Archive for August 31, 2013

The stories of the Radnorshire “hauntings” have given rise to the greatest interest among those who revel in ghost lore. The readers of the “Western Mail” have expressed so strong a desire to learn more of these remarkable cases that it was thought desirable to make fuller inquiries into the matter, and I undertook to report thereon. I commenced my journey absorbed in meditation of a decidedly “ghostly” nature, endeavouring to predict what the next few hours would bring forth. I was shortly to interview one of the principal witnesses, to hear from his lips what his eyes had seen and his ears had heard. On alighting from the train at the little village of I gazed around upon the beautiful country. Below me the River Wye was winding gracefully along the valley reflecting the luxuriant trees which grew in rich profusion upon its verdant banks, on the clear and even surface of its sparkling waters. In the distance the hills rose majestically on either side, studded with fields and shrubs of varying hues and forms. On the rough land, numbers of rabbits sported and frisked among the ferns, whilst the air was made musical with the melody of feathered songsters, and the sound of cheery voices in the distance. Surely, thought I, “this cannot be the land of ghosts, hobgoblins, and dragons of the pit? But my business was not to speculate but investigate, therefore, after taking a final survey of this charming spot, I pressed forward with an elastic step to the anticipated interview. I found Mr. —— a very unassuming, genial, and intelligent man, totally unlike the kind of folk usually associated with ghost stories, and our conversation proved him to be keen and critical. It is evident that we cannot in justice declare that this witness is either “over credulous,” “subject to hysteria,” or to be predisposed to accept the “spirit” hypothesis without (at least to him) adequate proof. I found this gentleman very candid, and it is evident that his veracity cannot be doubted. When I introduced the subject his face immediately assumed a serious expression. “It is a fact,” he said, “there can be no doubt about that.” “Have you always believed in supernatural occurrences?” I asked. “No,” he replied, “up to the time of the hauntings I never believed in ghosts of any description, and treated the story of this case with contempt, until I was forced to believe in the facts as I had seen and heard them.” “What were the phenomena as witnessed by you?” Well, many things happened. Rapping’s, noises of various kinds, movement of articles of furniture, &c., and many things of a private nature.” “What did the raps resemble?” “They varied considerably, commencing with a sort of scratching sound, apparently proceeding from the window, then they became louder and more distinct, and at last assumed a definite thump, thump, thump.” “Were the sounds always located in the same place?” No, they changed considerably; sometimes they came from the floor, then from the wails, again from the ceiling, and various parts of the room.” “Did you ask questions and receive answers from the ‘ghost?” “Yes. I said, ‘If you are a spirit, rap once, and, accordingly, we heard one distinct thump. Again I said, ‘Rap twice, three times etc, and raps resulted, and were always of the number I requested. This experiment I have repeated many times, and in every case I received the number of raps asked for.” “Did the ‘ghost.’ exhibit any intelligence?” “Yes, for the result of the rapping experiment clearly proved that it heard and understood my questions. I asked, however, other questions of a personal character, but never received a reply.” “Are you a spiritualist “No, nor any of those who witnessed the phenomena.” “Did you put your questions in the orthodox spiritualistic fashion?” “I don’t know what that is. I said ‘if rap once,’ and so forth.” “Do you think it probable that these knockings were produced by trickery in connection with an inmate of the house for instance?” I at first thought that trickery was practised; and my suspicion fixed on an individual in whose presence the phenomena usually occurred, but after testing this person in many ways, I am convinced that my suspicions were utterly unfounded, for the individual is evidently perfectly honest.” Why were you suspicious of this person?” Because the raps occurred under circumstances in which imposture could be practised. For instance, sounds were heard in the room in which the individual was while we were in the room underneath. Being removed from one room to another, the raps followed the person, always proceeding from the room he occupied, but while in the company of others no sounds were heard.” “Under the circumstances, why do you consider him above suspicion?” “Because the raps were heard while he was asleep, and they at last became so loud, as to be completely out of the power of any child to produce. Again, many things occurred, such as the movement of furniture in locked rooms, which could not have been produced by any living person.” In rooms when the doors were locked?” “yes, under the circumstances heavy sacks were thrown down, trunks emptied, and their contents deposited upon the floor; furniture was moved, and things generally disturbed, and dairy utensils were flung about. These disturbances have occurred when the whole family were out of the house, which was left locked up in perfect order, but upon their return, disclosed a state of general confusion.” “How long did these remarkable occurrences continue?” “Sir months; during which time scarcely a, night passed without something supernatural occurring.” “Were apparitions seen?” “Nothing was ever seen that I know of.” The gentleman endorsed the statements contained in the article which appeared in the “Western Mail”, declaring the report to be fundamentally accurate. In the course of the interview many things were revealed of a private nature, which Mr. —— obtained my promise of secrecy. Practically, the investigation has only begun, but from the commencement, we may predict interesting details in the near future. Several witnesses have to be interviewed, and arrangements for further research are now being made, and it is hoped that in the space of a fortnight we shall be in possession of many new and interesting facts. In the meantime, it will be premature to attempt to formulate a theory or hypotheses; we must content ourselves with the simple record of facts.
Evening Express 30 July 1897