Thursday, November 30, 2006

Beware: Big cat is on the prowl

POLICE have warned walkers to be on their guard in hills above a Welsh village after several sightings of a "big cat".

Dyfed-Powys Police said seven people had reported seeing a large cat-like animal in the Talybont area, near Aberystwyth. They confirmed they had received photographs of the animal.

Wales is fourth on the list of big cat "hotspots" in the society's UK survey, according to recent figures by the British Big Cat Society (BBCS).

Danny Bamping, of the BBCS, said, "Big cats have been reported around that area before. There have been quite a few sightings across Wales and big cats are in the country without a doubt. I have not been chasing ghosts."

BBC programme-maker Aled Jones collated more than 100 sightings in North and Mid Wales over an 18-month period.

While the South West proved a hot-spot for sightings, with Devon, Cornwall and Somerset all featuring in the top 10 big cat locations. Scotland came in third, seeing almost a 50% drop in sightings reported, and was replaced at the top by Devon. Wales was fourth on the list with 123 reported sightings and incidents.

Almost 60% of all the sightings reported were of black cats and 32% were of brown or sandy-coloured ones, which the BBCS believes to be pumas. Another 6% were lynx-type cats.

There were 17 reports of a big cat with cubs - an increasing trend which suggests the animals may be breeding, according to the society.

In Wales, big cat sightings are investigated by the Welsh Assembly Government, in the form of the wildlife management unit based at Aberystwyth.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Chart-toppers' chiller - Daily Post North Wales

Chart-toppers' chiller - Daily Post North Wales

A CHART-TOPPING girl band were left petrified after going ghost busting for a TV show at a haunted North Wales manor house.

The singers from Girls Aloud got the fright of their lives when they spent the night at Plas Teg near Mold.

Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Sarah Harding and Nicola Roberts joined spook hunter Yvette Fielding for a TV special at the infamous Jacobean mansion. It’s due to be screened on ITV2 next month.

The other band member, Nadine Coyle, refused to go inside at all.

The 400-year-old hall is said to be home to a horde of ghosts and has featured in numerous documentaries and articles.

Resident spooks are believed to include the home’s former owner, John Trevor, his wife Elizabeth and a mystery young girl.

The notorious Judge Jeffreys is also connected to the hall, supposedly sentencing men, women and children to death by hanging in the dining room.

At first the four stars, whose recent hit Something Kinda Oooh stormed up the charts, were keen to take up the challenge of touring the property.

But no sooner had they set foot inside, Plas Teg’s spirits gave them rather too much to "ooh" about.

Within minutes Yvette hears knocking in the dining room.

Sarah starts to get emotional and claims she feels like she is standing in somebody’s grave.

The girls scream after huddling together with Yvette who asks if there is anybody there to be met with three apparent knocks

In the Regency Room all appears quiet.

But the supposedly haunted Panelled Room leaves Cheryl, married to England Chelsea soccer star Ashley Cole, in tears.

She gets hysterical, claiming somebody is prodding her, leaving the other girls in tears.

"This is not funny," she said: "This is really freaking me out. Why does he want to do that?"

Nicola decides she has overstayed her welcome and leaves.

But the others decide to go ahead with a planned seance.

A huge bang is heard behind them. Sarah is in floods of tears.

And then the table supposedly moves, leaving the girls admitting they do believe in ghosts.

Sarah said: "I was up for doing this, I still am but I don’t like the vibes in that."

Ghosthunting with Girls Aloud will be broadcast on ITV2 on December 12 at 9pm.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Police issue big cat alert

POLICE are warning people to be on their guard after receiving several reports and photographs of a big cat in the Mid Wales hills.

Dyfed-Powys cops said seven different villagers had described seeing a large cat-like animal in recent weeks in the Talybont area, near Aberystwyth.

Pc Pat Jalloal said the pictures of the big cat were inconclusive, but he urged caution.

"From the police's point of view, we have had a huge jump in reported cases in the past few weeks and we want people in the area to be aware of this," said Pc Jalloal. "Images received by the police look very similar to a big cat so we are asking people to stay vigilant."

Sightings are investigated by the Welsh Assembly Government, in the form of the wildlife management unit based at Aberystwyth.

Wales is fourth on the list of big cat 'hotspots' according to the British Big Cat Society.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Simon makes a go of ghost-hunting - Daily Post North Wales

Simon makes a go of ghost-hunting - Daily Post North Wales

PEOPLE with a taste for the paranormal are being recruited to help sniff out the ghosts of North Wales.

Spooks Paranormal Ltd investigates hauntings across South Wales and is looking to expand northwards.

The company, which also holds ghost hunts for the public, is now looking forward to tapping into the region’s rich mine of haunted houses.

Spooks, based in Bridgend, was set up three years ago by former retail manager Simon Curwood after he had a psychic experience.

Mr Curwood, 34, said: "I was in a church in Italy for a wedding and had a very strange experience.

"I saw this haunting figure and, quite frankly, I was gobsmacked. It then felt as if I was being hanged, and afterwards the whites of my eyes had turned bloodshot.

"Only later I learnt people had been hanged around there. It was like someone trying to tell me ‘right you’ve got this skill, what are you going to do with it?’. So I quit my job, £26,000 down the pan, to do this."
The company conducts investigations into the paranormal across Britain, with 170 probes carried out in three years.

One investigation in Somerset last week centred on a woman being thrown around her room by an invisible presence at night, with another in Essex helping out a man who regularly woke at night to find coins in his mouth.

Mr Curwood said his most shocking investigation was into a 6ft 2ins, 22-stone man thrown around a room in Bridgend.

Mr Curwood said: "A bit of our work is entertainment, in that we take in groups and take them on tours at haunted locations. But a lot of it is extremely serious.

"We are more and more keen to move into north and mid Wales too. Wales is very, very rich in haunted locations, just through the history of the place.

"Mid Wales can be a little sparse, but North Wales is very good with a lot of places of interest. We want people to let us know the places they feel are worth investigating."

The company now employs 27 staff, mostly part-time, and Mr Curwood is looking to recruit 23 more staff for north and mid Wales. Mr Curwood is looking to recruit five area managers, five mediums, three technical staff and 10 senior investigators in north and mid Wales, most for part time work.

Anyone interested can contact Mr Curwood on