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Home Archives My Ancestors' Spirit at Ruthin Castle

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Witness: Stacy Jones
Location: Ruthin Castle, Ruthin, Wales
Date of Encounter: July 1995

One year, while I was working at a travel agency, we sold so many American Airlines tickets, that American gave all the agents in the office a free business class airline ticket to anywhere in the world, and half-off for the person who went with you. So I designed my own tour, and took my mom to Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. I won’t go into the rest of the trip, since this isn’t about that, so we’ll skip up to when we arrived at Ruthin Castle in Wales.

We arrived on a Sunday, and strangely enough, we had the hotel to ourselves. The only other people we saw (other than a few staff members) were in the morning when we went to breakfast. There were two other people eating, and that’s it. Inside, the castle seemed very warm and welcoming. Our room even reminded me of my great-grandmother's room back home. Outside, there was a more sinister feeling. There was dead silence, except for the sounds of peacocks roaming around the castle, which sounded eerie. While we were walking around the grounds, we saw in the distance, a stone circle with some kind of alter in the middle. To get to it we walked through a small forest of trees near the castle. While walking through, I all of a sudden got a very creepy feeling, like someone didn’t want me there, or like hatred, and we both immediately ran from the forest in opposite directions. I didn’t even have time to feel or think anything. My body just all of a sudden sent me running faster than I’ve ever run in my life. Now, I’m not a skittish person. I don’t even get scared in haunted houses at Halloween, and even if someone comes up and scares me or something, I may jump, because I’m shocked at first, but I don’t just run for it. Usually I realize what it is, and have time to think “OK, I’m not really in danger.” But this was just different (for lack of a better word).

Two or three years after the trip, my mom's aunt had done a booklet for everyone in the family of our family history or ancestry. It went all the way back to the year 1000, which was very exciting. Come to find out, our ancestors had burned down and taken over Ruthin at some point. Could it have been a ghost of one of the people who were killed at that time? Do they somehow know that I am related? That’s the best explanation for me.

For as long as I can remember, I have been extremely fascinated by the renaissance or medieval times. I went to my first renaissance fair at about 11 years old and loved it. I feel very close to that time period, almost like I belong more in that time than I do in this one. Could your blood carry memories or some sort of gene (for lack of a better word) that makes you have a certain amount of some nationalities rather than others? For instance: If your mother is Welsh and French, and your father is Welsh and Irish, then you get more Welsh and less Irish and French, so you feel closer to the Welsh heritage, than the others. And like genes do with traits and habits that are inherited from parents, do those nationalities or your blood carry certain traits or feelings even? Or is it memories of some kind carried in your blood of past times or lives? Many people at the fairs I go to feel close to that time period, and certain nationalities. Other people I’ve met love war reenactments, or the 50’s or 20’s stuff, etc. So why do we feel closer to some than others? How else do I explain the fact that as soon as I stepped in Wales, I felt like I was just coming home from a long trip? Like that’s where I really belonged? That’s not just an interest in something. It’s more of an inside or instinctive feeling. And I’m also Irish, so why didn’t I feel that way in Ireland? These are questions I ask myself all the time. 

Here is an excerpt from a book called History of the Gwydir Family and Memoirs by, Sir John Wynn, on pages 26-27. The excerpt is about the forest near Ruthin. It reminded me of the experience I had. As a note: Sir John Wynn (the author), John ap Maredudd, and his son Morus (in the excerpt) are my ancestors:

“John ap Maredudd had 5 sons: Morus, Gruffudd, Robert, Owain, and Ieuan. Robert, in his fathers’ time, was slain without issue near Ruthin. The Thelwalls of Ruthin, being ancient gentlemen of that country, who came into that country with the Lord Grey, to whom King Edward the first bestowed the country of Dyffryn Clwyd, being at contention with a sect or kindred of that country called the family of Gruffudd Goch. These, being more in number than the Thelwalls, drove the Thelwalls to take the castle of Ruthin for their defense where they besieged them until the siege was raised by John ap Maredudd’s sons and kindred to whom the Thelwalls sent for aid. In that exploit, Robert, the son of John ap Maredudd, was slain with an arrow in a wood within view of the castle of Ruthin called Coed Marchan, in revenge whereof many of the other side were slain both at that time and after.”

Now that I know so much more about my ancestors, and where they lived, I hope to go back to Wales and stay in some of the houses and castles that my ancestors lived in. Who knows what other things I may experience!

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