Thursday, 20 March 2014

Open Day 1st March 2014... a busy day for the ghosts of Penrhyn Castle!

Penrhyn Castle re-opened to the public on Saturday 1st March 2014, which was also St. David's Day. Over 900 visitors poured through the doors of the castle, explored the gardens and visited the Industrial Railway Museum. The weather was sunny and the carpets of snowdrops were magnificent. Inside the castle the ghosts were apparently as active as the National Trust staff and volunteers who have worked so hard to get the property ready for the opening day. I was volunteering as the face painter in the old shop in the stable block. I painted 30 children's faces that day! There were various crafts and activities for children in the stable block and I was on my own to keep an eye on it all.

I managed to have a 20 minute break about 1 pm to give me enough time to go into the house to hear the Welsh harps being played in the Grand Hall. I met a friend who had brought several of her friends with her, some of whom had not visited Penrhyn Castle before. One of them was a young girl of 16 called Alice, who is apparently very psychic. She has had many experiences of seeing people who have died and can describe them in some detail. I went with her and her family to the bedrooms in the Keep. She stood by the door of the Nursery bedroom and described a young woman who was standing by the window. She said that she was crying and was leaning her chin on her hand and she gazed out of the window. She felt her great sadness. She described her as very slim and that she had her long fair hair curled at the front, with the sides swept up and the back loose over her shoulders. Her dress was a pale silvery grey colour, although she could not see it clearly. Cheralyn and Alice both sensed that she had been in a relationship with someone who worked in the grounds, but not a gardener, as some people have felt.

Her experience in the room sounds very similar to one which I described a couple of years ago when an elderly lady saw a young girl in the room and could feel her sadness. She later identified her as the Honourable Alice Douglas Pennant from the photograph of the family in the entrance lobby. Alice saw a young baby in the King's Bedroom.

We went into the Slate Bedroom after the Nursery and Alice immediately said that she did not like the feeling in there. She had a sudden headache, which she described as pressure in her head. Her mother came in behind her and said that she did not like the room and had a headache as soon as she walked in too! Two of my friends also visited the castle on the Open Day and told me the next day that they had a bad feeling in the Slate Bedroom and in the Scullery. They sensed something telling them to get out of there as fast as possible. Neither of them told the other one what they had felt until later that evening when they found out that they had both experienced the same thing in the same places! Both of the locations are where a "black whoosh" has been seen. Cheralyn described it as an earth spirit, one which came from the land where the castle is built, not from the people of the castle itself.

I had to go back to the stable to do the face painting so I left them to continue their tour of the house. Afterwards they came to find me and told me a few of the things they had seen and felt there. Alice saw a man standing on the Grand Hall Gallery looking down into the hall. Cheralyn saw him too and asked her to describe him. It was Hugh Napier, the 4th Lord Penrhyn. He has been seen in the same place several times. He always appears to be grumpy. There is a photograph of him in the library, so she was able to confirm that it was him.

In the Library Alice saw a woman with dark hair standing in the corner of the room. She pointed her out to Cheralyn and told her that she had gone into the small tower room off the library. When she came out again Alice described her and Cheralyn asked her to look at the desk in front of the window. She pointed to a photograph of a young lady in a ball gown. It was the woman she had seen and described. The lady she saw was Lady Janet Douglas Pennant who inherited the castle from Hugh Napier and gave it to the National Trust in 1951.

She went into the Drawing Room and felt very uncomfortable near the spiral staircase. She said that there was an unpleasant presence there. She did not see anything but felt as though she need to move quickly into the Ebony Room. She did not like the cold unwelcoming feeling in that room. She said that it felt weird.

She told me that she had seen a woman in the chapel who was wearing a dark coloured dress and had a large bunch of keys dangling from her waist. She looked very disapproving and followed the party around until they came to the kitchens. They thought that she was probably the Housekeeper as she would have had a bunch of keys. The Housekeeper poked Alice in her arm in the kitchen, which made her jump! A young maid called Polly was seen near the kitchen. She was running. Alice said that she could hear a lot of shouting as soon as she entered the house.

Cheralyn saw Alice Douglas Pennant standing near the grand piano. She also saw the 2nd Lord Penrhyn in the entrance hall. She had the feeling that he was saying, "This is mine!" There was a distinct feeling of dominance from him. Cheralyn said that whenever he was around his daughter Alice Douglas Pennant disappeared as though she was afraid of him.

When the group went into the Ice Tower Alice said that she looked into the hole in the tower room where the ice was taken out in a bucket and could see a man standing in the hole looking up at her. She could smell a horrible decaying smell, like something rotten. The hole is dry and there is not usually a smell in the tower room. She could smell it very distinctly and said that is made her feel sick!

Did anyone else experience anything unusual there? I would love to hear your stories. Please add your comments below. Thanks.


Amy s said...

Hello! I replied to one of these blog posts last summer when I first visited the castle. On entering the small toilet room at the top of the grand staircase (last year) I became instantly much colder despite the general warmth of the day. Yesterday, (for the first time since then), I came to the castle and entered the same room, this time however, I felt nothing. Prior to exploring the house with my friend we went on one of the new (and fantastic) secret rooms tower tours. On walking into Lord Penrhyn's study our tour guide began to tell us of the son who died in WWI. He then moved on and I walked towards the stone placed on the desk. As I did so I shivered violently and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up - it felt as if someone was watching me despite everyone else being at the other end of the study. As we walked past the room again later on I felt similarly uncomfortable, the presence had not left. The original nursery also disturbed me slightly, though this may had purely been due to it's disrepair and the general 'haunted' quality many abandoned nurseries have due to their associations in horror movies. I am in the process of writing am amateur historical fiction surrounding the life of Lady Alice (inspired by my trip last year.) In her room I felt nothing but both my friend and I agreed that the painting above the fire place had an eiry feel about it. Down in the kitchens I entered one of the dark but open pantries, stepping into it I again felt cold, a sensation of foreboding crept over me and I left swiftly glancing nervously over my shoulder as I went. The castle is my favourite of the National Trust Properties and I love the improvements in terms of attractions/tours for this year. Hope to see you soon! Amy.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog and I'm enjoying it so much!! Fascinating!
Karen :)