Monday, 26 May 2008

Ghost caught on camera at Chirk Castle?

Following on from the piece about this blog in the 'Evening Leader' newspaper, the publication has carried a front page article about a photograph of an alleged ghost taken at Chirk Castle, near Wrexham. This well-preserved Norman castle is now in the care of the National Trust.

Grant Scott, an amateur photographer from Farndon in Cheshire, noticed the transparent image of a woman on one of the photos he took of the castle a couple of weekends ago. A spokeswoman for the castle suggests that the image is of a regular visitor and that she appears to be queuing for the disabled toilet. But Mr Scott is intrigued not only be the fact her image is far from solid (when compared to the man standing a few feet to her right) and that she appears to be wearing clothes of an antiquated fashion. Also, he didn't notice anyone standing there when he took the snap.

Mr Scott was experimenting with long exposures, however, and it might be possible that the woman moved quickly into frame, stood for a split second - long enough to partly register - before moving quickly out of frame. She appears to looking in precisely the same direction as the man nearby, which implies that she is a real person. One thing I'm uncertain about is why the photo is in black-and-white when it was taken on a digital camera. My digital camera can only take photos in colour - after all, there's no black-and-white film involved - but maybe there's are monochrome settings on more sophisticated cameras than my own.

Make your own mind up by visiting:

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

In the news

My last Haunted Wales blog intimating that Wrexham may be the most haunted town in Wales was picked up by NWN Media journalist Rob Bellis, who, with colleague Joanne Shone, turned it into a double page spread in the 'Evening Leader' on May 15. You can see an extract of it here.

Rob found the blog through his Google Alerts setting, which immediately highlighted the key word 'Wrexham'. Very decent of them to create so much from so little! The article was a handy plug for the new and improved version of my website Uncanny UK, which has moved to a new home at

This new version of the site is fully content managed, which means there should be no excuse for me not updating the site with at least one new article on a weekly basis. It's on a much better server, too.

Recent posts include a piece in the Ghosts section on Paul Devereux's book 'Spirit Roads' (of which more in a future blog) and a 'More Uncanny' article on the weirdest of many weird phenomena encountered at the infamous Borley Rectory on the Essex/Suffolk border. You'll have to register to read the latter feature, but that's just a case of typing in your email and getting a password in return.

So, if you haven't already done so, please visit and let me know what you think.

Monday, 5 May 2008

The scent of time

The latest article on is about ghostly smells. These are quite common phenomena, although not as common as I would expect considering how evocative the sense of smell is.

A recent blog tells the story of a female apparition seen in Flintshire: she appeared near the turning to a medieval farmhouse, Brithdir Mawr, and she may possibly be the same ghost of a woman reportedly seen in one of the bedrooms there. When I visited Brithdir Mawr when researching my book 'Haunted Clwyd', I spoke to the then owner, a Jane Mould, who told me that the most prevalent spook was the unmistakable smell of cooking stew.

'It's wonderful, very savoury,' Jane told me. 'It makes you hungry just to smell it! I often come across it in the passageway.'

Considering the house dates back to the 14th century, this could be somebody's dinner that was cooked one day six hundred years ago.

A more sinister aroma, though equally pleasant to the uninitiated, was the smell of thyme emanating from some old cottages near Llanasa, in the north of the county. Elias Owen, in his 'Welsh Folklore' of 1896, reports this phenomenon, stating that no thyme then grew there, but that many years ago there had been a bed of thyme, under which had been laid the bodies of two murdered children. The ghostly aroma was a supernatural reminder of this horrible deed.

Makes you wonder about that savoury stew - perhaps it was poisoned!