Haunted Venues

Make Your Next Hotel Stay An Interesting One…

I am extremely fortunate to perform magic regularly at fantastic venues throughout the UK and beyond. My vocation frequently takes me off the beaten track to obscure locations which offer their own peculiar allurements and fascinations. Indeed, every hotel, restaurant, club, bar, or stately home has an exclusive charm and appeal. However, local legends, superstitions, and the ‘lore of land’ always continue to intrigue and amaze travellers the world over. Some places would appear to be steeped with curious rumours concerning ghosts, inexplicable occurrences, and mysterious utterances of possible occult phenomena. Thus, I decided to write about several interesting venues I have enjoyed performing at…

Makeney Hall Hotel

It is always a great pleasure to visit this beautiful hotel which is located in the serene landscape of the Amber Valley in Derbyshire. Derby itself was recently declared the ‘most haunted’ town in Britain, and the Derby Paranormal Hunters offer tours around places of supernatural interest. Makeney Hall is situated eight miles from Derby city centre and the present building dates from Victorian times. It certainly is a charming venue which is ideal for leisure breaks, weddings and corporate functions: http://www.akkeronhotels.com/Hotels/Central-and-Eastern-England/Makeney-Hall-Hotel The staff are extremely friendly and it was during a very interesting discussion with an employee that I first learned of the ghostly heritage of Makeney Hall. Stories of weird ‘presences’, inexplicable ‘figures’ appearing in hallways, and queer ‘rapping’ sounds aroused my curiosity. The gentleman in question had not experienced any of the aforementioned phenomena, however, a colleague of his seemed to genuinely believe that the building was haunted. Such unearthly tales may have developed from the times when Makeney Hall was used as a hospital.

The Ettington Park Hotel

Stratford Upon Avon is a magical town in its own right and is of course well known for its association with the bard. The dramatic neo-Gothic facades of The Ettington Park Hotel, which is to be found seven miles from the town centre, will enchant and captivate even the most seasoned of wayfarers. The hotel boasts several unearthly presences and specters which have been witnessed by a variety of people over the years: http://www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/hotels/ettington-park-hotel/History/ There would appear to be a multitude of psychic phenomena to be found, ranging from apparitions, to changes in temperature, and disembodied ethereal ‘voices’. As well as being a magnificent venue, the staff are always warm and welcoming. One employee I had the pleasure of chatting to openly discussed the existence of metaphysical happenings at the hotel and did firmly believe in the existence of ghosts. I look forward to performing magic at The Ettington Park Hotel on Christmas day and entertaining everyone whilst they enjoy the glowing hospitality. Hopefully the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will appreciate the performance too and refrain from any spiritual heckling.

Mosborough Hall Hotel

The most recent wedding I performed at was that of Vickie and Stuart last Saturday in the pleasant environs of Mosborough Hall Hotel, Sheffield. It was a pleasure and a privilege to entertain everyone present and sample the first class hospitality of the venue. Prior to my performance, I took time to visit the hotel website and was amazed to discover that Mosborough Hall falls into the ‘haunted venue’ category: http://www.hauntedrooms.co.uk/mosborough-hall-hotel. This sixteenth century manor house clearly has a wealth of weird history for lovers of the uncanny to contemplate. Tales of a ‘large black dog’, ghostly ‘grey lady’, and of past owners calling upon the services of a local vicar to exorcise the building certainly do add to the mysterious charm of the location. Having said that, I was made to feel very welcome by the staff and the quality of the cuisine served in the restaurant is excellent. Any tales of ghosts or the supernatural can quickly be discounted within the modernised interior of the renovated manor house and spacious Chatsworth function suite. Indeed, on asking a member of staff about the possibility of psychic phenomena, I was assured that she had not witnessed anything strange. However, I always keep an open mind about these things…

Are There Are More Things In Heaven and Earth?

I consider myself very lucky to have performed magic for audiences at all of these wonderful venues and would highly recommend each to anyone planning a wedding, party, corporate event, or leisure break. Perhaps the possibility of witnessing something supernatural or uncanny during your stay can only entice you to visit? Most people are indeed intrigued by such mysteries and as Shakespeare himself said: ‘there are more things in heaven and earth’. I will be returning to all of these fine hotels in the future to perform magic and look forward to doing so. However, the ongoing prospect of learning about even more ‘haunted venues’ throughout the UK, and beyond, is always an interesting and intriguing aspect of my job as a professional magician.

Is the earth hollow? Are their worlds within our world? Was Jules Verne privy to spectacular occult knowledge?

Title: ‘This Hollow Earth’  Author: Warren Smith  Year of Publication: 1972

Product Details

Like some veiled demon conjured up by a black magician, the belief in a hollow earth is one of the most intriguing of the various occult mysteries.

The hollow earth theory is a mind-shattering proposal that there are gigantic holes at the north and south poles. These polar openings lead to a vast, unknown world inside the center of the earth. Some believers also claim the earth is honeycombed with a vast network of subterranean tunnels that lead down into an inner world.

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Hollow earth theory has drifted out of the occult mainstream in recent years and, understandably, is often scoffed at or just simply ignored, by both sceptics and advocates of the paranormal alike. The notion that the inner realms of our planet may in fact be domicile to large cities populated by hitherto undiscovered beings is just simply too ridiculous for many to even consider. Indeed, the scientific axiom of the layered earth, from crust to mantle to inner and outer core, is one of the first theories any curious child will learn about when reading even the most rudimentary of encyclopedias.

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However, is it not always interesting and exciting to challenge accepted mainstream knowledge, even if our rational selves may oppose this impulse? Why is it that many cultures throughout the ages have espoused some sort of belief or body of folklore which speaks of a curious world within our world? Does this elusive shadowy zone simply exist in a metaphysical sense, or is it something entirely tangible which the intrepid may care to visit?

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It is very interesting to note that recent scientific studies regarding the composition of the earth’s core remain inconclusive and we are constantly reviewing our rather limited understanding of the structure of our planet. In truth, it would appear that we know more about the surface of the moon, than the deepest, darkest recesses of our own world. With this in mind, I was intrigued to chance upon a copy of ‘This Hollow Earth’ by Warren Smith. I had read about this theory in the past and it has always interested me.

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Smith certainly provides food for thought and this text will stimulate anyone who wants to learn more about this rather outlandish of theories. The opening chapter whets the reader’s appetite as secret tunnels under the pyramids, UFOs from within the earth, the curious tale of Olaf Jansen (a Scandinavian sailor who claimed to have met the ‘Under-People’ within the earth), and stories of explorers’ bizarre experiences in polar regions are highlighted.

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However, it was the weird tale of labourers tunnelling beneath the River Thames in the 1960s which caught my attention. As Smith recounts:

the construction crewmen were spooked by a ‘thing’ which haunted the construction project

He further adds after one of the men was frightened away for good:

Whatever O’Brien saw in the tunnel must have been a frightening spectre. He was earning $312 a week when he walked away from the job…

Were the men simply hallucinating or does this account raise interesting questions regarding the existence of sinister subterranean beings?

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Smith’s discussion of Oriental beliefs in this area is certainly enlightening. Indeed, the Buddhist doctrine of the inner world is one that I was not aware of until reading ‘This Hollow Earth’:

Agharta is a subterranean land located deep within the centre of our planet. The Buddhists believe there are millions of people living in this underworld paradise.

He speaks eloquently of the romantic travels of western explorers into the Orient and of their encounters with holy men who spoke guardedly of the earth’s inner sanctum. Curious tales of a tunnel network from remote monasteries in Tibet are addressed:

These Tibetan tunnels are just part of a honeycomb of tunnels linking many parts of the world.

The mysterious lure of the Orient and the prospect of a revelation of truth has enticed many western mystics, occult scholars and religious groups for centuries.

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Indeed, the Nazi’s fascination with a possible pathway to an inner world via the Himalayas or North Pole is also addressed by Smith. Hitler’s occult beliefs are well documented, and there are accounts of several expeditions which were sent to explore Hollow Earth theory and find hidden tunnels during the period of the Third Reich. The Luminous Lodge of the Vril society drew inspiration from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s work entitled ‘The Coming Race’ which was published in 1871. The prospect of establishing contact with a powerful race of supernatural beings within the inner earth, whose beliefs and social structure appeared to compliment those of Nazi ideology, clearly struck a chord within the German high command. Increased occult knowledge and power would surely provide the Nazis with an advantage over their enemies and they were clearly prepared to explore a variety of options (no matter how tenuous) to obtain this.

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‘This Hollow Earth’ may not be a classic of occult literature, but it can most certainly be appreciated and enjoyed by anyone who is curious about this peculiar theory. It raises some interesting questions and invites the reader to continue study within this fascinating area. Since its publication in 1972, there have been a variety of texts and articles written about the possibility of a world within our world. Notable contemporary writers who espouse this idea include the English author David Icke. This text is readily available on Amazon and vends for around £4. For more information about the author, visit David’s magical website: Magic and Illusion.

Voodoo, Black Magic and Sorcery in Deepest Darkest Africa…

Title: ‘Jungle Magic’ Author: James H. Neal Year of publication: 1966
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A fascinating biographical account of supernatural occurrences.

A thick black powder spread across a car seat… The European thought nothing of it. But to his African companion it was a sign, a deadly sign of a Ju-ju attack. A curse so potent that its victim was helpless -and doomed.
 
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‘Jungle Magic’ is a fascinating text which will be of great interest to anyone with an interest in Voodoo, the Occult, and matters cognate. This startling biographical account of James H Neale’s first-hand experiences of the Voodoo religion in Ghana during British rule in the 1950s will make even the most sceptical of souls consider the power and potency of this ancient faith.
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Neal arrived on the Gold Coast in 1952 having been appointed to the position of Chief Finance and Supplies Officer by the High Commissioner in London. He was responsible for cracking down on numerous criminal gangs which were involved in activities such as fraud, extortion and the large scale theft of building materials. Neal’s investigative work lead to the convictions of many powerful figures who were operating in the West African underworld. Loyal friendships and alliances were forged during his dangerous missions but, inevitably, bitter and sinister disenfranchised enemies became commonplace and were more than willing to use black magic to kill…
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Initially Neal scoffed at the notion of Voodoo and sinister forces from unseen realms. Like many Europeans of the time he believed it was mere hocus pocus and superstition. In the introduction he recounts his first impressions on the subject whilst listening to the terrible stories of other government officials in the European Club in Accra:
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‘This was fascinating – intelligent men, level-headed and highly qualified in their professions, giving credence to a lot of mumbo-jumbo.’
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However, after witnessing the power of Voodoo on several occasions, Neal’s point-of-view is radically altered. Indeed, an almost fatal attack from a black Ju-ju man is the penultimate stage in his process of conversion. It is only after the intervention of a white Ju-ju man (his colleague’s uncle) that he is able to make a full recovery:
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‘I made up my mind there and then that Ju-ju was far more than the harmless hocus-pocus I had thought it to be.’
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The startling accounts of Neale’s experiences in this exciting environment ensure that ‘Jungle Magic’ is a real page turner. But perhaps it is the consistency of his objective and rational narrative voice which make the preternatural occurrences all the more believable and frightening. He appears to deliver his anecdotes in an unassuming fashion calmly inviting the reader to make up his or her own mind about the veracity of Voodoo. Neale’s strength as a writer is most certainly his sobriety when faced with with such a controversial, sensitive and unworldly subject.
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Sympathetic magic, as well as the usage of amulets, potions and ritual, are all evident within this seemingly unknown classic. Neal’s detailed and engaging accounts will be of great interest to anyone with even just a passing interest in the Occult. At the finale of the sensational final chapter, Neal concludes:
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‘I came more than ever to the conclusion that many of these African Ju-ju men had powerful secrets of which very little was known in the West, and that it has been passed down from generation to generation.’
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I am amazed that ‘Jungle Magic’ is currently not in print and hardback copies vend for around £25 on Amazon. I was very fortunate to pick up a paperback edition in a local bookshop for £5. Hopefully you will be able to procure a copy if this subject is of interest to you. Why not visit my website for more things magical? Magical David Fox.
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