Cardiff is home to more than 1,000 listed buildings ranging from castles to smaller buildings, houses and structures including Cathedral Road which was developed by the 3rd Marquis of Bute and in lined by very fine villas.
The city is also the birthplace of many notable figures such as the writer, Roald Dahl, known for his stories of witches.
Residents and visitors would be astonished to learn of the number of incidents of paranormal activity that have reported in Cardiff, which include gruesome tales of mass graves, invisible forces and apparitions caught on camera.
Read on for the 8 most haunted places in Cardiff:
8. Rummer Tavern
This tavern was built in the 18th century but its long, narrow shape indicates it was built on a medieval plot. With distinctive black and white pastiche Tudor decoration to the outside, it oozes character. The name of the pub refers to glass or cup used to serve wine. In 1877, a labourer called Henry George Bird was sentenced to a month in prison for hard labour for stealing from the tavern’s cash till. Over the years, several staff and customers have reported seeing or experiencing a presence. The most common areas for these experiences have been in the toilets of the tavern and the cellar. It is said that a jealous sailor died in the building shortly after finding his wife in bed with another man and continues to haunt the tavern to this day. How he died is not documented so was it murder, suicide or a broken heart that killed him?
On the north side of the city is Llandaff with its Cathedral. This curious place has a giant stone cross in the centre of the road, across from which lie the ruins of two former castles. Just behind the Cathedral, there was once a village and a road, which was called the ‘road of the dead’. It is said that dead bodies were carried along here to the River Taf to be buried in the graveyard (which is now abandoned and overgrown). The area was at one point a magnet for those looking to take their own life, with people outside of the area with no known link to Llandaff, choosing to commit suicide at the Cathedral. Among sightings in the area have been the ghosts of soldiers, monks and priests. A cholera outbreak in the 1800s is said to have resulted in huge numbers of children being buried in mass graves. Visitors to the graveyard have reported seeing ghostly children playing, peeping from behind trees and gravestones and laughing and singing. The road between central Cardiff and Llandaff is also the spot of the sightings of a mysterious ‘frog woman’. The story is that the deformed daughter of a rich family was kept a secret from outsiders and that she moved like a frog and croaked. She apparently died after falling into the River Taf, but her spirit has been heard croaking and screaming for help besides the river’s dark waters.
6. Cardiff Castle
It would seem odd to have a castle without a haunting so Cardiff Castle does not disappoint those looking for a ghostly experience. Reports suggest that most of the activity takes place in the southwest corner of the castle grounds, known as the ‘palace’. A mist-like ‘faceless vision in a flowing grey/white skirt’ has been seen in the stockroom. In the early hours, the misty wisp is said to move items around and rearrange them. At 3.45am precisely each morning the main dining room doors open and close by themselves. These heavy doors will open and close even if they are locked, it is said. The same room also experiences lights flickering and furniture being rearranged. The Second Marquess of Bute is said to appear and walk through the fireplace in the library. He is also said to pass through a six-foot thick wall from his room, through another wall into the chapel in which he died. Lady Sophia Rawdon-Hastings, his wife has also been spotted, appearing to float through the castle grounds at night. And just outside the castle grounds, the apparition of a phantom horse and coaches is known to appear.
5. Cardiff Royal Infirmary
The hospital has been at the centre of a number of ghost stories and sightings over the years and some have been very recent. A plumber, who was called into work in the building observed a matron in the corridor who vanished into thin air. There is another story from the hospital that involves the apparition of a woman in grey. The story is that if she appears and offers you a drink, you should not take it, for it is said that if you do, you will die within a week. Staff at the hospital has reported being knocked over by an invisible force and another thought that they saw someone in the office, leaning over and throttling another person in the chair but there was in fact, nobody there. The pathology department was the scene of an exorcism some years ago. It was never divulged what the staff had experienced but it was enough for them to seek professional help for something that clearly frightened them. A security officer at the building was monitoring cameras when he saw a female figure go into an office. There should have been nobody in that section of the building at the time. Around 10 minutes later, the camera picked up the figure coming back out of the office and walk past the security guard. The guard says that while the camera showed this event to take place, nobody actually walked past him.
4. Millennium Centre
Although the building is new, the streets around the centre are most definitely part of Old Cardiff. Even new technology is picking up sightings. In 2009, it was reported that experts were called in to examine footage taken from Google of the former Victorian docklands. The area, now full of plush apartments, has a dark and sinister past. Known as Tiger Bay, it was one of the busiest ports in the world and the scene of murders and mysteries that span 200 years. On the film, a woman dressed in a long skirt, blouse, bow tie, hat and scarf appears to be gliding above the pavement. Experts have studied the image but cannot account for her presence. The area is also said to have an oppressive atmosphere, where visitors feel as though they are being watched or followed by someone or something unseen.
3. The National Museum of Wales
The museum is said to be haunted by at least two ghosts. Lord Ninian who was the second son of the Third Marquis of Bute, died in action during World War I, aged 32. There is a statue in the museum’s Gorsedd Gardens dedicated to him and any report his presence being felt, particularly on election night (as he was an MP also). The other ghostly figure is that of the building’s architect, Dunbar Smith. Following his death, his ashes were interred at the museum and a few years’ later renovations and the installation of public toilets took place. The toilets were installed where Smith’s ashes were buried which is said to have enraged the spirit of Smith. He now takes revenge by haunting the museum’s corridors at night and causing a commotion – clattering furniture and other objects. A paranormal investigator who visited the museum recorded a ghostly voice muttering, “the wrong place! The wrong place!”
2. Castell Coch
The castle has been built on the site of thirteenth-century ruins. Reports exist of the ghost of a ‘White Lady’ that has haunted the old ruins but the rebuilding of the castle has not driven her way. Both visitors and staff have seen her frequently in the newer castle. Her story is that she reputedly died of a broken heart following the drowning of her son in a local pond. The castle is also said to be the location of a hoard of buried treasure that is fiercely protected by three ghostly eagles. There have also been sightings of ghostly cavalier who walks the castle grounds.
1. Llandough Hospital
Hospitals seem to be a popular location for ghosts in Cardiff. At Llandough Hospital, a nurse on duty told her colleague that she had experienced a vision of seeing her own dead body lying on a bed. The nurse who had the vision died just one week later of typhoid fever. Her body was placed in the exact location that she had seen in her vision. Another incident involved a pregnant woman who had been admitted to the hospital. She woke up to find a nurse in Victorian nursing uniform telling her that everything would be ok. Was it the same nurse who had foreseen her own death?