As I have received a couple of emails about this article over the last few days – and as I am sure its ‘vampire content’ may be of interest to others – I have decided to re-post it as a Blog.
I do not normally ‘re-post’ material unless there is some interest or queries. I have had both; but more importantly maybe, I have just re-located the picture to go with it.
The visit to the haunted ruin in North Wales was made in 1982; I believe I first published this article (in a magazine) in 1997.
Please note folks, both the article and picture are my exclusive copyright.
BEAUMARIS – A ‘VAMPIRE STORY’
I don’t think anything came close to being similar to the actual Highgate Vampire case, as you’ve probably realised. There were a couple of other cases that I investigated that were supposed to be connected with “vampires”. The first one was in Wales and that goes back to 1982. It concerns an old derelict Manor House which is about six miles from Beaumaris, Anglesea in Wales. It was very isolated and the whole area was practically deserted.
Rumour had it that the mansion was haunted by a “female spectre” and locally she’d become associated with stories of “vampires”. We never found out why, right at the beginning, but this was the general story going around. We spoke to the locals – and I should add here that the Welsh are not exactly the easiest people in the world to get information out of … especially if you’re English – they seemed very guarded as if to protect their own life styles and little communities, and most people all told the same story; that there was a terrible spectre that haunted the Manor House that was supposed to be the apparition of a vampire and nobody went near the place at night. We also checked with the police at Beaumaris before we started the investigation but they were unhelpful except that they confirmed that Baron Hall hadn’t been lived in for many years and it was the ancestral home of the Bulkeley family who were very high up in the community.
The first thing we did, was to visit the Manor House by day – this would have been in the late summer or early autumn of 1982. It was very difficult to find. We had to go up long winding lanes, and there was not even anyone around to ask, but we eventually located it, hidden, right in the middle of nowhere. As it loomed up in the distance, in the grounds, we discovered a short flight of steps, very overgrown but not vandalised, and at the bottom of these were two securely locked iron doors with bars in them at the top, so of course, we had to look through these to see what was inside! When we shone the torch through them – and there is a comparison to Highgate Cemetery here – there were concrete shelves on either side of a small room and at least six coffins were clearly visible. We automatically assumed that these contained the remains of people who had lived in the house and who had been interred in the family vault. At the time, I remember thinking that this seemed unusual because there were no churches in the vicinity and it was almost as if the vault lay on unconsecrated ground. It was a bit of a mystery … the point being of course, that if this was the case, it could probably have given rise, or served as a reason, for the vampire stories.
We went into the house itself and discovered that half the roof was missing at one end of the building. It was a huge building and must have been about fifty or sixty feet high, and originally it probably contained four or five floors. None of these floors were intact, but the whole of the downstairs area was. We found one other short flight of step’s on the left of the building with two massive great oak doors at the bottom, and the temptation was to go and have a look, because obviously, there would have been a dungeon or crypt, or something, underneath. But there was literally no access because lying in front of these doors were great big chunks of masonry and it would have been impossible to move it, and even if we could have done, I doubt if we’d have got the doors open.
I did the usual checks … I should mention here that the temperature inside the building was decidedly cold. Now you could put this down to the building being built of stone and that sometimes when you go into a stone building it can harbour cold, rather like a refrigerator, I don’t know – but it was markedly colder than the temperature outside. We also measured the pressure, and the pressure inside the building was a lot lower than it was outside, although it was a very warm late summer’s day; which again in itself is interesting because you don’t usually get drops in pressure to that extent in such a short distance of a few feet. I say it’s interesting because you often find that cases of unexplained phenomena often occur in area’s of low pressure.
We explored the building and we explored the grounds. In fact the grounds were massive. There was a huge overgrown orchard and this must have taken up two or three acres. There were outhouses that were derelict and had long since been deserted; there was a huge ornamental fish pond which had long dried up – the bottom was all cracked. I say “huge”, it was probably bigger then this room.
The other strange thing we found were huge plants which I’d never seen before. It was almost as if they were tropical. I actually got a leaf and the leaf itself was about six feet across. And I have a picture of myself holding it (so you can compare it to my height which is about six foot), and the stem would have been about the size of a small sapling tree. It was covered in spikes. I don’t know what they were, it’s as if at some time people had been experimenting with various forms of vegetation in the grounds.
We subsequently visited the building on other occasions, we got photographs of it, took other readings, including using a compass. Now, a compass is very important because it can actually react in the presence of psychic energy. It can throw the compass out of alignment so instead of pointing North, it’ll go mad and start spinning around. There was a varied reading on the compass. We got a true North reading at one end of the building, then we walked to the other end and the reading was ten degrees different. This happened two or three times around the course of the building, so there was definitely some sort of strange energy in it.
We visited the Mansion on other occasions, as I said. It was by car, in daylight; but we became absolutely fascinated, so we decided to hold a vigil there at night. Colette Sully was there on that occasion; there was … well, I don’t see why I shouldn’t name him, he wouldn’t mind – a person that I know who was a geologist who was living in the area called Geoff Jennings; there were two other people whom I won’t name but – they also lived back across the mainland and were interested in psychic phenomena.
Now, we went there one evening. We must have arrived about 10 0’clock and it was very, very cold inside the mansion, for we’d decided to hold the vigil inside it. I mean, I know there’d been a marked difference in temperature during the daytime but at night it was absolutely icy-cold. I do remember one thing: we kept fairly quiet, but after about an hour, there was a tremendous “slamming noise” and one of the windows at the top of the building flew open and slammed shut with tremendous force: which was unusual because there was no wind at all and it was a peaceful, passive night.
But we sensed something there. It’s very difficult to put into words, because what with the temperature and the atmosphere which was overwhelmingly claustrophobic it was as if … if I hesitate, it’s because they aren’t really any words to describe it. Then after midnight when we were facing the right end of the building inside the great front door (the left end of the building was where the stairs had collapsed which led to the entrance of the cellars or the crypt, or whatever it was), one of the girls there suddenly screamed and said she’d “seen a figure” that had come “out of the wall” and which had disappeared through a wall in the vicinity of the staircase.
We all spun around – by the way, I should add it was quite light in there, I do remember there was a bright half-moon and because there was no roof it was quite possible to see without torch-light – and somebody else, Geoff Jennings I think it was, said he had just glimpsed something; but this girl swore to seeing a figure that had just gone across the Hall and disappeared through a wall. She described it as a “greyish” figure and that of a lady. Again, if it was possible the place had turned even colder.
Well, we took photographs but that was really an afterthought because the figure had already disappeared. It did seem … There was a terrible atmosphere. I wouldn’t call it “evil”, I don’t really like that word, but an intense sort of … well, there was almost a living ominous force in there that was “watching you”. And once you got outside the building, it was almost as if a great weight had been lifted from your shoulders. You could hear the odd owl again, or animals in the undergrowth. It was as if you were walking back into a different world.
So – and although I didn’t actually witness it myself I certainly experienced the atmosphere – that was another case of locals deciding that a resident apparition, was a “vampire” …..
© David Farrant
I’ve heard of this place. I think I may have even seen this article.. did you ever write for a partwork called X Factor? Or was it in Fortean Times! Have to tell you I knew straight off what your huge spooky spiky plant was! Grows in Cornwall, stately homes often have it, mentioned in “Rebecca”. Giant (or Chile) rhubarb, Gunnera manicata! Inedible! Googled for the place and it’s on several Welsh sites.. but I found out it was granted planning permission for developers to turn into flat conversions :=(. Heh heh I bet they’ll be haunted as anything though! I once read a well spooky novel about a converted old lunatic asylum, can’t remember Author or title, but it concerned British witches! What’ll they do with the gardens? NOT just concrete them over. They sound like a project for the Eden Project/Lost Gardens of Heligan guys.