Sunday, 23 September 2007

Mold gets spookier

My home town of Mold (Yr Wyddgrug) in Flintshire has a long history of haunting happenings. In fact, I once took a camera crew on a ghost tour of Mold for an HTV programme called 'Night Owls' some years ago.

Recently Mold's ghost factor appears to have been stepped up. I was talking to Roy, the owner of the town's second-hand bookshop in Earl Road a few weeks ago and he told me that a ghost appears to be haunting the entire row of shops. It's all rather vague: cold spots, inexplicable noises, vague figures glimpsed out of the corner of the eye and that sort of thing. But it's funny how these things start to manifest after years of inactivity.

Interestingly, the shop on the end of the row, nearest the town centre, has had a ghost for a century or more. Now a fancy dress shop, the building started life as a doctor's residence, back in the days when Earl Road and beyond were all fields. The story has it that a small girl - a patient or the doctor's own daughter - lived in the upstairs room overlooking Earl Road and was confined there after contracting smallpox. One day she threw herself out of the window and died on the cobbles below. Her badly scarred face is said to have been seen peering out of that window ever since.

When I was researching my second book 'Haunted Clwyd' in 1992, I felt a chill when I looked up at this window and saw that it had been whitewashed over. Why would anyone wish to paint over a window in an upstairs storeroom? Was it because of the face? The current owners had no idea, which is why they scraped the paint off it - they were a bit creeped out when I told them the story behind it! Moreso, because they had already become convinced the building was haunted. They frequently hear bumps and crashes coming from that room and the stock is often found in disorder. Maybe the spirit of the unfortunate little girl has taken to wandering further afield. After all, once upon a time, the land on which those modern shops, including Roy's, now stand may have been her garden.

And just a few days ago my friend Alan Daulby was having his hair cut in the hairdressers in Wrexham Street when one of the girls started hollering that she'd seen a ghost in the back room. It was just a shadowy shape, but she saw it several times and was convinced she hadn't been imagining things.

Of course, I ought to go and investigate. But I probably won't. I can just sit here quietly twiddling my thumbs and wait for another ghost to come along. That's one of the things I love about living in Wales - it's just so damn' spooky!

Don't forget to check out my other blog at . You can buy Haunted Clwyd through Amazon. Just type the title into their search engine and up it will pop up for purchase.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

'The most haunted country in the world'

When I wrote my book ‘Haunted Wales’ (published in 2005), I made the bold assertion on the cover blurb that: ‘Wales is the most haunted country in the world’.

My research had uncovered such a wealth of ghost stories pre-dating World War 2 from such a small and under-populated nation that I felt justified in making such a claim. After all, this didn’t even include all the modern ghost sightings, which so far as I can tell from years of writing and broadcasting on the subject, seem to happen on an almost daily (or nightly) basis in Wales.

Admittedly, even as I made the claim I knew three other countries might have a right to argue the point: England, Scotland and Ireland. Taken as a whole, I believe it's certainly true that the United Kingdom is the most haunted nation on earth. In terms of its legends, folklore, spooky literature and first-hand accounts of the supernatural our little nation is unrivalled.

This year I will be launching a website, in which I and a few likeminded friends will be collecting together accounts of ghosts, fairies, witches, monsters and other supernatural phenomena in Britain. In time I hope it will become a superb resource for everyone interested in the supernatural and a repository for accounts of genuine experiences of the paranormal in the UK. The website will be launched on Hallowe’en (when else?).

Because I live in Wales, however, I decided I should write a blog devoted to this very spooky corner of the world. For one thing, I have a wealth of material to draw on, having spent very many years carrying out research into the Principality's folklore and supernatural history. Also, because I'm fairly well-known now for my books, broadcasts, talks and columns on the supernatural in Wales, friends, neighbours and acquaintances are kind enough to tell me about strange things that have happened to them. Because I didn't want the Uncanny UK website to be too biased towards Wales, this blog will serve as an excellent space to record them.

I would be delighted to hear your stories, too, and any comments you care to make on the yarns and musings I'll compile here. Who knows, between us, we may be able to prove that Wales really is ‘the most haunted country in the world’ after all!

(You might also be interested to look at my other blog at: )