STORIES of ghosts and spectres across Ceredigion, around the Teifi area and north Pembrokeshire have been rife for centuries, with lots of well-known stories including the poltergeist at Bank House, Lampeter, but a new book exploring ghosts in folklore in Wales has unearthed a whole host of rare ghost stories taken from Welsh language manuscripts throughout history.

Delyth Badder has always had an interest in Welsh folklore and has worked together with Mark Norman to create the book The Folklore of Wales: Ghosts.

Tivyside Advertiser: Delyth BadderDelyth Badder (Image: Jon Pountney)

The book has more than 200 pages of stories relating to ghosts and spectral figures from across Wales and how they link into Welsh folklore as well as establishing Wales’ history, culture and the variations throughout the regions and communities.

Speaking to the Tivyside Advertiser, Ms Badder spoke about how she has her own collection of rare Welsh manuscripts and stories and spent a couple of years building this and choosing the stories to be used in the book, using original manuscripts written in Welsh, some of which have never been translated into English before now, and others that have never been published in Welsh or English prior to this book. Around 85 per cent of the stories used in the book have come from her own personal collection.

“One of the things I wanted to do most with the book was to use Welsh language stories. When you read through books about Welsh ghosts these stories have been omitted and it is really important for me to use these stories verbatim in the text so these are translated as best as possible so Welsh speakers, English speakers and Welsh learners can read them so they have all been included.

“So many of our Welsh folklore stories have been mis translated or misunderstood.” This is something that Ms Badder attributes to the formal language used which can be hard to translate word for word at times.

She said how she hoped it would provide readers with an insight into life in Wales throughout the years and also providing stories that people may not have heard before, including stories from Ceredigion, north Pembrokeshire and the Teifi area.

One of the stories featured in the book includes a story about a field-dwelling ghost. The story was recorded in the book Hanes Plwyf Llandyssul (The History of Llandysul Parish) by the Reverend William Jenkin Davies in 1896. It was told by a parishioner called William in an interview by a man called Tomos, which Davies recorded verbatim. The sighting happened in Faerdrefawr and was witnessed by two men called Daniel Meical and Shincin Charls. The pair were returning from Lampeter on a Saturday night and as dusk hit, reached the Little Bridge of Ferdre when Shincin lowered his head and began mumbling some words.

Daniel asked him what the matter was, to which he responded: ‘Didn’t you see anything of the man in white in the field under the trees?’

Tivyside Advertiser: The Folklore of Wales: GhostsThe Folklore of Wales: Ghosts (Image: Newsquest)

Daniel did not see anything and tried coaxing Shincin to go with him to the spot and after a while, he agreed. They went to the field and lit a lamp but could not see anything. They set off again on their journey and Shincin began mumbling again, but this time, Daniel was able to see the spirit. The spirit began approaching them and it sounded like a trotting horse. Daniel tried to grab it when it got close enough but it was said to have ‘disappeared’ in his hands. William was said to have explained there were a number of sightings of this particular ghost and began talking about another one but the interviewer decided to change the subject.

This story, along with another in the book told by the same William, prompted the authors to make the reader aware that there was potentially a degree of change as the accounts were not from a first-hand witness and were likely to have been told around the area for a number of years with a degree of ‘artistic licence.’

Throughout the book, Ms Badder and Mr Norman speak about how similar stories are shared throughout the various parts of Wales, with differences to reflect the local area. It details how there is a story that treasure has been buried beneath Carreg y Bwci on Craig Twrch mountain and if disturbed, a devastating storm would hit, there is also a similar story told about Pembrokeshire’s Frenni Fawr and Ceredigion’s Dyffryn-bern, which showed that despite differing locations, the same stories are told throughout and adjusted to reflect the local area.

Throughout the book, references are made to various stories coming from what was described as the lower class, such as maids and servant boys, who were said to have been the most likely to witness these encounters, potentially due to the condescending nature of the middle and upper class, whereas many of the publicised and well-known stories from a more historical period have come from gentry and upper or middle class individuals.

The book makes a conscious effort to ensure that the full stories are told throughout the book, where there are separate chapters for different types of ghosts and the same story will be referenced if it ties in with other chapters to showcase how the stories and spectral beings can be tied into folklore and with each other.

The Folklore of Wales: Ghosts is an interesting read showcasing a large number of relatively unknown stories from across Wales and providing an insight into the differences between areas both within Wales and between Wales and England, providing an insight into Wales’ independent folklore and some unique spectral related stories and traditions that are not seen elsewhere.

The Folklore of Wales: Ghosts is available to buy in independent bookstores throughout Wales.