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The Welsh Jack-o’-Lantern: Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast

The Welsh Jack-o'-Lantern: Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast

EP19 The Welsh Jack-o’-Lantern

The Welsh jack-o’-lantern is far more terrifying than some carved pumpkin.

While the image of a grinning orange vegetable might be a modern-day staple of Halloween, in Wales it was traditionally carved from a swede, and it was known as Jack y Lantern.

This “dreaded ghost” was thought to be a diabolical form of corpse candle that would lure lonely travellers away to a fate worse than death in the dark forests at night. Some say it could even be working in conjunction with the hobgoblins, fairies, or even the Devil himself.

In this eerie episode of the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast, MARK REES (author of Ghosts of Wales/ Paranormal Wales etc.) recalls a long-lost real-life encounter from the archives in which a “respectable” man encounters a Welsh jack-o’-lantern one dark lonely night.

In this case he lives to tell the tale, but then he returns to that haunted spot a second time to confirm that his eyes were not deceiving him, and that’s when things get even spookier…

Did you catch last week’s episode of the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast?

Listen now: EP18 The History of Halloween: From ancient Celtic festival to American holiday, the origin of jack-o’-lanterns, trick-or-treat & the Welsh Nos Calan Gaeaf in a podcast beaming from Wales to the world.

For a full list of every episode, from the Mari Lwyd to the Mabinogion, and to subscribe, please visit the podcast page.

Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast - the History of Halloween / Nos Calan Gaeaf
Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast – the History of Halloween / Nos Calan Gaeaf

History of Halloween in Wales: 5 special episodes

October is the Halloween takeover month on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast, and this Welsh jack-o’-lantern episode is the second of five stand-alone specials.

For a full list of episodes check out the Halloween Specials podcast page.

What is Nos Calan Gaeaf?

In Celtic times, each day began at sunset.

October 31 – Nos Calan Gaeaf in Welsh, the night before Calan Gaeaf – marked the beginning of winter, and while it was a time for celebration, it was also a time of great foreboding and apprehension.

For more about Nos Calan Gaeaf, be sure to subscribe to the Ghosts & Folklore podcast which will be focusing on the festival all through October, and check out the book The A-Z of Curious Wales for lots more weird and wonderful facts.

Did you miss last week’s episode? Catch up now: EP18 The History of Halloween: From ancient Celtic festival to American holiday and the origin of the Welsh Nos Calan Gaeaf.

Read more about Nos Calan Gaeaf, the Welsh jack-o’-lantern and other Welsh curiosities

The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees
The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees

This tale and many more appears in The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees.

Published by The History Press, here’s the blurb:

Wales’ history is packed with peculiar customs and curious characters. Here you will discover alien landscapes, ancient druids and a Victorian ghost hunter.

Find out why revellers would carry a decorated horse’s skull on a pole door to door at Christmastime, how an eccentric inventor hoped to defeat Hitler with his futuristic ray gun, and why a cursed wall is protected by a global corporation for fear it might destroy a town.

From the folklore surrounding the red dragon on the flag, to the evolution of the song ‘Sosban Fach’, this compendium of weird and wonderful facts will surprise and delight even the most knowledgeable resident or visitor.

It is available from all good bookshops and online from the books page.

The History of Halloween: Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast with Mark Rees: History of Halloween special

EP18 The History of Halloween

Join Mark Rees (author of Ghosts of Wales/ Paranormal Wales) for a whirlwind tour through the history of Halloween!

From ancient Celtic festivals to modern-day America, this concise journey through the dark past of the spookiest day of the year takes a look at such questions as:

• Where did Halloween originate?

• What vital role did Christianity play in things?

• How did America put its own stamp on the holiday?

• Why do we carve pumpkins on October 31st?

• Does trick-or-treating have its roots in praying for the souls of the dead?

• What does the Welsh harvest festival Nos Calan Gaeaf have to do with Halloween?

• And the big question on everyone’s lips… how did American housewives host the perfect Halloween party at the turn of the 20th century?

All this and more will be explored in this Halloween special of the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast!

Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast - the History of Halloween / Nos Calan Gaeaf

History of Halloween in Wales: 5 special episodes

October is the Halloween takeover month on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast, and this is the first of five stand-alone specials.

While this episode takes a look at the bigger picture of how Halloween is celebrated around the world as well as Wales, subsequent episodes will look more closely at Nos Calan Gaeaf and such traditions as Jack y Lantern, the Welsh jack-o’-lantern, and the dreaded supernatural ghosts and goblins which were abroad ahead of the first day of winter.

For a full list of episodes check out the Halloween Specials podcast page.

What is Nos Calan Gaeaf?

In Celtic times, each day began at sunset.

October 31 – Nos Calan Gaeaf in Welsh, the night before Calan Gaeaf – marked the beginning of winter, and while it was a time for celebration, it was also a time of great foreboding and apprehension.

For more about Nos Calan Gaeaf, be sure to subscribe to the Ghosts & Folklore podcast which will be focusing on the festival all through October, and check out the book The A-Z of Curious Wales for lots more weird and wonderful facts.

Did you catch last week’s episode of the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast?

Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast with Mark Rees - real-life Welsh ghost stories and folk tales

Did you miss last week’s episode? Catch up now: EP17 The Devil’s Bridge: The famous folk tale of how a wise old Welsh woman beat Satan at his own game.

For a full list of every episode, from the Mari Lwyd to the Mabinogion, and to subscribe, please visit the podcast page.

Read more about Nos Calan Gaeaf and other Welsh curiosities

The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees
The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees

This tale and many more appears in The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees.

Published by The History Press, here’s the blurb:

Wales’ history is packed with peculiar customs and curious characters. Here you will discover alien landscapes, ancient druids and a Victorian ghost hunter.

Find out why revellers would carry a decorated horse’s skull on a pole door to door at Christmastime, how an eccentric inventor hoped to defeat Hitler with his futuristic ray gun, and why a cursed wall is protected by a global corporation for fear it might destroy a town.

From the folklore surrounding the red dragon on the flag, to the evolution of the song ‘Sosban Fach’, this compendium of weird and wonderful facts will surprise and delight even the most knowledgeable resident or visitor.

It is available from all good bookshops and online from the books page.

Signed Ghosts of Wales and Paranormal Wales books available NOW from The Comix Shoppe

Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees

The Comix Shoppe in Swansea now stocks signed books by Mark Rees, with Ghosts of Wales and Paranormal Wales available just in time for Halloween

The Comix Shoppe in Swansea – Wales’ finest comic shop! – has long been the place to go for comic books, action figures, RPG games and more.

Now, you can also pick up a spooky supernatural book at the same time – and a signed book at that!

What signed books are available from The Comix Shoppe?

At the time of writing (October 2020) there are signed copies of two books available:

Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives (The History Press, 2017)

Paranormal Wales (Amberley Publishing, 2020)

The plan is to keep both available, and to add to them from time to time. For example, signed copies of The A-Z of Curious Wales could well be available ahead of Christmas.

Where is the Comix Shoppe, and can I order by mail order?

For more details, check out The Comix Shoppe Facebook page and drop them a message.

To visit in person, you can find them at:

13 Shoppers Walk, Swansea SA1 3AY

…which is just a minute’s walk from Swansea Grand Theatre.

Opening times vary, please check before travelling.

What are the spooky books all about?

For a taste of the spine-chilling tales on offer, be sure to check out the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast.

Here are the blurbs from the publishers:

Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees

Paranormal Wales

Published 2020, Amberley Publishing

Wales is said to be the most haunted country in the world. Restless spirits roam the ancient land, from the lofty peaks of Snowdonia to the dark depths of the abandoned mines. In Paranormal Wales author Mark Rees takes the reader on a spine-chilling journey to dozens of these locations, which include well-known tourist landmarks and more secluded spots well off the beaten track.

These accounts of disembodied voices, supernatural mists and pesky poltergeists range from centuries-old legends to modern-day sightings. Visit the ‘oldest pub’ in Wales, where more than 180 people are claimed to have been sentenced to death by hanging. Explore the majestic opera house built by a world-famous soprano, who some say continues to perform on her beloved stage from beyond the grave. Spend the night in a seemingly idyllic manor house, where the presence of a Victorian housekeeper is said to reduce unsuspecting guests to tears. Or step back in time at one of the many ivy-strewn castles, where ladies in white patrol the Gothic battlements as tortured screams ring out from the dungeons below.

Some of these stories might be familiar, others less so, but they all have one thing in common – they will make you think twice about turning off the light at night. Illustrated throughout, Paranormal Wales will be of spine-tingling interest to those wanting to discover more about the country’s haunted and hidden heritage.

Read more about Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees here.

Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives by Mark Rees
Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives by Mark Rees

Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives

Published 2017, The History Press

“Do you believe in ghosts? Then attend to my story! Laugh as we may at the idea of ghosts, people do believe in ghosts, and fear them.”

In the Victorian era, sensational ghost stories made headline news.

Spine-chilling reports of two-headed phantoms, murdered knights and spectral locomotives filled the press. Spirits communicated with the living at dark séances, forced terrified families to flee their homes, and caused frightened workers to down their tools at the haunted mines.

This book – Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives – reveals for the first time more than 50 hair-raising – and in some cases, comical – real life accounts from Wales dating from 1837 to 1901. Unearthed from the newspaper archives, they include chilling prophecies from beyond the grave, poltergeists who terrorised the industrial communities, and more than a few ingenious hoaxes along the way.

Read more about Ghosts of Wales by Mark Rees here.

Devil’s Bridge: Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast

GHOSTS AND FOLKLORE of Wales podcast with Mark Rees

EP17 The Devil’s Bridge

Did Satan really build a bridge in Wales – the notorious Devil’s Bridge – in exchange for the soul of an old Welsh woman?

Find out in the real story behind the folk tale from haunted Wales.

In this episode of the GHOSTS & FOLKLORE podcast, join Mark Rees (author of Ghosts of Wales/ Paranormal Wales etc.) for a journey in search of Satan himself who, it is claimed, built a bridge over a great chasm in exchange for the soul of an old Welsh widow.

Corpse Candles in a haunted Welsh cemetery - Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast

Dare you cross the Devil’s Bridge?

This story is one of Wales’ most popular folk tales, and while it might seem a little bit too far-fetched to be true, there’s no denying the fact that the Devil’s Bridge really does exits in the village of Pontarfynach.

In fact, it’s not just one bridge, but three.

By digging deeper into the origins of this much-loved tale we can attempt to separate the fact from the fiction, and uncover the real secret history behind this most diabolical of spans.

Did the Devil really build a bridge in haunted Wales? Press play to find out more!

Did you catch last week’s episode of the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast?

Be sure to check out episode 16: The Ghost Train from the Future, the real-life story of a paranormal locomotive which terrified a Welsh farmer.

For a full list of every episode, from the Mari Lwyd to the Mabinogion, and to subscribe, please visit the podcast page.

Read more Welsh curiosities

The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees
The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees

The tale of Devil’s Bridge, and many more, appears in The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees.

Published by The History Press, here’s the blurb:

Wales’ history is packed with peculiar customs and curious characters. Here you will discover alien landscapes, ancient druids and a Victorian ghost hunter.

Find out why revellers would carry a decorated horse’s skull on a pole door to door at Christmastime, how an eccentric inventor hoped to defeat Hitler with his futuristic ray gun, and why a cursed wall is protected by a global corporation for fear it might destroy a town.

From the folklore surrounding the red dragon on the flag, to the evolution of the song ‘Sosban Fach’, this compendium of weird and wonderful facts will surprise and delight even the most knowledgeable resident or visitor.

It is available from all good bookshops and online from the books page.

Illustrated Tales of Wales, a new book of Welsh folklore, myths and legends from Mark Rees

Illustrated Tales of Wales, a new book of Welsh folklore, myths and legends from Mark Rees

Cover reveal and publication date for new book of Welsh folklore, myths and legends

I’m very pleased to announce that my new book, Illustrated Tales of Wales, has a cover and a release date.

The book was originally due to be published in August 2020 but, as well all now know, 2020 hasn’t quite gone the way anyone expected.

The release date was bumped back until the end of 2020, and then the start of the next year, but I can now confirm that – fingers crossed! – it will be hitting the shelves of all good bookshops on June 15, 2021.

To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak preview of the cover (which is subject to change between now and publication day):

Illustrated Tales of Wales by Mark Rees - a book of Welsh folklore, myths and legends
Illustrated Tales of Wales by Mark Rees – a book of Welsh folklore, myths and legends

What’s Illustrated Tales of Wales all about?

Illustrated Tales of Wales is a fast-paced, fully illustrated collection of classic Welsh fairy tales, folklore, myths and legend.

They vary from accounts of fire-breathing dragons to festive favourite the Mari Lwyd, but one thing they all have in common – and the main reason I wrote this book – is that they all take place in real places.

Yes, all of these fantastical tales are firmly rooted in Welsh locations that you can hop in your car visit today.

So as well as reading about the fire-breathing dragons, for example, you can also check out the full-colour photos accompanying the tale and then, if the urge takes you – and I hope it does! – visit the place in person.

Illustrated Tales of Wales offers an engaging and different look at Wales, with this alternative tour through the country’s peculiar past.

I also like to think of Illustrated Tales of Wales as something of a companion piece, or a sister book, to Paranormal Wales.

While Paranormal Wales explored the country’s “most haunted” places and this one tackles more fantastical accounts, I think they work best combined, especially if you’re planning a route around Wales and want to combine a visit to a spooky pub with the secret hiding place of y Tylwyth Teg.

Who knows what you might find!

What fairy tales, myths, legends and folklore are included?

I don’t want to give away ALL of the surprises quite yet, but to give you an idea here’s the blurb from the publisher:

A red and white dragon fighting tooth and claw in the moonlit sky; mischievous fairy folk luring unwary travellers deep into their underground lairs; a kind-hearted mermaid saving the lives of those in peril on the high seas; and a charmed boy who transforms into an otter and a bird to outrun a wicked witch.

In Illustrated Tales of Wales, author Mark Rees explores the fantastical myths, legends and folk stories of Wales which have long fired the imagination of young and old alike.

From the medieval tales of the Mabinogion to those rooted firmly in Arthurian mythology, they range from the quirky to the macabre and tell of heroic pets, strange superstitions, mischievous devils and restless spirits.

“The unforgettable Mari Lwyd, one of the world’s more unusual Christmastime traditions in which an eerie horseskulled visitor goes door-to-door in the dead of night.”

Illustrated Tales of Wales
The Mari Lwyd, the Welsh folklore favourite as featured in Illustrated Tales of Wales by Mark Rees
The Mari Lwyd, the Welsh folklore favourite as featured in Illustrated Tales of Wales by Mark Rees

Wales is home to mighty giants which live on the highest mountains and battle to the death with King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

It has a patron saint of hares, who created a safe haven for humans and animals alike, and a patron saint of love, whose idyllic island became a place of pilgrimage.

It has a water horse which has been known to give those who mount it the ride of their lives, and the unforgettable Mari Lwyd, one of the world’s more unusual Christmastime traditions in which an eerie horseskulled visitor goes door-to-door in the dead of night.

Illustrated Tales of Wales offers an engaging and different look at Wales, with this alternative tour through the country’s peculiar past.

Where can I buy it/ pre-order Illustrated Tales of Wales?

Illustrated Tales of Wales by Mark Rees will be available from all good bookshops (always support your local bookshop when possible!) from June 2021, or you can order/ pre-order it online here.

Technical details:

• Title: Illustrated Tales of Wales

• Author: Mark Rees

• Format: Paperback

• Publisher : Amberley Publishing

• Publication date: June 15, 2021 (subject to change)

• ISBN-10: 144569722X

• ISBN-13: 978-1445697222

Ghosts & Folklore from Wales podcast now available on Amazon Music

Amazon Music users can now listen to the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast on all of their devices.

The Ghosts of Folklore of Wales podcast can now be streamed and downloaded on Amazon Music.

That means you’ve now got even more places to listen to the world’s first podcast dedicated to Welsh ghosts and folklore!

It has long been available to users of other popular platforms such as Spotify, Apple, YouTube and Google (full list here), but now you can just ask Amazon to play some spooky Ghosts of Wales yarns and it will do just that.

Best of all, it’s just in time for Halloween because, as you might have noticed, the entire month of October will be dedicated to the spookiest night of the year.

Yes, the entire month of October – all five episodes – are Halloween specials on the Ghosts of Folklore of Wales podcast. Why do things by half!

How to listen to Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast on Amazon Music

It couldn’t be easier!

Just click on this link which will take you directly to the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast on Amazon Music and listen away: Listen now on Amazon.

It’s nice and easy to subscribe as well, just click the button at the top under the title and you’ll never miss an episode.

You will, however, need to be logged in to your account. If you aren’t it will ask you to do so first.

Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast - celebrate the Welsh Nos Calan Gaeaf

Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast on Amazon Music

As mentioned, you do NOT want to miss the Halloween specials this October!

If you’ve subscribed you’ll automatically get each new episode every Thursday. Otherwise, be sure to check out the Ghosts of Wales Halloween page to keep up to date with the spookiness.

Paranormal Wales – perfect Halloween reading, also available from Amazon!

Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees

The podcast isn’t the only spooky Welsh thing available from Amazon.

Paranormal Wales, the spine-chilling new “ghosts of Wales” book from Mark Rees, will be launched over Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast.

The book, however, is available RIGHT NOW from all good bookshops (and, yes, Amazon), and the best time to read it is RIGHT NOW.

As well know, ghost books are best enjoyed as the clocks go back, the leaves change shade, the air turns crisp and autumn announces its arrival.

You can read all about this spine-chilling journey to some of the country’s “most haunted” places in haunted Wales on the Paranormal Wales page.

To order the book, please check with your local book shop who might have a copy in stock, and if not order a copy online.

Ghost Train from the Future: Ghosts & Folklore podcast EP16

Ghost Train from the Future: Ghosts & Folklore podcast with Mark Rees EP16

The 16th episode of the Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast “Ghost Train from the Future” is live…. NOW!

This episode is dedicated to ghost trains, and recalls a unique real-life account in which a ghost train from the future popped up in the Welsh countryside.

It also allows me to bemoan the fact that ghost trains – the ones you can ride on, not the supernatural ones! – are disappearing from our funfairs.

The eerie account itself is an unusual little story I discovered in the Victorian archives, and sounds a bit like a cross between Back to the Future and Night of the Demon. Now there’s a film I’d pay to see!

The Ghost Train arrives in the Welsh countryside

It all begins one dark night when a spectral locomotive hurtling around the idyllic Welsh landscape terrifies a farmer and forces him to flee for his life.

But according to the witness, this was no ordinary ghost train – it was a “ghost train from the future.”

Also in this episode, I also reminisce about the “good old days” when ghost trains could be found on every street corner – well, maybe not quite every street corner, but certainly in every funfair.

I would love to see them return to their rightful place at the heart of our fairs, and raise a rallying cry to everyone else who agrees with me.

So, did the farmer really see a spooky steam train in 19th century Carmarthenshire, or could it have been clairvoyance or second sight at work?

To find out more, press the play button below to ride the ghost train… if you dare!

Until next time,

Mark

Need more ghost and folklore from Wales? Check out last week’s episode:
The Dark History of Beer; or, How a Welsh witch invented mead

“It’s the best, it’s the beautiful, it’s the only Ghosts and Folklore podcast, beaming to you from Wales to the world!”

Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast with Mark Rees - Welsh Ghost Trains of Haunted Wales
Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast with Mark Rees – Welsh Ghost Trains of Haunted Wales

More real-life Victorian ghost stories from haunted Wales

If you enjoy this episode, here’s a few more real-life ghost stories from Victorian Wales to send a shiver down your spine:

The Wraith of a Murderer stalk Abroad:

The Two-Headed Phantom of Abersychan:

A Ghost to Rival Hamlet’s Father in Swansea:

The Real-life Ghost-hunting Scooby-Doo Dog:

Subscribe to the Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast

To listen to the podcast on your favourite player (Apple/ Spotify/ YouTube etc.) and to subscribe follow the links below:

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales on Apple Podcasts/ iTunes

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales on Google Podcasts

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales on Spotify

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales on iHeartRadio

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales on PodBean

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales on YouTube

Read more about the Welsh ghost train in Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives

Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives by Mark Rees

For more real-life Welsh ghost stories like these check out Ghosts of Wales: Accounts from the Victorian Archives, available now from all good bookshops and online.

You can also check out more about “haunted Wales” here.

Halloween in Wales: Celebrate the Welsh Nos Calan Gaeaf on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast

Join Mark Rees for five special episodes of the Ghosts & Folklore podcast to count down to Halloween

Autumn is my favourite time of year, and Halloween (or Nos Calan Gaeaf, as we say here in Wales) is my favourite holiday.

As such, I’ve been racking my brain to think of a suitably over-the-top way to celebrate the occasion on the Ghosts of Folklore of Wales podcast.

An hour-long special, maybe? Wales’ “most haunted” places to visit? What about a special guest or two?

They all sounded like good ideas, but something wasn’t quite right.

Also, as somebody who specialises (ha!) in weird and wonderful subjects, Halloween is one of my busiest times of the year.

October is when I stage my Ghosts of Wales – Live! events, and it’s when the press and the media get in touch for a few spooky quotes and soundbites.

So what could I do?

“I’ve dedicated the entire month of October to Halloween specials on the Ghosts of Folklore of Wales podcast – even if it does mean a heck of a lot of extra work for me!”

Mark Rees

And then I had the light bulb above the head moment. Why choose just one of these ideas, why not choose ALL of them?

And with 2020 making live events unlikely, why not include an event in my socially distanced podcast as well?

So that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I’ve dedicated the entire month of October to Halloween specials on the Ghosts of Folklore of Wales podcast – even if it does mean a heck of a lot of extra work!

Nos Calan Gaeaf / Halloween in Wales on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast with Mark Rees
Nos Calan Gaeaf / Halloween in Wales on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast with Mark Rees

What Halloween episodes will be on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast?

There will be five – yes, five! – special episodes dedicated entirely to the ghosts and folklore of Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast this October.

Below are the dates to save in your diary and, as always, the best way to listen to the podcast as soon as I release each episode is to subscribe.

Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast - the History of Halloween / Nos Calan Gaeaf
Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast – the History of Halloween / Nos Calan Gaeaf

Halloween 2020 schedule on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast:

Thursday, October 1, 2020: The History of Halloween

An hour-long special looking at the traditions surrounding All Hallows’ Eve. Listen now!

Thursday, October 8, 2020: The Jack-O’-Lantern of Wales

A Halloween special exploring the most horrible history of a “dreaded ghost” which haunted the dark Welsh forests on Nos Calan Gaeaf

Thursday, October 15, 2020: The Ghosts & Folklore of Nos Calan Gaeaf

A journey back in time to look at the long-lost traditions of the spookiest night in the Welsh calendar.

Thursday, October 22, 2020: How to celebrate Nos Calan Gaeaf, the Welsh Halloween

How to celebrate Halloween in the traditional Welsh manner, with ghost stories and fairy tales around a giant log fire.

Thursday, October 29, 2020: Ghosts of Wales Live – A Halloween Special: A paranormal party for Nos Calan Gaeaf

Mark Rees and guests explore some of Wales’ “most haunted” places, and go ghost hunting on the spookiest night of the year. The first online edition of the annual Ghosts of Wales Live event, and the book launch of new book Paranormal Wales.

Happy Halloween!

I look forward to celebrating the most magical time of the year with you all from October 1, and on that note, I’d better go and make a start on recording some podcasts.

Whatever the future may hold, let’s make this an extra special Halloween, even if we do have to put some of our usual traditions on hold this year.

Keep it spooky!

Mark

Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast - celebrate the Welsh Nos Calan Gaeaf
Halloween on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast – celebrate the Welsh Nos Calan Gaeaf

Buy Paranormal Wales NOW!

Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees

The Paranormal Wales book launch might not be until Halloween, but the book is on sale NOW in all good bookshops.

Please join me for a spine-chilling journey to some of the country’s “most haunted” places, where myths and legends stand side-by-side with “real-life” Welsh ghost stories.

Paranormal Wales is available from all good bookshops and online.

For more books in the “trilogy of terror”, check out the trio Welsh ghost books for Halloween.

Subscribe to the Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast

To listen to the podcast on your favourite player (Apple/ Spotify/ YouTube etc.) and to subscribe follow the links below:

The Dark History of Beer; or, How a Welsh witch invented mead: Ghosts and Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast EP15

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast

Join me for a journey in search of the Welsh enchantress who brewed beer in her cauldron, the Gothic folklore surrounding alcohol at funerals, and other macabre traditions from “weird” Wales

Welcome to the 15th episode of my “curious” Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast – the “dark history of beer”!

It’s all about alcohol and folklore, and I really feel like I’ve captured some of the energy and spontaneity from my Ghosts of Wales – Live! events on this episode of the podcast.

As I’m sure regular listeners have noticed, I don’t script my episodes (ha, I think that’s obvious!), but I usually have a rough roadmap in my mind of where I’d like the episode to go.

What stories to include, for example, or what to start and end with, but that’s about it. As a listener I’ve always hated things that sound like they’re being read off an autocue, and I want to avoid doing that myself.

It must be my in-built punk rocker who lies dormant most of the time nowadays, but occasionally raises their head to and tells me to hit the record button and see what happens.

“Did you know that women used to hold secret cheese and beer parties when the men weren’t looking?”

Mark Rees

That’s exactly what I did with this episode of the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast and, as a result, we have an episode which began life innocently enough by looking at why beer is considered to be the “national drink of Wales”, before veering off on more tangents than you can shake a stick at.

Beer, witchcraft, funerals and the sin-eater

For example, did you know that this frothy beverage has connections with the fantastical tale of Ceridwen and Taliesin, and that it began life (apparently) in the magical cauldron of a Welsh witch?

Or how about the macabre role that a pint of ale played in the funerals of old? That by using the correct bits of folk knowledge you can avoid hangovers? And that one of the most infamous drinks in Wales for causing one of those hangovers is nicknamed “Skull Attack”?

I even managed to shoehorn in one of my favourite bits of obscure folklore: did you know that women used to hold secret cheese and beer parties when the men weren’t looking?

Yes, secret cheese and beer parties when the men weren’t looking – I kid you not!

I hope you enjoy this episode of the Ghosts & Folklore podcast, and remember – it’s the best, it’s the beautiful, it’s the ONLY Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast, beaming to you from Cymru to the world.

Until next time – cheers, iechyd da, prost, chin chin and bottom’s up! *hic*

Mark Rees

Looking for more podcast episodes? Check out last week’s: The Realm of Faerie: The secret origin of the fairy folk of Wales

Looking for more Gothic Welsh history? How about… the dog of darkness!

Have you heard about the “dog of darkness” which stalks the haunted lanes at night? This “hound of hell” has patrolled the Welsh roads of centuries, and bears many similarities with other four-legged paranormal creatures seen across Britain and Ireland. But what exactly is the Gwyllgi, how dangerous is it, and what does it have to do with Dylan Thomas?

Subscribe to the Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast

To listen to the podcast on your favourite player (Apple/ Spotify/ YouTube etc.) and to subscribe follow the links below:

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales on Apple Podcasts/ iTunes

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Read more curious Welsh tales

The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees
The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees

For more about the curious customs of Wales – and Ceridwen, Taliesin, the Sin Eater and and many other weird and wonderful Welsh curiosities – check out The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees, available now from all good bookshops and online.

Paranormal Wales book launch coming to the Ghosts and Folklore podcast this Halloween

Paranormal Wales book launch coming to the Ghosts and Folklore podcast this Halloween

You can’t stop a “Ghosts of Wales” paranormal party!

My new book PARANORMAL WALES was published in March, and the plan was to have a book launch soon after to celebrate.

Sadly, as we now know, March 2020 wasn’t the best of times to plan a paranormal party. Or any other kind of public event, for that matter.

Just days after a box crammed full of of author copies landed on my doorstep, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would be put into lockdown.

Life, as we knew it, came to a halt.

Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees, author of Ghosts of Wales and host of Ghosts & Folklore podcast

I tried to look on the bright side, and thought that by delaying the book launch at least I’d have more time to prepare for it. Also, having a spooky get-together around Halloween when the nights got darker seemed much more appropriate.

Sadly, as we now know, autumn 2020 isn’t the best of times to plan a book launch either.

An online paranormal party

Refusing to accept defeat, I’ve instead decided to get with the times and host an online launch party on my Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast.

But this won’t be a normal episode of the podcast – far from it!

As anyone who has been to one of my “Ghosts of Wales – Live!” events will know, I don’t do boring launches.

I’ve always tried to avoid the cheesiness that goes with some of these ghostly affairs. Just because it’s an event about ghosts and folklore, that doesn’t mean we have to take ourselves too seriously, start talking like Bela Lugosi’s long-lost cousin and play eerie music throughout (although I might treat myself to the odd sound effect or two!).

Instead, I’ll have one or two special guests, some spooky surprises up my sleeve, and my own picks of Wales’ “most haunted” places to visit this Halloween. There’ll also be a Q&A session, so if anyone would like to send me a question for it then please get in touch.

Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees, author of Ghosts of Wales and host of Ghosts & Folklore podcast

How to listen to the Paranormal Wales Halloween book launch:

1. The Paranormal Wales Halloween book launch episode of the Ghosts and Folklore podcast will be live on: October 29, 2020.

2. You can listen to it from the podcast page of this website from 6am (UK time), or download it from your podcast provider of choice.

3. The best way to listen to the book launch – and every episode of the podcast – is to subscribe by following the links below. The podcast is available from all of your favourite pod-tastic places, including Apple, Spotify, Google and Podbean.

4. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or questions for the episode, please get in touch via the contact page.

And that’s that!

Obviously I’d much rather be out there catching up with everyone in person, and fingers crossed all will be back to normal(ish) when my next book is released next year*.

Until then, stay safe, and I’ll “see” you all on October 29 for a Halloween party!

Mark

* A quick update on my next book: “The Illustrated Tales of Wales”, a collection of Welsh folk tales and a companion piece to “Paranormal Wales“, was originally due to be published in the summer of 2020. Due to the global pandemic it was bumped back to late 2020, and has now been bumped back even further to June 2021. Fingers crossed it will hit the shelves then, and if anything else changes I’ll let you know…

Buy Paranormal Wales NOW!

Paranormal Wales by Mark Rees

The Paranormal Wales book launch might not be until Halloween, but the book itself is on sale in all good bookshops NOW!

Please join me for a spine-chilling journey to some of the country’s “most haunted” places, where myths and legends stand side-by-side with “real-life” Welsh ghost stories.

Paranormal Wales is available from all good bookshops and online.

Subscribe to the Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast

To listen to the podcast on your favourite player (Apple/ Spotify/ YouTube etc.) and to subscribe follow the links below:

Apple Podcasts/ iTunes

Google Podcasts

Spotify

iHeartRadio

PodBean

YouTube