In days gone by All Hallows Eve (31 October) was the night people felt closest to the spirits of the departed; it was believed you could even converse with them on this one special and spooky night. Halloween, as it’s better known today, has become the commercial highlight of the autumnal calendar and is the UK’s third biggest retail event after Christmas and Easter. For many people, however, Halloween is much more than trick-or-treating or bobbing for apples. As the weather begins to cool and the nights grow longer, fans of the supernatural venture out to try and make contact with those long departed, just like our ancestors.
Ghost hunting is big business in the UK and high profile investigations are held all year round but a ghost hunt at this time of year will always be that little bit creepier, thanks to autumn’s historic association with the paranormal. Factor in the ancient and mist-laden backdrop of North Wales and you have the makings of an unforgettable fright night – if you’re brave enough to stick around to the end!
Many of the big Halloween paranormal investigations are fully booked months in advance but, thanks to our historic surroundings, there’s no shortage of spooky venues to explore and events to attend throughout the autumn. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these events can be great fun and are a unique way of learning more about our historic buildings.
Here’s our roundup of paranormal events in North Wales this autumn. All need to be booked in advance and we recommend doing so, owing to their popularity. Leave it too late at your peril, you might get a nasty fright!
16-17 September (21:00-02:00)
Famous nationwide as a community arts venue, the Ucheldre Centre in Holyhead occupies the site of a former convent school. But don’t be fooled by its gothic proportions; this building is young by ghosthunting standards, less than one hundred years old. Join a professional investigation team as they explore the nunnery in search of ghostly activity. No team has attempted to make contact with the other side at Ucheldre for over 5 years so here’s hoping the undead have plenty to say for themselves!
A unique opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of one of North Wales’s premier arts centres as well as a thrilling night of supernatural investigation – but hurry, tickets are strictly limited!
24-25 September (20:00-02:00)
Conwy’s iconic Tudor mansion is the venue for a night guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. By day, this beautifully restored Elizabethan home is extremely popular with tourists but many are unaware of its dark side. As you explore the house you will visit rooms emblazoned with pentagrams to ward off a demonic presence – find out why on this fascinating tour given by the people who know Plas Mawr best, its custodians.
During the evening you will take part in a vigil and ‘make contact’ by table tipping and glass divination. Hunters will also have full use of Plas Mawr’s ghost hunting equipment.
24-25 September (21:00- 03:00)
Ruthin Gaol incarcerated criminals between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries, so it’s had plenty of time to build up a morbid history and a scary reputation. As the only purpose-built Pentonville-style prison in the UK open to the public, the opportunity to investigate the shady inmates is both a unique and thrilling proposition!
Are you brave enough to enter the ‘dark cell’ or call forth sadistic goaler, William Kerr? Book your place to find out!
22-23 October (20:30-01:00)
This creepy 14th century baronial hall will be your base for a night that promises to be a fright fest of epic proportions. A lonely monk, a murdered child, a saddened soldier and a mischievous little boy are amongst the ghostly residents of this, one of the oldest buildings in the Llandudno area.
Join a team of professional paranormal investigators as they attempt to make contact with the other side but, beware, if you feel you are being watched… you probably are.
Family frights courtesy of CADW!
29 October (11:00-16:00)
National custodian of Welsh historic buildings, CADW, is running a series of ‘spooky days’ at venues across the region. Aimed at families (and the faint of heart!), these events are guaranteed to spook and scare – but not too much!
Taking place firmly in the light of day, visitors will follow a Halloween-themed trail around the sites, taking part in mask making, quizzes, spooky games and pumpkin carving along the way. Venues within easy reach of the Royal Victoria Hotel taking part include:
10-11 December (21:00-03:00)
Bodelwyddan Castle, stately home, World War One training camp, former school and now part-luxury hotel, has a fascinating history and boasts more than its fair share of ghostly residents. Over the years it’s been the site of numerous supernatural vigils, conducted by curious schoolgirls and celebrity ghost hunters alike. All agree, that after dark, this is one terrifying place!
After a tour of the castle, the lights will be dimmed and Bodelwyddan’s very own paranormal team will guide you in a thrilling investigation combining traditional divination techniques with the latest paranormal tech.
Image: Courtesy of Bodelwyddan Castle