Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Ghost dog in the Slate Bedroom

I was working at the castle today in the William Morris room when one of the Visitor Services Assistants asked me if I could go to the Keep to speak to a room steward who had experienced something very strange in the Slate Bedroom. I rushed over to the house with my notepad and two pens (just in case one of them stopped working half way through the story!) I found the lady, who I had not met before. Her name is Pauline and she seemed very pleased that I was interested in hearing about her ghostly encounter. She explained that she had been standing in the Slate Bedroom by herself as there were no visitors in the room, thinking that it is rather a cold room, not as pleasant as some of the other rooms she has stewarded in. She decided to look at a painting which is hanging in the dressing room next door to the bedroom and she took the stewards' room file of information with her to look at while she was studying the painting. She stood in the doorway of the dressing room and as she turned to come back into the bedroom she felt something warm pressing on her left leg. She looked down and saw the shape of a large dog with a grey, crinkled coat standing next to her. She saw it clearly but when she looked down again she could not see it but could still feel it. She said that she felt totally calm and felt the companionship of the dog, as though she had a connection with it somehow. Pauline also described how the feeling in the Slate Bedroom changed as she went into the room. She said that it felt welcoming, as though the dog was warming her to the room. She felt excitement in the air, which was not there before the dog appeared to her.

As Pauline came back into the Slate Bedroom the grey dog stayed close to her and she was aware of it being there, although she could not see it; A couple with a black Labrador guide dog came into the room from the doorway which looks into the King's Bedroom. Pauline had not seen them come into the room, so they must have passed her when she was in the Dressing Room. She wondered if the Labrador would be aware of the ghostly dog but it walked past in its guide dog harness and did not show any signs of being aware of it at all, which surprised her, as dogs are usually very sensitive to ghosts.

I told the story to my friend Cheralynn who is very aware of spirits and she told me that she saw a large Deerhound following my husband when we visited the castle a few months ago. I wonder if it could be the same dog? I will do some further research to find out if there was such a dog living in the castle and with which Lord Penrhyn.

While I was talking to Pauline the Head Steward Lawrie come into the room to check whether she wanted the window open, as it was very warm. I explained what I was doing there and he proceeded to tell me all the ghost stories he knew about the castle. He said that Ros used to be a room steward and she often talked to a maid named Polly, who I know a little about as I have heard several stories about her. Apparently Ros first encountered Polly in the Lower India Room which was the last Lord Penrhyn's bedroom. Ros saw Polly in the bedroom and as she turned to walk out of the room she fell and broke her foot. Ros always maintained that Polly had pushed her! She said that Polly told her that she had broken her foot in exactly the same place when she fell down the stairs many years before.

Another fascinating story which Lawrie told me today was about a hearse which apparently drew up outside the castle one day and a small baby's coffin was brought into the building. The hearse left without the coffin. Very strange! I need to find out more about this story.

He also told me that the stairs by the Keep bedrooms were the scene of a strange occurrence several years ago when a previous property manager called Gwyn was showing a small group of people around Penrhyn. He said that as they came to the stairs leading to the bedrooms one of the ladies in the group fainted. She came round and they did the tour of the bedrooms, only for her to faint again in exactly the same place on the stairs as they left the Keep. The lady visitor explained that a man was trying to drag her away from the bedrooms as though he did not want her to go in there.

Gwyn would not go into the cellars below the Drawing Room, which is part of the original Medieval house. Lawrie told me that if anyone tried to get him to walk into the back of the cellars near the spiral staircase he would fight to get away and would not go near there. That is the area where Cheralynn said that a man called John the Bottler is lurking. He used to work down there apparently and is still hanging around!

Lawrie also mentioned a faceless child which was seen in the Slate Bedroom and that people have been taken out of the room because they feel freezing cold. He said that he has heard that the previous Lord Penrhyn is unhappy about his Sitting Room being opened up to the public this year. He did not elaborate so I will ask him more about that when I see him again. I now have a lot more stories to investigate and some interesting events to hear about in more detail when I have more time. Watch this space....!

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