‘Disturbing’ bunker inspires ghost story

Mark Haddon photographed inside the York Cold War Bunker. Picture by David Levene
Mark Haddon photographed inside the York Cold War Bunker. Picture by David Levene
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HE is a multi-award winning author with an imagination capable of creating stories that will sell millions of copies.

But The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time author Mark Haddon admitted he found York’s Cold War bunker “genuinely disturbing” when he visited to research a ghost story to feature in a book inspired by English Heritage sites.

The Cold War Bunker in York. Picture by Nigel Roddis

The Cold War Bunker in York. Picture by Nigel Roddis

Eight Ghosts features a chilling story by the bestselling author set in the Bunker, and he will return later this month for a special event celebrating the publication of the book.

It is the first time English Heritage has commissioned new works of fiction, and proceeds from the book will go towards its conservation work.

The compilation also features stories set at Carlisle Castle and Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall, among other sites, and an essay on the tradition of the English ghost story by York-born author Andrew Martin. Other authors featured in the book include Sarah Perry, the author of The Essex Serpent, and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit writer Jeannette Winterson.

Mr Haddon said: “The York Cold War Bunker is a genuinely disturbing place, both physically and historically. It was built for an eventuality which would have destroyed large parts of Europe and America and destroyed civil society. Writing a story set in the bunker was a challenge.

“During a nuclear war, ghosts would be a long way down ones list of worries. And, in my experience, if a story is easy to write it rarely turns out well.”

Mark Haddon will be at York Cold War Bunker on Friday October 27 for a twilight tour and reading.

For tickets click here.