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Observations placeholder

Black Sabbath - The ghost of Clearwell Castle



Type of Spiritual Experience


Number of hallucinations: 2


A description of the experience

Birmingham Mail - Black Sabbath star: I've seen a ghost


Sunday Mercury

00:25, 7 JUN 2009

Updated13:33, 23 OCT 2012

Tony Iommi, the lead guitarist with the Brummie rockers, has admitted that it’s all true – he has seen a ghost. And he wasn’t alone when it happened.

However, being a rock god ravaged by time and the trauma of hard-living, it’s not surprising that he remembers the ghost, but not who he was with at the time.

Though the 61-year-old does recall it being a fellow band member – either lead singer and future reality TV star Ozzy Osbourne or rhythm guitarist Terry “Geezer” Butler.

Back in the early 70s, the group were holed-up in Clearwell Castle, in the Forest Of Dean, to take part in a writing session for a new album, which would eventually be released as Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, in 1973.

Which is when the ghost made its entrance. “We definitely saw one,” says Tony in an interview with Guitarist magazine. “We were setting up the gear in the dungeons and were the only people there.

“It was myself and Geezer, or myself and Ozzy, and we were walking down the hallway and we saw a cloaked figure coming towards us.

“We thought, who is that? It walked into a room, and we followed it to see who it was and there was nobody there.

The room was an armoury with all the weapons on the wall, and there was nothing else in there.

“We told the people about it who owned the castle; we thought they’d think we were mad, but they just said, ‘Oh yes, that’s the castle ghost’.”

Tony has certainly lived a remarkable life, and not just because he spotted a spirit.

From the early days of his career in music, he has always been a bloke who could beat the odds.

In 1965 he was working in a factory when he lost the tips of his two middle fingers in a machine press accident. Digits that were essential for a budding guitarist.

The 18-year-old didn’t give up. Eventually he made his own artificial fingertips, and re-invented his guitar style to accommodate his infirmity.

The new style he created came to be known, the world-over, as Heavy Metal.

Tony was also instrumental in creating Black Sabbath’s most famous song, Paranoid, the idea of which he came up with while the rest of the band had gone for lunch.

It was recorded in no more than half an hour, yet it went on to become a song that epitomised the hulking hammer sound of Heavy Metal.

The source of the experience

Black Sabbath

Concepts, symbols and science items


Spirit entity


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps