AN INTRODUCTION TO WELSH GHOSTS

By Jones The Ghost Hunter

Haunted Wales offers a wonderful and eclectic variety of phantoms, legends, myths and monsters. Its also offers a fantastic array of native heroes around which storytellers have woven numerous stirring folk tales.

UNVANQUISHED BY OPPRESSION

Through centuries of political oppression, the Welsh imagination remained unvanquished, its roots buried so deeply in the Celtic past, that no invader could ever destroy them.

The poets, singers and storytellers had an abundance of valiant heroes, beautiful maidens and treacherous villains to inspire them.

A STIRRING LANDSCAPE

And, even today the remote, brooding mountains, weather-beaten coastlines, dark, sinister lakes and languorous beaches, still have the power to stir the spirit and unfetter the mind.

THE LAND OF MY FATHERS

It is a land where legends abound, where the aural tradition has ensured that the deeds of the past are never forgotten, for, as far as all true Welshmen are concerned, Wales was, is and always will be hen wlad fy nhadau, "the land of my fathers."

HAUNTED CASTLES OF WALES

Wales has long been known as the "Land of Castles" and can well and truly boast some of the most impressive and imposing fortresses in the whole of Europe. Europe’s finest and most imposing medieval strongholds.

EDWARD 1ST'S CASTLE BUILDING PROGRAMME

Many of these date from around 1276 when Edward 1st began a conquest to suppress the native Welsh Princes and constructed a series of strategically linked bastions The most impressive are undoubtedly those that resulted from Edward 1st’s decision in 1276 to treat the indigenous Welsh princes as insurgents, and undertake an outright conquest using a series of strategically linked fortresses that would vanquish their territories once and for all.

He duly instigated a massive programme of castle construction that saw huge bastions of suppression appear all across the Welsh countryside.

Their purpose was, quite simply, dominate the countryside and remind the indigenous population who their true ruler was whilst, at the same time, crushing their hopes of independent rule forever.

STRIKING HAUNTED REMINDERS OF VIRULENT TIMES

Many of these imposing bastions remain as striking today as ever they did in the past, and the spectres that haunt them stands as testimony both to the violence of the age in which they were constructed and to the hundreds of years and unrest that the castles of haunted Wales of borne witness.

HAUNTED HOUSES OF WALES

The haunted houses of Wales present a diverse and intriguing contrast.

Some are almost lost amidst lush grounds and stand hidden away from the prying eyes of all but the most intrepid ghost hunter.

Others are well known tourist haunts and yet their ghost stories are only ever whispered in hushed tones for fear of offending or even raising the spirits.

THE PERFECT BACKCLOTH FOR GHOST STORIES

Yet the Welsh landscape, with its soaring mountain wildernesses, lush green valleys, or sea swept cliff tops makes for a suitable backcloth for tales of feckless lovers, family curses and wandering spectres to unfold against.

WELSH MYTHS AND LEGENDS

One of the ironies of Wales is that its people are anything but Welsh.

They are the ancient Briton’s, driven westwards by Saxon invaders who, unable and unwilling to understand the language of those whose lands they had taken, called them "Welsh" – their word for foreigner.

As this vanquished people, settled into their mountain fastness, they dreamt of the day when they would return to reclaim what was rightfully theirs.

COMRADES FOR THEIR LAND

They called themselves Cymry, meaning "comrades" and the rugged wilds of their mountainous domain, they named Cymru, meaning "for their land."

FOLK TALES KEEP THE SPIRITS ALIVE

Their hopes and dreams were kept alive by bards, minstrels and storytellers who had an abundance of saints, heroes, beautiful maidens and treacherous villains to inspire them.

A WELSH MAN ASCENDS THE THRONE OF ENGLAND

But most important of all was the knowledge that the greatest hero of them all, Arthur, lay sleeping at a secret location, awaiting the day when he would ride forth to lead his countrymen to victory and, just as Merlin had predicted, place one of their own upon the throne of England. This did, indeed, come to pass when Henry V11 defeated Richard 111 at the Battle of Bosworth Field and the Welsh Tudor dynasty ascended the throne of England.

THE HAUNTED WELSH LANDSCAPE

So Wales is a land of history and mystery and to find yourself standing alone in a haunted house, castle, or even mountainside on a windswept winter’s day is to feel centuries removed from the pressures of the modern age.

Here, in a quiet moment, you can attune yourself to the memories that surround you and experience the true thrill of exploring haunted Wales in a land where the past has never really died.