Magic Carpet Journals
Ghosts and Legends in Wales: An Unexpected Turn of Events at Bodysgallen Hall
A big surprise was in store for me during my last night in Wales, spent in the delightful Bodysgallen Hall , a beautiful seventeenth century Historic House Hotel.
Story and pictures by M. Maxine George
We spent our last evening in “haunted” Wales, at Bodysgallen Hall near the coastal resort of Llandudno, in the north of Wales. This wonderfully restored, quarried pink-sandstone hotel sits on 200 acres of land, many of them forested. Now the property of Historic House Hotels, Bodysgallen is one of the Pride of Britain Hotels – truly an outstanding seventeenth century building with park-like terraced gardens dating back to 1678, as attested by a centerpiece sundial which bears that date. A rare 16th century parterre garden is meant to be viewed from the vantage points of open windows or balconies. The vast gardens also included an enclosed rose garden and an herb garden, neither at their best in March. Oh, to have seen the gardens in the summer!
The Ghosts and Legends tour, offered during my recent trip to Wales, sounded like one that had the potential to produce some really unusual stories, an important consideration for a writer. I’ve often heard that many Welsh people are a bit fey; they seem to have clairvoyant powers. A long and turbulent history here in Wales is believed to have produced many restless spirits. However, in my wildest imagination I would not have guessed the unusual experience that was in store for me at Bodysgallen Hall!
The central tower of the main building is believed to have been built even earlier than the rest of the buildings. Research has shown that it was probably built in the 13th century as a field lookout for the mighty Conwy Castle. Both Conwy Castle and Snowdonia Mountain can be seen from that vantage point. The name Bodysgallen is subject to two interpretations: one - that the word means house among the thistles; the other, is that the name is a corruption of “house of Cadwallon.” Cadwallon Lawhir was the King of Gwynedd, who died in 517 AD. This last interpretation places a very long history of dwelling on this property; probably true because the ruins of Cadwallon’s home can still be found on the property, a short distance from Bodysgallen Hall. Surprisingly enough, with such a long history, there were no ghost stories being shared with us about Bodysgallen Hall. The dignity and refined history of the place seemed to overcome thoughts of ghosts and legends.
My room was a very long, spacious, corner room overlooking the garden. Two leaded glass windows each gave a different view of the park-like grounds. An inviting room, it had been tastefully decorated in pastel yellow and green, with lots of fine pastel or floral-patterned chintz used throughout. A large king-sized bed and the LED thin screen TV brought me abruptly back to the 21st century. Across from the entrance door, a set of double doors, opened to reveal a sunken bathroom, with separate loo, at the bottom a wide set of steps. Noticing those steps, I made a mental note to be sure I was wide awake if I got up to go there during the night.
As I climbed into bed later that night, I was tired and rapidly went to sleep. Around two, I awoke wanting to go to the bathroom. Remembering my admonition to be wide awake, I ensured I was mentally alert before setting out. I carefully made my way down the steps, then back to bed again. I lay back down intent on sleeping. Closing my eyes, I tried to sleep, but in a few moments I had the urge to open my eyes again. Squinting a bit, I peered out at the room. Instead of the pitch-black room I had been in moments ago, the room now appeared to be shrouded in swirling light-gray fog. Looking carefully I could see what appeared to be hazy figures mulling about the misty room, illuminated, as though under fog-shrouded streetlights. I tried to focus on the figures, but they were indistinct. I could only make out the closest one clearly. It was a woman, who appeared to be wearing a long, dark cloak with a poke bonnet. I was not frightened, only curious. I continued to watch until they all disappeared. Was I dreaming? My next awareness seemed only a few minutes later. I seemed to be walking in the garden. As I moved along, I came across two people sitting on the grass. One person was facing away from me, but as I came closer I saw that the other was my late daughter, Cathy. Her long blonde hair had regrown; she looked so pretty and carefree. She was sitting cross-legged, as she so often had in the past. She looked up when I approached. I was very happy to see her and she seemed really happy to see me too. She jumped up and we gave each other a really big hug. I vividly remember the feel of her body as I held her in my arms. She felt so thin. We exchanged a few words, and then we both said, “I love you.” Too soon, the vision faded away. I was left with a very positive, peaceful feeling, still remembering the feel of her in my arms as I happily drifted off to sleep again.
Dreams or visions? Although I seldom remember a dream beyond my first few minutes of waking, my nocturnal visions of that last night in Wales remain vividly imprinted on my mind. Welsh ghost stories certainly took an unexpected and unusual turn of events for me on that, my last night in Wales.
Story and pictures by M. Maxine George
Among other awards:
Bodysgallen Hall was named, by Condé Naste, one of the ten best spas in the world.
Bodysgallen received a Civic Trust award in 2009 for its 25 years of restoration in Wales.
Last Updated on December 26, 2016 by M. Maxine George editor.
© 2010 Magic Carpet Journals. All rights reserved