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Spectral Funerals Or Drychiolaeth


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

This was a kind of shadowy funeral which foretold the real one. In South
Wales it goes by the name toilu, toili, or y teulu (the family)
anghladd, unburied; in Montgomeryshire it is called Drychiolaeth,

I cannot do better than quote from Mr. Hamer's Parochial Account of
Llanidloes (Montgomeryshire Collections, vol. x., p. 256), a description
of one of these phantom funerals. All were much alike. He writes:--

It is only a few years ago that some excitement was caused amongst
the superstitious portion of the inhabitants by the statement of a
certain miner, who at the time was working at the Brynpostig mine.
On his way to the mine one dark night, he said that he was thoroughly
frightened in China Street on seeing a spectral funeral leaving the
house of one Hoskiss, who was then very ill in bed. In his fright
the miner turned his back on the house, with the intention of going
home, but almost fainting he could scarcely move out of the way of
the advancing procession, which gradually approached, at last
surrounded him, and then passed on down Longbridge Street, in the
direction of the church. The frightened man managed with difficulty
to drag himself home, but he was so ill that he was unable to go to
work for several days.

The following weird tale I received from the Rev. Philip Edwards, whom I
have already mentioned (p. 282). I may state that I have heard variants
of the story from other sources.

While the Manchester and Milford Railway was in course of construction
there was a large influx of navvies into Wales, and many a frugal farmer
added to his incomings by lodging and boarding workmen engaged on the
line. Several of these men were lodged at a farm called Penderlwyngoch,
occupied by a man named Hughes.

One evening when the men were seated round the fire, which burned
brightly, they heard the farm dogs bark, as they always did at the
approach of strangers. This aroused the attention of the men, and they
perceived from the furious barking of the dogs that someone was coming
towards the house. By-and-by they heard the tramp of feet, mingled with
the howling of the frightened dogs, and then the dogs ceased barking,
just as if they had slunk away in terror. Before many minutes had
elapsed the inmates heard the back door opened, and a number of people
entered the house, carrying a heavy load resembling a dead man, which
they deposited in the parlour, and all at once the noise ceased. The men
in great dread struck a light, and proceeded to the parlour to ascertain
what had taken place. But they could discover nothing there, neither
were there any marks of feet in the room, nor could they find any
footprints outside the house, but they saw the cowering dogs in the yard
looking the picture of fright. After this fruitless investigation of the
cause of this dread sound, the Welsh people present only too well knew
the cause of this visit. On the very next day one of the men who sat by
the fire was killed, and his body was carried by his fellow-workmen to
the farm house, in fact everything occurred as rehearsed the previous
night. Most of the people who witnessed the vision are, my informant
says, still alive.

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