sjhstrangetales

HACK GREEN – HAUNTED NUCLEAR BUNKER

Posted on: September 15, 2014

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Anyone who has been acquainted with reading my stuff before might be giving a groan, and thinking “what is it with this woman and nuclear bunkers?” I had previously written about my visit to Crail Top Secret Nuclear Bunker in the summer of 2013. I had found Crail to be one of the eeriest places I had ever visited. That strange place buried deep underground on the windswept east coast of Scotland. It was like something out of a zombie apocalypse movie. So when a chance came up for me to visit Hack Green, in Cheshire, I was thinking along the lines of “surely if you’ve visited one top secret nuclear bunker, you’ve seen them all”, but Hack Green also lays claim to being haunted, and was in fact investigated by the ‘Most Haunted’ team a few years ago.

When I eventually arrived at Hack Green, I found that there were subtle differences between it and Crail. Crail was the full-on experience, whereas Hack Green has something … well slightly campy about it, if that’s not a bizarre way of describing a Cold War nuclear bunker! When you arrive at Crail, you immediately head downstairs and along forbidding underground tunnels. Whereas with Hack Green you go straight into the jolly NAAFI area (coffee-shop), with its cheery red-and-white checked tablecloths. A white cat was sleeping contentedly in one of the chairs whilst we were there, adding a nice homely (if somewhat surreal) touch to the whole experience.

The campiness was reinforced by the little exhibitions devoted to Soviet Russia. I have a feeling I’ve seen the people who run Hack Green on the ‘Four Rooms’ show on Channel 4, where people come to get their valuables estimated by experts. The father-and-daughter team clearly had a fascination with Soviet Russia, and this is very much in evidence at Hack Green, with its Red Army marching songs blasting at you, pictures of Stalin, and even a bottle of Russian beer on display.

But what of the ghosts? Well when ‘Most Haunted’ visited the site they related the tale of Joan, the lovelorn WAAF, who is thought to have killed herself here in the 1950s, over an affair with another woman. Joan is said to have thrown herself from the top of the main yellow-painted staircase. I always think this must be a particularly desperate way to do one’s self in, and psychic medium Bryan Shepherd said she was so desperate she gave no thought to the risks, and how she could maim herself landing on the cold hard concrete floor below.

Even more intriguing than poor Joan though are the tales of Cold War interrogations carried out on-site, with people being tortured and possibly dismembered. There is a rumour of a container found, which would have held body-dissolving fluid. Both the British government and the Ministry of Defence have denied the existence of such a container, but to slightly mis-quote Mandy Rice-Davis, well they would say that wouldn’t they? We all know the Cold War had its lion’s share of grim, dark secrets. Some of which will probably never see the light of day. There are tales of people seeing phantom body parts in the countryside close to Hack Green, but this is thought to be due to a battle from the English Civil War.

Hack Green is more closed off than Crail. You only get to see a little of it, and the tour is completed fairly quickly. I didn’t find Hack Green to be the same highly-charged emotional experience as Crail, (I was practically in tears at one point at Crail), although I did like the cards which visitors can pin to the message-board in the corridor at Hack Green, detailing their own experiences of the Cold War. This makes fascinating reading, including one I read from a man who had been a child at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and could remember his parents stockpiling tinned food in the garage! Another said he was at a Scouts meeting the night President Kennedy was assassinated, and how they had a very real fear they wouldn’t even make it home.

Did I find anything spooky about Hack Green? The honest answer is No. I took some pictures on the Yellow Staircase, but disappointingly I didn’t get any sense of Joan nearby. I felt nothing at all. Having once worked in the Civil Service, it just felt like a fairly typical kind of staircase you got in some cheerless old government departments. The only remotely creepy sensation I got was when I walked into one of the communications rooms, and the lights – which operate on a sensor – took a while to activate, and I found myself alone in there in the darkness for a little while … which I don’t recommend!

All in all though, I enjoyed it, which might seem a bit strange coming from someone who was a child of the Cold War, but there you go. Like all my generation, the constant threat of nuclear annihilation was a part of our younger days. It’s an oddly more relaxing place than Crail, they even encourage you to take a nap on the bunks in the Women’s Dormitory area! The only truly unsettling part was the hospital, where they play you a recording of someone suffering radiation burning. Quite rightly, they warn this part is off-limits to children.

PS: I watched the ‘Most Haunted’ episode about Hack Green again when I got home. There is one part where Stuart gets supposedly punched in the stomach in the cinema room. The exact same thing happened to him at the Ancient Ram Inn. The ghosts really don’t seem to like him very much.

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