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Welsh Folk Lore - Stories Of Satan, Ghosts, Etc.

Mermaids And Mermen
It is said that these fabulous beings frequented the sea-co...

Stories Of Satan Ghosts Etc
Although Max Muller, in Chips from a German Workshop, vol. ...

Satan Playing Cards
A good many years ago I travelled from Pentrevoelas to Yspy...

Satan Playing Cards At A Merry Meeting
It was formerly a general custom in Wales for young lads an...

Satan Playing Cards On Rhyd-y-cae Bridge_ _pentrevoelas
Gwas yn y Gilar a phen campwr ei oes am chwareu cardiau oed...

Satan Snatching A Man Up Into The Air
It would appear that poor Bob was doomed to a sad end. His...

Satan Frightening A Man For Gathering Nuts On Sunday
The following tale was related to me by the Rev. W. E. Jone...

Satan Taking Possession Of A Man Who Fished On Sunday
The following tale is in its main features still current in...

Satan Appearing In Many Forms To A Man Who Travelled On Sunday
I received the following tale from my deceased friend, the ...

The Evil Spirit Appearing To A Man Who Frequented Alehouses On Sunday
Jones writes as follows:--W. J. was once a Sabbath-breaker ...

Satan Outwitted
In the preceding tales the Evil One is depicted as an agent...

Satan And Churches
The traditional stories that are still extant respecting th...

The Ejectment Of The Evil Spirit From Llanfor Church
Mr. Roberts states that his grandmother, born in 1744, had ...

An Evil Spirit In Llandysilio Church Montgomeryshire
The history of this Spirit's proceedings is given in Bye-Go...

A Spirit In Llangerniew Church_ _denbighshire
There was a tradition in this parish that on All-Hallows' E...

Satan And Bell Ringing
Durand, according to Bourne, in his Antiquities of the Comm...

Mysterious Removal Of Churches
I. LLANLLECHID CHURCH. There was a tradition extant i...

Apparitions Of The Devil
To accomplish his nefarious designs the Evil Spirit assumed...

The Devil Appearing To A Dissenting Minister At Denbigh
The Rev. Mr. Thomas Baddy, who lived in Denbigh Town, and w...

The Devil's Tree By Eglwys Rhos
At the corner of the first turning after passing the villag...

Satan Appearing As A Lovely Maiden
The following story I received from the Rev. Owen Jones, Pe...

A Man Carried Away By The Evil One
W. E., of Ll--- M---, was a very bad man; he was a brawler,...

Satan Appearing To A Young Man
A young man, who had left Pentrevoelas to live in a farm ho...

Satan Appearing To A Collier
John Roberts of Colliers' Row, Cyfartha, Merthyr, was once ...

Ghosts Or Spirits
Ghosts, or Spirits, were supposed to be the shades of depar...

The Gloddaeth Ghost
The following tale was told the Rev. Owen Jones, Pentrevoel...

Tymawr Ghost Bryneglwys
This Ghost plagued the servants, pinched and tormented them...

Ffrith Farm Ghost
I am indebted to Mr. Williams, schoolmaster, Bryneglwys, fo...

Pont-y-glyn Ghost
There is a picturesque glen between Corwen and Cerrig-y-Dru...

Ysbryd Ystrad Fawr
Yr oedd Ysbryd yn Ystrad Fawr, ger Llangwm, yn arfer ymddan...

Ty Felin Ghost Llanynys
An exciseman, overtaken by night, went to a house called Ty...

Llandegla Spirit
The tale of this Spirit was given me by Mr. Roberts, late S...

Lady Jeffrey's Spirit
This lady could not rest in her grave because of her misdee...

Pentrevoelas Squire Griffith's Ghost
A couple of workmen engaged at Foelas, the seat of the late...

David Salisbury's Ghost
I will quote from Bye-Gones, vol. iii., p. 211, an account ...

A Ghost Appearing To Point Out Hidden Treasures
There is a farm house called Clwchdyrnog in the parish of L...

The Powis Castle Ghost Revealing A Hidden Box To A Woman
The following is the narrative:--It had been for some time ...

The Spirit Of Llyn-nad-y-forwyn
It is said that a young man was about to marry a young girl...

Spirit Laying
It must have been a consolation to those who believed in th...

Cynon's Ghost
One of the wicked Spirits which plagued the secluded Valley...

Caellwyngrydd Spirit
This was a dangerous Spirit. People passing along the road...

Ghost Raising
If the possibility of Ghost Laying was believed in, so also...

Witches And Conjurors
From and before the days of King Saul, to the present momen...

Llanddona Witches
There is a tradition in the parish of Llanddona, Anglesey, th...

Witches Transforming Themselves Into Cats
One of the forms that witches were supposed to change thems...

The Witches' Revenge On Huw Llwyd
Several months after the occurrence recorded above of Huw L...

A Witch Transformed Into A Hare Injured By One Whom She Tormented
An old woman, thought to be a witch, was said by a neighbou...

A Witch Shot When In The Form Of A Hare
The following tale was told me by the Rev. R. Jones, Rector...

A Witch In The Form Of A Hare In A Churn
In the Spectator, No. 117, are these words:-- If the...

A Hare Crossing The Road
Mr. Jones said that when he was a lad, he and his mother we...

A Witch In The Form Of A Hare Hunted By A Black Greyhound
The writer has heard variants of the following tale in seve...

Early Reference To Witches Turning Themselves Into Hares
The prevalence of the belief that witches could transform t...

Ceridwen And Gwion_ (_gwiawn_) _bach's Transformation
But a striking instance of rapid transition from one form t...

A Man Turned Into A Hare
One of the servant men at Dolfawr, some years before Mr. Wi...

A Man Changed Into A Horse
Mr. Williams writes of the same servant man who figures in ...

A Witch Who Turned A Blue Dye Into A Red Dye
An old hag went to a small farmhouse in Clocaenog parish, a...

A Pig Witched
A woman sold a pig at Beaumaris to a man called Dick y Gree...

A Witch Who Was Refused A Goose And Her Revenge
A witch called at a farm when they were feathering geese fo...

A Horse Witched
Pedws Ffoulk, a supposed witch, was going through a field w...

Cows And Horses Witched
The writer was told the name of the farm where the followin...

Witches Punished
A neighbour, who does not wish to have his name recorded, s...

1. It was formerly believed that men could sell themselves...

Huw Llwyd And His Magical Books
The story, as it has reached our days, is as follows:--It i...

The Magician's Glass
This glass, into which a person looked when he wished to so...

A Conjuror And Robbers
A conjuror, or Gwr Cyfarwydd, was travelling over the Denbi...

The Conjuror And The Cattle
R. H., a farmer in Llansilin parish, who lost several head ...

A Conjuror's Collusion Exposed
This man's house consisted of but few rooms. Between the kit...

The Conjuror's Dress
Conjurors, when engaged in their uncanny work, usually wore...

The cure of diseases by charms is generally supposed to be ...

Swyno'r 'ryri (charming The Shingles)
The shingles is a skin disease, which encircles the body li...

A Charm For The Shingles
This custom (charming for the shingles) was more prevalent ...

Toothache Charms
By repeating the following doggerel lines the worst case of...

Rosemary Charm For Toothache
Llosg ei bren (Rhosmari) hyd oni bo yn lo du, ac yna dyro e...

Whooping Cough Charm
Children suffering from whooping cough were taken to a seve...

Charm For Fits
A ring made out of the offertory money was a cure for fits....

Charm For Cocks About To Fight
The charm consisted of a verse taken from the Bible, writte...

Charm For Asthma
Place the Bible for three successive nights under the bolst...

Charms For Warts
1. Drop a pin into a holy well and your warts will disappe...

Charm For Removing A Stye From The Eye
Take an ordinary knitting needle, and pass it back and fore...

Charms For Quinsy
Apply to the throat hair cut at midnight from the black sho...

Charming The Wild Wart
Take a branch of elder tree, strip off the bark, split off ...

Charm For Rheumatism
Carry a potato in your pocket, and when one is finished, su...

Charm For Removing The Ringworm
1. Spit on the ground the first thing in the morning, mix ...

Cattle Charms
Mr. Hamer in his Parochial Account of Llanidloes published ...

Charm Against Foot And Mouth Disease
The cattle on a certain farm in Llansilin parish suffered f...

Another Cattle Charm Spell
Mr. Hughes, Plasnewydd, Llansilin, lost several head of cat...

A Charm For Stopping Bleeding
Mrs. Reynolds, whom I have already mentioned in connection ...

Charm To Make A Servant Reliable
Y neb a fyno gael ei weinidog yn gywir, doded beth o'r llud...

Charms Performed With Snake's Skin
1. Burn the skin and preserve the ashes. A little salve m...

The Charms Performed With Rosemary
Rosemary dried in the sun and made into powder, tied in a c...

Charm For Clefyd Y Galon_ _or Heart Disease
The Rev. J. Felix, vicar of Cilcen, near Mold, when a young...

The Ejectment Of The Evil Spirit From Llanfor Church


Mr. Roberts states that his grandmother, born in 1744, had only
traditions of this spirit. He was said to have worn a three-cocked hat,
and appeared as a gentleman, and whilst divine service was performed he
stood up in the church. But at night the church was lit up by his
presence, and the staves between the railings of the gallery were set in
motion, by him, like so many spindles, although they were fast in their
sockets. He is not reported to have harmed any one, neither did he
commit any damage in the church. It is said, he had been seen taking a
walk to the top of Moel-y-llan, and although harmless he was a great
terror to the neighbourhood, and but few would venture to enter the
church alone. Mr. Roberts was told that on a certain occasion a vestry
was held in a public house, that stood on the north side of the church,
not a vestige of which now remains, but no one would go to the church for
the parish books. The landlady had the courage to go but no sooner had
she crossed the threshold than the Evil Spirit blew the light out; she
got a light again, but this also was blown out. Instead of returning for
another light, she went straight to the coffer in the dark, and brought
the books to the house, and that without any molestation.

Mr. Roberts states that as the Spirit of darkness became more and more
troublesome, it was determined to have him removed, and two gentlemen
skilled in divination were called to offer him to Llyn-y-Geulan-Goch.
These men were procured and they entered the church in the afternoon and
held a conversation with the Spirit, and in the end told him that they
would call at such an hour of the night to remove him to his rest. But
they were not punctual and when they entered they found him intractable,
however, he was compelled to submit, and was driven out of the church in
the form of a cock, and carried behind his vanquisher on horseback, and
thrown into Llyn-y-Geulan-Goch.

According to tradition the horse made the journey from the church to the
pool by two leaps. The distance was two fields' breadth.

On their arrival at the river side, a terrible struggle ensued, the Fiend
would not submit to be imprisoned, and he made a most determined attempt
to drag his captors into the water. He, however, by and by, agreed to
enter his prison on the condition that they would lie on their faces
towards the ground when he entered the river, this they did, and the
Spirit with a splash jumped into the water.

Mr. Roberts further states, that there was a tradition in those parts,
that the horse which carried the Devil to the river left the impression
of his hoof in a stone by the river side, but Mr. Roberts assures me that
he could never discover this stone, nor did he know of any one who had
seen it.

The case of the imprisoned Spirit was not hopeless--tradition says he was
to remain in the pool only until he counted all the sand in it. It would
almost appear that he had accomplished his task, for Mr. Roberts says
that he had heard that his father's eldest brother whilst driving his
team in the dead of night through Llanfor village saw two pigs walking
behind the waggon. He thought nothing of this, and began to apply his
whip to them, but to no purpose, for they followed him to
Llyn-y-Geulan-Goch, and then disappeared.

There was in these latter times some dispute as to the Spirit being still
in the pool. This, however, has been settled in the affirmative. A wise
man, in company with others, proceeded to the river, and threw a stone
with writing on it into the pool, but nothing came of it, and he then
affirmed there was no spirit there. This the people would not believe,
so he threw another stone into the water, and now the river boiled up and
foamed. Yes, said the sceptic, he is there, and there he will remain
for a long time.

Such is Mr. Roberts's account.

Llyn-y-Geulan-Goch is a pool in the river Dee, about a quarter of a
mile from Llanfor village.

For the purpose of shewing how variously tales are narrated, I will give
another version of this haunted church, which was taken down by me from
the mouth of an aged woman, a native of the village, whose life had been
spent among her own people, and who at present lives in a little cottage
on the road side between Llanfor Rectory and Bala. Her name is Ann
Hughes, she firmly believes the story, but she could not tell how long
ago the spirit was driven out of the church, though she thought it was in
her grandfather's days. Her tale was as follows:--

The Evil Spirit was heard but not seen by the people, and he was in the
habit of coming down the pathway leading from Rhiwlas to the church,
making a great noise, as if dragging after him chains, or wheeling a
wheelbarrow, and he went straight into the church, and there he stayed
all night lighting up the church and making a great noise, as though
engaged in manual labour. There was then a pathway leading to a row of
houses situated in the church yard on the north side, and the people who
occupied those cottages dared not leave them the live-long night, in fact
the whole village avoided that, and every other path in the neighbourhood
of the church, whilst the Spirit was in the church, and every one could
see when he was there. At last the disturbance was so great that the
parson and another man determined to lay the Spirit, and therefore one
night they walked three times round the church, and then went into it,
and by and by three men were seen emerging from the church and they
walked into the public house through the door that opened into the church
yard and they went together into the little parlour. The parson had
already given instructions that no one was to come to them on any
account, nor even to try to get a glimpse of them; but there was a man in
the house who went to the keyhole of the parlour and, looking into the
room, saw distinctly three men sitting round the table. No sooner,
however, had he done so than the parson came out and said if anyone
looked through the keyhole again their plans would be frustrated. This
put a stop to all further inquisitiveness, and their deliberations were
not again interrupted.

Ann Hughes could not tell me what plan was adopted to get rid of the Evil
Spirit, but she knew this much, that he was laid in Llyn-y-Geulan-Goch,
and that he was to remain there until a lighted candle, which was hidden
somewhere in the church, when the Spirit was overcome, should go out.
Often and again had she searched for this taper, but failed to discover
it, but she supposes it is still burning somewhere, for the Evil One has
not yet escaped from the pool.

There is a version of the ejectment of Llanfor Spirit given in Y
Gordofigion, p. 106, which is somewhat as follows:--

Llanfor Spirit troubled the neighbourhood of Bala, but he was
particularly objectionable and annoying to the inhabitants of Llanfor,
for he had taken possession of their Church. At last, the people were
determined to get rid of him altogether, but they must procure a mare for
this purpose, which they did. A man riding on the mare entered the
Church with a friend, to exorcise the Spirit. Ere long this man emerged
from the Church with the Devil seated behind him on the pillion. An old
woman who saw them cried out, Duw anwyl! Mochyn yn yr Eglwys--Good
God! A pig in the Church. On hearing these words the pig became
exceedingly fierce, because the silence had been broken, and because
God's name had been used, and in his anger he snatched up both the man
and the mare, and threw them right over the Church to the other side, and
there is a mark to this day on a grave stone of the horse's hoof on the
spot where she lit. But the Spirit's anger was all in vain, for he was
carried by the mare to the river, and laid in Llyn-y-Geulan-Goch, but
so much did the poor animal perspire whilst carrying him, that, although
the distance was only a quarter of a mile, she lost all her hair.

Tales very much like the preceding are related of many churches in Wales.
The details differ, but in general outlines they are alike. I will give
one other story of this kind.

Next: An Evil Spirit In Llandysilio Church Montgomeryshire

Previous: Satan And Churches

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