North Wales. A land of scenic beauty, rugged coastline and picturesque countryside. This is what people generally think of when they think of North Wales. However, there is another side to my welcoming homeland. Along its labyrinth of winding roads through the mountains and hills you can unearth its many gruesome histories, secrets and paranormal hotspots many overlook. North Wales breathes history and with that many fascinating tales of all the people who have come before us and seemingly don’t want to leave or to be forgotten.
If you want to experience this all for yourself then come with me to our first location on the haunted house’s map of haunted North Wales …
Pen-y-Lan Hall, North Wales
Location: Raubon, Nr Wrexham
Building Type: Country House
Date Built: 1690
Pen-y-Lan Hall sits ominously within 1000 acres of land in Raubon. Dating back to 1690, this Grade II listed Tudor-Gothic country house has more than its fair share of ghostly tales, and things that go bump in the night.
Poltergeist activity has been frequently reported, items disappear only to reappear in a completely different place some time later. Heavy footsteps have been heard stumbling down the dark corridors. Meanwhile voices chatter as if they do not care who is listening. In addition a dark and foreboding presence has been felt in the servant’s quarters. Could this be the remnants of a disgruntled ex employee? The spirits of children frequent the hall, they are often heard playing in the many rooms.
Pen Y Lan carries the reputation locally of being notoriously haunted and the image of a child was captured peering out of a window at the hall. This was documented and reported at the time by the local tabloids. One local story also tells of a child who was reportedly saved from drowning in a lake on the ground by a mysterious dark figure who disappeared! His figure is seen at the same spot even now! Making this one of our most haunted places in North Wales.
Nant Clwyd y Dre, North Wales
Building Type: Timber Framed Town House
Date Built: 1435
As we move 24 miles North West deeper into North Wales we find ourselves at Nant Clwyd y Dre Wales’ oldest dated timber town house in Ruthin.
Built in 1435 the property has changed hands many times through its history. The house was used by two surgeons in Victorian times, then an ironmonger, girls school and also as a rectory. This may be why there are a plethora of ghosts and spirits who have chosen to stay in the building.
Loud bangs are still heard in the dead of night, poltergeist activity is rife, and the most famous of spectres is the classic Lady in White who wanders aimlessly around the maze of hallways the building has to offer. With so much spirit activity that takes place at this location, it truly has earned its name as one of the most haunted places in North Wales.
Ruthin Gaol, North Wales
Building Type: County Jail
Date Built: 1654
You will not have to travel far to our next location. In fact , it is a five minute walk to the next street.
Another one of the Most Haunted Places in North Wales is Ruthin Goal, or Jail – holds a dark history of torture, brutality and squalid conditions for murderers and the most revered criminals of its time. Constructed small in 1654 the original jail only consequently held 4 prisoners. By 1865 the prison had been remodeled to conform with new standards and could hold 100 prisoners.
There was only one documented execution at the prison. William Hughes was hung in 1903 for murdering his wife.
As you can imagine in a place such as a jail there are many tormented souls still serving their time. One spirit is reported to be William Kerr who was an ex prison guard who went missing during his rounds one day without a trace. Is he trying to let people know what happened to him?
Spectres have been seen on CCTV walking in and out of cells and the echoes of a young girl called Beatrice has been seen. Cell doors bang and tortured screams are often heard.
My personal experiences here
On a personal visit to the jail I was using my Ovilus device, which allows spirits to manipulate an in-built dictionary through their energy to communicate. I stood next to the coffin that is placed in the middle of the floor by the cells and immediately the word that presented itself was “Coffin”! The device also stated the word “release” when I exited the building. It seems the ghosts and spirits at this location are highly intelligent!
Gwrych Castle, North Wales
Building Type: Stately Home
Date Built: 1819
We now make our way west along the A55 you will be spoilt by the coast views to your right and the rolling hills to your left. As you near Abergele you will finally see our fourth location on our most haunted places in North Wales journey. Namely Gwrych Castle.
This paranormal hotspot is as enchanting as it is terrifying. First built between 1819 and 1825, it was originally a family bolt hole to the countesses and lords of the Dundonald family. During world war II the Government used the castle to house 200 Jewish refugees . After the war the castle left the family and subsequently then opened to the public.
Gwrych became a training venue for the English World Middleweight boxing champion Randolph Turpin in the early 1950’s. He himself had a paranormal experience whilst staying at the castle. Turpin told that a lady in a red dress was seen crying when he was walking in the garden one evening. He asked her what was the matter, however, she simply vanished! The castle has held many events such as medieval re-enactments, the famous Dragon Rally in the 70’s and movie scenes have since been filmed in the grounds.
In 1985 the castle sadly fell into neglect. The floors slowly fell through, the gardens overgrew, and the spirits were left alone. Nobody was there to hear the ghostly horse hooves treading the ground or see the dark shadows often seen.
My personal experiences here
I recall in my early ghost hunting days visiting the castle numerous times at dusk where I felt captivated as I walked the halls and out buildings. It was also on one of those occasions where Randolph Turpin’s Lady in Red made her presence known to myself and three friends I was with at the time. She walked straight out of a wall into the courtyard we were standing in!
Although it is now 14 years since this happened, I can still remember exactly what she looked like. She had a long flowing old style red dress on with a white shawl over her arms that fell down her back. The spirit had blonde curly hair and glowed as if in daylight. We stared at her transfixed for what seemed like ten minutes when our fixation was broken by a gut-wrenching scream that filled the air. On this we made our very hasty exit at this point! We were totally unaware at the time about the “Lady in Red” connected with the castle and it was only after we researched the hauntings that we realised who we had seen.
A lady fell of a horse in the grounds and sadly died. However, her wishes to be buried at the castle were not honoured. This experience is what drives me further in seeking out more evidence of the paranormal. How fortunate was I to be there at the right time so see that lady replay her steps in death as she did in life. And this is why we, as persons interested in the paranormal do what we do, right?
Penrhyn Old Hall, North Wales
Location: Penrhyn Bay
Building Type: Tavern
Date Built: 1500’s
Penrhyn Old Hall is tucked away in the small hamlet of Penrhyn Bay. Just at the bottom of the hill before you arrive in the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno.
It is mostly of the Tudor era owned mostly by the Pugh family. Previously, the hall was known as a hideout for Catholic priests. The fire place contains a priest hole where terrified priests used to hide from the King’s men. So it is no wonder the ghost of a monk has been seen gliding through the Baronial Hall at Penrhyn Old Hall.
Within the hall’s history it tells of a monk, William Davies, fleeing the King’s men and hiding in a cave on the Great Orme. He took with him a printing press and printed Wales’ first book. Davies was later caught, hung drawn and quartered in Beaumaris.
You will hear more about Beaumaris later on in our journey. Other ghostly figures include a boy who sprinkles salt on tables, a young girl from the Pugh family who is said to have been murdered at the hall for falling in love with a non-catholic boy and a soldier. An old lady is seen sitting by the fire place and guests feel like they are constantly being watched.
Today Penrhyn Old Hall is a restaurant and has function rooms for hire during the day. But at night it comes alive with paranormal activity not for the faint hearted.
Plas Mawr, North Wales
Building Type: Elizabethan Town House
Date Built: 16th Century
Conwy is a medieval coastal town filled with narrow streets, charming little shops and of course Conwy castle that towers over it all. However, in the middle of a bustling cobbled main street stands Plas Mawr an Elizabethan 16th century townhouse.
The property was built by Robert Wynn, a member of the local gentry. After 1683 Plas Mawr passed into the hands of the Mostyn family and was no longer used as a family home. It was rented out for various purposes including for use as a school, and finally as the headquarters of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art.
Reported Ghosts of Plas Mawr
Plas Mawr is extremely haunted and there is good reason why. Robert Wynn’s wives both died at the property. The first of illness and the second, Dorothy, fell down the stairs whilst carrying her new born baby. A doctor was called for to tend to the wife and baby. He was told in no uncertain terms by Robert that his wife and baby could not die and he locked the doctor in the bedroom. Unfortunately, both perished and the doctor was nowhere to be seen when the bedroom was unlocked. Many say the doctor tried to escape up the chimney and suffocated. Does the doctor haunt the bedroom?
A ghostly face is seen peering out of the bedroom door, also Robert Wynn himself is seen walking around the house, greeting people with ghostly “hello”! Elsewhere on the second floor two women spirits have been encountered, one of them seems distressed. Could this be both of Roberts two wives?
Also, poltergeists like to throw items at guests and the smell of tobacco can be smelt. Unseen hands touch unsuspecting guests without permission. The spirit of a black cat has also been seen crossing the floors.
We have come to the last location on our Haunted Houses tour of the most haunted locations in North Wales. It is located on the Isle of Anglesey, itself famed for its mythology, mystery and abundance of ghosts and phantoms.
Beaumais Gaol, North Wales
Location: Beaumaris, Anglesey
Building Type: Former Gaol & Police Station
Date Built: 1829
Beaumaris jail dates back to 1829. Looks can sometimes be deceiving as after its use as a prison it was used as a police station and children’s clinic.
During its time as a jail prisoners were subjected to a strict horrific regime and were often whipped, chained and isolated in a dark cell for up to three days. You can visit this very cell yourself and turn off the lights to experience how that would have felt, even just for ten minutes. Two inmates that were subjected to this torture were Williams Griffiths and Richard Rowlands who were both hung and are buried at the prison grounds. Both of their spirits haunt the jail to this day and regularly communicate with guests via the Ouija boards.
A female spirit named Bridget wanders the jail looking for her child who also perished within the walls. A darker more mischievous energy also frequents the jail and is often seen. I, myself, have had my name whispered in my ear when alone in the jail. The condemned man’s cell is much less welcoming at night with a heavy atmosphere that would make even the most seasoned ghost hunter very uneasy. Whistling and faint moaning can be heard at the dead of night within the jails freezing halls.
The jail governor also still patrols the jail and has been seen inside his office or outside on his viewing platform looking down the halls where he had a prime view of all the prisoners…and now the living.
So here ends our journey through some of North Wales’ most haunted locations. As ghost hunters we seek the unexplained so where better to do this than one of these fascinating locations. You will not be disappointed.
Haunted Houses North Wales Team can assist you in your journey in experiencing the unexplained, communicate with spirits using the latest equipment and techniques in the best locations in North Wales and most importantly have fun whilst you do it! To book your place please visit OUR WEBSITE www.haunted-houses.co.uk
* This is a guest post written by Gemma Williams from Haunted Houses Events.
Gemma is a member of the Haunted Houses North Wales team living in Old Colwyn, and her passion for the paranormal is inspirational to many. Gemma has a real love for sharing her ghostly encounters that she has experienced in the field of ghost hunting. And hearing about what others have learned on their journeys too. Her conscious knows that good energy is key to making your ghost hunting event with Haunted Houses the best it can be, so brings it with her in abundance. Gemma invites others that are interested in the paranormal to join her in North Wales on a ghost hunt. But don’t forget your torch, as with Gemma you can guarantee its going to be in the dark!
Scottish Isle to Erect Statue Honoring Its Famous ‘White Wife’ Ghost
If you need more proof that tourism is the growth industry of the future, look no further than Scotland’s whose council is considering erecting a statue honoring a hooded female ghost who haunts a lonely stretch of road and appears in cars driven by single young men. What fun!
“I thought at the time, ‘there’s no moon tonight’. When I looked around the White Wife was sitting in the seat next to me. She was transparent, grey and she smiled. I’ll never forget that smile. At the time it gee’d me a braa gluff, yes!”
If you understand those words, you’re probably from the Shetland Islands of far north Scotland where a unique Shetlandic dialect combining Old Norse (due to the islands being part of Norway until the 15th century) and Scottish is spoken (“braa gluff” means a grand fright). In an interview with The Shetland News, noted Unst fiddler Steven Spence was describing his own encounter with the White Wife of Watlee while driving alone from Baltasound to Uyeasound on the Watlee Brae (“brae” is a road with a steep grade) when he was gluffed to find a ghost sitting next to him. The spirit disappeared before he could say anything, but Spence knew the legend of the White Wife and was sure it was her.
The Shetland News was interviewing guys with White Wife encounters after local artist Eric Burgess-Ray proposed building a life-sized statue of the hooded apparition and community council chairman Gordon Thomson agreed to sponsor it, seeing that it would make a great and “quirky” attraction that would draw tourists to the “island above all others” of the Shetland islands. According to the long-told legend, the White Wife of Watlee is the ghost of an elderly female who is looking for her son, usually near the Brig of Watlee (“brig” is a bridge). Not much else is known about the woman, why she haunts that particular stretch of road or how she or her son might have met the demise that doomed her to live on as a spirit.
“It’s just one of those things you cannot believe unless it happens to you.”
Unst resident Alan Hunter told The Shetland News of his own experience on the same road when an old grey woman appeared in the passenger seat of his car and stayed there for about mile before disappearing. Enough single men have seen the White Wife of Watlee that the nearby Valhalla Brewery (the UK’s northernmost brewery) offers a White Wife ale – “a light ale with a golden, clean finish. It’s dry, refreshing, bitter and characteristically fruity aftertaste.”
Eric Burgess-Ray wants his statue approved and on display in time to help this year’s tourist season because “people like a good ghost story.” However, Unst already has plenty to offer. Besides being the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles, it’s home to the remains of the Muness Castle, 60 Viking longhouses – three are being restored – and the Hermaness National Nature Reserve. It also already has a monument to the White Wife – a flat rock with a line drawing of her head on it.
A rock? A ghost that appears in cars needs a better memorial than that. Let’s hope the White Wife of Watlee gets her well-deserved statue.
Source: Mysterious Universe
New Book Reveals London’s Oddest Hauntings
Do you know which theatre houses a female phantom who sits in the stalls cradling a blood-soaked severed head?
Where can you find an antique wheelchair that moves of its own accord, terrifying those who hear its squeaking wheels approaching?
And where in London were two people frightened to death — literally?
Answers to these questions can be found in Paranormal London, the latest book by Gilly Pickup. Here, the author shares five of the more unusual spooks from her research, all with a transport theme.
The black nun of Bank tube
Shortly after Bank station opened, people said that it was haunted by a nun. Research showed that she was probably a woman called Sarah Whitehead mourning the death of her brother, a bank clerk who was arrested and hanged for forging cheques in 1811 in the nearby Bank of England. The news drove his sister mad. Every day for the rest of her life, Sarah visited the bank and asked to see her brother. She always did this in mourning dress so staff nicknamed her the ‘Black Nun’. Sightings are always accompanied by a wave of sadness and a foul smell. The station has other associations with death. 56 people were killed in the booking hall when a bomb hit the station in the second world war. Another part is built into the crypt of St Mary Woolnoth, while there are rumours of a mass grave for 17th century plague victims somewhere beneath the station. Perhaps the ‘foul smell’ is associated with that.
The haunted foot tunnel
Few parts of the capital can feel so creepy when experienced alone as Greenwich Foot Tunnel. The echoing passage beneath the Thames has been the site of multiple paranormal occurrences. One spirit is that of an eight-year-old girl who has communicated with ghost hunters on several occasions. Perhaps the hauntings can be attributed to the spirits of those whose bodies were moved during construction of the tunnel.
More spookiness beneath the Thames
Blackwall Tunnel, a little downriver, is haunted by a young man killed in a 1960s motorcycle accident. Sometimes he appears to motorcyclists, flagging them down and asking for a lift to Leigh-on-Sea. He told one of those who picked him up where he lived. Coming out of the tunnel, the driver turned briefly to make a comment only to find his passenger had disappeared. The driver went through the tunnel again but found no sign of his passenger. He was so shocked that he drove to the address his passenger had given him. He was told a man of that description had lived there several years previously but had died.
Dread in an elevator
Founded in 1123 as part of a monastery, St Bartholomew’s Hospital has its fair share of ghost stories. The most active phantom haunts the lift within a stairwell. Sometimes when a staff member steps into the lift late at night or in the early hours and presses the button to go to an upper floor, the lights go off. The unfortunate passenger finds themselves moving slowly down to a dark basement. The lift doesn’t budge from there until they get out and start walking up the shadowy stairwell towards their destination – only to realise that they are being followed slowly by the lift.
Disused stations like Aldwych and Down Street are popularly known as ghost stations, but more than one active station claims a spook. Kentish Town West, on the Overground, is one such. Recently, a member of the public accompanying a team of paranormal investigators became overwhelmed and taken over by a spirit energy. She describes in chilling detail how she had never experienced anything similar on any other paranormal event she has participated in.
Paranormal London by Gilly Pickup is out now from Amberley. We’ve given you the Amazon link, but we’d always recommend using one of London’s independent book shops.
Disclaimer: as a bastion of rational thought, Londonist does not believe in ghosts, but we do enjoy a good supernatural yarn as much as the next person.
Why we should believe in ghosts
Halloween is a time when ghosts and spooky decorations are on public display, reminding us of the realm of the dead. But could they also be instructing us in important lessons on how to lead moral lives?
The origins of modern-day Halloween date back to ‘samhain’, a Celtic celebration for the beginning of the dark half of the year when, it was widely believed, the realm between the living and the dead overlapped and ghosts could be commonly encountered.
In 601 AD, to help his drive to convert northern Europe to Christianity, Pope Gregory I directed missionaries not to stop pagan celebrations, but rather to Christianise them.
Accordingly, over time, the celebrations of samhain became All Souls’ Day and All Saint’s Day, when speaking with the dead was considered religiously appropriate. All Saint’s Day was also known as All Hallows’ Day and the night before became All Hallows’ Evening, or ‘Hallowe’en’.
Not only did the pagan beliefs around spirits of the dead continue, but they also became part of many of early church practices.
Pope Gregory I himself suggested that people seeing ghosts should say masses for them. The dead, in this view, might require help from the living to make their journey towards Heaven.
During the Middle Ages, beliefs about souls trapped in purgatory led to the church’s increasing practice of selling indulgences – payments to the church to reduce penalties for sins. The widespread belief in ghosts turned the sale of indulgences into a lucrative practice for the church.
It was such beliefs that contributed to the Reformation, the division of Christianity into Protestantism and Catholicism led by German theologian Martin Luther. Indeed, Luther’s 95 Theses, nailed to the All Saints Church in Wittenburg on 31 October 1517, was largely a protest against the selling of indulgences.
Subsequently, ghosts became identified with ‘Catholic superstitions’ in Protestant countries.
Debates, however, continued about the existence of ghosts and people increasingly turned to science to deal with the issue. By the 19th Century, Spiritualism, a new movement which claimed that the dead could converse with the living, was fast becoming mainstream, and featured popular techniques such as seances, the ouija board, spirit photography and the like.
Although Spiritualism faded in cultural importance after World War One, many of its approaches can be seen in the ‘ghost hunters’ of today, who often seek to prove the existence of ghosts using scientific techniques.
In Taiwan, for example, about 90% of people report seeing ghosts
Along with many Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam, Taiwan celebrates a Ghost Month, which includes a central Ghost Day, when ghosts are believed to freely roam the world of the living. These festivals and beliefs are often tied to the Buddhist story of the Urabon Sutra, where Buddha instructs a young priest on how to help his mother whom he sees suffering as a ‘hungry ghost’.
As in many traditions, Taiwanese ghosts are seen either as ‘friendly’ or ‘unfriendly’. The friendly ghosts are commonly ancestral or familial and are welcomed into the home during the ghost festival. The unfriendly ghosts are those that are angry or ‘hungry’ and haunt the living.
As a mythology scholar at the University of Southern California who has studied and taught ghost stories for many years, I have found that ghosts generally ‘haunt’ for good reasons. These could range from unsolved murders, lack of proper funerals, forced suicides, preventable tragedies and other ethical failures.
Ghosts, in this light, are often seeking justice from beyond the grave. They could make such demands from individuals, or from societies as a whole. For example, in the US, sightings have been reported of African-American slaves and murdered Native Americans. Scholar Elizabeth Tucker, from Binghamton State University of New York, details many of these reported sightings on university campuses, often tied to sordid aspects of the campus’s past.
Sightings are often a reminder that ethical lapses can carry a heavy spiritual burden
In this way, ghosts reveal the shadow side of ethics. Their sightings are often a reminder that ethics and morality transcend our lives and that ethical lapses can carry a heavy spiritual burden.
Yet ghost stories are also hopeful. In suggesting a life after death, they offer a chance to be in contact with those that have passed and therefore a chance for redemption – a way to atone for past wrongs.
This Halloween, along with the shrieks and shtick, you may want to take a few minutes to appreciate the role of ghosts in our haunted pasts and how they guide us to lead moral and ethical lives.
This article originally appeared on The Conversation, and is republished under a Creative Commons licence.
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