“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Happy Halloween friends! Today I have the extra special pleasure of having Catherine Cavendish stop by and share a spooky tale.
Cat, thank you ever so much for being here, the floor is yours.
The (Ghostly) Show is Never Over at Craig y Nos
In my novel, Damned by the Ancients, the magnificent house inhabited by the Mortimer family is haunted by the evil and long dead former owner, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Dead he might be, but he is certainly not resting in peace. Quintillus knows a new family has moved in and he has designs on them. Ones which will terrify and threaten their lives and souls.
I have always been fascinated by haunted houses and today I am focusing on one which is regarded as among Wales’s most haunted. Craig y Nos Castle.
Situated in the county of Powys, beside the River Tawe in the upper Swansea valley, the castle was formerly owned by famed Victorian opera singer Adelina Patti who used to hold frequent concerts in the theatre she had built there (and which still exists). When she died, her body was embalmed in the premises and she is said to be one of fifteen ghosts who regularly haunt the house.
Her second husband, French tenor Ernesto Nicolini and her favourite composer Rossini are both said to haunt the house, which became a tuberculosis sanatorium following Patti’s death in 1919. Her third husband, who survived her, requested the hospital be named in honour of his late wife.
People have reported strange encounters and experiences all over the building, which is now a luxury boutique hotel but when it was still a hospital, nurses insisted they had walked past someone on the stairs or down a corridor only to realise there was no one there.
The theatre deserves special mention here though. Fluctuations in temperature, a spirit appearing on stage and blowing open the double glass doors at the rear of the auditorium were accompanied by billowing curtains and terrified a ghost watch team who held a séance there.
On another occasion, the current owner of the hotel was rehearsing a speech onstage. He had locked the auditorium doors so he would not be disturbed and had just started to speak when he had the strong impression someone was in there with him. He carried on and the locked glass doors opened. Immediately he went to investigate only to find there was no one there.
Another report is of a nervous young girl who experienced a rush of stage fright just as she was about to go on stage to give a performance at a children’s concert. An elegantly dressed lady in black encouraged her, telling her everything was going to be all right. The girl went on stage, delivered a flawless performance and returned backstage, looking for the woman in order to thank her. She couldn’t find her and no one there had seen anyone matching that description. Was it perhaps Adelina Patti herself?
In 2003, Ghost Watch team members held a ghost hunt there. They were granted sleeping accommodation in the dressing room area beyond the orchestra pit and during the night they heard a ball being bounced between the beds, accompanied by the sound of childish laughter. The same was experienced by a group of guests one New Year’s Eve. They too were staying down there as it was being used as overspill accommodation following a New Year’s party. The following morning many reported hearing the bouncing ball and a child’s laugh. When the hotel was a hospital, the theatre and dressing rooms had been allocated as a rest and play area for the patients.
Elsewhere in the castle, visitors have reported experiencing breathing difficulties and of feeling as if unseen presences were in the same room as them.
During a filming in the kitchen, an interview was recorded during which the subject of Adelina Patti’s apparent inability to master the role of Carmen was discussed. Suddenly, a heavy saucepan which had been placed safely on a large cooker, flew off it and crashed to the floor.
The most active room is the Top Children’s Ward. Sadly, a lot of children admitted to the hospital never left it alive, and their apparitions have been seen as well as heard there. Footsteps,laughter, the sounds of children playing…it’s a very busy room.
The hospital finally closed in 1978 and, after changing hands a couple of times, was fully renovated and reopened in 2002 as the beautiful hotel it is today. The present owners are proud of the building’s heritage and haunted reputation, hosting ghost hunts on a regular basis as well as weddings and providing luxurious accommodation. You can find out more here and ghost tour information is also available here.
Thankfully it appears the ghosts of Craig y Nos are benevolent and pose no threat to anyone. The same cannot be said for Emeryk Quintillus…
– Catherine Cavendish
INFINITY IN DEATH
Gabriele Ziegler is a young art student who becomes infatuated with charismatic archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus. Only too late does she realize his true designs on her. He is obsessed with resurrecting Cleopatra and has retained the famed artist Gustav Klimt to render Gabriele as the Queen of the Nile, using ashes from Cleopatra’s mummy mixed with the paint. The result is a lifelike portrait emitting an aura of unholy evil . . .
The Mortimer family has moved into Quintillus’s former home, Villa Dürnstein. In its basement they find an original Klimt masterpiece—a portrait of Cleopatra art scholars never knew existed. But that’s not all that resides within the villa’s vault. Nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer tells her parents that a strange man lives there.
Quintillus’s desire to be with Cleopatra transcends death. His spirit will not rest until he has brought her back from the netherworld. Even if he has to sacrifice the soul of a child . . .
Damned by the Ancients is available from:
About the author:
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Catherine Cavendish is now the full-time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. Cat’s novels include the Nemesis of the Gods trilogy – Wrath of the Ancients, Waking the Ancients and Damned by the Ancients, plus The Devil’s Serenade, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine.
Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife
She lives with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Cat and her family divide their time between Liverpool and a 260-year-old haunted apartment in North Wales.
You can connect with Cat here:
And while you’re here, check out Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, stop by and say hello.