Talland Bay Church, Cornwall Name: Carnglaze Caverns and Rum Store
Location: Just off the A38 near Dobwalls/St.Neot, South East Cornwall
Weather: Overcast, with occasional rain. Temp: 13°C (outside), 10°C (inside).
Investigators: Jonathan, Matt, Lorraine
Map Ref: See Carnglaze Caverns on the OS Map.
orbs sounds magnetic fluctuations

An enchanted woodland, deep slate valley and the dark gloom of the old mine: The Carnglaze Caverns really were an unexpected treat. I was completely oblivious to their existence until I noticed an enticing sign post, while shopping at a nearby warehouse store, hidden in the woods to the side of the A38. Months later, I find myself in the car turning off of the busy A38 and into another world.

About the caves: The word "Carnglaze" is supposedly Cornish for 'green rock pile'. I think I prefer just "Carnglaze", but the matter of fact description does describe the quality of the slate fairly well. At this very spot, over 500 million years ago, the silt and mud of the oceans will have settled, and layered over time. Incredible pressure, and the natural shifting of the earth, results in the creation of slate. In this case, "Carnglaze" slate. Originally, this slate was mined in the open air, alongside the Loveny River. Around the turn of the 17th Century the mines were excavated into the earth itself, and deep under the woodland above. This profitable practise was continued up until the 20th Century, before the mines were opened to the public as a rather unorthodox tourist attraction.

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There is definitely more than a hint of the Welsh landscape to this lesser known area of Cornwall, with deep slate littered valleys descending to the flow of the Loveny River below, where birches and pines fight for attention. The journey is very pleasant, if driving, and even better on foot. A signpost to the right indicates we have arrived at the caverns. The car is parked, hard hats are donned, torches are lit and we make our way into the caverns….

The first thing that strikes you upon entering the cavern complex, is how wide, open and commercial it seems. Rows of plastic chairs are set in front of a makeshift stage, awaiting guests. The top cavern is used to host commercial concerts, weddings and excellent craft fairs. The atmosphere is very pleasant, and the dark corners of the cave are far from brooding, or ominous. The whole group agrees that the ambience is clear, bright and totally unthreatening. This never promised to be the liveliest of our investigations. So, in a jovial state of mind, we descend to the lower caverns….

Deeper: There are three caverns in all, with the lower areas accessed by metal steps, moodily lit by dim ankle height construction lamps. It is at this point when Lorraine notices a distinct change in the atmosphere. It is obviously darker in this area, and there is a slight temperature drop. I have read that the caves have a consistent temperature of 10°C. This is barely lower than the ambient temperature outside, so no-one was particularly alarmed, and the thermometer reflected the difference with no fluctuations.

Deeper still: While taking in the atmosphere, and sounds of the cavern, I became aware of a shift in the slate off to my left. The floor is covered with loose chipping and fragments of unused slate. The area of slate from which the sound came is not on the footpath, or near the stairs, so I was left wondering what could cause such a sudden, and obvious movement. It appeared I was not the only one to pinpoint this sound, as Matt was already cueing up the camera ready for some shots.

Away from the obviously commercial level, the caverns began to feel a bit more rugged. Passing my hand over the damp surface of the walls, I thought back to the miners who would have spent endless hours in the near pitch-dark, with only the most basic metal tools to shift huge plates of slate layers. A small boy would hold a metal driving rod, while a stronger adult hammered the rod into the hard surface immediately above. An explosive substance would then be inserted, and a small explosion would split a layer of slate. This was all accomplished with the light from a single candle, positioned on the head of the boy. Amazingly, we were told that there are no records of any fatalities, which I found surprising, and highly impressive.

Underground lakes: If there is anything supernatural about the Carnglaze Caverns, it would have to be the effect it has on the human soul. The current depth inspired all present to be utterly silent, reflective and very calm. Conversation was whispered at best. The occasional drip from the slate ceilings was the only regular sound. A natural inlet of spring water has created the most amazing underground lake, of deep greens and turquoise. I chose a spot next to the waters edge to hold my vigil. Lorraine stayed by the stairs, the source of the strange slate sound earlier, and Matt proceeded into the darker entrance to the caves beyond.

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Lorraine's Findings: Apart from the calming effect of the space, Lorraine continued to hear slight shifts in the slate by the staircase. There was an almost uniform regularity to these incidents, which is unexplainable. She also became very aware of someone/thing watching from the back corner, where a canvas gazebo stands, for wedding ceremonies. It was very dark in this area, and nothing was visible to the naked eye.

Matt's Findings: Matt seemed to be most affected by the atmosphere inside the cavern, and became almost ecstatic in his enthusiasm for the lower caves, and lake. He heard nothing unusual, but was able to confirm (twice) the sounds of moving slate over by the stairs. He did not sense any presence, or unusual sensations.

My findings: I must have stared into the blue/green water for an age. It really was quite mesmerising, and beautiful. A feeling of utter calm, and solitude was apparent, but I do not find this surprising given the atmosphere and unusual setting. I was aware, towards the end of the vigil, that there may be something/one watching from the corner with the gazebo. By this point my eyes had adjusted to the gloom, and I was able to see further than Lorraine into the dark corners beyond. While staring, and attempting to focus, the sound of a new arrival broke my concentration, as they made their way down the staircase. I was more than a little surprised, upon looking up, to find no-one on the stairs. At all. Lorraine was standing by the base, and looked as surprised as I did. Perhaps the metal was readjusting after our climb down, but it was rather peculiar all the same.

Departing: Making our way back up the very same stairs was a little unnerving, but the night time air at the top quickly dismissed any lingering fancies. Returning to the car, we all spoke very highly of our experience, and felt Carnglaze is the prefect environment for frayed souls to recover, but certainly not the most electric location for ghosthunting.

In retrospect: A beautiful, and enlightening experience. Carnglaze does offer a supernatural experience, but it will come from within, rather than any long dead miners. A classy, ethereal and welcoming space, I highly recommend this location for educational and spiritual day trips, but don’t expect anything too dramatic. Sometimes, a slate mine is just a slate mine, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.