Friday, July 22, 2016

Legendary Haunted Caves: The Paranormal Geology of Cornwall, United Kingdom

Oftentimes the geology of a site plays a large role in the frequency and intensity of paranormal activity. How exactly this happens is currently left to the realm of theories. This discipline, what I am calling ghost geology, is one that has been studied by only a handful of people. As has been mentioned on this site many times, and is reflected in my book Limestone and Its Paranormal Properties, certain rocks like limestone and granite possess specific mechanisms to absorb and release energy that we are just beginning to understand. 

The Stone Tape Theory has been experienced by nearly every paranormal investigator; however, this assertion has never been given a tangible explanation. In the quest for answers, an exploration of one of the oldest sites in the world will offer up its unique story - the peninsula of Cornwall, United Kingdom.

Geological History

In this article I hope to bring to light a little more the wonderful phenomena that are inextricably linked to this planet's geology, our dear Mother Earth. The stones that have surrounded the tragic events within caves and other underground structures hold stories within their composition that may enlighten us - or in the least, they most certainly will bring out emotions of wonder...and terror!

The Cornwall area is located in a geographic location that underwent massive upheaval when the interior of the earth thrust up through the surface. This phenomenon is called plate tectonic folding and it happened along the United Kingdom's southernmost area over 100 million years ago. Back then, the continent of Pangaea began to reshape itself when the Earth's continental plates shifted. Magma rose up and cooled very slowly beneath the surface. The event is called the Variscan Orogeny. 

As a result and over time, massive chunks of granite were pushed up at random points. They can be seen today dotted across the landscape. This rock, composed of crystals, may be a contributor to the intense paranormal activity in the Cornwall area. I am currently researching the possibilities and I will be posting the results on my sister website, 

Matrixing Legend?

Willy Wilcox, who may only be familiar to those living in the United Kingdom, has a very unique story that ties nicely into the geological hauntings of its southwestern tip. His experience inside a cave in Polperro, Looe, Cornwall is shrouded in the local legends. Back when he was alive (assuming this to be true), he was known as a smuggler in the area. One day it is claimed that a tragedy befell him that unfolded in a most peculiar way:

"Willy Wilcox lived in the town of Polperro,
He loved nothing more than the taste of marshmallow.
He was out for a walk on the beach one day
When he saw some naughty boys coming his way.
'They'll steal my marshmallows,' he said,
And he quickly decided to run and hide.

He headed for a cave, running really fast,
And hid there really quiet, til the boys had passed.
But while he was in there the tide came in,
And Willy found he could not get out again. 
Trapped in the cave, he began to look around..."

The legend continues on into much greater detail as we learn that Willy not only ends up getting trapped in the cave, but he encounters a strange creature inside named a Crumplehorn. The creature has a huge nose and clothes that do not fit and he was made this way by a fairy pixie. 

Willy vows to help Crumplehorn by finding a pixie to change him back. They do find one named Peter who doesn't really help, but does give them plenty of marshmallows to eat. The full story, written for children, can be found here. 

Smuggler Willy's spirit is still believed to be haunting the Polperro Cave today. There are claims that under the right atmospheric conditions he can be heard screaming for help. As you can see from John Dyer's iPhone photo, it does look like someone is peering out of the darkness. Is it just mental matrixing or is the geology in this Cornwall area revealing a trapped soul who spent his life in pursuit of ill-gotten gain?

A Legendary King Still Haunts?

The legends of King Arthur run deep in the Cornwall area. In the southernmost part of this peninsula lies an area named Tintagel that is believed to have been an important trade center during the 5th Century. Here King Arthur's fortress may have existed, as archaeologists have found evidence and a small slate plaque confirming this suspicion. It has also been suggested that Tintagel is Arthur's birthplace.

From a paranormal point of view, King Arthur's story plays out in two parts. The first is Merlin's cave, which is situated at the base of the Tintagel peninsula. Merlin's ghost is claimed to still haunt this geological structure, as locals have seen him wondering its confines when the water tide drops low enough. There is some controversy over the validity of this claim; however, the legend endures that this cave holds some significance in regards to Arthur's conception by his mother, Igerna, and father, Uther Pendragon. Like the story of Willy Wilcox, the paranormal realm has its lines blurred with the oral traditions of local legends.

The second aspect of King Arthur's paranormal experience is located at a site in the Doward, Symonds Yat - northeast of Cardiff. Here is where a limestone cave is situated that has been endowed with having links to not only King Arthur, but also to King Vortigern. His existence is even more shrouded in legend, but here is a quick synopsis of who he was:

"Vortigern could have ruled Britain during the early to mid 400s, having grabbed the British throne from Constantine, the father of Ambrosius Aurelianus and Uther Pendragon. Vortigern then exiled Ambrosius and Uther (who were then just children) to Brittany to live with their uncle."¹ 

In both cases it is believed that the cave was a refuge throughout the centuries, as archaeologists have found bones of several different animal types along with tools used by humans. Here too the paranormal lines are a bit blurred from the abundance of local legends tied to this cave. Here is a video of the cave as it is used today to educate visitors about the life and times of King Arthur:

Hillside caves and underground caverns prove themselves as difficult sources of paranormal activity. Generally any of the “ghost stories” are interwoven with legends, as actual paranormal evidence is scant, - if it even exists at all. Despite this difficulty, there are always pieces of truth within legends. This becomes the foundation for paranormal discovery and helps to solidify the possibilities. 

A site that does yield definitely paranormal activity that can be directly tied to Cornwall's granite and limestone geology is Bodmin Jail.

Here Comes the Hangman

Bodmin Jail, or Gaol as it was known back in its day, was the site of multiple hangings - 60 executions total. The prison itself is made out of granite, procured from the geology of the area, excavated from “Cuckoo Quarry.” The 20,000 tons needed to build this edifice was painstakingly put into place by the prisoners themselves. It was completed in 1779. If the assertion that granite retains the mechanisms to absorb emotional and psychic energies, then surely every inch of the Bodmin Gaol possesses the energy of these prisoners to some degree. This laborious feat, however, only begins to scratch the surface of potential paranormal explanations.

During the period of 1868 - 1899 four women were hanged for the murder of their children. Mary Anne Cotton murdered as many as 10 of her children for insurance money. Elizabeth Berry poisoned her daughter for the very same reason. Louisa Masset murdered her illegitimate son, Manfred, because he stood in her way of a relationship she sought to pursue.

Louisa had hooked up with a 19-year-old boy, much younger than herself, and prepared for a weekend of tussling in the sheets. On the same weekend Manfred's father was going to pick him up and have Manfred stay with him in France. Dressing the boy in a blue frock and sailor's hat, she took him down to Dalston Junction to catch a train. A few hours later:

“... an unsuspecting lady had a horrible shock when she went to the ladies toilets at about 6:20 p.m. and discovered the body of a child. It was a male child and was naked except for a black shawl. The face and head had been battered and there were two pieces of a broken clinker brick lying by the body. These were the same type found in Louisa's garden. Manfred had been beaten unconscious and then suffocated perhaps using a hand over his mouth and nose….”²

The evidence that was brought against her in court was overwhelming. She was sentenced to be hanged on January 9th, 1900. The grief and subsequent panic she felt was immense. The emotional energies from her body and the intense psychic energies pulsing from her brain would have absorbed into the crystalline structure of her cell’s granite walls. This helps to contribute to Bodmin Jail’s paranormal activity.

The story of the fourth woman, Salina Wadge, follows the same kind of twisted reasoning. On a trip to a workhouse near Launceston she murdered her young son, Harry, by drowning him in 13-foot well shaft in nearby Mowbray Park. Shortly thereafter she confessed to the murder and was arrested. Inside the courthouse and within 45 minutes, the jury had passed a guilty verdict for the murder of her two-year-old son. She was sentenced to hang.

“Selina was close to collapse on her last morning. Her Terror at the thought of her execution is not hard to understand. She expected to strangle at the end of a rope In front of witnesses as most people previously had hers would be the first private execution environment and also the first to employ the measured drop created by William Marwood that calculated her drop at 8 feet. Her last words were 'Lord deliver me from this miserable World.'

"Her ghost still haunts the prison and tries to reach out to small children and instill feelings of guilt and remorse on pregnant women a paranormal is that by admin reports the children have been known to ask who the lady in the long dress crying was and that pregnant women get very emotional on the third and fourth floors Salinas ghost is seen as a full torso manifestation.”³

Final Thoughts

The legends that inhabit the Cornwall area are very prevalent and date back millenia. Outside of the phenomena mentioned in this article, it is believed that this site is home to fairies and other similar entities. This geographic area is full of granite, a great conductor of energy, and may help to fuel and preserve the paranormal activity found here. Add in as well a deep history of disturbing deaths and the door is open for intense experiences. Ask anyone who has visited the Bodmin Jail - they may tell you a story that will make the hair on your arms stand up!

Works Cited/Inspired




Cover photo (Newquay, Cornwall, UK) courtesy of Tamara Areshian - Flickr Creative Commons.


  1. Spectral geology is the "measurement and analysis of portions of the electromagnetic spectrum to identify spectrally distinct and physically significant features of different rock types and surface materials, their mineralogy and their alteration signatures." It is a genuine scientific tool and has nothing to do with spirits. You are misappropriating the term to sound sciencey which is not credible.

    1. Thank you for catching an obvious (perhaps embarrassing) mistake. My intention was to create my own term for this "discipline" which I have since changed to "ghost geology." Had I taken a moment to research spectral geology and discovered it is already a tool used by science, I could have saved myself a credible punch. I appreciate you taking the time to offer your feedback and for teaching me something in the process.