The Witch Farm is Danny Robins’ latest paranormal cold case. CHRISTINE MILLER reviews the series.
WARNING: Spoil Alerts
Fresh from the success of The Battersea Poltergeist and Uncanny, Danny Robins is back with a new 8-part podcast, which unravels the story of Heol Fanog, a farmhouse in the Welsh countryside, and a place steeped in folklore and rumours of historic, nefarious witchcraft.
The Witch Farm, a documentary-cum-drama, stars Shakespeare in Love alumni Joseph Fiennes as well as Alexandra Roach and uses original accounts of an eerie haunting that was documented in Mark Chadbourn’s book ‘Testimony.’
The dark tale takes place in the Brecon Beacons in the 1990s when Liz, Bill and Bill’s teenage son move into the idyllic yet remote farmhouse named Heol Fanog.
Within weeks a series of unsettling events began to come to the fore, which included footsteps and an inexplicable skyrocketing electric bill.
There was the constant inexplicable banging, for one, as well as doors slamming, the most unpleasant smells, objects moving around the house, and, most unsettling of all, the couple’s seemingly healthy livestock mysteriously dying.
Then began the mysterious loud snoring that emanated throughout the home.
Bill, an artist, was the family member who became most affected by the strange activity. His paintings, over time, would become increasingly sinister as he cut himself off from his family, locking himself away in his studio for large periods of time.
The family soon discovered that the activity was about to take another turn when apparitions began to appear to them, including a disfigured man, a sinister cloaked shape that would stand at the foot of the bed, and even an old woman with a hooked nose.
Danny Robins and his team of paranormal experts, Ciaran O’Keefe and Evelyn Hollow, will dissect the terrifying paranormal case in an attempt to explain what was happening to the terrified family at Heol Fanog.
The Witch Farm Podcast Episode Guide
The Witch Farm Episode One: Heol Fanog
The first episode kicks off in 1989, with the family moving into Heol Fanog in Wales when they notice on the grounds what turns out to be the ruins of the original manor house that had previously occupied the land. They are given a warning by a local to stay away from it.
The first few months in the farm go well for Liz, Bill, and Laurence, Bill’s teenage son from a previous marriage. But, it’s after the birth of their baby boy, Ben, that unusual events really begin to kick off.
They begin to hear inexplicable noises and thundering footsteps in the hallways. After they get their first quarterly electric bill, the couple is shocked that it’s seven times higher than it should be.
They soon learn that when the paranormal activity is going on – including odd smells and the nefarious footsteps – their electric meter works in overdrive.
This, however, is only the beginning of the family’s troubles.
In this episode, Danny talks to the real-life Liz and the pair travel by car to the site of Heol Fanog when she tells him, “People always say: ‘Oooo, I’d love to live in a haunted house’.
“No, they bloody well wouldn’t”.
The story continues with the couple experiencing sudden temperature changes, from frigid cold to uncomfortably warm. The phenomenon is always accompanied by a surge in electricity.
Soon, some of the family’s animals began to display behaviour, almost as if possessed. Their docile and affectionate pig had to be put down following 6 weeks of out-of-the-blue violent behaviour, which left Liz fearful for their family’s safety.
Other animals mysteriously died, or went mad and ran away.
Not long after, a visit from the local plumber confirms to the couple that they aren’t the only ones to have experienced such terrifying events at the farmhouse.
The local area is densely populated with stories of witches and curses. Could Liz and Bill have inherited these unearthly imprecations when they moved into Heol Fanog?
Following an exorcism by a Catholic priest, Liz and Bill are hopeful that the paranormal activity at the farmhouse will cease.
And it does – for a few hours.
The activity comes back harder than ever, however, with Liz saying that whatever was plaguing them is “pissed off” following its attempted removal.
Soon, the invisible becomes visible when Liz sees the figure of an old woman staring at her from the Playroom window when she comes home.
Meanwhile, Laurence’s behaviour begins to change, turning him from a fun-loving teenager into a threatening and unpredictable young man.
While the woman makes another sinister appearance close to Liz and Bill’s baby son, a look through the farmhouse’s records reveals a startling discovery…
Following the old woman’s appearance, the couple begins to wonder if she is trying to protect them from the darker entity that has been terrorising their family.
A medium arrives from Cardiff, who offers to cleanse the home, and the fight back begins.
One presence, however, the medium believes, has attached itself to one family member, in particular, teenager Laurence.
The medium believes the only option is to send Laurence away from the family home, which Bill reluctantly agrees to.
However, there soon begins a lull in the overwordly chaos and there is no more electrical surges.
The medium revisits the farm for the last time with two associates who see a group of witches in the barn. The medium comes to believe the energy that he thoughts was attached to Laurence, was instead focusing its attention on Bill.
He assured BIill that the entity has been banished from the house and won’t be able to re-enter.
Meanwhile, the surrounding farms suffer a blight, with calves and lambs being born blind, deformed, or deaf.
Bill wonders if whatever was terrorising his home, family and animals has its sights set on the locals.
Episode five opens with Liz waking from a terrifying nightmare, only to be told by Bill, who is consoling her, that he too has had the same unsettling dream where the couple tries to flee Heol Fanog, only to turn around and see themselves still trapped inside the terrifying farmhouse…
Meanwhile, Bill suffers a mysterious severe, debilitating injury to his hands that the couple – and medicine – cannot explain. So debilitating, in fact, that the couples’ only source of income, the revenue generated from Bill’s paintings, is threatened.
Not long after, a dowser turns up at the home after reading media reports about the strange occurrences plaguing Heol Fanog. The man discovers that the areas in the house where all the paranormal activity has been taking place occur on not one but two powerful ley lines.
However, all isn’t quite as it seems as he tells the couple they must leave their home – for their own safety.
It seems Bill’s hands’ injury could just be the beginning.
As the couple looks into the history of their home, they find the previous inhabitants in and around the Heol Fanog estate were plagued by severe misfortune: from violence and debt, to death.
The intense feelings in the farmhouse begin to ramp up another notch when Liz, with her two young children present, witnesses a menacing dark figure in their home. Liz and Bill are left with no other choice than to up sticks and flee to Liz’s mum’s home some 50 miles away.
However, something has followed them, and the family fears they will never be safe.
Completely overwhelmed with the situation he’s found himself in, Bill’s paintings take on a terrifying theme, and Liz desperately makes contact with an exorcist in a bid to rid her home – and her family of the ghastly forces haunting them.
One final look into the history of the area uncovers a sinister crime that took place at the site of Heol Fanog. Are the couple finally getting closer to uncovering what is haunting them?
What do you make of the unsettling events at Heol Fanog? Tell us your thoughts on The Witch Farm in the comments section below.