Beachy head is the most notorious spot for suicide in Britain. The famous white cliffs of chalk were formed in the Late Cretaceous era between 66 and 100 million years ago when the entire area was submerged under the sea.
On Easter Sunday in 1981, a local photographer set his camera on a tripod close to the cliff-edge at Beachy head. He was hoping to take some stunning photographs of the South coast of England, when a 19-year-old boy approached him, pointed at the camera and said: “I hope you’ve got that loaded”. The boy then walked away, turned on his heel, and ran at the edge, yelling madly as he jumped to his death.’
“This beautiful place openly invites us to die,” wrote
novelist Louis de Bernieres in an essay on Beachy Head. “All about are the
wisps and traces of broken hearts, cancelled dreams, abandoned
‘High among the chalk crags, where the wind always howls, dwells the most malevolent spirit in Britain,’ writes John Maklin. ‘It is an evil influence that, it is claimed, has hurled more than 100 victims over the edge to their deaths on the cruel wave-lashed rocks below. Many people have positively stated – some under oath – that they have felt the evil influence on the cliffs. They claim that they had to combat violently a power that attempted to force them over the edge to their doom.’
The unexplained lure of Beachy Head
with special thanks to Ed Parnell for audio production