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Issue 51 - Underground secret souls

Scotland Magazine Issue 51
June 2010


This article is 8 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Underground secret souls

Annie Harrower Gray gets a shiver down her spine at a Cold War site.

For 50 years, one sinister aspect of Scotland’s turbulent history lay buried under what appeared to be an ordinary Fife farmhouse. So well guarded was the secret of the Nuclear Command Centre, 40 metres below ground at Troywood near Crail, not even the local community suspected that up to three hundred, military, Royal Observer Corps and Civil Defence personnel were preparing for Armageddon in a sealed bunker dug deep into their green and fertile land.

The site amongst an agricultural population was of course well chosen. Due to the poor quality of radar in the 1940s, each look -out post needed a range or view of at least 38 miles.

Even before the end of World War Two, the ‘Hot War’, Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt were predicting a new era that would be a danger to the future of the English speaking peoples and believed that the Life underground at Troywood would have been stressful threat would come from their wartime ally, the USSR. On January 6th 1944, Stalin marched the Red Army six miles into Poland dragging Communism behind it, and thus began the period subsequently known as the ‘Cold War.’ For half a century, the Warsaw Pact countries and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) vied for one-upmanship in their preparations for hostilities.

British Government plans at the end of World War II were to establish early warning radar stations along the east coast of the United Kingdom. The station at Troywood was set up to protect the targets of nearby RAF Leuchars and the Royal Navy dockyard at Rosyth. Leuchars was just one of a number of Royal Air Force stations on constant alert, with specially armed planes stored in hangars ready for take off.

Whenever a Soviet Bear or Bison aircraft entered NATO airspace crews were scrambled and the planes airborne.

A special RAF operations room with ‘Tote’ board to show the position of aircraft and antiaircraft guns was set up at Troywood in the 1950s to aid the efficiency of this Quick Reaction Alert Force.

By 1958, radar systems had vastly improved. The centre became a Regional Seat of Government (RSG) and 10 years later, headquarters to a Regional Government .

This body would decide how to deal with the aftermath of an enemy attack, and how food supplies, medicine and water would be distributed, while naturally ensuring their own safety and comfort first.

Perhaps because of the unnatural living condition which the personnel had to endure, the bunker has produced a certain amount of paranormal phenomena. Since being opened to the public on 1st April 1994, visitors have seen a figure of a man and twinkling blue lights under the stairway.

Many photographs have contained orbs.

These experiences have attracted the attention of various groups hoping to find evidence of paranormal activity.

In playing host to one group, the director James Mitchell saw what appeared to be an unidentified flying object hovering above the bunker, and this anomaly was photographically recorded. James is quite candid on the subject, saying that due to the close proximity of the RAF base at Leuchars, he is reserving judgement until evidence can be scientifically examined.

Alba Paranormal, searching for recorded evidence to support The Stone Tape Theory, carried out one of the most extensive surveys. In military buildings where inhabitants have suffered fear and stress, powerful emotional states can be recorded by the fabric of the building and played back in favourable conditions.

Life underground at Troywood would certainly have been stressful. Not only would plans for survival and retaliation be made here, but the bunker also housed the war telephones to relay the three-minute warning that preceded an all-out nuclear strike.

No wonder strange occurrences have taken place. After descending the 150-metre tunnel into the bowels of the bunker, Alba Paranormal encountered their first supernatural presence at the foot of the stairwell. Bill Black, a psychic member of the team , identified the presence as being that of ‘Podge Graham’ an RAF serviceman linked to a cap displayed in the stairwell. Podge later appeared to Bill in the dormitory where up to 300 staff, after working 18 hour shifts, slept for six. Workers shared their beds with other personnel on a system known as ‘The Hot Beds’ principle. Podge explained that he had slept in one of the beds and there had Opening pages: Britian’s early warning radar network, waiting and watching These pages, clockwise from top left: Only a skeleton; the Fife farmhouse facade; the hot phones; military vehicles; a Russian motorbike; plotting enemy aircraft been an incident in the dormitory between him and another man on August 19th 1954.

The stairway also revealed a spirit by the name of Adam Robertson. His apparition was not grounded in the building, but was an occasional visitor. Robertson was a steel worker who, around Christmas 1952, fell to his death constructing the bunker.

As the investigation progressed and entered the ‘Russian Motorcycle Display’ room, Bill Black sensed the presence of two small spaniels. Apparently, there was originally kennels in the grounds to sleep dogs employed in security. Spaniels are well known for their ability to sniff out explosives.

Several of the team experienced discomfort as they approached the Telex Room where vital communications were relayed. Black alone found the sight in his left eye deteriorating as he entered the room.

Here he came upon a small man who revealed himself to be a really nasty soul by the name of Mackay. Mackay, an exserviceman and a civilian worker in the bunker around 1955, was disliked by the people who worked under him. He lost an eye at some point during his military service.

Aware that Mackay was following them, the team set off in search of Room 14. Bill Black was seeing a fight that had once taken place here between two young men. They were fighting over a woman. As it turned out, Room 14 turned out to be a storage space behind the cafeteria that was formerly used as part of the living accommodation.

What Alba Paranormal concluded from their visit was that the personal histories of the astral entities the team had been able to contact were worth researching, and the presence of more manifestations still trapped in ‘Cold War’ conditions was something that warranted further investigation.

The Warsaw Pact has long since disintegrated and the’ Cold War’ is just another blight on the landscape of 20th century history, but nuclear weapons still exist to remind us of those dark times. Should any country deploy such a weapon today, perhaps the only survivors of such a holocaust would be those shadows of humanity clinging onto their secrets 40 metres under a Fife farmhouse.