In the middle of a field, in the heart of Essex, sits an innocuous looking bungalow. However, until fairly recently, very few people knew that underneath this cottage lies a vast underground bunker, in which up to 600 people could live during the aftermath of a nuclear war. As the bunker lies only 25 miles from London, it is thought that the Prime Minister and his cabinet may very well have been whisked there in the event of the dreaded nuclear attack.
Location: Kelvedon, Essex
Date: Saturday 21st June 2014
Time: 9pm – 3am
Cost: £39 Per Person
Book your tickets here
Originally built at the height of the cold war in 1952-53 as part of the ROTOR air defence project (an elaborate radar system designed to counter possible attack by Soviet bombers), the role of the building changed over the years to a Home Office ‘Regional Seat of Government’ (SOC) and then in its later years to a ‘Regional Government Head Quarters’ (RGHQ). The RSG/RGHQ would have been tasked with organising the survival of the population and ensuring successful continuation of government operations in the event of a nuclear attack. It was maintained as an emergency RGHQ until 1992 when the nuclear threat was seen as diminished. The site was sold back to the family who owned the land originally and is now a Cold War museum, retaining many features from its former life.
Since becoming a museum, Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker (the ‘Secret’ part of its title no longer makes much sense seeing as it has its own website and brown tourist signposts in the area!) has become notorious as a haunted location, appearing on Living TV’s ‘Most Haunted’ as well as other programmes and has been the focus of many paranormal investigations.
It may seem unfeasible that a building which was never actually used for its intended purpose would be haunted. However, there is a story that during the construction of the bunker’s walls (10ft wide and 100ft deep), concrete was being poured day and night. One morning the day shift found the foreman’s hat floating on the wet concrete and the man in question nowhere to be found and never to be seen again – the assumption being that he was accidentally buried within the walls. During its first incarnation from 1952 until the late 60s, lots of people would have spent a great deal of time in the bunker, guards were positioned there 24/7 and there were regular drills which involved staff remaining underground for up to two weeks. Are some of these staff returning after death to continue their duties? Additionally, the bunker is built very close to a Roman burial site and early Bronze age site, which may also go some way to explaining the strange phenomena occurring within the building.
Several apparitions roam the complex, including a grey figure who moves from room to room. Witnesses have described it as taking the form of an ‘unusually tall elderly lady’. As well as an RAF officer who has been spotted on several occasions, more than one person has had the frightening experience of meeting with a woman in uniform who angrily instructs them to leave the building. Similarly, one visitor during the day was walking through the dormitory when he was told to ‘go back’ by a disembodied voice, leaving him rather shaken as there was no-one else in the area at all.
The sick bay, complete with cardboard coffins (easier to store as they fold up!), seems to be one of the paranormal hotspots. Dark shadows are seen flitting back and forth and many mediums have sensed a malevolent presence which may be responsible for the feelings of dread and foreboding which many people experience in this area. Some have even gone as far as to describe this sinister entity as being demonic in nature. It has to be presumed that if such a negative force exists then it has to originate from long before the bunker existed.
Other activity in the nuclear bunker includes the throwing of stones by unseen hands and the sound of loud crashes and bangs emanating from empty rooms in the middle of the night. Strange lights and mists have been seen to materialise from thin air, a strange growling sound has been heard and an unexplained foul odour has appeared more than once during previous ghost-hunts at the location.
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