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Something Nasty in the Coal Shed Lurks

(and in the woods, the castle and the cottages!)
The Museum of Welsh Life — the most haunted museum in Britain?..
All Hallow

When a quarryman's cottage is moved from the rocky slopes of Snowdonia, down to the Museum of Welsh Life, what happens to the family spirits who linger in between the twilight worlds for centuries? One of many 'inhabited' buildings at St Fagans, Llainfadyn cottage from Rhostryfan has homed dozens of children from its first inhabitants in 1762 until the mid twentieth century. Staff and visitors to this simple stone-boulder cottage have heard and seen children playing, laughing and crying inside its thick lime-washed walls as if they had jumped on to the stones as they were carefully loaded on the lorry in 1962 and hitched a ride on the long journey south to St Fagans.

Could St Fagans be the most haunted museum in Britain? Over the decades staff, visitors and local villagers have experienced the unexplainable at several of the museum's re-erected buildings, castle and wooded gardens. Opening the locked wooden trap to the loft of the 18th century Cilewent farmhouse, museum conservation staff were startled recently to find tiny footprints in the dust covering a series of Welsh wooden chests. These toddler size markings were clearly to be seen walking from one side of the stone wall and disappearing into another. No access is possible to visitors or children to this part of the building although several visitors have experienced a feeling of ice cold when entering the farmhouse and heavy wooden doors have been locked from the inside at the dead of night on several occassions.

The Arts and Crafts Italian Garden and garden nurseries have also received spectral visitors. A strong aroma of old perfume and sightings of women have been experienced by Garden Conservation staff; the return of Lady Plymouth or the concert-pianist wife of Head Gardener Hugh Pettigrew or maybe a landgirl, sent to work in the gardens during the Second World War? St Fagans Castle, long rumoured to be the site of a poisoning of an early Earl of Plymouth is full of the creaks and groans associated with long corridors, wooden floors and musty four-posters. Veteran cleaner Tony Hughes has heard his name being called out along the corridors in the early morning hours and has also heard Welsh folk songs being sung in the castle kitchens. Housekeeper, Gareth James has also felt the presence of the past in the castle attics with doors opening and closing, footsteps and voices. Cleaners in the past have heard such bloodcurdling screams and wailings of "Sarah, Sarah!" that they vowed never to enter the castle again. And the name of the poor poisoned wretch's wife? Well of course it was Sarah