Dani Filth is bemoaning modern man's tendency to eliminate mystery from the world. He was prepared to talk to us about the Loch Ness Monster but recently read in a newspaper that one of the foremost “scholars” of the creature no longer believes the myth. “He's now convinced that it’s a giant catfish,” Filth says, laughing.
Filth -- born Daniel Lloyd Davey – has long believed that mysterious forces are at work in the world, particularly ghosts and the paranormal. During our Deciblog interview with him more than year ago he talked about living in haunted houses and seeing ghosts. We felt like he could have talked even longer about his favorite haunted and strange sites.
Since it’s Halloween next month and Cradle Of Filth is still promoting their new album Hammer Of The Witches we decided to get a complete history of haunted and supernatural places in Filth's native England. Read below to get Dani’s hand-selected United Kingdom haunts, and follow the links to learn more should you wish to visit.
WHITBY: This is home to much of Dracula. It’s very strange – as soon as we started talking about this the Dracula soundtrack came on in another room. This place is close to my heart because it’s in a beautiful part of England and it’s very mysterious. Twice a year, mainly at Halloween, they have the Whitby Goth festival and this place is home to about 3,000 Goths. You have lots of Van Helsings and Draculas and Mina Harkers. It’s a bit like Salem, I suppose. The town loves and embraces it.
THE TOWER OF LONDON: This is an obvious one if you know the history of London. People were kept in the tower and then executed, often for high treason. Guy Fawkes was kept here and November the 5th is now a custom as a result. The tower has just a feast of stories – so much mythology and superstition and hauntings. There are giant ravens that live there and always have. There’s a myth that if they ever leave the tower that it would fall down. No one knows why they’ve loitered there for hundreds of years.
BORLEY RECTORY: Borley was known for years as the most haunted house in the world; people would see nuns and ghostly horse-drawn carriages. It burned down in the late 1930s. I would go up there almost every Halloween (as a kid). Once we went on a 20-mile bike ride from my village. We were sitting in a park and there’s a bridge that goes over a lake. I saw a woman with a weird dress contemplating the water. I looked back and she was completely gone.
RENDLESHAM FOREST: Some airmen have talked about an incident there – that a weird UFO landed and shot away. Now, it’s a big pine forest with nature walks. Cradle Of Filth recently shot a video here at a defunct Army air base that was last used in 1993. For the most part, it’s deserted. It’s basically our Roswell. But in England we don’t go overboard; in the U.S. if there is a Sasquatch footprint you’d build a town around it (laughs).
GLAMIS CASTLE: It’s a beautiful castle in Scotland. When I was young I had a kid’s book called The Supernatural World and Glamis was featured. It very well-illustrated and there were so many haunted houses and werewolves and demons. There was one illustration in this book of a ghost with blood pouring out of her mouth because her tongue had been cut out. There were also pictures of spirits flying around the town – it was very King Diamond.
STONEHENGE: In the 1970s you were actually able to go party there! There were these hippy commune parties around the Equinox and Druidic circles. You could just lounge around. I can’t believe they let people roam around and light fires – it’s thousands of years old. If you really look at Stonehenge it’s as exciting as the pyramids or anything made by the Incas.
HIGHGATE CEMETERY: Being in the middle of London is a bit like being in the middle of Manhattan. Stepping into Highgate like stepping into a rotting Victorian world. There are a lot of famous people buried there. There was an incident in the 70s – maybe the early 80s – where people were tracking down a vampire. Apparently, coffins were pulled out of walls and recently buried people were found bloodied. That whole period was filled with Dennis Wheatley novels and witchcraft magazines.
CHISLEHURST CAVES: It’s in the south of London but feels like the countryside. These caves run under London for about 20 miles. During World War II it was a second city where people went to escape the German bombings. There were about 15,000 people living there. We shot a video there and set up some chambers with lights. If you wandered away from any light you could get so easily lost because it was like a labyrinth.