CLAIRE BARRAND lists five paranormal hotspots in haunted Swansea, Wales…
Once the haunt of smugglers and legends, Swansea is riddled with ancient ghost stories and tales of strange lights in the skies over the coastline. In 1991 a book published by Richard Baxter titled “The Certainty of the World of Spirits” was one of the earliest to discuss Welsh Folklore and contains a strange account of a haunting in “Gowersland” within a house called “Llanellan”. For modern-day paranormal enthusiasts, here are my top five creepy Swansea haunts.
Swansea Grand Theatre, Singleton Street, Swansea SA1 3QJ
Since a grand opening launched by opera legend Adelina Patty in 1897, the Swansea Grand Theatre has a plethora of ghosts that don’t want to give up the limelight, including an actress known as “Jenny” who it is said performed her last act here shortly before she boarded the doomed ship Titanic. Her apparition has been seen many times here dressed in a brilliant white dress and accompanied by the scent of violets.
Swansea Museum, Victoria Road, The Maritime Quarter, Swansea SA1 1SN
Swansea Museum is Wales’ oldest museum with a vast amount of paranormal activity reported. Is the caretaker still haunting the area where he once lived, protecting the precious artifacts even in his death? Visitors report being pushed by unseen hands or witnessing dark shadows. Or perhaps the exhibits themselves have attachments with them such as Hor the Mummy – Egyptian mummified remains gifted to the museum in 1888? Do the dedicated crew of men from the lightship Helwick still hang around the boat which is now on display in the museums floating exhibit? Many guests sense that the old Cabinet of Curiosity room has a strange presence about it – it is no wonder that Paranormal investigations are popular at this venue.
Pennard Castle, Castle Road, Southgate SA3 2BT
Dating to the 12th century, built by the first Earl of Warwick, Henry de Beaumont, Pennard Castle stands dramatically on the edge of Pennard Hill, with panoramic views over Three Cliffs Bay. Legend tells of the castle being the focus of a Faerie curse. When lights appeared around the castle one evening, the Chieftain and his men charged, fearing an attack, but it was the Faerie folk who angry at being disturbed, cursed the castle to sand. The ghost of a woman who tragically drowned herself in a nearby lake roams the grounds, and it is here that the cry of the Gwrach y Rhibyn is heard (Welsh Banshee). The saying goes that anyone who spends a night in the castle, will not wake to see the dawn.
Oystermouth Castle, The Mumbles, Swansea
William de Longres built the stunning Oystermouth Castle sometime after 1106, and its walls must retain many dark secrets as they saw bloody battles and mass slaughter within. The apparition of a white lady seen on many occasions leads to speculation as to who she is. One ancient legend tells of the Castles cruel Norman overlord Earl Neville, imprisoning a young monk within the dungeons. A guard took pity upon him smuggling food by hiding it within a wooden pillar. Before his death, the monk declared that anyone who should pray for him by this pillar would have their wish granted, and the Earls unhappy wife upon hearing of the “wishing post” in the dungeon begged for release from her evil husband and was given it in the form of death the very next day.
The Old Rectory, Rhossili, Gower Peninsula, Swansea
This famously haunted National Trust property, The Old Rectory at Rhossili, was constructed in 1850 and stands in an isolated spot at the foot of the cliffs on the site of its much older original building and boasts several ghosts. It is said that “something unpleasant comes out of the sea and into the house” and visitors find themselves standing in cold spots and hearing disembodied whispers.
A ghostly Edwardian couple passed a terrified resident on the staircase, and the phantom of Reverend John Ponsonby Lucas is seen on his horse galloping along the beach. The spectre of Squire Mansell in his horse-drawn coach searching for gold still haunts the shoreline. The good news is that this hauntingly idyllic haven is available to rent, but you will have to be patient as there is a three-year waiting list!
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