Whilst on my travels in St. Albans, I came across an Old Tavern which I later found to be a public mad house. The proprietor of this establishment was a squat man of ageing years, who was somewhat overweight and semi-bald. I approached the bar with mixed feelings, partly due to the atmosphere of the place being dullen yet the impression was of one who reflects having walked through a cemetery in the dead of night, as the room was quite dark. Having pressed the bell-push, I waited in silence, shortly the sound of footsteps echoed behind the ansome structure. I was addressed by a voice upon which all manner of face and physique raced madly in my mind, for I could not clearly see him.

The outline of the figure was barely visible, but I sensed the invitation of entry. The shadowy figure led tile down a darkened passage which was also remarkably poorly lit as if' some curse forbid the presence of light here. My guide remained silent as our footsteps resounded off the damp walls of the passage. We eventually reached a small oak door, illuminated by a flickering flame torch which hung above it. By this light, I was able to observe my guide, a tall slightly built man, whose face was of such a pale colour I doubted if any blood existed in his veins. A rum fellow who would surely terrify any man confronted by him.

I was now led through the lighted doorway into what could only be described as a cellar. A cold chill iced my spine upon entry and a strange musty odour reminiscent of an undisturbed dusty room depressed my already bewildered conscience. The room was dark, my footsteps echoed and seemed to take considerable time in ceasing, suggesting the place was of a large area. Descending steps, I groped in the darkness, realising the man had no torch I called to him in front but there was no answer not even of his footsteps.

A noise behind, compelled me to turn quickly, the door through which I had been lead had closed, shutting out the light with it. I retraced my steps trying not to fall and felt the door. Finding no handle I began beating hard with my fist on the wood to no avail. I was alone in the blackness of this devilish room, but then I sensed I was not, I could perceive a movement. The disturbance was not unlike a rushing of air, I shivered with expectation for some kind of evil was afoot here, and suddenly my fears became a maddening reality. Out of the blackness came a figure whose words sent my heart pulsating to a terrifying crescendo: "Hello, welcome to St. Albans 18 Plus Disco!"

Rob Smith - St. Albans, 1978

Back to 18 Plus Home Page

Last Edited by JMW 11/30/08