More to the caves that meets the naked eye
The caves of Nottingham are just one of the reasons I love this historic city, and one of the quirks that attracted me here in the first instance. The allure of these historic, magical, mystical dwellings were too much for my adventurous nature and I have now visited the City of Caves many times. Each time, there is something new to be enjoyed and the recently launched Spirit of the Caves tour is probably one of the best tours I’ve been on.
Upon arrival at the City of Caves, I was greeted by Maria, the group leader of psychic events company SpiritualEyes. Her cropped blonde hair and black attire helped to set the scene for what was going to be the spookiest evening out I’ll probably ever have. Maria wasted no time telling us of her background in the paranormal – she’s spent seven years as a medium and completely dismisses the Hollywood take on ghosts and ghouls that I’d come to believe.
“The idea that ghosts and spirits linger around in graveyards and old, musty houses simply isn’t the case. Spirits stay where they died and replay their day to day activities. Most of the spirits in the Caves are earth-bound which means they are here with unfinished business, or do not realise they are dead.”
Maria was warm and welcoming, yet her knowledge and zeal for her job told us that she was deadly (pardon the pun) serious about contact with the spirit world and warned us not to goad the spirits. Indeed, one of her recent recruits annoyed a spirit to the point where he got a sharp hit across the shins and was promptly fired.
Our tour was an intimate one; often there are more people in a party, but I felt that the smaller the group, the more possibility of experiencing something spooky! At half past five, we were locked in, and the echo of the entrance hall with the roar of the trams overhead did nothing to calm my nerves. Maria announced ‘they were waiting for us’ and the cold and the fear started to set in as we made our way down into the dim caves.
The sandstone caves are familiar to me, but I’d never yet set foot in them this late nor with such an intimate group, and the unsettling nature of the tour meant my senses were on full alert, and needless to say I stayed very close to Maria.
Maria was chatting the whole time, possibly to calm our nerves, but on occasion, she would talk to someone else… an invisible being that kept close by her and kept her psychic juices flowing.
This tour not only outlined the history of the caves, but engaged us with the individuals who had actually lived the history and presented us with a realistic idea of what life would have been like throughout the ages.
We were introduced to our first spirits at the well about a minute into the tour, a little boy who climbed up and down the well, barefoot, and died whilst doing this. It was then when a flurry of cold flushed though us and we were informed that other ghostly beings had walked by. I shan’t tell you who these beings were, but it certainly left me on edge.
It has to be said that I only half believed in the paranormal upon arrival, but my experiences inside confirmed my belief. Indeed, I encountered icy cold legs and fingertips without any real scientific explanation- there are no possibilities of drafts in the caves, and they remain a constant temperature. I didn’t mention the coldness around my legs, but Maria suddenly turned to me and said ‘Ooh you’ve got some children that have come to play with you. If you hold out your hand, you may feel a touch or tug’. Accepting that I was now some sort of ghost mother, I continued the tour spooked but pleased that I had met some friendly spirits. I did have one extraordinary encounter at one point, but am keeping that to myself! This tour is, of course, about your personal experience and it will differ from person to person.
Other weird sensations, such as an itchy face, are also in store on this experience. Of course, I don’t want to give away too much but what I will say is that this tour breathes new life into the caves, with new history to learn and previously unheard stories, but most importantly, with ghosts and spirits who want to share it. Maria is a fantastic psychic with utmost respect for the deceased, and she tunes in to lots of different psychic channels.
This tour is for both believers and sceptics, as it’s so versatile in its experience that everyone comes away with something new, be that new knowledge or a solid belief in the paranormal. For me and indeed for the rest of my party, it was engaging, the right amount of scary and more of an interactive experience rather than a guided tour.
Upcoming Spirits of the Caves tours are taking place on 14th and 30th March, and 11th and 25th April. To book your place on one of these tours, please call the City of Caves on 0115 988 1955 or visit the Spirits of the Caves page online.