Halloween ghost hunt, Welsh jack-o’-lanterns and headless spirits: October on the Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast

Ghosts and Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast

October on the Ghosts and Folklore of Wales podcast was all about Halloween – or Nos Calan Gaeaf, as we call it in Wales. There were tales of the first Welsh jack-o’-lantern, the Ladi Wen (a headless white lady) and the Hwch Ddu Gwta (a monstrous black pig) who come to steal your soul, and for the first time ever, a “live” ghost hunt at one of Wales’ “most haunted” places.

EP74 Halloween Ghost Hunt at Swansea’s 1940s Museum

Dare you go on a ghost hunt to one of Wales’s “most haunted” places?

Join Mark Rees and Welsh paranormal investigators Cymru Paranormal for a Halloween/ Nos Calan Gaeaf special as they go in search of restless wartime spirits.

In the most ambitious episode yet, the team spend the night at Swansea’s 1940s Museum, which is just like stepping back in time – outside there are Second World War air shelters, road blocks and barbed wire, and inside there are recreations of period settings, from trenches to Doctor Who-style police boxes.

But what lurks in the darkness? Does the ghost of an RAF serviceman haunt the operations room? Are the spectres still fighting an endless fight against the Nazis? Do spirits drink spirits (groan – sorry!) in the pub, where spectres have been seen playing cards?

There’s only one way to find out!

EP73 Halloween Horrors: A headless white lady and a monstrous black pig

A monstrous black pig and the ghost of a headless white lady emerge to hunt the living on Halloween – but what do they want?

When the shades of night fall on Nos Calan Gaeaf, as October 31 is known in Wales, there are two terrifying apparitions which appear to chase people home from the bonfires before the witching hour.

More terrifying than the vampires, werewolves, zombies and demons commonly associated with the holiday, they are the Hwch Ddu Gwta (Tailless Black Sow) and Y Ladi Wen (The White Lady).

Sometimes they even team up – like an extra spooky Halloween tag team – and an encounter with the pair could result in the loss of your soul, so it’s important that you listen to this episode to protect yourself! 

EP72 Haunted Halloween Lakes

Dare you visit these watery beauty spots where ghouls and ghosts appear on the spookiest night of the year?

Explore several “haunted” lakes where the ghosts of spectral white ladies have been reported, or where a lake monster is said to dwell.

In one case, a visit on Halloween – Nos Calan Gaeaf – could result in seeing those destined to die that year appearing before your very eyes.

EP71 The First Welsh Jack-o‘-Lantern

Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween with a grinning jack-o’-lantern, but did you know that it was once far more sinister than a finely carved pumpkin?

Nothing encapsulates Nos Calan Gaeaf – as we call Halloween in Wales – like the flickering face of a finely-carved lantern. But unlike the modern-day pumpkin which can be seen carried by trick or treaters, it was considered to be an all-too-real “dreaded ghost” which led people to their doom in the dark forests at harvest time.

Its origins can be traced back to an old Welsh folk tale in which the Devil is outwitted by a particularly crafty Welshman, but who pays a heavy price for his dealings with Satan.

Enjoy these podcasts? Read more about the ghosts and folklore of Wales in The A-Z of Curious Wales!

Ghosts of Wales by Mark Rees, host of the Ghosts of Wales podcast

The A-Z of curious Wales by Mark Rees – as well as Mark’s other weird and wonderful books – is available now from all good bookshops, and online from the books page.

Published in 2019 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.

Click here to order The A-Z of Curious Wales by Mark Rees