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CASE FILE #18: REDCLIFFE CAVES, BRISTOL

Haunted Talbot Hotel

Only ever investigated by a handful of groups, most notably the Most Haunted team as part of their ‘Pirates Curse’ Live show, Real Or Otherside Paranormal Research – consisting of Rick, Mike, Sam and Debbie – journeyed to these relatively unknown caves to see if there was any truth in the stories of them being haunted.

We would like to extend a massive thank you to Alan Gray from the Axbridge Caving Group for allowing us to investigate the caves and for being so knowledgeable about them and the surrounding areas. It was a fascinating history lesson and we enjoyed every moment of it.

 

THE INVESTIGATION
Located in the centre of Bristol the Redcliffe Caves are completely man-made as the sandstone within was excavated to be used in the local glass making/ceramics industry. Records around the history of the caves and their use are somewhat sporadic however we do know that, at one time or another, they have housed French/Dutch prisoners and were also used for the storage of valuable goods, pottery and glassware by local merchants.

Alan shared many stories about the caves and how they have been shaped by events occurring at street level, such as a WWII bomb hitting the playground of the school above, and the foundations for the Mercure hotel being visible within the caves.

 

THE ANALYSIS
With access to around an acre of the caves, from 7pm until 11pm, this was one of the shortest investigations we have performed to date but, with 2 camcorders running, we still managed to compile a sizeable amount of data to be reviewed.

In total we captured 7 hours of video and 1 hour of audio and after the initial review process we had recorded a total of 9 potential 'hits.’ After secondary analysis we can reveal that we have performed our first investigation where no ’hits’ are being presented.

As you will read in our personal experiences below we all felt totally at ease within the caves. While none of us claim to have any mediumship skills the caves felt very much benign on the evening we investigated. It was pleasant verification therefore, when the lack of any evidence captured on our equipment, seemed to verify these instincts.

The only 'strange' occurrence during our time in the caves was a sudden battery drain on Mikes’ camcorder – which just so happened to coincide with Rick questioning how much time we both had left on our batteries. At the time Mike had around 131 minutes remaining but, within about 5 seconds of Rick asking the question, the camcorder switched off and would not turn back on. After continuing to investigate with another battery we returned to base and tried the battery again – without success.

We knew we would be investigating Littledean Jail shortly after so decided to test our theory – a faulty battery coupled with coincidence – when we went there. With the same battery fully charged we began the investigation and, with the display indicating around 160 minutes left, the camcorder shut off again. This quite clearly demonstrates that the occurrence at the Redcliffe caves was due to a faulty battery so we will ensure it is not used on any further investigations.

 

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
As well as the evidence we capture in audio/video at a location, there are also experiences we don’t capture, or are sensory in nature. Because of this these ‘Personal Experiences’ cannot be presented as evidence … however they are presented here along with our thoughts on our time spent at the Redcliffe Caves:
 

Rick

Simply put – you should pay them a visit!  The caves themselves are fantastic and the fact that hardly anyone knows they exist (well, we didn’t) only adds to their mystery and intrigue.

The caves are only open to the public one day each year (when they receive around 4,000 – 5,000 visitors!) but if you contact Alan and talk to him nicely (I’d suggest maybe bribing him with a curry!), he may just don his 5000 Watt (ish) caving helmet and take you on your own personal tour!

So, are the caves haunted?  Well, if so, they must have taken the night off :o ) It was incredibly dark and very atmospheric, but other than the ‘battery drain’ incident – which we have since debunked – all was quiet both in terms of footage and personal experiences. In fact it’s our first ever investigation where we’ve caught nothing that we could honestly put forward as unusual.

It’s strange really, after you have done this Ghost Hunting malarkey a few times, you begin to question your judgement and the evidence you present.  After all, given that we are sceptics, being able to find (and present) at least some form of evidence ‘alluding to the paranormal’ for each location we visit, was making me question how stringent we were being with our review (and trust me, we are VERY stringent).

So other than the amazing experience of getting to investigate the caves, along with experiencing Alan’s clear passion for them – if the Redcliffe Caves gave me one thing to take away, it would be a renewed confidence that what we have found (and presented) in other locations, whilst not necessarily paranormal in nature, is certainly not ‘par for the course’.

Alan, let us know what you find behind that wall … Real Or Otherside have night-vision, will travel :o )


Mike

I ventured to the Redcliffe Caves not really knowing what to expect. Having lived in Bristol all my life – and been to that area of Bristol on many occasions – I am ashamed to say I never really knew the caves were there!!! I would like to think a lot of people from Bristol don’t know they exist but perhaps it’s just me!?!? Once inside though, thanks in most part to Alan, the caves came alive and I quickly became fascinated with their history.

I have to say, and I don’t think anyone present would disagree, that the investigation at the Redcliffe Caves was one of our quietest. Aside from my camcorder battery being drained – which we have managed to debunk on a subsequent investigation – there was nothing else of note.

As Rick has mentioned above it is always good to know that sometimes the feelings you get – in this instance relative calm – are echoed in the (lack of) evidence we provide. I think this agdds more credence to the evidence we do post and shows we truly are being as strict as possible when deciding what does and doesn’t make our final evidence video. I believe now, more than ever, that what is contained in our evidence videos is out of the ordinary and cannot necessarily be explained away!!!

Are the Redcliffe Caves haunted? You can never be entirely sure as we were only there for 4 hours so on a different night with other people, energies, factors etc something may be experienced but based on our time there, and the fact we are unable to present any evidence, I am 99.9% certain there are no ghosts, spirits or entities frequenting the Redcliffe Caves!!! 


Debbie

When Rick and Mike first asked me to join them on their investigation of the Redcliffe Caves I was incredibly excited. Having lived in Bristol all my life it was only in the last few years that I had learned of the caves existence and although I knew where they were I never knew it was possible to access them.

The investigation was booked for Friday the 13th and, with a previous Most Haunted Live fresh in my mind as well as freezing temperatures in the days leading up to the investigation, I couldn’t help but feel an increasing amount of nervousness at the possibilities of what the night held in store for us and whether or not this might finally convince me of the possibility of a “paranormal world” outside of my understanding? But I decided to man up J

We were met by Alan, our host for the evening, who proved to be a fantastic guide giving us so much information on the history of the caves and local area that it was a real treat and privilege to be part of the investigation – this is a man who has real passion for what he does. After a tour of the caves Alan left us to being our investigation and I must admit I did wonder how on earth we would ever find our way around the caves – luckily Sam had been paying attention otherwise I might still be in there now J

As I sat in the dark listening to Mike and Rick call out to any potential spirts the only thing I felt was … peace. The centre of Bristol can be a noisy place however sat there in the pitch black everything was surprisingly still and warm considering the temperatures outside. I would like to say I felt, heard or caught something out the corner of my eye but I felt nothing except a complete sense of peace and tranquility which, in this busy life we lead, is hard to find? I even gathered the confidence to undertake my first lone vigil – something I certainly didn’t think I would do so soon into the few locations I have been privelidged to be part of. I cannot promise it is something I would do in another location however in the caves I would go as far to say it felt safe and, to a certain extent, comforting!!!

The caves themselves are magnificent. I was in awe of their history, the area they cover – both discovered and uncovered, the peaceful and comforting atmosphere, the shadows that were created as we walked around and the pick marks from the original cave workers. Seeing a whole part of Bristol I never knew existed was a real treat and is something you really need to see to fully appreciate.

I left the investigation feeling nothing but peace within myself – as well as tiredness. I know you can’t guarantee activity at a location, and others may view the lack of it as disappointing, but I for one felt relieved. Relieved in the fact that the next time I feel the need to find a little bit of space or peace and quiet away from everyday life I may well take a trip to the Redcliffe Caves.

 

FEEDBACK
If you have any questions, or comments, on the above analysis or the methodology used please feel free to post below or contact Real Or Otherside Paranormal Research via email by clicking here.