Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman visit Margam Castle in South Wales. The sprawling castle 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.
Katrina described the castle as the "quintessential haunted house," she adds "it kind of has this dark beauty to it and you can just feel the energy as you're approaching."
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Once darkness had fallen outside, Nick and Katrina got their kit together in the dining room, before moving through to the grand staircase in the main entrance hall, where people have seen a face looking over the balcony. Nick called out to the spirits asking for them to make their presence known. They heard a clear and loud bang coming from upstairs in response, as they went up to investigate, Nick said he could feel a definite "static charge".
As they went into the master bedroom, Katrina said she was sure she saw a woman sat in a chair in the window. This actually matches the known paranormal
experiences that have been reported in this room. The room on the first floor was Christopher's bedroom and was the room where he died. His daughter Emily then moved into the room and it is thought to be her ghost that people see sat on a chair looking out of a window.
The pair then moved into the side bedroom, where the soldiers had slept during the war. Nick was armed with a device called a Geoport, which scans through a databank of phonetic sounds supposedly allowing entities to produce intelligent responses. They had a few phrases come through like "help us", but they weren't given in any context so can't really be considered to be intelligent responses.
They then asked if it was Emily they'd seen and if it was to make another noise so they knew where to find her. Form outside the room they heard the sound of footsteps coming up the main stairs. Katrina asked for an age and the Geoport said 811. She said "that would put us in the 1200s, which is the monastic period."
At 12 hours into the investigation, the duo find somewhere to sleep... which is a little odd because it was dark when they started their investigation at hour one. So, if sunset was at 8pm, it should be at least 8am at this point, yet it's still dark outside and they're only just thinking of getting some sleep. Clearly confused about time, Nick decided to spend the first night sleeping on the stairs, which so far has proven to be the most active part of the building, while Katrina sets up camp in a bedroom.
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They both managed to get a good seven hours sleep, by this time it was finally day time again. During the night, Nick repeatedly heard something that sounded like a door slamming. As always, Katrina slept through the whole night soundly. They then head outside to investigate the grounds, which are also said to be haunted, although this seemed uneventful.
That night they decided to investigate the abbey ruins in the grounds. An indistinguishable voice came through on the Geoport, Nick thought that it said "monks are here". They weren't there for long before Nick said, "as calm as it is down here, I mean it's way more active up at the house, so I think we should head back up there."
On their way back to the castle, they saw a red glowing light in the sky. Apparently, this light wasn't in the sky but was actually coming from upstairs in the castle. They set up an experiment to try to get to the bottom of this, Nick says they're using a huge black light, that he says lets them see different forms of light that aren't normally visible to the naked eye. A black or ultraviolet light doesn't do that, humans can't see ultraviolet but when it hits something that is fluorescent it gives off normal visible light.
Nothing seemed to happen as a result of this set up, but two names seemed to come through on the Geoport, both of which are names of Talbot family members, Emily and Theodore.
After a scare with a bat in the back bedroom, they find somewhere to sleep for the night. Nick took the side bedroom, while Katrina bravely went to sleep in the abbey ruins.
On the final night, Nick and Katrina conducted an experiment on the main stairs, with a digital camera that is set up to take photos every five seconds. They're hoping any spirits might break the lasers they've set up across the stairs to indicate their presence in the photos. They also had a 3D mapping camera, which Nick hopes might show up any shadow figures, the output from the camera was projected on to a wall behind them.
Nick started by calling out, "can you see me?" A voice through the Geoport seemed to say "yes". Katrina asked, "is this Emily?" The echoey voices replied with "yes". Despite the elaborate set up, Katrina soon abandoned the experiment after going to investigate movement she heard coming from an adjoining room.
Nick followed her out onto the landing and got the fright of his life when suddenly something fell to the floor with a bang near them. They then went to the bottom of the stairs in the hopes that they'd have better luck making contact here.
When the duo reviewed their evidence from the night, they saw a small dark shadows blocking out the light from the lasers in one of their photos. Whatever this shadow was could have been what made the sound Katrina heard. When Katrina reviewed the audio from the investigation, she noted that on several occasions the phrase "can't get enough" came through the Geoport. Based on some advice from the house's historian, Katrina believes that this phrase might be to do with Emily's upset over the value of the castle when it was sold on, it should have been worth much more.