Pete the Poltergeist threatened the sanity of small business owners in Cardiff, says RICK HALE

As far the paranormal is concerned, the United Kingdom is world famous for its ghosts and haunted locations.

And not just lonely old spectres of long dead noblemen forced to walk the stone halls of an ancient castle for all time.

The UK is also famous for its poltergeists.

We all know that poltergeist is a German word meaning, ‘noisy ghost’ and three cases of this bothersome phenomena come to mind.

Pete the Poltergeist

First, of course, is the Enfield case where a recently divorced, single mother and her children were under siege by a force they could never comprehend.

Or, the ominous sounding Yorkshire case known as 30 East Drive, Black Monk of Pontefract.

These may be the two most well known cases in the annals of psychical research. Nevertheless, there is a third.

A playful poltergeist in Cardiff, Wales, known simply as Pete the poltergeist.

Pete the Cardiff Poltergeist Arrives

As with most stories of poltergeist phenomena, the activity in a lawn mower repair shop began innocently enough with stones being thrown by an invisible hand.

John and Fred Matthews, the owners of the shop were repairing a car when a peculiar noise caught their attention.

They heard what sounded like rocks striking the roof and rolling down the side. A considerable racket on a sheet metal roof.

They had heard this noise before, usually from rowdy youth tossing stones at the building.

Believing kids were to blame, Fred walked outside to investigate and run the kids off.

Fred was stunned when he got outside and found nothing. No kids, no flying stones. Just a quiet street with no one around. No one visible at any rate.

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Fred went back inside and explained to his brother that no one was around. The two men went back to work suspecting nothing out of the ordinary.

This seemingly innocent activity began months of intense, although not frightening, supernatural antics.

High Spirited Hijinks

It’s commonly reported by victims of poltergeist activity, among the horror and aggression involved, the antics of a poltergeist almost seems like an unruly child throwing a temper tantrum.

The Cardiff poltergeist was no different in that respect.

Days went by and the activity of the poltergeist became more pronounced. The poltergeist appeared to take pleasure in the consternation it caused.

Among the typical activity related to a poltergeist, the owners of the shop reported radical changes in temperature. One moment it would be a normal temperature. And the next, a bone chilling cold would blow through the building.

And, there was a smell. An overpowering stench that would hang thick in the air and then dissipate.

Perhaps the oddest activity attributed to the poltergeist was it liked to steal money and have it turn up in strange places.

Fred and John Matthews insisted that at no time were they afraid of the strange activity in their shop.

Their only concern was that their poltergeist they named, “Pete” would turn its attention on the customers. And it did.

Fearing they would lose business due to the ghostly goings-on they decided to take matters into their own hands and put Pete to the test.

A Seance (of sorts)

One afternoon Fred and John decided to try and make contact with whatever was in their shop by holding a seance.

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They meticulously went about locking all the doors and windows of the shop and sat around a large round table with their family holding hands.

They asked Pete if he could make his presence known to all in attendance. And Pete did not disappoint.

According to those present, Pete the poltergeist, broke the silence of the room by dropping a heavy rock on the table.

Someone then suggested asking questions and writing down Pete’s answers. To which Pete responded by throwing a pen across the room onto the table.

All were astonished at just how intelligent this poltergeist appeared to be.

Pete the Poltergeist Shows Himself

It’s a commonly held belief in psychical research that despite the word ‘poltergeist’ poltergeists aren’t actually ghosts at all.

But rather out of control psychic energy expended by a focus, or a living person that unwittingly supplies the energy. A belief I’ve always subscribed to.

However, every once in awhile sightings of apparitions are reported during a poltergeist outbreak.

And this happened with the Cardiff poltergeist. One day, Pete showed up.

When the activity progressed the Matthews brothers contacted, David Fontana a university lecturer and psychical researcher.

After experiencing much of the activity for himself, he concluded that the shop was indeed home to an unusually intelligent poltergeist.

What he didn’t expect was there was so much more than just out of control psychic energy.

While Fred and John were working in the shop, Fred became intensely aware that he was being watched.

When he looked up his blood ran cold. Perched on a shelf was the image of a young boy.

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Fred described him as small with a pale complexion and wearing tattered clothing of a bygone era.

Fred alerted John to their spectral guest and told him to turn around very slowly so as not to frighten the ghostly child.

Unfortunately, John never got to see Pete. The sad little apparition vanished but not without expressing his anger by whipping a brick at John’s head.

With the brick narrowly missing John’s head the two brothers decided enough was enough. It was time to move.

Moving Shop

After enduring months of the poltergeist’s tricks, John and Fred came to the conclusion that if they moved their shop, perhaps Pete would leave them alone.

Things didn’t quite work out as they had anticipated. Pete didn’t follow them to the new shop.

The pesky poltergeist followed Fred to his home and continued his cruel pranks, causing Frank and his wife a whole new set of headaches.

It wasn’t until Fred consulted a medium that Pete the poltergeist finally gave up and went away.

John and Fred Matthews were at last free of the ghost that not only threatened their business, but their sanity.

What was Pete the poltergeist? Was he the unconscious mind of one of the brothers working out some inner turmoil? Or was it really the ghost of a little boy causing all the problems?

Perhaps a third option, maybe the brothers needed the business and a ghost story was imagined to bring people in.

I guess no one will ever know for sure.

1 COMMENT

  1. I remember watching an episode of ”Strange but True” presented by Michael Aspel in the mid 1990’s, it had the Cardiff poltergeist in on of the episodes. I have been fascinated with the paranormal ever since my family and I experienced it for nine years solid at a property in Wales just 17.3 miles from Cardiff, a former mining town called ‘Bargoed’ (Pronoucned Bar-goyd) . The property we lived was called ‘Gladstone villa ‘ which is in Cardiff road, Bargoed, north of Caerphilly.
    We experienced things that defied rational explanation such as very mild poltergeist activity, we witnessed cables being pulled by unseen forces.
    There was the occasional sighting but this was very rare indeed, but we did hear regular footsteps in the main bedroom every evening, sometimes during the day when we’d all be downstairs watching television.
    The Gladstone villa property actually convinced a skeptic and a non believer so this is well worth looking into and really does need to be documented !.

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