Mark Rees, author of Ghosts of Wales, will be talking about corpse candles and death omens on a special episode of festive ghost stories for BBC Radio Wales.
Ahead of Christmas, the BBC in Wales are broadcasting a series of creepy specials with each looking at a different supernatural subject.
Mark has recorded an episode dedicated to these eerie omens and death, and other supernatural phenomena.
When can I listen to Mark Rees on BBC Radio Wales?
The corpse candles episode – or canwyll corff, to give them their correct Welsh name – forms a part of BBC Radio Wales’s series of Christmas ghost stories.
It will be broadcast twice on Friday, December 21, 2018, and can be listened to on-demand on BBC iPlayer soon afterwards.
What are corpse candles?
Corpse candles are mysterious spectral lights which have haunted the lonely roads of Wales for centuries.
Here’s a brief description of these ominous death portents taken from Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives:
The ghostly lights, which are interpreted as a sign of impending death, were common throughout Wales, but were particularly prevalent in ‘the counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen, and Pembroke’. They are called candles for ‘their resemblance, not to the body of the candles but the fire’.
The candles are said to travel on a fixed route, possibly the same path a sick or a dying person will follow on the way to their upcoming funeral, and will change in appearance if they come within close proximity of a human being:
‘In their journey, these candles are sometimes visible and sometimes disappear, especially if anyone comes near to them, or in the way to meet them. On these occasions they vanish, but presently appear again behind the observer, and hold on their course.’
The colours, quantities, and the direction of the corpse candles can also affect their meaning: ‘Sometimes these candles point out the places where persons shall sicken and die. They have also predicted the drowning of persons passing a ford.’
Tell me more about corpse candles and other Welsh death omens
For more about corpse candles and other death omens such as Jack y Lantern, the Welsh jack-o’-lantern, check out the Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives book.