Cardiff has some pretty spooky buildings. NIA JONES picks five of the Welsh capital’s most haunted sites.
1. Cardiff Castle
Located in the centre of the city, Cardiff Castle was home to a succession of noble families. The Second Marquis of Bute’s (John Crichton-Stuart) family spent six generations at the residence, and then gave Cardiff County Council the building as a gift. Plenty of paranormal phenomena have been reported over the years, early morning activity takes place regularly in the stockroom, and items move around with no explanation, a misty spectre is occasionally seen nearby. In other parts of the property furniture changes position and doors lock and unlock without any human hand turning the keys, also a phantom coach has been seen and heard in the grounds. But it seems some members of the Bute family have never really flown the nest, The Second Marquis of Bute is said to actively haunt the castle. He drew his last breath in the castle’s chapel and has been seen wearing a long red coat, pushing past visitors in the chapel doorway. He has also been seen walking through the fireplace of an adjoining room. And an apparition, whom they assume is the Marquis’s wife Lady Sophia, floats around the castle grounds at night.
2. Castell Coch
Castell Coch (The Red Castle) was built on ancient 13th century fortress ruins north of Cardiff in 1870. Intended as a country retreat in the hills for Third Marquis of Bute (John Patrick Crichton-Stuart) and his family, Castell Coch was designed by the architect William Burgess. But neither the Butes nor William Burgess is said to haunt the property. When the Marquis died, Lady Gwendolyn lived on at the castle, but soon left due to the frequent apparition of an eerie lady dressed in white. It is assumed the lady haunted the area long before Castell Coch was built. The spirit is said to be a grieving mother who lost her son, unknown to her he fell down a well and drowned. Never finding the closure to move on the woman died of a broken heart, she still roams the grounds, looking for the little boy or news of his fate. Another phantom that manifests itself at Castell Coch is the image of a man dressed in cavalier’s clothing, there is a legend of buried treasure on the site, perhaps he comes back to search for his bootie.
3. The National Museum of Wales
Two ghosts are said to inhabit The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. In the museum’s Gorsedd Gardens stands a statue of Unionist MP Lord Ninian Edward Crichton-Stuart, second son of the Third Marquis of Bute. Lord Ninian tragically died in action during World War 1, on the 2nd of October 1915, aged 32. Many say his presence has been felt and seen on election nights. The ashes of the building’s architect Dunbar Smith were originally interred at the museum, due to renovations and the installation of a public lavatory in the area where his ashes were usually kept, Dunbar Smith was spiritually enraged by this seemingly insulting move. He now exacts his revenge by haunting the corridors at night, making his presence felt by creating various poltergeist style commotions, clattering chairs and other objects; possibly in the hope someone will put his remains back where they belong. In the 1960’s a paranormal investigator made some EVP recordings in the museum’s basement, on playback he heard a ghostly man’s voice mutter repeatedly “The wrong place! The wrong place!”
4. Llandaff, North Cardiff
Llandaff is a mysterious place, home to Llandaff, Cathedral, old buildings line one side of the street, while in the centre of the road is a giant stone cross, across from it are the ruins of two former castles. Behind the cathedral there was once a village and a road called the “Road of the dead” where dead bodies were carried along the River Taf to be buried at the now abandoned severely overgrown graveyard. Stories of the area go back as far as the Romans; many battles at the ruins were lost and won. Llandaff is also considered a suicide hotspot, people with no relation to Llandaff or the area would come to the cathedral to commit suicide, no one has ever been sure why. There are many tales of ghosts, the spirits of soldiers, monks and priests have been witnessed, also in the mid-1800s there were many cholera outbreaks and the children who perished were said to be buried in mass graves. People have seen shadow children around the cathedral grounds, their figures peeping out from behind trees and gravestones, darting back and forth, dancing; you can also hear them laughing and singing.
5. Miskin Manor Hotel
Built in the10th century on the outskirts of Cardiff, only the external walls of the original Miskin Manor remain. Now a pleasant hotel, The Oak Room seems to attract the most ghostly activity, a male figure, believed to have been the ‘Lord of the Manor’ has been seen and hotel staff have reported seeing around 10 spirits sat around a dinner table, it is assumed that these ghosts were once a family resided at the manor. Many who work at the hotel are quite used to various apparitions making their presence known. The ghost of a little girl, thought to be the child of a past resident has been witnessed playing in the garden and also in a particular bedroom. The most witnessed phantom is the lady that haunts the bar and drawing room, floating around between the two usually between midnight and 1am. If anyone doubts her existence she tells them off by making heavy pictures fly from the walls and crash to the floor.
NIA JONES is a freelance writer. She has written pieces for The Guardian Community Film Blog’s Clip Joint, Inside Media Track and Reader’s Panel. Follow her on Twitter @niaserenwib