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Wales Tales: Llandudno

Hello everyone, and welcome to LukeLore. A quick deep dive into a folklore topic, where I share some of the stories from around the world that have piqued my interest.First and foremost, I would like to apologise to Wales. Anyone who knows me could have told you this was going to happen with the Château Rhianfa episode, but there were some egregious mispronunciations. I went too French with Beaumaris, a word the Welsh had clearly reclaimed at some point and while it looks French you just say what you see. I also mispronounced Llandudno, the double L does its own distinct thing. I got coached on this in Wales, as I did the live version of that episode at Château Rhianfa last year, which had been prerecorded as I was about to be busy in Wales. So, as a part of all this, I come back to Llandudno, a coastal town in Wales where the wedding party of Rhianfa moved on to after the haunted Château. I expect further crimes against the Welsh language sorry, but I’ll be doing my best and at least pronouncing Llandudno right this time. It's a fascinating Victorian Wonderland of a resort town that has continued on into the modern era, not with flashy theme park attractions but with an overabundance of charm and no small amount of hauntings I will now share with you. Oh, plus one terrifying thing in the woods to avoid.

SECTION BREAK – One final haunting at Rhianfa

Before we crack on with Llandudno, I do have one quick follow up from Château Rhianfa. I missed a haunting. I in fact missed the single most haunted room you can stay in there…I’ve managed to forget the specific name of the room. I can only point to it being one of the rooms on the top floor. The details of this haunting we got from the staff on location, who were excited to join in with the creepy tales being told. Château Rhianfa really is a lovely place, and the spooky goings on just add to its charm.So the story goes, back when this was a family residence and not a mighty fine tourist destination spot, siblings were born who had some learning difficulties. This was back of a time before a modern sense of psychology, but while they didn't get a modern day standard of help they were kept well by the family and, more importantly, kept happy. They spent a lot of time in their room on the top floor, just playing games. If I recall correctly, for whatever reason they didn't make it out of childhood, but they left their mark upon the castle.They can be heard playing still in their room. One of the bigger and better ones at the Château, if you don't mind having to share it. The two brothers aren't malicious, but living children are creepy enough where they're not expected so add being ghosts on top of that and you can understand why some more timid members of staff don't like to be alone in their room. There's a specific tell for the children, a very particular noise of their favourite game that distinguishes them from the other ghosts of Rhianfa. The distinctive sound of a marble rolling over a wooden surface... You can be going about your business, maybe trying to relax or go to sleep, and from one end of the room all the way across to the other will be the drawn out spin of a glass sphere being sent on its way.The are also known to giggle together, which would really put my back up at unexpected times at night. Or even day, for that matter! Anyone who blunders into which room exactly this is, please do let me know and I'll shout it out on a future end-roll for the more adventurous holiday goer to investigate for themselves.

SECTION BREAK – So Cursed, It Sank

This story was, in effect, a bonus tale at the wedding I told stories at. It became a two night affair, the Château Rhianfa episode was in effect the Monday evening event. Then, on Tuesday evening, we reconvened and I told the King of the Swine story from the 2022 Pagan Wheel of the Year episode on Imbolc, and this story as well before we moved on to sharing people’s personal paranormal encounters. Both this and the Torc Traith story were Welsh folklore featuring weddings, which seemed appropriate when I was the Tale Teller for a spooky themed Welsh wedding celebration.It’s something of a contrast to the Arthurian Epic tale that ultimately ended in a happy marriage. This is a match made in hell, that brings quite the curse down upon a family…If you should explore the coast around Llandudno, there are some incredible rock formations. Formed by the retreating glaciers from the end of the ice age, they make up some fascinating sights. There are the Mother and Daughter stones, The Freetrade Loaf, and among plenty of others there is also the The Great Orme just West of Llandudno Bay. "Orme" being an old Scandinavian word for worm, and so the stories go that Viking raiders were approaching Llandudno in heavy mists only to turn back when they saw what they thought was a terrifying sea serpent waiting for them at the mouth of the bay.

It's near The Great Orme that there's a tale of an old cursed settlement that met a bad end. This being the lost land of Tyno Helig, and Llys Helig - or Helig's Palace - which is central to this story.

The beginning of the end came with a wedding between some right terrible people. Helig's daughter Gwendud was exceptionally beautiful, only for her legendarily good looks to be exceeded by how bitter, twisted, and wicked her heart was. Her hand in marriage was being sought by the son of one of the Barons of Snowdon, a man called Tathal. This feels like a set up for a moral fairytale, with him being of lower birth than this beautiful woman, who tasked him with finding the golden torque of a noble to wear - and as such to win her betrothal. But as we're about to find out, Tathal was a right shit of a man, and the two are a perfect match made in hell.

So Tathal sets out to earn his golden torque, and by "earn" I mean stab someone to death. A Scottish Noble was set to be returned after being captured on the battlefield. Something of a normal practice at the time, you weren't actually supposed to kill the nobles in warfare, it was a gentleman's game were you fought until all the filthy peasants you dragged along ran out, at which point your family paid a ransom to have you sent back to do it all again later. Basically a sport for the bored rich.

Unfortunately for this Scotsman, Tathal wasn't doing a good deed here, there was a tempting bit of jewellery around this captured noble's neck. So they go as long as it takes to be nice and isolated, then Tathal unceremoniously stabs the Scotsman in the back again and again until he stops complaining about treachery, and breathing for that matter,leading to Tathal scoring a sweet new bit of bling to impress his diabolical bae.

Tathal returns with a tragic tale of bandits attacking in the night. He tried so hard, only could not save his charge. But he did of course heroically slay the bandit leader in revenge, and chased off the rest surely to never be seen again! He then very suspiciously puts on his new golden torque, and goes to get wed. Somehow this works, and the wedding goes ahead as planned. It was almost the perfect crime, but for the fact the raging wraith of the murdered Scotsman manifested at the wedding feast to yell at his murderer, swearing vengeance from beyond the grave for generations to come.

Sadly, only the good die young, with the spiteful peas in a pod of Tathal and Gwendud going on to live to a ripe old age of being total malicious gits. But the murdered Scot did go on to get the last laugh over their descendants, as well as erasing their ill gotten legacy from the face of the earth with the birth of their great-great-grandchild. Upon this birth there was a great celebration in Llys Helig, and the fateful curse would strike when a maid sneaked off with her lover - one of the court musicians - on the pretence of getting wine from the cellar.

As soon as the two went downstairs, the unfolding disaster became immediately apparent. The cellar was hip deep in seawater, rapidly rising. As an added bonus, it was filled with live fish congregating for a first tour of what was about to become their new home. The maid and her paramour flee back upstairs screaming, with waves of rapidly rising seawater bursting up from behind them. First the palace, then the whole of Tyno Helig, had to be abandoned in a hurry as what is now the sea outside of Llandudno swallowed everything up.

By the time the sun rose, it showed only rippling waves. Grim vengeance from beyond the grave had sunk everything. Supposedly, when the tide is at its lowest, you can still see the ruins of Llys Helig. It wouldn't be the only sunken ruins off the coast of Wales, although it's old enough to not be as well preserved as some of the famous flooded villages. There IS archeological proof trees used to stand in the place myth says the palace once stood, and there's even a part near The Great Orme still called called Llys Helig, a set of shallow slopes you can watch the receding tide from, trying to spot the cursed ruins beneath the waves.

SECTION BREAK – The Most Haunted Pub in the Area

We're back doing a UK location episode, and regular listeners will know what that means by now... We HAVE to hit up a haunted inn!For Llandudno, this is Plas Penrhyn, or as it's commonly know today: Penrhyn Old Hall.A little hidden away, but well worth the effort to find, Penrhyn Old Hall is a part of Penrhyn Bay on the edge of Llandudno. At times in history considered its own rural hideaway, it is in modern times considered a part of the wider town. It's a large building consisting of a Tudor era core with a hodgepodge of expansions from different eras tagged on to it.The earliest written mention of Penrhyn was from Henry VIII's appointed King's Antiquary John Leyland, who included the district in his itinerary and described it in his own words as an “ancient stone house” even back then in 1549. It has the potential to have had some form of building there as far back as the Romans, because it's situated near an old track to the copper mines on Great Orme. There is also said to have been an 8th Century palace on the grounds, although the story of Llys Helig may suggest palaces don't do too well around Llandudno.There is quite the storied history to the Old Hall, which can only contribute to just how haunted the place is. Okay, I've got a couple of corpse stories to start us off with, so you know this is going to be good. While there are signs of habitation predating the 16th Century, there's a date stone above the large fireplace in the Tudor Bar there. This was set way back when to proudly proclaim the Catholic Priest William Davis stayed there in 1590! Come 1593, William Davis was hanged, drawn, and quartered over at Beaumaris. So... Something of the controversial figure. William Davis was a part of a plot by a group of Roman Catholics, who thought killing all the Protestants in Creuddyn was an awesome idea to make the place more to their liking. Thankfully, some actual good Christians were entangled in this mess, and a girl in service at Penrhyn managed to get word out to Gloddeath Hall to raise the alarm.  While a lot of murder-y Catholics got rounded up, the priestly masterminds managed to flee the scene of their attempted crime and hide in a cave near Little Orme rock. Of all things, they spent their time as outlaws writing for their own printing press they set up in their cave, meaning that they made the first books to be printed in Wales. They got scooped up after getting bored of hiding in a cave and trying to flee to Ireland, but they never managed to set foot on the boat at Holyhead. At which point, the Protestants get their killing on, only it technically wasn't murder because they were in charge at the time: so it got called “the execution of justice” instead. William Davis was beatified by the pope in 1990 though, so this unusual historical figure has lived on across the centuries into the modern day as a person of some note.Any which way you cut it, the conspiracy or the corpse of William Davis, he remained something of a local celebrity. As such, the Pugh family who owned Plas Penrhyn managed to secure one of the hands off of William Davis bits of corpse, who went on to conceal it in a hole behind the house. When the Pugh's moved on from the old manor, a trunk was found as a part of a big tidy up which had a desiccated old hand in it. While impossible to rule out that this is a different hand, given how wild the history of the British Isles can be, it probably was the priest's hand that the previous Pugh's had preserved.The withered hand of the would be Protestant annihilator was not the only controversial remains discovered on the grounds. A skeleton was uncovered in the lime kiln at the side of the great house, probably part of the great tidy up after the Pugh's moved on, and this skeleton is thought to come from a tale about the Pugh family in the 1720's which may not be true, but there is the bloody skeleton to consider as evidence for it. There were three Pugh siblings who were set to inherit the Old Hall, a brother and two sisters. The brother set off to travel abroad, and was gone for some years  when a beggar one day appeared claiming to be this wandering son. The sisters, having had a full inheritance shared between themselves by this point they did not want to lose, called him a fake. To prove he truly was their brother only thought to be lost, he took them to a needle he placed between joists and the kitchen ceiling, then took them to a pear tree where some bark could be removed to show a nail he drove in there as a child. The sisters had a bold counterargument, though. They had him seized, then flogged to within an inch of his life by a whip that had pins affixed to it. The near beating to death was taken as the winning argument, so his battered and broken body was ejected from the premises. A neighbour who recognised him for who he claimed to be took the brother in and nursed him back to health. Once he was well enough, he went back to confront his sisters once more, at which point he promptly vanished without a trace. Then, later, a skeleton was dug out of the lime kiln. Which, once again, could well be an unrelated corpse, because this is an old house in Britain and the odd corpse turning up is just a normal hazard during renovations. So, yeah, that's just two stories from the history of Penrhyn. This place is capital H Haunted!Famous spooks making themselves known today include a monk who will walk through a room over the Baronial Hall, the ghost of a young Pugh girl who got murdered by her family to stop her marrying outside of the Catholic faith, that giant Tudor fireplace has the ghost of an old lady who likes to sit beside it who can be seen not only enjoying the warmth like she would in life – but walking up the stairs when she's had enough of a night only to vanish. The old dance floor can be visited by a soldier frustrated he died unable to go to war, and there's apparently a bad tempered young man who will lash out at people in the Function Room who disturb him. I can think of one historic Pugh brother who may have cause to be a bit snippy this bad tempered spirit could be. As well as visiting Penrhyn Old Hall because it's awesome, which you most certainly should do given the opportunity, they will also do Paranormal Nights where a group of up to 20 people can enjoy a lock in from 9pm to 3am in areas where supernatural activity is recorded as being the most active.Which is pretty damn cool, and I definitely want to go some time!

SECTION BREAK – The Farmhouse at the End of the Road

While we're wandering off a little further out of the bounds of the town even than Penrhyn Bay with Penyffordd Farm – the name Penyffordd coming from the Welsh “Pen Y Ffordd” meaning “the highest or furthest point of the road”. Claiming to have roughly 300 documented paranormal events, the farm was in the running for most haunted house in Britain. Certainly a strong showing for most haunted farmhouse in Wales if nothing else! It even has a BBC documentary on the events called 'Paranormal: The Girl, The Ghost, and The Gravestone' which is on the BBC's streaming service iPlayer to watch for a full account from the family involved.The abridged version goes a little something like this...A family move into this lovely quaint farmhouse, and everything is great. As they tidy the place up, a gravestone in the front garden becomes more and more obvious. A sad sign of the past, a 15 year old girl called Jane Jones who died in childbirth in 1778. Local history kept track of her story, and she's buried in a field somewhere because the church refused to let her rest on consecrated ground since she had gotten pregnant when she was 14, something self evidently all her own fault and no other party involved needed a closer look at their actions. The headstone marking her passing isn't actually at her grave, which was left unmarked to be lost and forgotten but is suspected to be somewhere around the farmhouse. So the family that was there in 1997 decided this headstone was an eyesore, and moved it around the back of the house instead, which is when – in a paranormal sense – it all kicked off.Things got weird, fast. The most “normal”, or perhaps that should be “expected”, thing to happen would be to see the ghost of a pregnant teen on the grounds about the house. It got progressively weirder indoors. A cowled figure, presumed to be a monk in a robe, was first spotted looming over the cot of a child staring down at the helpless sleeping infant. From there the monk would take random wanders about the farmhouse on unknown errands. If you leave a room empty, if had a fair chance of muffled voices starting in it, and singing children could be heard at times. Stains forming words were interesting. Noteworthy phrases included “tangnefedd”, Welsh for peace in a religious sense, “hir am aros” which means long suffering, and “erlidiau” which refers to being persecuted.This is all pretty standard spookins, my favourite parts of the story get even stranger still. They had a large carved out of wood owl ornament that would move itself about the house. Sometimes in small ways, at other times getting into the strangest of places like the time they found it sat in the fireplace looking out at them. There was also the flowers incident... This one is pretty unique! So, Rose-Mary Gower, sensible mover of tragic headstones, had some dying flowers she wanted to dispose of. She started to take them to throw away, but got distracted by someone at the door. So the vase gets put down on a table, and she returns to it in less than a minute. Upon returning, all the petals are missing, and resting on the tabletop where those petals would have fallen should that be all which had happened; there was instead a collection of dead wasps. The petals were never found, and there were no other signs of wasps anywhere that day, on top of there being no nest found and the windows all being closed. The dying flower to dead wasp transmutation pipeline is a new one to me!This was very nearly a major Hollywood movie about these events, but the family involved turned down the pay day as the studio wanted to make it more exciting in ways they didn't agree with. The family had no further paranormal activity after they moved out, and the man who currently lives there says there is nothing weird going on since he moved in. Although he didn't move the bloody gravestone, did he? I mostly just feel bad for poor Jane Jones in all this, she definitely deserved better. Beaumaris was right there to hang, draw, and quarter whoever got her pregnant at 14 instead of punishing her!

SECTION BREAK – Something in the Woods

We at LukeLore know not to go in the woods, especially not the haunted woods, and as such must flag them for being avoided. Golddeath Hall is a beautiful Grade I listed building currently being used as an extension of St David's College. The gardens of the grounds are also Grade I listed upon the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales. Golddeath Hall itself is lovely and, most relevant for what we're about to discuss, safe. A safe, beautiful spot to stay in, especially after dark.Beyond the grounds of Golddeath Hall are wild woods, and within those woods is a wild something. Something other.I've seen it referred to as 'The Naked Man', but I really don't get human vibes from this one. If you're lucky, this will just be a distressing sound. Something close to, but unnervingly not, human that screams and wails in the woods. You may be thinking “fox” at this point, but the kind of people reporting back on this know what a fox sounds like.This is not a fox, or a bird, or anything else natural.If you see it, it basically sounds like you've run into Wales's version of The Rake. Tall, emaciated, naked and pale. All with the added bonus of having blazing orange orbs for eyes that can freeze people in place: entranced if you were foolish enough to meet its gaze. The flaming orange feels unnervingly close to those of a Black Dog of Britain, leaving this gangling inhuman thing feeling like Aos Sidhe to me. Something fae of the otherworld.These woods surrounding the hall, extending to the coast, are primeval. A chunk of the past of the land that exists aside from human civilisation, which as such makes it a haven for wildlife that at times will have a vermin's bounty upon them, making this a place poachers are dumb enough to intrude upon looking for some quick cash when there's a reward for killing such animals as foxes. Why hunt the smart ones making problems of themselves around farms, when you can find some helpless ones that aren't expecting humans? So, then, does one account come from a poacher who got himself trapped in these woods by the creature that haunts it, although I'm not feeling too sorry about that if I'm being honest. He finds tracks to a fox den, excited to catch a Vixen as she comes back along with all her cubs when they come to meet her returning. A whole brace of dead animals to cash in, with little effort beyond a little patience. So he spots an oak tree that splits into two diverging trunks opposite the den, and climbs up to sit waiting upon the convenient seat it represents. After a while, he hears some terrible wailing begin from over towards the coast. Disturbed, he waits it out. Old woods are full of strange noises, and his trap is already set to grab that easy money. Besides, it sounded like a man in distress, and the poacher didn't give much of a damn about seeing if someone needed any help. Only the wailing keeps happening, and it keeps getting ever closer. By the time the poacher realises he should have ran, it's too late. The screams got within a few yards of him, then they stopped. The stopping was not a good sign, it meant that the poacher had been spotted in his hiding place, and it was time for the entity to go on the attack. He sees it. This creature, this something that has been called 'The Naked Man' was crouching watching him from far too close. As soon as they locked eyes, the burning orbs of the pale figure trapped those of the man, the poacher was paralysed and would have fallen out of the tree if not for how he had settled to rest among the boughs holding him up there. The unnatural figure rose to its full height, and the poacher would close his eyes tight to break the paralysis, only a terrible compulsion would overcome him and he would HAVE to look again. Each time the poacher inescapably locked eyes with this thing, he would be paralysed once more. He considered trying to shoot at it, he was armed after all, but he couldn't look at it without being enthralled. This was not something that could be fought back against in any conventional way, even with a shotgun to hand. The poacher was lucky, however, in that he was poaching in the height of Summer. Sooner rather than later, he could hear the crowing of a rooster from a farm in the area, and when he opened his eyes again to now see the dawn light – whatever had come for him in the dark had vanished now the sky began to turn bright.Even when you don't encounter this thing, there are signs this old wild place is a fair bit beyond normal. Now, I don't always hold stock in EMF meters, they feel a bit too toy-ish and are usually just used by the credulous to fly into a panic over detecting electrical wiring in walls. But do you know one place where an EMF reader shouldn't be flipping out? As you wander about in the woods, so ghosthunters – generally having fled the woods at top speed – bringing back tales of their EMF meters being the wildest they have ever seen them? Probably not wiring inside of the trees, and even if it WAS wiring inside of the trees: this is also very wrong. So, yeah... Stay out of the wild woods around Golddeath Hall. They've been left alone for centuries for a reason.

SECTION BREAK – Through the Looking Glass

I don't have too much to say on this one, but it's something I can't talk about Llandudno without mentioning.Should you visit, and you definitely should for Llandudno is lovely, it will become apparent pretty fast that Llandudno loves Alice in Wonderland. There are shops, especially some cafes and dessert places, leaning heavily into the theme. There are statues, sculptures, and gardens everywhere celebrating the characters and events of the books, plus a guided walk around a lot of them provided by the local tourism board if you fancy a Wonderland themed adventure.The real life inspiration for Alice, Alice Liddell, spent family Summer vacations in Llandudno. First in Tudno Villa Apartments, then in Penmorfa which was the holiday home the Liddell family built there. The town has enthusiastically embraced this link to the famous stories, although full details of how much Llandudno may have influenced Lewis Carroll remain much debated. The level of wonder it brings to the old Victorian resort town is outstanding, however. Locals point to some strong connections to the stories with such things as some of the named coastal rocks Llandudno is known for being The Walrus and The Carpenter, that have matching characters in 'Through the Looking Glass' not likely to be coincidence, but it's probably fair to say the town is more influenced by the stories than the other way around at this point.Still, treat yourself to your own adventures in Wonderland should you get the chance, or otherwise just give it all a Google to see for yourselves. I think a return to Llandudno is on the cards for me in the near future. I'll have to see how much more I can dig up for a second episode if I do


It took a bit of time to follow up on last year's adventures in Wales, but I hope it was worth the wait! I've said it multiple times here, but I absolutely mean it, Llandudno is well worth the visit. Also of note, although not strictly a spooky topic, Llandudno also has an incredible bird sanctuary that has the greatest variety of owls in the UK. Something which, quite honestly, is worth the trip alone. But have yourself a look at the haunted hotspots while you're there, after you've visited the owls and done an Alice in Wonderland walking tour. Pretty fun pier attractions and local markets abound too. Not a sponsored advert, although hit me up Llandudno tourism board if you should want a sponsored ep, I just genuinely had a great time over there and think more people should take the time to treat themselves doing the same.I would like to give a shout out to a fan from Norway, who left a comment on Spotify for us. Anita Pepita was kind enough to say she loved the recent 'A Spooky A to Z', sending hugs and saying they would love a Scandinavia episode. And do you know what? That's a great idea! I'm sure I've dipped my toe in the area a time or two before, I'll double check that and say where to find those stories as a part of a Scandinavia specific show, then dig down into more folklore from the region. While I can't promise exactly when, expect it in the near future. Please, do, other listeners; comment where you can. Not only does it cheer me up to see what you have to say, it helps boost the show in platform algorithms where you do comment. As a bit of an online content head's up, I'm considering doing some Tarot bits on the LukeLore Facebook Group in the near future. Maybe a run of a card of the day, more an explainer than a reading, hone my Tarot skills a bit because doing readings during down time at events later this year could be fun. All with my horror themed Tarot deck, of course, so keep an eye out at the LukeLore Facebook group if you're interested and join it if you haven't already.LukeLore is a Ghost Story Guys production.

If you do want to contact me there’s the show’s dedicated email, and the general show email Both myself and the main show are really easy to find on Facebook and other socials if you want to make day to day contact, as well as a very active Instagram account a lot of the community gets involved with.If you want to support the show directly check out our Patreon at We do have LukeLore merchandise available at the Ghost Story Guys online store, feel very free to show off any you get online! We have an ongoing push to promote LukeLore more, and the dedicated Facebook group for the show is a pretty active success if you want to come join us over there – which will soon have some aforementioned Tarot content.As ever though, the absolute best thing anyone can do to support the show is to give it a listen. Share this around if you think you may know someone who may be interested, leave a review if you get the chance to help signal boost me, and most of all I simply hope you enjoy what I’m doing here.Goodbye for now.



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