SPOOKS R US
When moving to a new house you do not expect to employ an expert in the paranormal in addition to the surveyor and the solicitor. Maybe that is what we should have done before we moved into Penyffordd Farm, our haunted North Wales farmhouse in February 1997!
We had barely been in residence for two weeks when a reporter from our local weekly newspaper told us that an Irish couple had seen visions of the Virgin Mary in our field, and had subsequently experienced miracles of healing. Not being Catholics we were highly sceptical. The field is at the bottom of a quiet country lane and has nothing much to recommend it as it is steep and rugged. It is not much use for grazing, but we allow our neighbour to keep a few pet sheep there. In spite of my scepticism, when I was suffering with a frozen shoulder, that had defied medical aid, I stood at the field gate, and within five minutes my pain had eased; by the next day I was cured! I have a theory that if one has something like our field to focus the mind on, it acts like a catalyst in helping the bodyâ€™s own healing mechanisms to kick in.
By June of 1997 our lane was becoming like a mini Lourdes with folk visiting the field in hope of a vision or a miracle. Seven years later, we still get a â€˜pilgrimâ€™ or two, and there are occasional reports of miracles. Two people have actually contacted me over the Internet from America, saying that they had been healed when they visited the field. According to a newspaper report, its tranquil vibes prevented a man from committing suicide in 1999.
While all this was going outside, we became aware of a presence in the house. Our youngest daughter was on a visit home and woke up to find a monk sitting on the end of the bed. She found it a pleasant experience, until her brain kicked in, and then she wondered what on earth he was doing there! We thought it was a dream until I saw an apparition of a monk in broad daylight a couple of days later. From then on Brother Doli (Adolphus) became part of the family. Our son, who has Downâ€™s Syndrome, saw him frequently, and accepted the fact as normal. I have seen the monk on about five occasions, each time I thought I was seeing a flesh and blood person for the second or two that I was aware of the presence.
In January 1999 the first stain of a Welsh religious word appeared on the wall in the lounge, TANGNEFEDD, meaning peace as in â€˜peace be with youâ€™. Soon the wall erupted in religious words, all in Welsh. We also noticed crosses and little monks appearing all over the place, inside and out. Carvings in the form of words, crosses and monks also materialised. This is a continuing phenomenon. Sometimes the words and images will remain for a year or two, other times they will come and go quite quickly.
I am a very amateur photographer, but I have taken a lot of photographs over the last seven years. From time to time I will get an inexplicable image on a photo that was not visible when I took the shot. One particularly memorable one was taken in 1997. I happened to shoot some photos of the barn in our field, a really spooky image of a grotesque face appeared on one of the photographs. If I had seen it in reality, I think I would have been a few miles down the road!
Footsteps are frequently heard going up and down our staircase and along the landing. We also hear bumps and bangs of unknown origin. They can be so loud that one could be forgiven for thinking that the house was about to fall down! This phenomenon can occur at anytime of the day or night.
Before long we had another ghostly houseguest, Jane. We have a tombstone, which was dug up from under our lawn about 20 years ago. The workman, whom we met a few months ago, refused to dig any deeper for fear of disinterring any bones! The inscription on the stone reads, Jane Jones Aged 15 1778. In March 2001 I saw a girl standing on the back patio, stroking the cat. She was young and heavily pregnant, dressed in a long smock like dress and blue cloak. In the ten seconds it took me to get to the backdoor, she had disappeared. There was absolutely nowhere she could have gone without me seeing her go. A workman in the lane said that he had not seen her. We began to discover the name â€˜Janeâ€™ in the form of a stain or carving on the walls. Putting two and two together, we assumed that this was the girl I had seen. Not long afterwards a teenage boy called â€˜Tomâ€™ took up residence!
Our ghostly houseguests seem fascinated by the computer! E-mails, of which we have no knowledge, have been sent out at times when we have been in, out or asleep. These have been Welsh words, similar to those on our walls, the recipients are folks listed in our address book. Sometimes Welsh words have appeared in documents that my husband has been typing, this can be quite annoying if the document is sent out and the word has gone unnoticed!
We often hear voices in the house at different times of day and night. The words are just beyond our level of hearing; we cannot pinpoint exactly where the sound is coming from. Occasionally these have sounded like the voices of children, a crowd of people, or just a couple having a conversation, we even heard a baby crying in our kitchen!
An impressive piece of spooky mischief is the transportation of heavy objects around our home. We have a large wooden owl carved out of a single piece of teak. It weighs approximately 182lbs and it was with difficulty that two strong men lifted it into position on our 16-inch high hearth in August 2002. A few months later it transported itself across the room, and continues to go walkabout periodically. The tombstone used to lean against the front wall of the house, for some unaccountable reason it fell over three times in one day in 2002. It was getting damaged so we decided to bring it into the lounge and tuck it away in a corner where the casual observer was unlikely to notice it. It seemed quite happy for a number of months until that too went walkies! On the last occasion it was missing for a period of five days. We searched every single place we could think of in the house and garden. It is quite heavy and nobody could get very far carrying it. I have an Internet pal, Diane, a psychic who lives on the south coast of England. More in fun, than any hope of finding the stone, I asked her to use her psychic ability to locate it. She e-mailed me to say that she had the impression it was under my husbandâ€™s side of the bed! We had looked there so it seemed unlikely. However, sure enough, there it was, soaking wet, yet the carpet beneath it was bone dry! We put it back in its place in the lounge and water drained out of it for the next four days. This was weird; stones do not normally act like sponges! In the end I got fed up and asked my husband to put it outside. Within an hour it had hopped over to the flowerbed opposite the house. It was decided to put it in the exact spot it had been in when we moved into our home in 1997. Growing beside it was a passiflora, which had given us great delight, fruiting and flowering. The passiflora had been planted after the tombstone had been moved away from its original position. A few days later I was working in my upstairs study, on the other side of the house, when I became aware of a womanâ€™s perfume wafting in through the open window. Fascinated, I went into the garden to try to trace the source of it. It took me a while before I discovered it was emanating from the tombstone! Soon after that an unseen animal seemed to be attacking the plant. We discovered bite and scratch marks on the stem. Try as we might to protect it, the stem was bitten through! We were upset and my husband blamed the odour coming from the tombstone for attracting the phantom animal! In temper, he threw the stone onto the lawn, threatening to smash it up! It remained face down for about thirty-six hours. I suggested we should put it behind a tree in the herb garden at the back. On lifting it up, we discovered black scorch marks all the way down the front of the stone, just as if it had been in a fire, yet the lawn beneath was not damaged! The stone is now in the back garden and apart from emitting a faint perfume seems to be at peace, if a tombstone can be said to be at peace!
Just before Easter 2004 an image, which looked like the face of the Crucified Christ appeared on the fireplace. Within days a couple of Latin words showed up beside it. IUDAEUS meaning Jew and CHRISTUS meaning Christ! The Welsh word NEFOEDD meaning heaven materialised on the other side of the fireplace. At the time of writing, the face of Christ and the Latin words have disappeared, but NEFOEDD is still there.
One surprising, and welcome, spin off of all this ghostly activity is my newfound artistic talent! I had never been artistic in the whole of my life; I detested art at school. For my 50th birthday, in January 2000, I was given an ink jet printer with a freebie digital art package. I was persuaded to give this art form a try. In the early days it felt as if a presence was standing at my right shoulder guiding my right hand. Until that time I had controlled the computer mouse with my left hand, as I am left handed! Much to my surprise, I had an art exhibition three months later, and people actually want to buy my work! Poetry has also started bubbling out of my head, I had never written a poem before, now I have a few hundred to my name. I frequently have my poems published, in the UK and abroad. I firmly believe that the atmosphere in our house has released something in me, enabling these talents to thrive.
Our grandson, two-year-old Quinn, seems to spark off activity whenever he visits our house. The owl frequently goes walkabout when Quinn is here. On one occasion he actually witnessed the owl moving, and was so excited, telling everyone that the owl had moved all by itself! The last time Quinn was visiting the owl moved from one side of the lounge to the other. This seemed to concern our grandson, who put his arms around the owl and told it that it was naughty to move around the house, and it wasnâ€™t to do it anymore, or he would be very cross with it! Since then the owl has remained in its place!
Several weeks ago, we had a visit from an Anglican priest, a friend of our eldest daughter. This lady has a healing and deliverance ministry and is familiar with houses like ours. She sensed a presence in the lounge as soon as she walked into the room. When taken to our field she smelt a very fragrant womanâ€™s perfume. There was nothing around that could account for this scent. The lady explained to me that when one is in the presence of something with healing vibes like our field, occasionally there is a perfume, which is known as the â€˜odour of sanctityâ€™. Our guest told us that in her opinion our house was probably the most haunted in the whole of the UK!
We have obviously considered the possibility of our activity being a hoax. However, if that were to be the case it would be one of the most remarkable. The phenomena have continued almost without a break for over seven years. There are a number of independent witnesses who have had strange experiences in our home. We think that if all this amazing activity is genuine, it is probably of natural origin and science will catch up in time. After all, things that we take for granted today, would have seemed paranormal 200 years ago!
Our house has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, there is never a dull moment, and we donâ€™t lack after dinner conversation, so our â€˜ghostlyâ€™ houseguests are welcome to remain!