Sian Eleri's New Docu-Series Finally Breaks The Stale Format Of Paranormal Shows
In a refreshing departure from the norm, Radio 1 DJ Sian Eleri embarks on a supernatural journey in her new BBC Three documentary series, 'Paranormal: The Girl, The Ghost And The Gravestones'. This intriguing docu-series feels like a breath of fresh air amidst a genre often saturated with predictability.
Rather than following the worn path of sending a team into an allegedly haunted location and recording the experience with night-vision cameras, Sian adopts a more journalistic approach. Her in-depth, cold-case style investigation dives into one of the most infamous haunting cases in Welsh history, set against the eerie backdrop of a 15th-century farmhouse in a remote area near Mold in Flintshire.
This is Penyffordd Farm, a dwelling that captured both local and national headlines between 1997 and 2010. For years, it was embroiled in an array of otherworldly occurrences, earning it the chilling title of 'the most haunted house in Wales'. The haunting case began in 1997 when the Gower family moved into Penyffordd Farm. It is believed that moving a gravestone, which was leaning against the house and bore the name Jane Jones (who died in 1778 at the tender age of 15), became the catalyst for the hauntings that terrorized the family over the next 11 years.
Sian's investigation is thorough and compelling. She pores over the historic evidence, combining this with new interviews of witnesses. The series' investigative style is reminiscent of the BBC Sounds podcast series, 'Uncanny'. The documentary is rich in material, featuring video footage from the time of the hauntings, archive radio interviews, historic television interviews with the Gower family, and photographs and case notes from the personal files of Dr. Michael Daniels, a psychologist who investigated the case in the late 90s.
Photo: © BBC
For enthusiasts who enjoy a mix of pseudo-scientific spook hunting, episode three promises an intense session with a local paranormal team attempting to contact spirits via a Ouija board. Sian, initially wary due to the ill-founded negative connotations associated with Ouija boards, observes but remains unconvinced—especially when a purported Welsh-speaking monk refuses to communicate in his native language through the board.
In a striking divergence from the genre's norms, 'Paranormal: The Girl, The Ghost And The Gravestones' notably lacks a fearful host, shaky night-vision footage, or dubious ghost-hunting gadgets. Most refreshingly of all, Sian boldly questions the credibility of the case’s lead witness, an approach rarely adopted in more rigidly formatted paranormal reality shows, which often uncritically accept witnesses' accounts.
As of now, the haunting of Penyffordd Farm continues to polarize opinion. Some view the Gower family's experiences as genuine, bone-chilling encounters with the unknown, while others dismiss them as elaborate stories, woven from the fabric of imagination and circumstance.
The docu-series 'Paranormal: The Girl, The Ghost And The Gravestones' is available in full on BBC iPlayer now following its BBC One premiere last night.
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