Trespassing cult etched sinister symbols into sandstone labyrinth…then had cheek to knock on owner’s door for return of garments
By Simon Tomlinson
A labyrinth of mysterious caves has been closed down after its owners finally got sick of them being invaded by a satanic cult.
The Caynton Caves, hidden in dense woodland near Wolverhampton, have a rich history stemming back to the 17th century when they were apparently carved out of sandstone by followers of the Knights Templar.
In the past, the landowners have tried to be accommodating when sects, good or evil, have asked permission to use the site.
Their patience began running thin when, over Christmas, they found the caves had been filled with candles, sinister symbols scrawled on the walls and rubbish.
But the final straw came when they answered the door to two red-faced warlocks who had the cheek to ask for the return of their robes which had been used in the black magic ceremony.
The entrance has now been sealed up in the latest attempt to keep the trespassers at bay.
Dominic Wass, an urban artist who has a workshop on the site, said: ‘There’s definitely some strange stuff gone on down there. It’s surreal to have two warlocks knock on your door, but at least they asked.’
Inside the caves, mystic sigils (seals) competed for crowded wall space with more modern scrawled messages, written by youths who have turned the temple into a drinking den.
Spirits were present, too – empty bottles of booze littered the floor.
Mr Wass, 25, who works under the name Sketch, scanned the cobweb-encrusted inner sanctum and shook his head in disbelief.
‘They’ve moved the sacrificial stone again,’ he said.
‘Obviously, it’s not something we want to be associated with. But in the past, if people have asked permission, explained what they wanted to do and we were happy with it. Only if they tidied up afterwards. This is going too far.’
Time and again, wrought iron gates have been placed over the entrance to the caves, which is only just big enough to crawl through.
But they have been ripped down within days.
Mr Wass, who has lived on the site for two years, said: ‘It’s almost impossible to control. You can put up razor-wire, but if someone gets injured, we’re the ones who land in trouble.
‘People don’t seem to realise that this is private property and they are trespassing.
‘It’s a difficult one. Publicity just leads to more people trying to get into the caves.’
In other efforts to keep unwelcome worshippers away, CCTV has been increased at Caynton and more robust fencing erected. A walkway has also been blocked off.
Plans to fill in the caves have been considered, but rejected.
News of the closure is likely to be a blow to the many polite Pagans who ask permission to use the place.
Yet it appears the appeal of worshipping in one of the most mystical areas in the Midlands is too attractive.
The site ranks alongside Castle Ring, a public Stone Age monument near Cannock Wood, Staffordshire, which has become a hotspot for Druids.
Solstice and Halloween pose particular problems at Caynton.
One Halloween bonfire party for local children was interrupted when trespassing worshippers, alerted by smoke, spilled out from the cave.
Mr Wass said: ‘Very little is known about why they are there. There are all kinds of stories.
‘We were told they were dug by followers of the Knights Templar (a sect dating back to the days of the Crusades).
‘They wanted a place where they could worship without being persecuted. It must have taken them a long time to create.
‘We’ve also been told that a landowner hid slaves down there. Slavery was illegal by then and he’d hide as many as 60 down there.’
Some believe the grotto is more recent, dug out in the 1850s by a wealthy family as a folly.
One website, devoted to Britain’s hidden treasures, states: ‘It consists of a series of passages and chambers, with niches for candles, and the carving of the rooms is quite professional.
‘It’s a creepy place and is rumoured to have been used in the 1980s for Black Magic rituals – probably not involving boxes of chocolates.’