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Hangman, The Hound and Other Huntings, The - A Gazetteer of Welsh Ghosts

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  • Hangman, The Hound and Other Huntings, The - A Gazetteer of Welsh Ghosts
  • ISBN: 9781845241704
  • Thomas Corum Caldas
  • Publication: August 2012
  • Format: Paperback, 183x123 mm, 232 pages

A book of haunted places in Wales which still exist, and can be visited. Thomas Corum Caldas will take you on a tour of Wales looking for ghosts. You will go back centuries, to the time of ghostly monks and knights. Also included are more 'modern' hauntings, like that at Cyfarthfa Castle, said to be haunted by William Crawshay II. Reprint; first published in 2010.

This is the latest addition to the popular genre of ghost stories associated with particular places. Thomas Corum Caldas has compiled an unusual gazetteer which is divided into five categories: hauntings in pubs and hotels, in castles, in sacred buildings, in private and public buildings and, finally 'phantoms of the roadside'. In each section the material is organised alphabetically by site. Given the strong geographical basis of his approach, it is a pity that the book does not include any maps, as this would be helpful in locating the various sites which the reader is being encouraged to visit. Compared with other collections, this is notable for the number of different ghosts attributed to particular sites. Although he does refer to the theory of a building somehow retaining a recording of past events, he generally looks for individual motives for haunting murder, grief or even return to a beloved place but does not really investigate why (apart from age) there might be a concentration of reports attached to a site.

There are a vast number of 'white ladies' and, indeed, ladies clad in all manner of colours, along with phantom hounds, rowdy nuns and even a spectral string quartet (in Newport). Some of the tales are told in great detail, some in less, but Thomas Caldas has certainly amassed a great body of material. He does not give any references on sources and, where narrators' names are given, we are told 'the names of all living persons mentioned have been changed'. Thomas Corum Caldas is a member of an Irish order of druids and in his introduction he explains that he has seen ghosts since childhood, so he clearly takes his research seriously, yet he often concludes an account with flippant references to the 'spooks' which rather undermines the whole.

This is a very thorough and extensive cataloguing of psychic phenomena in Wales and an interesting addition to the literature.

Caroline Clark