On Saturday 21st March 2009, Twilight Shadows Paranormal conducted a paranormal investigation at Swan Mine, which is also known as Kingsdown Quarry in Wiltshire.
This mine is an abandoned free-stone mine, which amazingly contains original indentations of horses' hooves and the quarrymen's hobnail boots.
With out hard-hats in situ, we all travelled to the mine, wondering how we would cope with being underground and squeezing through confined areas to get to our destination. Going underground was a new experience for the team.
Dave M and his friend Chris were our guides and safety guardians for the evening and they patiently guided us through the small hole at the entrance to get into the mine. Once inside, there were a couple more small places to squeeze through, but inside the tunnels were a good size.
We walked through a long tunnel until we came to a large chamber. Here we saw a huge slab that had apparently fallen from the roof a long time ago. It conveniently acted as a table for our equipment and other belongings but it also demonstrated how dangerous mines are. The thought of this huge slab suddenly crashing down disturbed me.
Suddenly I noticed that Matt was feeling unwell, he was pale and sweaty and having difficulty in breathing. Dave M offered to take him out of the mine but Matt wanted to stay. It was surprisingly warm inside the mine and we wondered if he had got too hot. So he disrobed considerably and soon began to feel much better.
We began our tour of the mine. Dave M and Chris took us down the long tunnels stopping to show us things of interest. We were shown horses hooves and hob-nail boot imprints on the floor. There were also tools sitting on stony shelves and other artefacts such as tins and remnants of pipes for tobacco. It was just amazing to see so many things from the Victorian workmen.
We carried on walking deeper and deeper into the mine, stopping every now and then to look at writing on the walls where old names were inscribed and sometimes dated. It was fascinating.
At one point everyone was in front of me and I heard a strange noise behind me. It sounded like a man groaning and I had a strong feeling that someone was standing behind me, a little way off. I looked round and the long dark tunnel I faced was empty. As I looked round again, Christina said that she had also heard a noise and also felt that we had company. We waited to see if we would hear any other noises but we didn't.
We carried on walking through tunnels and entering small chambers. Dave M and Chris showed us an old Victorian crane which was wedged from floor to ceiling in a chamber. We were lucky to see it as there are plans to remove it soon, as the top of it is deteriorating and will be deemed as dangerous. The old crane was magnificent. On the way back to the 'slab chamber' some of the more adventurous of the team climbed over some large rocks to a chamber which contained a crane which had toppled over under a roof fall.
We reached the 'slab chamber' and had a break and a chat with Dave M and Chris. They said that although most people who go down mines regularly as a hobby are sceptical of the paranormal, they do sometimes have strange experiences which they cannot explain. They occasionally hear voices and see lights in the distance. They may hear banging which is often contributed to the 'Knockers.' The 'Knockers' are the sounds of the old miners hammering at the stone. Another unusual phenomenon is the smell of pipe-smoke. We were also told that whistling is not advised as there are superstitions surrounding it.
After we had all settled we decided to switch all lights off and stand in the pitch black chamber. Dave M had previously told us that the darkness inside a mine is so dense that your eyes do not get accustomed to the dark and you will not see your hand if you wave it up and down in front of your face. He also told us that your hearing intensifies immediately. The lights from the torches and Camcorders were switched off and I have never known darkness like it. It was as if a black, velvet drape had fallen upon us. I tried to see my hand but I could see nothing at all. It was as if I had no eyes. But more astonishingly, my hearing ability was suddenly extremely acute. The water dripping in the chamber which is continually heard, instantly became really loud as if huge water droplets had suddenly started to fall. It was amazing and a very beautiful sound. Dave M said that he found them hypnotic and I had to agree. Dave M and his friends had previously slept in this mine. I would feel entirely happy and comfortable to sleep the night here as it was warm and not frightening at all.
We decided that we should 'call out' in this chamber. I asked for any spirits to do something for us. I was hoping to hear another groan. Unfortunately we did not hear any more audibles. But suddenly I could smell smoke. I asked if anyone was smoking. Nobody was and I knew that anyway as we were still in the pitch black and a lit cigarette tip would show easily. It definitely smelt of fresh smoke. Most of the others could smell it also and Jacky said that it smelt of pipe tobacco and not cigarettes. I had to agree with her. I remembered the old pipe we had seen with the other artefacts so pipes were definitely used by the workers in the mine. The smoky smell suddenly got really strong before it eventually dispersed and disappeared.
Jacky also 'called out' and so did Dave W. Christina could see a little light coming from (what seemed like) a tunnel from the back of the chamber. She eventually identified it as infra-red light coming from Chris's camera. After a considerable time, all remained quiet on the paranormal front so we decided to head back into the long tunnels and return to the real world. Just as we were about to crawl through the last hole, Dave M told Loretta and I, that cave spiders are found at entrances to mines. Although I am not keen on spiders, Loretta is terrified and for a moment I was worried that I would have to drag her through the hole. However, she quickly composed herself and all was well.
Written by: Maria Williams
Phoenix of Wessex and Twilight Shadows had a very, very exciting invitation that we just could not turn down; to investigate a local, abandoned, underground mine. Of course we said "YES" and so with hard-hats and head torches, we set off for this very exciting event. We were instructed to meet at 19 30 hours at a local petrol station, quite close to the location. Once we were all present and correct, we convoyed to a lane very near the entrance to the mine.
For this investigation we had Dave M who is a very experienced underground explorer and Chris, who is also an expert in this field. Dave M and Chris were to guide us, advising us which parts to avoid and which parts of the mine we could go to.
To get to the mine we had to crawl through an entrance that has almost collapsed. This was not a good start for me as sure footed - I certainly am not! My youngest daughter Erica came along for this evening's investigation and I was very impressed with the way she just got on with it. I thought to myself that if she could do it, then so could I. So with this thought I closed my eyes, held my breath and crawled through the space with instructions from Chris to guide me.
Once through the entrance, you were in a tunnel which was quite high. Straight away, I noticed track marks in the ground from where ponies had been continually pulling carts to and from the mine. We travelled through this tunnel and came to another narrow bit which wasn't too bad. Again, this led to another tunnel and I started to relax a bit - big mistake! At the end of this tunnel was an entrance almost blocked by a roof-fall. Here we had to get on our hands and knees to crawl through the gap to the next chamber. This was not a pleasant experience as the floor was very muddy and rocky and you could not lift your head to see where you were going. Once through, we were then in a larger tunnel that led to what is called the 'slab chamber.'
The 'slab chamber' gets its name because a 40 tonne slab has fallen from the roof and now dominates the chamber in the middle. Some people took the time to sign the guest book while Dave M told us what to expect from the tunnels. Chris pointed out square holes in the roof that he explained were called 'chug holes.' These were where cranes were positioned while the mine was in use.
I noticed the humidity of the chamber was quite high and although it was cool, it was not unpleasant. I decided to take off my coat. Matt from Twilight Shadows started to feel slightly short of breath and a bit panicky. We gave him some time to get used to the atmosphere and he soon settled down. We then all set off along the tunnels for an adventure of a life-time.
While underground I was amazed at just how much machinery and evidence of the miners is left behind. This mine has not been in use for approximately one hundred years but there are still artefacts such as golden syrup tins, pipes and lanterns dotted around the place. There are also areas where you can clearly see hoof marks from the mine ponies and hobnail boot tracks left from the activities of the miners years and years ago. You can see graffiti on the walls from the early 20th century and I had to chuckle to myself that even back then, they took pride in their penmanship even when defacing a wall. There are saw blades left there and a pony drinking trough.
Some members of the team did hear some strange noises during our time down the mine. You are supposedly able to hear whistling and banging from the ghostly miners working. Dave M told us that some of the miners would have died a slow death from the injuries they sustained. Maria thought she heard a male voice moaning while we were in one of the chambers.
We walked back towards the 'slab chamber' and had a bite to eat. We then went off in another direction to go and visit a wooden crane which is still in situ; a very rare sight. These wooden cranes were usually removed after the mining was finished but this one was still remaining. We had to be careful though as the top of the crane had started to rot. As I looked at it, it was hard to believe that this device was capable of lifting any sort of weight at all.
We were then told that there was another wooden crane that we could look at but this one had toppled over after a roof fall. To get to this crane you had to climb over a wall which had been built to block off that particular tunnel. Once again I was thinking that I would not attempt it, when I was confronted by the image of my daughter disappearing over the top of this wall. Not to be outdone by my daughter I decided to follow suit. Not much of the crane was visible apart from the main crank shaft which was made of solid metal. Dave W and I stayed here for a while as this part of the tunnel felt quite oppressive. We then thought it would be best to join the rest of the team. I was not looking forward to this as it meant climbing down the wall with everyone looking. Surprisingly I managed it, albeit with a muddy bottom.
We then went back to the main chamber and decided to conduct a vigil. We switched off our head-lamps and torches and tried 'calling out.' The smell of tobacco smoke quickly started to build. It was not like the smell of cigarette smoke but more like pipe tobacco. We tried 'calling out' for a while but apart from the smell of pipe smoke, no noises were heard until
We then decided to call it a night and take the team to visit another location at a nearby village and then headed on home.
I would like to thank Dave M and Chris for giving us the opportunity to take part in this exciting event. Although not much paranormal happened, it was such a privilege to have spent the evening in such an amazing location.
Written by Jacky Wicheard