won’t believe how one person can have shocked society with his dark rituals, partying and womanizing. So much so that it lives in the local memory even to this day. Welcome to the Hellfire Club: debauchery and raising hell in 18th century, England. The beautiful English Countryside is a picture of tranquility But this corner of south England near High Wycombe hides a dark past and a sinister secret lies beneath this seemingly peaceful church. These are the Hellfire Caves, a network of man-made caverns. They were excavated between 1748 and 1752 for Francis Dashwood 11th Baron le Despencer and co-founder of the Hellfire Club. whose meetings were held in the caves The caves Run deep into the hillside above West Wycombe village, and directly beneath St Lawrence’s Church and Mausoleum, which were also constructed by sir Francis Dashwood around the same time the caves were excavated. The unusual design of the caves was much inspired by Sir Francis Dashwood’s visits to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria and other areas of the Ottoman Empire during his grand tour. The caves extend a quarter of a mile or 400 meters underground. With the individual caves or chambers connected by a series of long narrow tunnels and passageways. Within the Caves are a series of chambers given different names. The Steward’s Chamber and Whitehead’s Cave, Lord Sandwiche’s Circle, Franklin’s cave – named after Benjamin Franklin, a friend of Dashwood who visited West Wycombe – The banqueting Hall, The Triangle, The Miner’s Cave and finally, across a subterranean river named The Styx, lies the final cave – The Inner Temple. Where the meetings of the Hellfire Club were held and which is said to lie 90 metres directly beneath the church on top of West Wycombe Hill. In Greek mythology the River Styx separated the mortal world from Hades, and the subterranean position of the Inner Temple – directly beneath St Lawrence’s Church – was supposed to signify Heaven and Hell. The caves were used as a meeting place for Sir Francis Dashwood’s notorious Hellfire Club in the 1750s and early 1760s. Members of the Hellfire Club included men from all corners of the political and social elite of British society. Including politicians, governors landowners, doctors and poets. 18th Century figures included 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. According to Horace Walpole (a politician of the time), the members’ practice was rigorously pagan. Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they publicly sacrificed. And nymphs and hog heads were laid in festivals for this new church. Dashwood’s garden at West Wycombe contained numerous statues and shrines to different gods. Daphne and Flora, Priapus, as well as Venus and Dionysus. Meetings occurred twice a month with an Annual General Meeting 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, lewd 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. The caves were disused before eventually becoming a World War 2 air raid shelter. In more recent times the caves have become a well-known paranormal attraction for tourists as well as television ghost investigation programmes. Ghosts said to have been sensed include those of a young girl dressed in white and the spirits of nuns. Perhaps they are the ladies of the night known to have visited the club in disguise to entertain gentlemen. Witnesses have seen orbs, and have heard crying and knocks. Would you dare visit the Hellfire Club? Thank you for watching. if you enjoyed this video please give it a like, subscribe and share.