Sunday, 13 June 2010

Spooky Sunday

Finally got round to visiting Gwydir Castle, near Llanrwst today, albeit in pouring rain. I'm particularly pleased with the interior shots here, partly because they were taken on a quarter-of-a-second exposure (without flash of course) and I think they've come out surprisingly well. But also because it turns out photography (even without flash) was supposedly forbidden inside the house, despite the lack of signs stating this and the failure of the guy who sold us the tickets mentioning it. Neverthless, they're certainly not shy about telling off their paying visitors if, like me, you are heinous enough to do so in blissful ignorance. Pity, because up until that point it was a very enjoyable, atmospheric visit, depsite the rain. Being talked down to by a posh twat does spoil the mood somewhat.

Anyway, on to the ghosts. Gwydir is the ancestral home of the important North Wales family the Wynnes and has a long-established haunted room. The apparition of a young woman has been seen in and around the 'Ghost Room' and she is linked to a horrible, unearthly smell of decay which has also sometimes been detected. Legend has it the ghost is of a servant seduced by one of the past Wynnes who was murdered by him and her body secreted in a chimney breast backing on to the room. A sizeable cavity has been found in this chimney and is now labelled a 'priest hole'.

According to the house's website,, other ghosts have been reported here, including that of the first Sir John Wynne (said to be so wicked that his spirit is trapped at the bottom of the Swallow Falls in Betws until it is washed and purified), a 'procession' on the Great Terrace and the apparition of a dog, possibly the one whose skeleton was found some years ago in the cellar. The eerie sound of children crying has been heard, too.

Another story regarding Gwydir Castle is eluding me: something about some history project by schoolchildren leading to a strange 'coincidence' but I am unable to find a reference to it. Perhaps it was something I was simply told many years ago back in the days when I'd stopped writing about ghosts and folklore. Perhaps I simply forgot to take a note of it. Bother. If I find a reference or remember it, I'll let you know.

When I asked Janet Bord to compile her top ten favourite haunted houses (that are open to the public) for an article for Paranormal Magazine last year, she voted Gwydir number one, for its atmosphere. When me, James and Rosie first arrived and were alone in the the house - pre-telling off - we could certainly understand why.

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