Monday, December 31, 2007

Stuart Cable puts block on web claims - icWales

Stuart Cable puts block on web claims - icWales

STUART CABLE has rubbished the claims of a celebrity psychic that he has cashed in on a foreign business venture and met a new partner.

New medium on the block Gavin Cromwell makes the claims on his website, boasting he predicted both things for the former Stereophonics drummer and that they had come true.

But Stuart, now performing with new band Killing for Company, told Wales on Sunday that he was naturally sceptical of psychics but had been roped into visiting Cromwell for the 25-year-old’s TV show Spirit Seekers, due to be aired in the New Year.

It is billed on the fortune teller’s website as ‘a brand new concept in paranormal television’.

And Cromwell claims: “I told Stuart Cable, the former Stereophonics drummer, that I saw a business venture abroad and a new partner and he’s told me that it had come true.”

The musician, who also has a show on Cardiff-based XFM South Wales, said: “With someone like myself you can just go on the net and get a lot of background. I’m very sceptical and cautious when I go into these things.

“I turned over four cards and he told me that there was going to be some venture and a load of money, which everyone likes to hear.”

Asked if there was, the 37-year-old Aberdare-born musician said: “No, not really.”

He added: “He turned over a tarot card called the six of cups and said ‘that’s a good card, because it’s to do with the financial part of your life’. He said ‘it will be something over the next few months that will make you money’.

“I bought a property abroad but I would not say that was a business venture.”

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Berwyn UFO puzzle to be solved at last - Daily Post North Wales

Berwyn UFO puzzle to be solved at last - Daily Post North Wales

MINISTRY of Defence files on what conspiracy theory fans believe may have been a UFO crash in North Wales are expected to be released next year.

The Berwyn Mountains incident sparked mystery in 1974 with unexplained lights in the sky, an earthquake and secretive men in suits.

MoD chiefs confirmed yesterday they are publishing a raft of so-called UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) files stretching back to the 1960s.

This is because of the huge number of inquiries on UFOs.

The Berwyn Mountains incident happened on January 20, 1974.

The people of Llandderfel and Llandrillo villages in the Berwyn mountains near Bala, sat down to that evening’s TV.

But the quiet was shattered by the rumbles of an earthquake, registering 3.5 on the Richter scale.

As people ran from their houses, fearing another tremor, they witnessed a blaze of light on the mountainside above.

A local nurse and her daughters claimed they watched as a huge egg-shaped craft lay on the ground with a pulsating orange and red glow.

Police and the military converged on the hills, expecting to discover a crashed passenger jet – but what they did find has never been divulged.

Some think it was an experimental man-made top secret military aircraft, possibly a prototype Stealth bomber.

Local farmer Hugh Lloyd was just 14 at the time.

He told the Daily Post: “ It was pretty scary. I have never experienced anything like it.

“It was pretty dark. You could hardly see anything on the mountain and then all of a sudden this incredibly bright light lit up the sky, like an arc welder, two or three miles away, lasting for about 20-30 seconds. You could make out details in the countryside around.”

In the days following, scientists and investigators, some of whom could have been from official departments, combed the area.

Mr Lloyd was questioned about the incident, the light and asked exactly what it looked like. “I do not believe that it was a UFO but I would like to find out exactly what it was.”

Although the MoD would not confirm categorically the incident – widely dubbed the “Welsh Roswell” – would be in the documents, it said a large amount of material would be released.

An MoD spokeswoman said: “There is no date set but it will be published next year.

“It is going to take time because there are a lot of handwritten documents.”

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Things that go bump in the night... - icWales

Things that go bump in the night... - icWales

TALES of the unexpected have fascinated people for centuries, but never has the search for the paranormal been so popular.

There seems to be almost an obsession (well, on satellite channels anyway) with things that go bump in the night, so I went along to Llancaiach Fawr Manor to see for myself.

Having visited the museum on school trips, the most scary experience I had had was nearly being sick on the bus from eating the ridiculous amount of sandwiches and chocolate my mam always used make me take on every outing.

I didn’t expect this night to be any different, although I promised myself I’d only eat the one KitKat this time.

Llancaiach Fawr Manor in Nelson has a rich and colourful history, after being built in 1530 it has survived through the reigns of the Tudors and Stuarts and it is thought played host to King Charles I during the Civil War.

The living history museum has such a reputation, that a team from the LivingTV series Most Haunted, stayed overnight in their quest to prove that ghosts exist.

After it was voted one of the top ten most haunted places in Britain, Yvette Fielding, and animated scouse psychic Derek Acorah investigated the possibilities that a former housekeeper, known as Martha or “Mattie” still stares out of her bedroom window, and children from hundreds of years ago still play on the stairs.

During the programme, Derek said Martha was murdered and one of the crew witnessed a shadowy figure.

I’m neither a sceptic or a believer, so I was keeping an open mind. To be honest, I desperately wanted something to happen, but no matter how much I squinted my eyes I just couldn’t see that lady in the window who so many people have reported....

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Students’ spooky ordeal for zoo fund - Daily Post North Wales

Students’ spooky ordeal for zoo fund - Daily Post North Wales: "Dec 8 2007 by Carl Butler, Daily Post

A GROUP of National Diploma Animal Management students from the Welsh College of Horticulture have donated a cheque of just under �200 to the Welsh Mountain Zoo after completing a scary enterprising challenge.

A group of six level two students at the Northop college, accompanied by two tutors and the Cheshire Paranormal Society, spent the night in the apparently haunted Stanley Palace in Chester.

During the night the students used the powers of a medium to try and make contact with spirits present in the Grade I listed building, which was built in the 17th Century.Š

The night proved to be a hive of activity with moving tables and alleged communications with another world.

With the hard bit over, the students took the opportunity to enjoy a day out of the classroom at the Welsh Mountain Zoo to hand the cheque over to management for the new alligator exhibit."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Waunlwyd beast seen on the prowl by dog walker

Waunlwyd beast seen on the prowl by dog walker

A MYSTERIOUS large black cat has been spotted in the Waunlwyd hills for the second time in two weeks.

Last week we reported how father and son Peter and Gareth Whittle spotted an unusual beast as they were travelling to the Silent Valley rubbish tip on Wednesday, November 14.

Exactly a week later cat lover Denise Selway spotted a similar cat while walking her dog George not far from her home in Hillside Terrace, Waunlwyd.

Ms Selway was unaware of the Whittles’ sighting, featured in last week’s Gazette, until her friend Caroline Road, tried to play a practical joke on her.

“I couldn’t believe it when she told me,” Miss Road said.

“I was laughing for ages so when I went home I decided to play a joke on her.

“I went on the internet and tried to find a story about a sighting somewhere in Wales and I was going to change the name to Waunlwyd to wind her up.

“When I typed it all in and the Gazette story came up from last week I couldn’t believe it.

“Denise still thought it was a wind up but I didn’t have to change anything – it was a mad coincidence.”

Over the years Ms Selway has rescued and rehomed hundreds of cats, she keeps several at her Waunlwyd home and as a result she is very familiar with the shapes and sizes of domestic and feral cats.

“I know exactly what I saw,” she said picking up one of her bigger cats.

“This is a big cat, cats do not grow much bigger than this but the one I saw was much bigger and a different shape.

“It was totally black and it had a long tail, I would say it was about four foot long.

“I was less than 30ft away from it and walked past quite slowly, I feel quite privileged to have seen it.”

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Good luck for builders as big cat crosses their path

A LARGE black “mountain cat” has been spotted prowling the hills overlooking Waunlwyd.

Shocked father-and-son builders Peter and Gareth Whittle caught sight of the unusual beast at 11.40am on Wednesday, November 14.

Peter, aged 55, and Gareth, 28, are self-employed and at the time they saw the creature they were making their second trip of the day to the Silent Valley refuse tip.

As they crossed the cattle grid outside Cwm cemetery the big cat walked out in front of them.

“We were driving up the mountain as normal and all of a sudden we saw this cat,” Gareth said.

“It walked in front of us and jumped over the fence without any effort – like it was stepping on to a kerb on the side of the road.

“We both looked at each other, we just couldn’t believe it.

“I phoned my missus and she said ‘Don’t be so stupid’ – but I know what I saw.”

The father and son, who say they were cynical before the sighting, are no strangers to the Waunlwyd mountainside.

“I have been walking these hills for 40 years and me and the boy go hunting most weekends – I know what animals look like.

“I’ve heard there have been sighting before and I have always been cynical but now I believe it after seeing with my own eyes.

“I’ve got nothing to gain from making it up.

“If it was 12 o’clock at night or I was walking home from the pub I would doubt myself, but this was 11.40am and it was a very clear day.

“There was no mistaking it – it was about four foot in length, black and had a big tail.

“It was very, very agile but the head was quite small so I think it would have been a female.

“It was big, too, not as big as a lion or panther but it was still very big.

“It was one big lump of a feline.”

Have you seen this mystery beast? Ring our newsroom on 01495 304589.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Exploring the paranormal at Margam Park - icWales

Exploring the paranormal at Margam Park - icWales

PEOPLE who went ghost-hunting in Margam Castle last Saturday had a frightful night.

Up to 300 people wanted to attend the annual Hallowe’en event put on by Geraint Hopkins of Ghost Watch Wales.

He was able to allow only 25 people on the ghost hunt on Hallowe’en night itself, so he decided to hold a second hunt on Saturday.

Deleine Hitchens from Margam went to the event with her daughter Lisa and partner Simon Williams.

“It was action from the word go,” she said.

“I went with an open mind because it was my first time, but I was nervous about the whole thing.”

Although Mrs Hitchens did not personally see anything, she saw other people experience things, including her daughter who felt her hair being touched.

“There is definitely something out there,” she said.

Mrs Hitchens described her night as a “wonderful experience” and is looking forward to her next paranormal investigation with Ghost Watch Wales.

The group is one of the longest-running paranormal investigation teams in the country, and it has used Margam Park as a location for numerous television appearance on programmes such as Most Haunted, I Love Wales and Weird Wales.

One of the most famous ghosts believed to haunt Margam Castle is the “White Lady”, who Geraint believes to have seen on several occasions.

He said: “I once saw a woman walking down the stairs in period costume, and as she walked down it went really cold in the room.”

To find more about Ghost Watch Wales visit or call Mr Hopkins on 07879 021348.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TV celebrity is lined up for a ‘spooktacular’ - icWales

TV celebrity is lined up for a ‘spooktacular’ - icWales

A CELEBRITY paranormal investigator will be joined by psychics for a spooky show.

Richard Felix, from television’s Most Haunted, will be joined by South Wales psychics for a paranormal show in a giant marquee on Newbridge Fields, Bridgend, from 2.30pm on Sunday.

Admission is £12, of which £2 goes to charity.

The event is part of the town’s Spooktacular Halloween Festival, which also features a themed market from Thursday until Saturday in Bridgend town centre.

Felix is also expected to attend an evening of entertainment with live music and a licensed bar at the marquee from 8pm until 1am on Saturday.

Admission is for those aged over 13 and costs £5.

Other activities include a children’s fancy dress parade for youngsters aged six to 12.

It begins at Peacocks, Brackla Street, Bridgend, at 4.30pm on Friday and ends at the marquee in Newbridge Fields for a children’s party with stories, games, competitions and a disco from 5.30pm.

Admission is £2 or £1 for parade participants.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cursed Pitch

AFTER Cardiff City considered employing a white witch to remove a rumoured curse at Ninian Park, Inside Sport looks at some of the most infamous bewitchments in sport

Sporting curses - a spooky history - icWales
Oct 14 2007


SWANSEA fans have often cursed the performances of their side through the years – but could the club’s rollercoaster history be down to evil spirits?

Celebrity physic Uri Geller claimed he could feel the presence of black spirits lurking in their former Vetch Field home in 2001. Michael Jackson’s spoon-bending buddy also insisted the mysterious presence was the reason why Tich Evans, Swans star of the 1920s, committed suicide at the ground.

The club took his words seriously, hiring Kenyan dancers to perform a voodoo act on the pitch – but the curse won as the ritual was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

THE ghosts of Llancaiach Fawr Manor are always around but during the summer months visitors are denied the opportunity to meet them. - icWales

THE ghosts of Llancaiach Fawr Manor are always around but during the summer months visitors are denied the opportunity to meet them. - icWales

Now that the dark nights have returned the ghost tour season has started and places are available on Ghost Tours, Ghost Tour Extra and, for hands-on paranormal investigation, Ghostwatch.

For full details visit or call 01443 412248 for bookings.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

North Wales' most haunted road - Daily Post North Wales

North Wales' most haunted road - Daily Post North Wales:

Sep 6 2007 by Roland Hughes, Daily Post

A TEAM of ghostbusters spent the night at the side of a road dubbed North Wales’s “most haunted” looking in vain for spooks.

Drivers on the A541 between Wrexham and Mold have reported strange sightings for a number of years.

As a result, the crew of scientifically-minded ghost investigators decided to probe the claims.

The team shivered through the small hours peering into the darkness and monitoring their specialist ghost-detection equipment but got nowhere.

Despite the setback, the crew have promised to return for a second attempt.

A group from the Ghost Hunters Anonymous (Ghanon) group spent around eight hours overnight at the road, near the Plas Teg country house near Pontblyddyn.

Using specialist equipment, they attempted to explain numerous strange sightings – with little luck."

Co-ordinator Kevin Griffiths-Boden said: “It is well-known that this road is supposedly haunted, going back years and years.

“There have been a lot of crashes on this road, usually involving one vehicle, and what people have said is they saw white shapes coming out of the road.

“They feel they have run something over, they stop, and there is nothing there. And it is next to Plas Teg, which is a notorious haunted spot.”

Ghanon have investigated a number of locations in North Wales and North West England in recent years.

They use equipment including a digital CCTV system triggered by movement, and an electromagnetic sensor which registers changes in magnetic fields.

Kevin, an IT support manager by day, said: “We don’t want to disprove anything – we really want something to be paranormal, but we have to be realistic.

“We go looking for a temperature change or any anomalies.

“None of us found anything, but the reality is that, most of the time, nothing will happen.

“The more we do though, the more likely it is we will spot something.”

Kevin is now appealing for anyone who may have witnessed something paranormal on the A541 near Plas Teg to contact him.

Ghanon can be reached through their website,

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Appeal to Assembly over big cat hotel

THE debate on whether big cats stroll the Welsh hills may still be ongoing.

But now an animal lover from the Swansea Valley wants to open his “hotel for cats” to leopards.

Gareth Williams, who runs the Abertawe Country Hotel for Cats in Glais in the Lower Swansea Valley, has applied for permission to breed Persian leopards in a special secure enclosure there.

Swansea Council has turned down his application for an operating licence under the 1976 Dangerous and Wild Animals Act.

Mr Williams, involved as a volunteer helper in an international big cats conservation scheme run by the European Endangered Species Project, has appealed to the Welsh Assembly Government.

Speaking at his cattery in Ynysmond Road, Glais, he said, “I hope to know within the next two months. It has stirred up quite a bit of interest but the project is vitally important for the future of Persian leopards which are an endangered species.

“I cannot say too much at this stage, however, out of respect for the planning process and those tasked with making a final decision on this.”

Swansea Council received a 338-name petition in support for the project and a 137-name petition against.

Mr Williams hopes to keep two Persian leopards at the Abertawe Country Hotel for Cats, with the aim of breeding them and then eventually releasing the animals in their natural habitats.

The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) is currently endangered throughout its distribution area in the Middle East.

The principal factors jeopardising the long-term survival of the Persian leopard are disturbance by building and commercial activities, poaching, and wildfires.

It can grow to up to 1.5 to 2.7ft tall at the shoulder, and weigh as much as 155 lbs.

The Persian leopard’s diet varies from small mammals and birds, to larger animals such as deer, antelope and occasionally wild boar.

The animal silently stalks its prey then strikes without warning, ending with a bite to the throat.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mum’s saintly mission

A MISSIONARY-TURNED-MUM with an international family may not be the first person you expect to write about Saint Tydfil.

But Coral Smith of Park Crescent, Twynyrodyn is doing just that, penning a historical novel called Giant Steps that traces the history of Merthyr Tydfil’s patron saint.

Depicting St Tydfil’s life through the journey of a giant across the country, Coral’s tale takes some large steps of its own.

Coral traces the possible lineage of St Tydfil, a woman whom very little is known about, to the landing of Joseph of Arimathea in Britain and their settlement at Glastonbury.

Along the way, the novel draws upon legends including King Arthur to illustrate its case.

Coral is keen to stress her book is not a theory set in stone, instead hoping to promote debate.

“Ideas shouldn’t be too fixed, we have to look at everything,” said the 50-year-old .

“Exploration always happens when things are put in an exciting enough way.”

Her first book, Little Miss Tearful, also explored the history of Merthyr Tydfil, examining its construction through the eyes of an angel.

Coral ultimately hopes books such as Giant Strides will be the tip of a historical iceberg.

“People perhaps need to be more proud of Merthyr,” said the mother-of-seven, “if people started to create more, then the history of Merthyr could become something to explore and be proud of.”

Having adopted her children on her missionary travels from places such as Zambia and Mauritius, Coral is very aware of having to juggle the responsibilities of parenthood and work.

When asked how her children feel having an author for a mother, Coral said: “The little ones are still quite excited by it.

“I try to sneak time in when they are in bed, but they understand that sometimes mum has to write her book.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

UFO sightings revealed for North Wales - Daily Post North Wales

UFO sightings revealed for North Wales - Daily Post North Wales

A SECRET “X-files” style dossier of UFO sightings in North Wales has been made public for the first time.

Details revealed under the Freedom of Information Act show 33 sightings have been reported in the area over the past decade.

They range from bright lights to dome-shaped objects, according to Ministry of Defence log-books which list times, dates, places and descriptions.

And on February 7 2001, two separate sightings were recorded in different parts of North Wales on the same day.

At 7.40pm in Caernarfon a witness reported seeing a star, with green and red on the side, that looked as though it was going to crash into their house.

Five minutes later in Amlwch, Anglesey, someone claimed to have seen an object with a blue glow that turned green, broke up and left smoke.

Other reports include a golden sphere “bigger than a planet” and a “white onion shaped object, glowing white with yellow sparks”.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ghostly presence lurks in Vaults - Daily Post North Wales

Ghostly presence lurks in Vaults - Daily Post North Wales: "
Jul 31 2007 By Ian Parri

STANDING within a catapult’s throw of some of Europe’s most impressive medieval fortifications, it’s little wonder the Albion Vaults is said to have a ghostly presence.

Previous landlords recall hearing parties in the early hours, only to find the bar eerily deserted on venturing downstairs to check on the commotion. Others have found old pennies left on the bar for milk stouts long since consumed.

The Albion is one of those rare commodities, a pub left virtually untouched down the decades and full of original features. It feels like one would expect a pub to feel, cloaked in a comforting dimness that’s easy on the eyes without descending into dinginess. I easily imagine working off a morning-after hangover within its comforting walls."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ghouls’ night out raises charity cash - Daily Post North Wales

Ghouls’ night out raises charity cash - Daily Post North Wales

A GHOULS’ night out at a haunted mansion raised spirits – and plenty of cash for a good cause.

Staff from the Wrexham-based care organisation Pendine Park went on a paranormal vigil at one of the most haunted houses in Wales.

They followed in the footsteps of pop stars Girls Aloud by spending the night at Plas Teg, near Mold.

The girl band filmed their spooky experiences for a television programme, Most Haunted.

But the aim of Pendine Park’s sponsored fright night was to raise money for their residents’ fund.

The group of 12 staff raised £400 to pay for special treats for the residents.

As the spine-chilling antics were for such a good cause, Pendine Park proprietor Mario Kreft stumped up the £40 registration fee for each of the brave participants.

And the would-be ghost busters were not disappointed – because the Plas Teg spooks were not shy on the night.

Senior care practitioner Claire Venables said: “I was really scared before we went.

“When we went into the Cradle Room things started happening in there. I felt someone standing next to me.

“It was really weird in there and I didn’t like that room.

“It was horrible but then I started experiencing things like, it went really cold where it had been really hot and I wanted to take my jumper off – but then suddenly the temperature just dropped.

“I actually recorded the temperature, it was 16 degrees and it dropped to 0.6 degrees right in front of me.

“I must admit that did quite unnerve me.”

Receptionist Sue Owens was equally impressed with the spine-chilling experience – so much so that she’s now considering becoming a paranormal investigator.

She said: “It was brilliant, I saw a couple of flashing lights, my mobile changed colour and moved from the bottom of my bag to the top of my bag.

“I saw flashing lights under the door and, apparently, on the television you could see that there were orbs and other stuff flashing all around me.”

Saturday, June 2, 2007

‘Black book of Carmarthen’ on exhibit

‘Black book of Carmarthen’ on exhibit

IT LOOKS very old inside its protective security case and can only be handled by people wearing silk gloves.

It’s also valued at £10,000 but the Black Book of Carmarthen on display in the National Library of Wales stand on the maes is an electronically produced copy, bound by conservators at the Library who dyed the leather to look exactly like the original.

“We were asked to bring the original down here but for obvious reasons the library declined,” said NLW senior education officer Rhodri Morgan. “There were issues of security and insurance and we just couldn’t risk it. The original is priceless, but this is the next best thing.”

No one knows for sure where the small book of 108 pages was originally written. Nothing is known about it before the 17th century when it was owned by the antiquarian Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt near Dolgellau, who collected some of the most important books written in Welsh.

In 1859 the Hengwrt manuscripts were bequeathed to William Watkin Edward Wynne of Peniarth, near Tywyn, and became known as the Peniarth manuscripts. The Black Book was given pride of place and designated Peniarth One and was valued at £400 when the whole collection was bought for a total of £5,000 in 1904 by Sir John Williams and donated to the National Library.

It is a poor companion to many of the better known medieval manuscripts like the Book of Kells or the Lichfield – or Llandeilo – Gospels, with none of their elaborate illustrations and using only black, red and green ink with some inconsistency in the handwriting.

“Whoever wrote it was not a scribe or specialist who would have written all day most days,” said Mr Morgan. “The parchment is not the best quality – the last few pieces of vellum have holes in them which he has written around – and he drew lines on the paper before writing on it and doodled in the margins and at the bottom of some of the pages to fill in space. It was just somebody writing down his favourite 39 poems and one piece of prose for his own use.”

And it is precisely the content of the book that makes it important, on a European level as well as for the Welsh language.

The poems were old when they were written down. Experts believe they date from three or four centuries before the Black Book was compiled, and contain the earliest references to King Arthur, Merlin and some of Arthur’s knights. There is also the earliest version of the legend of Cantre’r Gwaelod, the fabled land lost beneath the Irish Sea...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Stars to turn out for a spooky evening - icWales

Stars to turn out for a spooky evening - icWales

EX-ATOMIC Kitten singer Natasha Hamilton and Miss Great Britain Preeti Desai will be the celebrity stars of a spooky evening at Welsh mansion.

The psychic event at the Court Colman Manor in Bridgend, whose guests also include Barry singer Jamie Shaw, will be hosted by paranormal investigator Gavin Cromwell.

Newport-born Gavin: “They’ll be frightened stiff – Jamie’s already petrified.”

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Do you scare easily? - icWales

Do you scare easily? - icWales

As a paranormal investigator, John Sutton has helped to exorcise houses and seek out the truth behind spooky activities.

Now, with the help of his wife Lisa, he runs Ghost Knights, a company which organises paranormal evenings and clairvoyance shows in South Wales.

You can see his latest event at St Mary's Hotel, Pencoed, on April 27 - an evening with Bridgend medium Margaret Challenger.

And it will be a night of unique entertainment, whether you are a sceptic or a believer in the paranormal.

Mr Sutton, who has been in the job for 13 years, said: 'Being a paranormal investigator, I have to be sceptical.

'Mediums have to show me something concrete and the feedback from the audience when we used Margaret was good.

'She had a very good rapport with the audience.'

Apart from the quality of the medium, he also believes the setting is key to the atmosphere of the evening.

He said: 'St Mary's is a fabulous place, it's a nice location.

'I believe it's haunted as apparently there is something in one of the rooms.

'It's also got nice surroundings.'

The Suttons set up Ghost Knights to give people a more informal and honest insight into the paranormal.

'People don't seem to want to go to a spiritualist church so we thought we would bring the paranormal to people,' said Mr Sutton.

'We want to run an honest evening's entertainment.

'It's a good night's entertainment and it's safe.'

While the paranormal has never been more popular thanks to shows such as Most Haunted and Haunted Homes, he believes Most Haunted has been both a blessing and a curse to his industry.

He said: 'In my opinion it has caused damage to the business by making people think that people get possessed or attacked regularly in investigations.

'That has only happened to me once and it's very rare.

'I feel our evenings are more of an education to people.'

As well as providing entertainment, Ghost Knights donates £2 to the Ty Hafan hospice from every ticket sold.

Mr Sutton, originally from Yorkshire, said: 'I'd never heard of it before until I moved here but it feels great to be able to support the work they do.'

And he hopes to continue supporting the hospice through events lined up for the future.

He said: 'We do investigate houses and are planning special events with crystal healers and different mediums.

'We are just planning things for people to give the paranormal a try.

'Nothing nasty is going to happen, no-one is shown up, you just get to have a bit of fun as well.'

Tickets cost £10 on the door. For more information, visit

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The 10 greatest treasures of our National Library

The 10 greatest treasures of our National Library

It holds many riches from our past - choosing favourites is no easy task. Trevor Fishlock takes a deep breath...

HERE'S the challenge. I'm at the National Library of Wales on the hill overlooking the sea at Aberystwyth. From its millions of books and manuscripts and remarkable objects and curiosities I've been asked to choose just 10.

It's a bit like Desert Island Discs, but more fun and much harder.

I admit I have a head start. The library celebrates its centenary this year and I've been here making television and radio programmes about its treasures for BBC Wales and gathering material for a book. It would be easier to pick my top 200 or 300 treasures, but 10 it has to be.

Of course, the library itself is a wonder, the living memory of the people, the dream that flowered into a reality. It sprang from the great 19th century welling of Welsh consciousness and aspiration from which emerged the unifying national institutions: university, library, museum and eisteddfod.

The library and museum have grown into the granaries of beloved treasures; and the library itself stands as the powerful witness of the Welsh experience, affirming six simple and determined words: Wales was, is and will be.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ghost buster wanted at Bodelwyddan Castle - Daily Post North Wales

Ghost buster wanted at Bodelwyddan Castle - Daily Post North Wales

Ghost buster

WANTED: one ghost hunter, must be strong of spirit and prepared to work nights.

Those are the criteria for what must rank as one of the oddest job ads ever posted: a paranormal investigator at a North Wales castle.

A boom in visitors keen on the paranormal has led to staff seeking another hardy soul to join their ranks.

The spooky job may not be for everybody’s tastes, and anyone who would flee the room screaming is likely to fail their interview.

Paranormal events first started at Bodelwyddan Castle two years ago, and have attracted growing crowds.

Participants are given guided ghost walks between 9pm to 6am.

Events alongside the walks include meditation with crystals, scientific tests, vigils and divination sessions.

Laura Whitley, paranormal assistant at Bodelwyddan Castle, said: “The vigils last about 45 minutes in the dark, and you start by shouting ‘are there are any spirits in the room.’

“Sometimes you get really loud responses, like bangs. Then we go on to use methods like laser thermometers to test for any presence.

“At the last divination, we had some impressive results – members of the group brought spirits along with them, and they ended up coming through.”

The job advert calls for “an enthusiastic individual to join the Paranormal Investigation Team... no experience necessary, but an interest in the paranormal is essential, as is the willingness to work unsociable hours.”

Applicants would work on demand, with events taking place at least once a month during the winter.

Laura said: “We are looking for somebody confident – it is an unusual job and one that involves dealing a lot with the public.

“Bearing in mind we are leading groups of the public, you can’t really be the first person to run out of the door as soon as you hear a bump.

“You have got to be extremely level-headed. It’s difficult to say what they should expect, it all depends on whether any spirits want to come along and play.”

The successful applicant will be given full training on the historical aspect of the events, and the technology required to conduct tests.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Spooky ... one of our UFO sightings goes missing

Western Mail (Cardiff); Feb 20, 2007; Robin Turner, Tryst Williams; p. 13

A celebrated ufo incident in which aliens are said to have crash- landed into a remote Welsh mountain range in 1974 may finally have been debunked. According to contributions on the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, the Berwyn Mountains Incident - often referred to as the 'Welsh Roswell' - was actually a combination of an earthquake, a meteor shower and poachers carrying lanterns. Supporters of the UFO theory last night hit back at the claims.

It all happened on the frosty night of January 23, 1974, near Llandrillo, high in Clwyd's Berwyn Mountains.

Just after 8.30pm, even the most solid farmhouses and country pubs began to shake as the earth rumbled with what appeared to be a fantastic impact.

As people looked out of their homes, the night sky was streaked with light. Peculiar 'fairy lights' were also seen floating over the Berwyns. A nurse and her two daughters claimed to have seen an orange ball on the mountainside above Llandrillo while others claimed to have seen 'non-human beings' being handled by military personnel.

But it was, says Wikipedia, a complex coincidence of a meteor shower widely observed over Wales and northern England, a small earthquake, plus the activity of poachers - which explained the fairy lights.

And the website says so-called 'men in black', thought to have been Government agents in the area soon afterwards, were in fact civil servants from the British Geological Survey who happened to be wearing dark clothing.

Contributors to the online encyclopedia say it is now known that at 8.38pm on January 23, 1974, an earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter Scale was felt over a wide area of North Wales and as far afield as Liverpool.

First reactions were that a plane had crashed, or a meteorite had impacted.

Wikipedia claims, 'Further confusion was caused by lights seen on the Berwyn Mountains, which subsequently turned out to have belonged to poachers.

'Police were alerted and set up a search team. Within an hour about 10 officers were searching the Berwyn Mountains and they were joined later by an RAF mountain rescue team from Valley (Anglesey). Nothing was found, and all searches were called off at just after 2pm the following day.'

But Cefn Henry Williams, a Plaid Cymru councillor representing Llandrillo, believes something unusual happened that night.

He said, 'In the early hours a close friend of mine said he went up the mountain to see if there had been some kind of crash. He was buzzed by army helicopters all screaming at him through loud speakers 'keep away - evacuate the area'. Now while I am not a follower of the crashed UFO theory there could have been some experimental jet which crashed and the military wanted no one near there.'

Cardiff-based Lionel Fanthorpe, the broadcaster and cleric who is president of the British UFO Research Association (Bufora), yesterday invoked the example of the celebrated Roswell incident - when the US Government is rumoured to have recovered an alien body from a downed UFO near the remote New Mexico town of Roswell - in support of the claims.

He said, 'Purely from a statistical point of view a visit from some other civilisation is long overdue.': Wales' history of UFO sightings:Wales has had its fair share of UFO sightings over the years. In the '70s an entire class of primary school children in Broadhaven, West Wales, claimed to have seen a UFO landing and aliens get out.The pictures they drew of what they had seen - a cigar-shaped object - appeared uncannily similar.

In 2006 however, James Carlson of New Mexico, a serviceman based at Brawdy, West Wales, in the '70s and '80s, told paranormal magazine the Fortean Times in a letter that

the Harrier vertical take-off jet used in the UK from 1969 might explain the cigar-shaped object sightings because it did not move like a conventional aircraft.

In October 2005, the Ministry of Defence admitted they had investigated 28 UFO reports in Wales in the previous three years. They included a giant black object seen over Rhyl, a flying disc with legs seen over the Rhondda and a flying disc seen over Newport.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The monser of Langorse Lake

Mabinogion just the thing fora fantasy blockbuster

A WELSH academic has just completed the first new English translation of The Mabinogion for 30 years.

Sioned Davies, chair of Welsh at Cardiff University, has recreated the medieval stories of Wales.

And Welsh academics believe the work could attract the attention of movie makers looking to make a Lord of the Rings-style adaptation of Wales' seminal Celtic myths.

The stories have seen many different interpretations over the years including several translations and cartoon adaptations.

The name Mabinogion was given by William Pughe, an 18th century antiquarian, to a selection of narrative works found in two great ancient books of Wales.

They are the Red Book of Hergest, now kept in Oxford's Bodleian library, and the White Book of Rhydderch, held in the National Library of Wales, both of which feature the relationship between the mundane and the magical.

Ms Davies has reinvented the tales, while taking care to keep the rhythm and tempo of the originals.

In her work, she examines the stories' themes and explains aspects of medieval Welsh society.

She said, "They feature 11 very different stories, some of them are about King Arthur and his knights fighting giants and witches, others are to do with Celtic mythology, where people get transformed into animals.

"There is also a tale of a red dragon fighting a white one - the red dragon symbolising Wales.

"This is the first major translation I have worked on. I received the contract eight years ago and it took me three years to complete, working on and off, juggling lots of things.

"I did my PhD on The Mabinogion, on its narrative and style. I'm very interested in the storytelling techniques so I tried to make the translation one that can be read out loud."

She read an extract of her version of the story at the Hay Festival of Literature to an audience of around 100, in the style it would have been performed in the distant days when it was first told.

S4C made an animated film about the tales in 2002 and Dr Ian Hughes, a lecturer on The Mabinogion, at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales, believes the ancient stories would be ideal material for a new fantasy blockbuster.

"Throughout the centuries, everyone has realised the importance of this work," he said.

"Five of the stories are Arthurian in nature and he has played a major part in our imaginations here in Wales and that of the literati of many countries in Europe.

"But we in Wales feel even closer to these tales because we can plot the destinations mentioned in the stories on the map.

"Arthur hunts a wild boar from Ireland, that swims across to Pembrokeshire and ravages parts of South Wales.

"The Lln Peninsula and Arfon in North Wales are mentioned.

"And Mochdre and Mochnant -'pig stream' in Powys - are referred to, although the Arthurian-like waterfall at Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant is not mentioned.

"We can hear about these myths that occurred in the places where we live and they appear to be more real to us."

But Dr Hughes believes that while movies like The Sword in the Stone and Excalibur have been made based on Arthur's journeys in England and on the Continent, Wales has been neglected.

"Wales does not seem to have a fair airing in the tales - we don't seem to be as good at the Irish at getting funding and pushing ourselves," he said.

"But there is plenty of scope for a blockbuster adaptation of these tales.

"One of the great things about Sioned's book is that it may well lead to a renewed interest in The Mabinogion."

The Four branches of the Mabinogion

The First Branch is set in Dyfed, an area connected to the magical underworld known as Annwfn.

Here Rhiannon The Great Queen is a goddess of horses, birds and the Island Otherworld.

Pwyll Pendevic Dyfed, the hero, undergoes magical trials before emerging as the Head of Annwfn and consort of the Great Queen, before she gives birth to the hero Pryderi.

The Second Branch sees the great king Bran, or Bendigeidfran lead an ill-fated expedition to Ireland to avenge his sister, Branwen.

He returns bearing the living head of their leader and the seven survivors undertake a mysterious odyssey.

In the Third Branch the fallout from these events involves Manawydan son of Llyr, Pryderi son of Pwyll, his mother Rhiannon and his wife Cigfa living in a land magically emptied of human habitation.

The Fourth Branch concerns the family of the goddess Don.

Celtic hero-god Lleu is forced to overcome a triple curse from his mother, who says he should receive neither a name, a weapon, or a wife.

Gwydion and Math the wizard-king of Gwynedd magically create a woman for Lleu, conjuring her out of wild flowers.

But she betrays the man she was created to love.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Merlin on Tv

Merlin adds his magic to Saturday night TV

THE Arthurian wizard Merlin will make his debut in a new BBC1 prime time drama announced yesterday.

The Saturday night drama will focus on the mighty wizard, traditionally seen as a Welsh or Celtic legend, as a young man.

It will follow in the tradition of BBC shows, like BBC Wales' Doctor Who and Robin Hood which have sparked a resurgence in family viewing.

But the new drama will concentrate on magic.

The adaptation is in its 'very, very, very early stages of development' and will not hit the small screen for at least another 12 months. But it is scheduled to go out at the prime time BBC1 7pm slot.

BBC1 controller Peter Fincham said he hoped Merlin would encourage even more family viewing.

He said, 'Three generational television - television you can watch with your parent and with your children - there's not enough of that about.

'I think it is very important on BBC1 that we include more and more of that world of family viewing.

'We've only just scratched the surface of modern family viewing. So our appetite is not exhausted by Robin Hood and Doctor Who.'

The new drama should air in the part of the year when Robin Hood is not occupying the Saturday night slot.

Merlin is said to have engineered the birth of King Arthur through magic and served as his adviser.

But the BBC said the story would focus less on the Legend of the Round Table and more on magic.