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Crank Caverns have been on my radar for a while, with its mythical history of child eating dwarves, oddly shaped body bags, cannibalism and a hidden chapel who wouldn't want to go and take a look? With a history like that, we decided to brave the night and risk life and limb to go in search of the evil creatures of the caverns. Meeting up with some friends we scurried through the dark to the edge of the woods. Wondering what awaited us we made our way through the trees to the cavern entrance, listening out for the scurry of tiny angry dwarf feet! Much to our disappointment, we heard no such thing so made our way in! It was a little damp and muddy in places but We explored every nook and cranny possible, with one of the lads crawling through some that weren't even possible! He is like a crawly ninja of small holes and gaps that do not exist! Despite our extensive searching, we didn't come across any dwarves or a single human bone and with no evidence of a secret church we called it a night and went our separate ways. Was a fun night out with a cracking bunch of people History Sandstone quarrying began here as early as 1730. As the quarry expanded, the cost of purchasing land to open cast mine it increased, so it was decided to opt for a different method. Instead of quarrying out the stone, they would mine it out, following a seam of stone until it ran out. This resulted in the network of caves, tunnels and shafts we see today. Rainford Delph is listed as a Colliery by 1854, under the ownership of Charles Howarth or Yorkshire Charlie as he was known locally by 1880. Mining finally ceased and the woods and caverns were used as a game reserve by the Earl of Derby until 1939 when they became a storage facility for ammunition for the anti-aircraft position at Crank. After the war, the caverns ceased use as a game reserve. Myths and Legends Child Eating Dwarves "Vicious dwarves" were once rumoured to inhabit the labyrinth of caverns in Crank. In the late 18th century four children decided to explore the sandstone caverns and vanished. One child survived and told a terrifying tale about small old men with beards, who talked in an unknown language, they killed his three friends and chased him. The petrified child stumbled over human bones in the caves and finally managed to scramble through an opening to the surface as a hand was grabbing at his ankle. The authorities became concerned because a number of people had gone missing in the area near the cave entrances and apparently they sent in the army to install gates and bars. It is apparently undecided if this was to keep people out or keep something in. Oddly shaped body bags Apparently about 17 or 18 years ago two young lads entered the caverns and got lost, they had told their parents where they were going and when they didn’t arrive home their parents informed the police. After a couple of days searching the police sealed off the area and removed to body bags from the caverns. This is where it gets strange, they were also reported to have removed 7 more body bags from the caverns, one of the bags was said to have not been in a body shape but was square. Cannibalism There is a story about some scouts who went down the caverns for a look around and at the end of the day one of the scouts had not come back out. Eventually, they called out Cave Rescue to try and find the boy. After a long search they found him or what was left of him, allegedly the boy was partly eaten. The parents of the child wanted it all kept secret so the press didn't get hold of the story and they could give their son a peaceful send-off. Another story tells of a child's head found in a cave, along with evidence of cannibalism. After a second investigation, the caves either collapsed or gunpowder was used to seal them. Church Cavern Two heavily armed soldiers descended into the caverns with torches and claimed that they not only found a heap of human bones, they also found the ruins of an ancient church of some unknown denomination. The interior of the church was lit by three large candles and grotesque gargoyles formed part of an altar. Throughout the exploration of the underground, the soldiers said they felt as if they were being watched, and also heard voices speaking in an unknown language. Anyway enough of this rubbish here's a few pics to look at instead...... Thanks for looking
This isn't really a good report but not much gets posted about these caverns I went here in January 15 it's quite close by to me. But only went armed with my iPhone and a torch. This report is more about the tales and myths that surround these caves. I did go down in to the caves but not to far as was on my own in there and didn't want to get lost or anything so only a few externals I'm afraid. But hoping to get back there soon. So here's a bit of history and a couple of pics... The small village of Crank close to Rainford in Merseyside is not the sort of place where you would expect to encounter a vast underground man made cave system, however this little known strange place does exist and many legends are attached to this disturbing place Four children decided to explore the limestone caverns in the area and vanished. One child survived and told a terrifying tale about small old men with beards who killed his three friends and chased him. The petrified child stumbled over human bones in the caves and finally managed to scramble through an opening to the surface as a hand was grabbing at his ankle. The authorities were concerned because a number of people had gone missing in the area near the cave entrances. Two heavily armed soldiers descended into the caverns with torches and claimed that they not only found a heap of human bones, they also found the ruins of an ancient church of some unknown denomination. The interior of the church was lit by three large candles and grotesque gargoyles formed part of an altar. Throughout the exploration of the underground, the soldiers said they felt as if they were being watched, and also heard voices speaking in an unknown language. One report said that a child's head was found in a cave, along with evidence of cannibalism. After a second investigation, the caves either collapsed or gunpowder was used to seal them, and so the riddle of the underground church of Billinge remains unsolved. The caverns are actually the remains of the Rainford Delph Quarry. in which mining ceased in 1865. The surrounding woods and caverns were later used as a game reserve by the Earl of Derby, and in the WW2 they became a storage facility for ammunition for the Anti Aircraft position at Crank. The Caverns are said to have tunnels leading to them from some of the buildings in the Village, one use was for the Catholic priests to escape from the Parliamentarians/CromwellÃ¢€™s soliders.At this time Catholic priests were being killed and were banned from saying mass, so they had to practice mass in private at places such as Birchley Hall, tunnels from the hall are said to lead to the caverns. The main caverns are fairly new compared to the main tunnel system which starts at the mousey, Level 1 was for mining-nothing else, although one passage which streches to the 12 yarder does connect with the original level 2 main system. Level 2 was there first, this was a large network of tunnels leading to many known places in the St Helens area including the Stork Hotel Billinge, Lowe House Church, Carrmill area, St Aidens Church Billinge etc. The tunnels also run under a lot of the Pubs in the Billinge area, not all of them have entrances, but i believe the tunnel network under the Billinge arms (George and Dragon) may hide a dark secret. The Stork Inn in the village of Billinge located 2-3 miles from the cave entrance and where one of the tunnels is said to have connected with the cellar some time in the past.There is a story that the Church was once above ground, but due to part of the CavernÃ¢€™s tunnels collapsing, the Church sunk into the ground and fell inside the caverns.