Weird Wales


Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 18, 2002
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Weird stories to wake up Wales

By Vaughan Roderick
BBC Radio Wales

Presenting Good Morning Wales on Radio Wales is always a bit of a roller coaster ride.

Each morning, there are 20 or so interviews to do each morning, on subjects varying from the sad and the serious to the bizarre or bonkers.

I have always a had a sneaking affection for the slot the GMW team refer to as the "five to nine".

Not just because it is the last item on the programme, but because it also gives us our window on the weird.

The stranger the better is the motto for stories to end the programme, and if we leave Roy Noble - who takes over at nine - speechless, well, so be it.

This, like most years, has provided us with quite a harvest of weird happenings and events in Wales.

First, we had the competing claims to be the most haunted building in Wales.

The Skirrid Mountain Inn near Abergavenny has a pretty good claim. Not only is it the oldest pub in Wales but it is claimed that 182 people have been hanged on its staircase - although quite who did the counting is not made clear.

Plas Teg near Mold though claims to be even spookier, with its owners running regular ghost tours.

The 17th century manor house is said to have several different spirits haunting it - although why Plas Teg should be spook central is not clear.

Some apparitions are more real than others, of course. The wild boars of Monmouth may sound like something from the Mabinogi but, in all likelihood probably owe more to careless husbandry than ancient Welsh legend.

Meanwhile the hunt for the grave of Owain Glyndwr continued apace this year with various claimants putting forward theories - mostly involving two different villages called Monnington in western Herefordshire.

Some of the claims are more credible than others but the chance of any one of the being proved is about as likely as the trapping of the Beast of Brechfa or Tegi, the Llyn Tegid monster.

All in all it has been a pretty good year for the weird in Wales, but nothing really to compare with my own personal "close encounter" a few years ago.

So to end, here is a (totally true) Christmas ghost story - not something that happened to the "friend of a friend" but a first-hand experience.

Coins on grave

Some years ago I was living in the village of Coity near Bridgend and had followed the Christmas Eve ritual of a few beers in the Six Bells before heading to the church for midnight mass.

My route home took me on a short-cut through the graveyard where I saw something glittering on a newly-dug grave.

Placed carefully on the grave were two mint-condition half-crown coins both carrying the date 1940.

I took the coins home and a few days later took them to the local priest.

The grave, it turned out, was of an elderly lady who had recently died. She never married and often expressed her distress at not having known her father who had been killed in France in the early days of World War II.

The year of his death was 1940. Did his daughter, in death, receive a Christmas gift from the father she never knew?

Story from BBC NEWS: ... 120949.stm

Published: 2004/12/28 10:25:59 GMT



Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 18, 2002
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After posting this report ona Welsh Banshee I saw this:

* Have you experienced anything strange or supernatural in Wales? If so, please let me know. You can send your story to: Richard Holland, Wales of the Unexpected, 2 Alyn Bank Cottages, Llong, Mold, Flintshire CH7 4JR.[ ... 684#495684
Link is obsolete. The current link is:

and he seems to have a regular column - I did a quick Google and found:

Black dig
Link is dead. The MIA webpage can be retrieved from the Wayback Machine:

Phantom horses

These 3 links are dead. No archived version found.

Richard Holland has written (amongst other things):

Haunted Clwyd

Supernatural Clwyd:

There is also the BBC Wales page:

Also see:
Link is dead. The article listings and some of the articles can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:
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Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 18, 2002
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Beware the Welsh Teggie, witches and more

Feb 27 2006

Tryst Williams, Western Mail

WALES' legendary monsters will be in the spotlight this week, in a new television programme.

Beasts like "Teggie" - the nation's answer to the Loch Ness Monster, and ghoulish phenomena such as "corpse candles" will feature in a new ITV1 Wales programme Celtic Monsters.

But series producer Neville Hughes said the production was blighted by some mysterious happenings that challenged his own opinion of the unknown.

Among the unexplained events were those that occurred while working on the story of the Pontrhydfendigaid witch, Mari Berllan Biter.

"While I was editing the programme, a massive hornet appeared from nowhere and attacked me," recalled Mr Hughes. "It disappeared and I went to look for it thinking that it was very strange for the insect to be out during the winter, but it was nowhere to be seen."

A sound technician had a similar experience.

"He could hear the buzzing of the hornet behind his head," added Mr Hughes, "But when he turned round there was nothing there.

"They say witches can transform themselves into all kinds of shapes and forms - so who knows what happened?

"I've certainly changed my views on the supernatural. Before I started working on this series I didn't believe in the paranormal - now I'm not that sure."

He was also forced to think twice following a holy man's warning while shooting scenes across the Irish Sea.

"While we were filming in Ireland, a former Irish priest warned us not to meddle and to respect creatures of the unknown," he said. "Soon after that, strange things started to happen to us."

The footage the crew shot of an Irish woman telling the story of the horned witches of Sliabh na Mban, was found to be distorted. There was no technical reason for it, but they couldn't use the interview.

The series, which starts on Sunday, is presented by bard and singer Twm Morys. It aims to echo the ancient tradition of the storyteller with contributors from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany. Welsh storytellers include bards T James Jones and Ifor ap Glyn and singer Si n James.

People with first-hand experiences of mysterious happenings will also be sharing their stories.

These include Blodwen Griffiths from the Ystwyth Valley who saw the "corpse candle" - a premonition of death - and Dewi Bowen from Bala who claims to have seen Wales' own Nessie - the Llyn Tegid (Lake Bala) monster.

But despite the interest in Welsh myth and legend, we don't market this aspect of our heritage the way the Scots promote Nessie.

A spokesman for the Wales Tourist Board said they did use our legends in promotional literature targeted at Belgians, Germans and French people.

"We use it discreetly or in careful measure in those markets," he said.

Lionel Fanthorpe, Cardiff author, broadcaster, church minister, and an expert in paranormal phenomena, had his own view.

He said, "We have a wealth of Welsh castles, Eisteddfodau, music, art and drama and the brilliance of guys like Dylan Thomas and among these things the monster is pretty low on our school of attractions to bring tourists and visitors into Wales. When you've got Snowdon and the Brecon Beacons, who needs them?"

He added, "I believe they may exist but would like to see evidence first - maybe a piece of fin or a tail lying on the beach at Barry Island."

Celtic Monsters starts on Sunday on ITV1Wales at 6pm

Page 2 - Some of the Welsh myths and monsters featuring in the series

Some of the Welsh myths and monsters featuring in the series


Wales' red dragon seems to have emerged from a combination of folklore and Arthurian legend. Ancient tales tell how wizard Merlin advised 5th-century King Vortigern of a dream of two ferocious dragons locked in battle, with the red dragon eventually triumphing over the white one. This was interpreted as a prophecy that the Welsh would overcome the Anglo-Saxon invaders of the time.


The beast of Llyn Tegid, or Bala Lake, has been reported since at least the 1920s and has been variously likened to a crocodile or a small dinosaur. Affectionately known as Teggie, this Welsh answer to the Loch Ness Monster prompted a three-day search by a Japanese film crew in 1995. But their mini submarine failed to find any sign of the elusive beast.

Mari Berllan Biter

According to legend, Mari Berllan Biter roamed the farms of Cardiganshire in the 19th century with an empty basket on her arm. But woe betide any farmer who would not offer her any food - they would often find their milk curdled or their livestock dead the next day.