Cardiff is full of fascinating history, but did you know that there are some chilling haunting tales? Not all of these ghost stories happened at Halloween, but in Cardiff, there are legendary whispers, eerie buildings and haunted happenings. Read on, if you dare!
EXORCISM AT CARDIFF ROYAL INFIRMARY
As a hospital, you can expect an unfortunate death or two, but it has its fair share of haunted happenings. Opening in 1822, Cardiff Royal Infirmary on Newport Road, has nearly 200 years of unexplained paranormal sensations. A security worker gave an account when monitoring the cameras. He saw a lady come out of the security office and pass right in front of him on the monitor, but directly in front of him no-one there.
If this was not spine chilling enough, there are also various accounts of vanishing matrons, wounded soldiers and playful children who like to tap you on the shoulder or ankles as you walk up the stairs. It got so bad in the Pathology ward that the doctors and nurses had an exorcism. It was never divulged what the staff had experienced, but it was enough for them to seek professional help for something that clearly frightened them.
GHOSTS OF LLANDAFF
With the Cathedral dating back to the 11th Century, it is understandable why Llandaff is one of the most haunted spots in Cardiff. The spine-chilling tales were common knowledge when I grew up in the area and include the Taff Trail and riverbank. Behind the Cathedral, there used to be a village and road, which was called the ‘road of the dead’. Bodies were carried along here to be buried in the graveyard.
A boy in blue drowned when playing in the river, and the ghost of the boy’s mother has been seen wading through the water, desperately searching for him. On the paths themselves, eerie footsteps have been heard and reported sightings of a lady, who locals call Bella, who committed suicide over 100 years ago.
In the graveyard of Llandaff Cathedral, visitors have reported seeing hooded or faceless figures, and even witch-like demons. Other sightings have included soldiers, monks and priests. The sounds of children have also been heard by visitors. As well as them playing or peeping from behind trees and gravestones.
HAUNTINGS AT CARDIFF CASTLE
There is no surprise that within the walls of Cardiff’s historic castle are filled with unnerving tales. Legend has it that Cardiff Castle has a significant amount of paranormal activity. Ghost stories include items in the stock room moving around by themselves. There is also a faceless woman who roams the castle, and a phantom coach has also been seen travelling towards the castle gates.
At 3.45am precisely each morning in the main dining room the doors open and close by themselves, even if these heavy doors are locked. The same place also experiences lights flickering and furniture being re-arranged.
DISTURBANCE AT ST FAGAN’S MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Many people forget that amongst the historic buildings that have been relocated from all over Wales, that there is a Grade I listed castle, St Fagan’s Castle. It is known as the most haunted museum in the country. It is said that the restoration of the village disturbed the ghosts, and they have now returned to their former home.
Besides the main house, the most haunted building is the Elizabethan House. There is a bed there, where a woman and her baby died in childbirth. One visitor who touched it was so overcome she had to be carried out of the building. It is also a site of a Civil War battle, which took place in 1648. Over 200 men lost their lives, and ghostly echoes of fighting have been heard. In 2016 a mum taking a picture of her young son even ‘captured’ two of the soldiers in a photograph.
A RUCKUS AT THE RUMMER TAVERN
The tavern was built in the 18th Century, but its narrow shape indicates that it was built on a medieval plot. A rummer is a large glass or cup for wine, which originated in central Europe in the 16th Century and was associated with toasts. Over the years, several staff and customers have reported seeing or experiencing ghostly presences in the Rummer Tavern, most often in the toilets and the cellar. It is said that a jealous sailor died in the building shortly after finding his wife in bed with another man and continues to haunt the tavern to this day. How he died is not documented so was it murder, suicide or a broken heart that killed him?
APPARITIONS AT THE MILLENNIUM CENTRE
Although the building is new, the ground and the streets around The Wales Millennium Centre are part of Old Cardiff. Even though the area is now full of plush apartments and upscale bars and restaurants, the district has a dark and sinister past. It was once one of the busiest ports in the world and the stories of murders and mysteries span over 200 years. Visitors to the area report feeling as though they are being watched or followed by something unseen.
In 2009, Google footage needed to be examined as it appeared that a woman dressed in what seemed to be Victorian looking clothing appeared to be gliding above the pavement. She wore a long skirt and blouse, bow tie, hat and scarf. Experts that have studied the image cannot account for her presence.
AN ANGRY ARCHITECT AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WALES
With some many old and historical artefacts, it is, of course, plausible that some of the objects are haunted. It is believed that the National Museum of Wales is haunted by at least two ghosts. Lord Ninian, who was a son of the Third Marquis of Bute, died in action during the first World War, aged 32. There is a statue dedicated to him in the Gorsedd Gardens, and it has been reported that his presence has been felt – particularly on election night.
The other ghostly figure is that of the building’s architect, Dunbar Smith. Following his death, his ashes were interred at the museum. When the museum was renovated to install public toilets, these were built on the site of where the ashes are buried. The installation is said to have enraged the spirit of Smith, and he now takes revenge by haunting the museum’s corridors. At night he causes a commotion, including clattering furniture and other objects. A recording of a ghostly voice has also been captured saying, “the wrong place! The wrong place!”
A WHITE LADY IN THE RED CASTLE – CASTELL COCH
Castell Coch was built on the site of 13th Century ruins. Reports exist of the ghost of a white lady believed to be Dame Griffith who haunts the ruins. Even the rebuild did not drive her away. She has been seen more frequently since the renovations, by both staff and visitors. Apparently, she died of a broken heart after her son, who was exploring the castle, fell into a pond and drowned. She wanders the castle and the wood searching for the lost soul of her son.
With its creepy corridors and dark dungeons, there are no surprises that there are regular spooky sightings inside Castell Coch too. The most famous local ghost story is the legend of the Castell Coch Cavalier. The story comes from reports from the servants of a lady who rented the castle as a private residence from the Bute family for a short period. Apparently, a male servant said he awoke in the middle of the night to find the ghost of a cavalier standing at the foot of his bed. Naturally, the servant had quite the fright but escaped unharmed. The cavalier is said to have hidden treasure in the walls of the castle before going off to fight in the civil war. Tragically he was never to return, except as a ghost who continues searching the castle grounds for what he had lost.
FORETELLING AT LLANDOUGH HOSPITAL
Hospitals are obviously a popular location for ghost sightings. Llandough Hospital opened in 1933 for infectious diseases. The demand was there from those working in the South Wales mine’s and for sailors arriving in Cardiff Bay after months at sea. The most famous story is of a nurse who told her colleague that she had experienced a vision of seeing her own dead body lying on a bed. The nurse then died a week later of typhoid fever, on the very bed she had seen in her vision. The apparition of the nurse has been seen often on the wards. A pregnant lady awoke in the night with her standing at the end of her bed, and the nurse told her that everything would be ok.
THE LUNATIC ASYLUM AT WHITCHURCH HOSPITAL
Known locally as the ‘loony bin’, it opened as the Cardiff City Asylum in 1908. The grounds contained a dance hall, 800-seat church, bandstands, summer house and even a farm where the patients worked. It was thought, as people would be spending their lives there, it had to function as a self-contained society. Some of the conditions treated were Moral Imbecility (women who had children out of wedlock), Masturbatory Insanity, Syphilis and forms of Schizophrenia where delusional people were locked up indefinitely. These days we know what types of treatments that patients would have had to endure, including shock therapy and using mosquitoes to induce the potentially deadly disease malaria. During the world wars, it was used for the returning wounded soldiers. It was one of the first places where ‘shellshock’ was witnessed.
I hope these hair-raising tales have got you in the spirit for Halloween. Whatever you believe or not, there is no doubt that Cardiff is home to some of the most haunting but beautiful spots.