For such a small country, Wales has a lot of castles, many of which are said to be haunted. From reports of ghostly footsteps to the full apparitions of soldiers, just about every type of haunting phenomenon can be experienced. Perhaps the strangest story relating to a Welsh castle is the tale of a demonic ape ghost that haunts Carew Castle.
Below are the ten castles in Wales that are best known as paranormal hotspots.
10. Roch Castle
Roch Castle in Haverfordwest is now a hotel but dates back to the 12th century and is said to be haunted by a previous resident, Lucy Walter who lived there in the 1630s. She was the consort of Charles II and mother of the Duke of Monmouth. In recent years a ghost, believed to be the spirit of Lucy, has been seen floating through building wearing a white dress and passing through locked doors. She's also been blamed for disembodied footsteps heard by guests during the night.
9. Gwydir Castle
Gwydir Castle in the beautiful Conwy Valley in North Wales has a long history of hauntings. The paranormal activity ranges from a general feeling of unease and odd unexplained smells, through to sightings of ghostly apparitions, including the ghost of a maid seen as a grey lady appearing from walls. It's said that a former owner of the castle, Sir John Wynn, had an affair with the house's maid, but when she fell pregnant, he murdered her and hid her body in the wall.
8. Chepstow Castle
Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain and also boasts the oldest surviving wooden castle door in Europe, dating back to the 12th century. Today the castle is in ruins, however most of it is still intact and the remains are open to the public as a Grade I listed Welsh attraction. Visitors and staff working at the castle have reported plenty of paranormal activity, including unexplained cold spots, strange noises and even ghostly visions.
In the castle's gift shop visitors have reported smelling the unmistakable scent of onions being cooked. The gift shop is built right next to the site of the castle's former kitchens. Staff locking up alone have heard heavy knocking on the castle's large wooden doors.
There's also been sightings of the ghost of Henry Marten, an English lawyer who was sent in to exile at Chepstow Castle by King Charles II in 1668. He remained here for 12 years until he died at the castle after choking while eating his supper. He is buried beneath the floor at the nearby Church of St Mary.
There's also an odd tale of an ornate chess set that was for sale in the gift shop. The staff noticed that despite being locked in a glass display cabinet, on several occasions the chess pieces moved to different squares of their own accord.
7. Craig-y-Nos Castle
In 1842 the story of Craig-y-Nos begins, originally it started life as gothic mansion. It was owned by two sets of families over the years, before a famous opera singer took over. In 1878 the supreme diva, Adelina Patti, bought the property and named it Craig-y-Nos, which means "rock of the night" and began making it her home.
Complete with her own elaborate theatre, she invited many rich and famous friends to watch her perform on stage. After her death in 1919 her third husband sold the property, where upon it became a tuberculosis hospital for many years. The current owners are now living here as a family and restoring the property.
The ghost of Adelina Patti has been spotted all over the building, but most frequently in the theatre, which was so dear to her. The sound of singing and strange noises have been heard coming from the boudoir and the ghost of a very well dressed Victorian gentlemen has been seen here.
Since the 1920s, transparent figures of patients have been seen roaming the stairs and corridors, almost as if lost. This is a stark reminder that this place used to be a sanatorium and it's later use as TB hospital where many people died here, from that disease which took so many lives in those days.
6. Margam Castle
Margam Castle, a sprawling castle in South Wales, and the land it is built on has a grim history that spans over 4,000 years, with tales of death, despair and a family curse.
The land has been considered to be sacred for thousands of years and ancient tribes buried their dead in the surrounding hills. After the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in the area, the site became an early Christian settlement up until 1147, when Margam Abbey was founded and became home to hundreds of cistercian monks. With the end of English monasteries in the 16th century, the Mansel family purchased the land and in 1840 Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot built Margam Castle as an elaborate home using stone and lead taken from the abbey.
Reports of hauntings go back centuries, with claims of dark ancient spirits on the property. Until this day, visitors report cloaked figures on the ground, apparitions on the staircase, shadow figures on the upper floor and feel a negative presence throughout the property.
As well as its hauntings, the castle is also said to be cursed, supposedly because Christopher Mansel Talbot used parts of the dismantled abbey to build his home. Local legend says that this curse has brought tragedy onto the the family and ruined the Talbot line, who all died out, their wealth was squandered and eventually the castle was put up for auction in 1941. During World War II, the castle was given a new lease of life as lodgings for allied troops and they too experienced the strange ghostly phenomenon while based here.
5. Ruthin Castle
The castle has many ghost stories, the most famous being that of the Grey Lady. It is said that she was the wife of the second in command of the castle. She discovered that her powerful husband was having an affair with a local woman and in a jealous rage, she murdered the woman with an axe. She was tried, found guilty and executed, but as she was buried inside the castle ground, her ghost is said to walk the building.
In the abandoned rooms on the upper floor, people have witnessed the sound of children running around and playing, but when they check inside the room, there's nobody there.
When the castle was a hospital, the basement was used as the mortuary. In this area since, people have witnessed hearing the sound of crying and moaning as if people were in desperate pain and need.
In the banqueting room, the ghost of the Grey Lady has been seen on several occasions, dark shadows have been seen dancing across the walls and the banqueting table has even been said to lift off of the floor.
The Lillie Suite, one of the guest bedrooms, is named after Lillie Langtry, a famous British actress and one of Edward, Prince of Wales' lovers. She used to frequently visit the castle and this was her favourite room. She is now said to haunt the room.
4. Castell Coch
The 19th-century gothic revival castle was built above the village of Tongwynlais, surrounded by protected beech woodland containing rare plant species and unusual geological features and even today.
Castell Coch was designed by the architect William Burgess as a country retreat for the Third Marquis of Bute, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart and his family but none of these haunt the building, in fact after the the Marquis died, his widow, Lady Gwendolyn was quick to leave the castle after complaining about a ghostly woman in white. She is said to be a servant who lived in the castle and has been haunting the building since the death of her son. He drowned in the castle grounds in a pond.
Another regularly sighted ghost at the castle is the spirit of a man dressed in cavalier uniform. It's believed that the man had been lucky enough to lay his hand on a large amount of treasure, which he buried somewhere in the grounds of Castell Coch.
It's said that even to this day he comes back to the castle from beyond the grave to check that his hidden riches are safe. The treasure is also watched over by three ghostly eagles.
3. Cardiff Castle
A medieval castle located right in the heart of Cardiff city centre. There's been a castle of some form on the site going right back to the 11th century. The castle is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Like most castles, Cardiff Castle has its share of resident ghosts, most of which can be found in an area known as "the palace" in the south-west corner of the castle grounds. Visitors to this part of the castle have reported seeing a strange mist, which takes the form of a faceless woman in a grey dress. The ghost is said to move things around in the early hours of the morning in the stock room. The ghost has also been blamed from opening and closing doors, causing lights to flicker and rearranging furniture.
The Second Marquess of Bute, John Crichton-Stuart and six generations of his family lived at the castle. The Marquess died in the castle and is said to have been seen walking through walls and fireplaces as well as in the chapel where he died. His wife, Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings has also been spotted floating through the castle grounds at night.
2. Denbigh Castle
The ruins of the 13th century Denbigh Castle in North Wales was built during Edward I's conquest of Wales. The castle's most famous ghost is that of a white lady who has been seen on several occasions gliding through the castle's ground. Some have reported seeing her being followed by a strange glowing most and is most frequently sighted on footpaths near a part of the castle known as the Goblin tower.
Other visitor have reported seeing a dark shadowy figure moving around inside the Goblin tower, a young boy's face is often seen looking out of one of the windows in this part of the building. It's said that this is the ghost of one of the castle builder's sons who fell to his death during the castle's construction.
There's also stories of the disembodied cries of a heartbroken woman being heard around the castle, it's believed that she was getting water from a well when her child fell from her arms and died at the bottom of the well.
1. Bodelwyddan Castle
Bodelwyddan Castle dates back to at least 1460 and has had a varied and interesting past. It was used as a hospital during the First World War, as a private girls' school and is now home to the National Portrait Gallery.
The castle has more resident spooks and ghostly happenings than any other in Wales. The paranormal activity ranges from the sound of phantom children heard playing in empty rooms. Visitors have reported the sensation of have their hair or clothes pulled as if by a mischievous child.
There's also reports of visitors seeing disembodied legs wearing a pair of black shoes walking through the entrance hall before vanishing.
The castle's most well known spook is the spirit of a blue lady who's been seen wearing a flowing blue dress wandering around the castle's sculpture gallery. Another female spirit is said to haunt this part of the castle, a woman seen wearing Victorian style clothing. Unusually she's said to appear as a two-dimensional image in a sepia tone. The ghost of a First World Was soldier has been seen in another of the castle's galleries.
The cellar is also said to be haunted by a spook nicknames The Cellar Man. He's said to lurk in the castle's huge basement and is said to be very physical and violent having been blamed for pinching and pulling the hair of those who are brave enough to venture into the cellar.