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The castle is interesting because of its associated haunting, and it also houses a museum within its grounds containing many enigmatic picture stones. These stones, found all over Eastern Scotland are Pictish in origin, and nobody has successfully explained the strange symbols and pictures which decorate their surface.
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Smoo Cave is a limestone cavern consisting of three chambers, a burn enters the second chamber through a hole in the roof falling for a distance of 80 feet. Read More »
This loch has long been seen as a healing loch, according to legend the loch received its powers from a magical healing stone belonging to a wise woman. Read More »
The tradition of screaming skulls seems to be almost entirely isolated to England, where stories of these mischievous bone locked spirits abound. A screaming skull is basically a skull of dubious origin, said to cause great havoc - storms, poltergeist activity, and (given its namesake) unearthly screams - when it is removed from its pride of place within a stately home, or other ancient abode. Read More »
The dragon is a legendary creature, which is prevalent to the mythic culture of many countries. Britain, with its diverse history, has a tradition of dragons stemming from Saxon, Celtic and Norse influences, as well as those from further afield. What follows is a brief overview of the dragon in legend and folklore, as well as some theories as to what the dragon may signify. Read More »
The dragon is the great, great grandfather of all monsters. Before the daemon, before the vampire, before the werewolf, before the giant. Before them all was the original uber-monster the dragon. The dragon's image has crawled across cave paintings 25,000 years old, dwarfing mammoths. It has slithered across Chinese rock art in Shanxi province 8000 years before Christ. Read More »
The Baobhan Sith is a particularly evil and dangerous female vampire from the highlands of Scotland. They were supposed to prey on unwary travellers in the glens and mountains. The name suggests a form of Banshee.
A common tale is told of 4 young friends who set off on a hunting trip in the glens, benighted the men take refuge in an abandoned Shieldig (small cottage). Read More »
Vampire folklore within the British Isles is surprisingly scarce, this is mainly due to the fact that the contemporary image of a vampire (a charismatic bloodsucker with a black cape, a mesmerising stare, and a penchant for nubile young women; plus an aversion to holy water, garlic and crosses.) is relatively recent, being the result of Hollywood portrayals of vampires, and the gothic Hammer House Read More »
Before I begin I would like to say that I spent my honeymoon at Ruthin Castle, and found the accommodation and service exemplary. I would recommend staying in the castle to anybody, and I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed the Medieval Banquet which they host on a regular basis. Read More »
The Rock of the Fortress, was a hillfort during the Iron Age period, it is supposed to have been one of the last place the fairies lived in Britain. The following legend conforms to a folklore motif found throughout the country, namely that of sleeping warriors under hollow hills. Read More »
The word "gwiber" in Welsh means viper or adder but many centuries ago the word actually meant "flying snake" . This is the story of how Wibernant (meaning "valley of the gwiber) which is near Penmachno got its name. Read More »
The story of Pwyll is found in the Mabinogion, a collection of old Welsh stories translated by Lady Charlotte Guest, and published in 1849. It describes how Pwyll the Lord of Dyfed meets the underworld king Arawn and how the two become close allies. Read More »
The original tale first appeared in The Athenaeum, published in 1847, and tells how a tyrannous figure became even more fearsome as a ghost after he had died. Three brave priests finally exorcise the ghost with a mix of magic and prayer. Read More »
A spectral dog known as the Gwyllgi or the 'Dog of Darkness' is said to haunt the town. The dog appears with flaming red eyes, and is said to run from the castle to the town along an old route-way.
Directions: On the A4066
Ogaf Myrddin means Merlin's Cave, and this is one of the locations where he is said to sleep awaiting his release. The cave is hidden behind a waterfall.
Directions: Northwest of Brechfa
The whole area around Dyfed is associated with Arthur, outlined in the old Welsh tales now part of the Mabinogion. This cairn on the hilltop is thought to be Arthur's Grave.
Directions: The grave is in the Prescely Mountains
Traditionally the lake is thought to have been bottomless, and it has long been associated with fairies. Read More »
This tale tells how a young shepherd won and lost a fairy bride from Lynn y Fan Fach (Van Vach), the fairy lake at the foot of Bannau Sir Gaer in the Brecon Beacons. This version was collected and told by Joseph Jacobs and appeared in his book Celtic Fairy Tales published in 1892 (David Nutt). Read More »
The Welsh version of the Cornish Knockers, these mine spirits were relatively good humoured, and helped the miners by knocking in places with rich lodes of mineral, or metal. The Coblynau dressed in miners' attire, and stood at around 18 inches in height. Read More »
The Cwn Annwn, which means hounds of the otherworld (underworld), are Welsh phantom dogs seen as a death portent. Their growling is louder when they are at a distance, and as they draw near the growling grows softer and softer. Read More »
Bendith Y Mamau means 'the mothers blessing' and is a generic name for the fairies, especially in Southern Wales.
In appearance the fairies are described as small and ugly, and are most readily identified with the Brownies, or the West Country Pixies, although they have the characterisations of most fairies. Read More »
A hideous hag who haunts Welsh families, and is also associated with specific places. Read More »
A Welsh spirit similar to the English Will o' the Wisp, it appears as a light and misleads travellers from their path.
Along with black dogs, tales of fairy lights are common throughout Britain, with a different name given to a similar phenomena. In general they are seen as malevolent, guiding lone travellers into treacherous bogs. Read More »
In legend a curse was put upon the town and its entire people by a mermaid hundreds of years ago. She was found stranded on the rocks at low tide by local fishermen, who would not return her to the water no matter how much she begged. She cursed the town saying that the people would always be poor. The curse is now said to have run its course. Read More »