Friday, 15 October 2010

Updates today - more spookiness

Today I visited the castle with a friend. I spoke to all the room stewards as we went around the castle to ask if they had any interesting ghostly tales for me. The first one I spoke to was Penny who has been a room steward for 11 years. She has never seen anything supernatural herself but has heard a lot of stories from other staff and volunteers. She told me about a conservator called Wendy who used to work there a few years ago. She said that Wendy had to clean the rooms in the Keep above the bedrooms open to the public, which used to be used by Alice and Blanche Douglas-Pennant. The bedrooms on the third floor are largely derelict and infested with flies, as are the ones on the fourth floor. They are only accessible by two narrow stone spiral staircases so are not open to the public. Wendy was vacuuming the dead flies in the third floor rooms. She came back downstairs and said that she felt very uneasy, as she was convinced that there was someone watching her while she was in there. Penny said that several people have told her that they do not like the feeling in those rooms and that they will not go up the spiral stairs on the left, only on the right. There is a spiral staircase on each side of the Keep bedrooms.

A few weeks ago I was going around the house with my son Jason, talking to the room stewards, as I did today. When we went into the Drawing Room I spoke to a lady also called Caroline who was the room steward.  She told me that she was the wrong person to ask about ghosts, as she does not believe in them! I asked if she had ever had any reports of visitors feeling anything unusual when standing near the doorway of the medieval staircase. She said that she was not aware of anyone experiencing anything there but she did have a strange experience herself in that room a couple of years ago. She said that she felt as though her chest was tightening and she could not breathe. She thought she was having a heart attack. She used to be a nurse and was aware of the symptoms. She moved away from the doorway to sit down and immediately felt better. This has happened twice and she said that it was probably angina. She told us that she lives in an old Penrhyn estate house in Abergwyngregin. Her husband and children have all seen a man in a tall black hat and cloak standing on the stairs, but she has not, so she does not believe in ghosts!

My psychic friend felt exactly the same feeling of tightness around her chest when standing at the doorway to the Medieval staircase a few weeks before. She said that it was becoming hard to breathe and that she felt as though she was being squeezed from behind by a man who did not want us to be there. She had to move away from him. Cheralynn said she did not like it in there at all, as she could sense the man standing by the tower door was very hostile and domineering, and that he resents people being in his house. Could this be Gwilym ap Gruffydd (d. 1431) who lived in the medieval house with his wife Joan?  He had the look-out tower built. Their coat of arms used to be seen in the windows of the library until 1764. Cheralynn stood in the spot where he stands and said that she had a very tight, oppressive feeling. She felt very cold and had a sudden headache. 

She also told us that she sensed a presence in another room below us, under the floor. Cheralynn felt that John the Bottler (not butler) was working in the cellar below us.  When we spoke to Richard the House Manager later he told us that there are beer and wine cellars below that room, which were part of the original medieval house. Cheralynn said that John had a throat problem, which killed him. We visited the cellars about three weeks ago and Cheralynn could see John clearly. She described his dark clothing with a leather sleeveless tunic over a shirt. She said that he was drunk. She started to get very giggly and started acting as though she was drunk! Her husband told us that she does not drink alcohol. She had to go out of the cellar before she started to feel sober again.

Penny told me today that the name of a medieval servant who had responsibility for the beer and wine was a Bottelier, a word which developed into the word Butler. Interesting! I had not heard that word before. That must be what John the "Bottler" was trying to tell Cheralynn.

I saw my friend Pat today who has often worked as a steward in the kitchens. Pat said that she feels a presence in the Pickard room in the Stable Block and also outside the China Room, next to the kitchens. She feels this when she opens the kitchens in the mornings before the visitors arrive. When she leaves the door closed in the corridor next to the kitchens, she feels that someone is there. Other people have told me the same thing about the area by the China Room. It is quite dark really but looks light in the photo because I used a flash. The China room is the door to the left of the photo. It is where a specially trained maid used to wash the valuable china.

China room

Area outside China Room

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