This Psychic Investigation has been shown on BBC 1, BBC Wales and BBC 2
PENHOW CASTLE - Nr Newport, Gwent
PENHOW CASTLE - Psychic Investigators: Chris and Jane McCarthy, Dave Coggins and Gaynor Mullins with the BBC Film Crew
Penhow Castle's owner, Stephen Weeks, has lived in Penhow Castle for over thirty years and has experienced many ghostly manifestations. A dinner party was interrupted by music from a ghostly string quartet playing in the drawing room and many times he has heard footsteps on the wooden staircase which had the initials AK carved into it. In the cemetery, attached to the small church outside Penhow Castle, there is the grave of a young girl called Ann Keene aged nine years old. The Psychic Investigators were called in by the BBC to investigate. None of the team were told of any of the history of the castle.
The picture to the left hand side was just taken before the team was split up into groups. The intention was for the groups to search through the castle for paranormal activity. Chris and I were in a large room which was open to the public which looked like a banqueting hall with a large table in the middle. On the walls were plaques showing coats of arms. Here there was a very strong male spirit energy. I got out the sketch pad and drew a psychic art picture of a man aged around 40s with a beard. Gaiety, laughter and also tragedy happened in this room which led into another large room where there was a old fireplace - see paranormal photograph below.
If you notice at the bottom left hand side of the fireplace is a large orb. A close up of this orb can be seen in the picture below. In another part of the castle Dave and Gaynor were going up the stairs where Gaynor felt a cold spot and the hairs on her arm stood on end.
She felt the energy of a young lady standing behind her. This was where Stephen Weeks had heard the footsteps. Later we all congregated at the top bedroom which contained a large four poster bed. Both Gaynor and I felt this room had experienced some misfortune and I got the sketch pad out and drew a psychic art picture of a young girl. This picture was later given to Stephen Weeks as a memento of our visit. Above the bed was a spirit orb and Chris took a picture of the orb which was captured by the BBC film crew. The following paranormal photograph shows the picture that was taken.
A close up of the orb photograph is by the side - please note that this picture has been slightly lightened. Finally, we all went out into the courtyard where many paranormal photographs were taken. Spirit were all around us. One thing that came through very strong were the letters CM over and over again until the letters sounded like the name Seymour. Looking back over the history of the castle after the psychic investigation the name Seymour is mentioned. Sir Roger de St Maur was at Penhow by 1129 and the name was pronounced or known as ‘Seymours.’
The photograph to the left hand side shows the entrance to Penhow Castle. Notice the Coat of Arms above the doorway. Dave Coggins and Chris are with the camera man from the BBC.
Please see the official web site for Penhow Castle for the history:- www.castlewales.com/penhow.html
All of us felt that the castle is haunted and that the courtyard was one of the strongest areas of spirit energy. Several paranormal photographs showed orbs in the courtyard. The Castle is on an energy line which will increase any paranormal activity. Indeed, when I sat alone in my front room after the visit looking through the photographs I saw a spirit orb right in front of me. It looked like a golf ball and then it slowly vanished but a shadow in full figure was in the room - spooky. If you want a real ghostly experience this castle is worth a visit.
UPDATE 9 APRIL 2006
An enlightening and interesting email received from Christopher Weeks April 2006 explaining what it was like to live in Penhow Castle:-
‘I just read your investigation article of Penhow Castle done on August 29th 2002. It is very interesting that you found so many orbs all over the castle and learnt about Anne and the Seymours. My name is Christopher Weeks and I am the nephew to the previous owner Stephen Weeks. Unfortunately he and I don't keep in contact but I keep track with the castle on web sites to see it progress. But the information I get online is old. I have just learnt that it has been sold to a London businessman and his family in December 2002 and intends to make the castle into a fully private residence. I hope they can live along with Anne Keen and the Seymour family.
Did you investigate the 17th century rooms at all? That stair case with Anne's initials’ in the bottom is where I heard the footsteps too. I have also heard the music and felt the cold presence while walking through the castle. I can't say I am psychic but I do have a little bit of a gift. Sometimes the feelings I got were unpleasant but not always. I don't know if ghosts/spirits get used to people but I found that the more I occupied the castle and its rooms, the nicer the castle became. Whenever I would enter the castle I would tell it ‘hello’. Call me crazy but it helped. The Seymour Chamber is quite spooky and I have as much as I tried, I always felt uneasy there. I used to stay in the Tudor room where I was visited once. I woke up one night dripping with sweat, my heart racing fast and sat straight up in my bed to a feeling that someone was very close in the room. Eventually the feeling eased off and I went back to sleep but I knew there was something in the room. On the opposite side of the wall in my room was the Seymour chamber which could have something to do with it. Stephen had 2 black cats also. (Swords taken during psychic investigation - notice orb by the side of them)
Close up of the orb in the roof - please note that this has been lightened in order that you can see inside.
Runsey and Sophie who would follow me up to the battlements and follow me back down with no problems or hesitation to anything in the rooms. My father is the one who discovered that Secret passage way that links the Great Hall to the dining room under the Seymour Chamber. It was once used that a cloak room before the other part (the dining room and Seymour chamber) was built. I am so glad a team like yours has visited the Castle and you found out and know what I know, plus have proof to show it. If you have any more photos that you could share I would be grateful. Recently I have become interested in ghost hunting after watching these ghost hunting programs on television. I hope the new owners treat the castle with respect as I have said before the spirits present aren’t keen on strangers who aren’t pleasant in spirit themselves.
I cleaned, polished, dusted, built fires in the fireplaces, all the usual household chores. It was funny when I watched the BBC footage video clip and at the end when the host said that if you are going ghost hunting in the castle, don't go alone. I used to do the guided tours almost everyday and late into the night, and have to walk through the castle alone. Come to think of it another spooky place was the sitting room behind the lower hall. As you are in there it feels as if someone tall is there with you, and follows through the old wine cellar, into the Victorian sitting room. I felt that several times but I didn't mind. While I was there we had done an excavation of the court yard and found it to be a huge hole for garbage, we found bones, broken plates, cups, and I found a needle. I seems that when its real use was done with (collecting water probably) it was filled in and is now what it is.
To to right hand side is one of the orbs taken in the courtyard - notice it looks like a doorway - can you see shelves with pottery on?
Funny how the courtyard had the most spiritual activity, because that was the most comfortable place to sit, relax in the sun and read a book, or chat with friends. When you were talking about someone standing on the stair case who would wait for people to pass, that is where I would stand also, no matter if someone was at the top coming down, I would stand there and wait....wierd huh?’ - Christopher Weeks
If you now own Penhow Castle, Christopher Weeks and the Psychic Investigators team would love to undertake another Psychic Investigation there. God bless and thank you Christopher for allowing us to publish your email and your kind comments.
Story & Photographs copyright Jane McCarthy 2006
Psychic Investigations 3
Psychic Investigations 1014