Scariest stories from haunted Pembrokeshire
Here at Bluestone we're lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful corners of the world. But even the most stunning of surroundings can hide spooky secrets. Here are some of the myths, legends and scary stories that have spooked the people of Pembrokeshire for generations.
Don’t let it put you off visiting!
The UFO of Broad Haven
One of the most famous UFO sightings in the UK took place just over 40 years ago in the quaint little village of Broad Haven, on the west coast of Pembrokeshire
In 1977 a class of pupils from Broad Haven Primary School said they spotted a UFO in a field near their playground. It sparked a wave of sightings for the rest of the year, leading the area to be dubbed the Dyfed Triangle.
The pupils described seeing a silver "cigar-shaped" craft with a "dome covering the middle third” and said they had “a strange desire to run away". They were separated and asked to draw what they saw. Oddly, they all drew the same shapes. Two months later, a hotel owner in nearby Little Haven described seeing an object which looked like an "upside-down saucer" and two "faceless humanoid" creatures with pointed heads in silver suits.
She said so much heat came off it, her "face felt burned”. When she visited the field she said there was "two inches of burned grounds". Years later, a local businessmen revealed he had been walking around the area in a silver suit in 1977 as a prank and US Navy sailor said the figure was probably a member of US military personnel wearing their standard fireproof uniform and the UFOs were new Harrier jets flying over.
The terrifying Hwch Ddu Gwta
For centuries the people of Pembrokeshire have feared bumping into this huge black beast with red eyes, that seized souls to carry off to the underworld.
Hwch Ddu Gwta translates as the ‘Tailless Black Sow’ and it’s said that if you run into it there’s no escaping its clutches. It was thought to have haunted the banks of the stream near Narberth, just down the road from Bluestone. It terrified local people to such an extent that after dark no-one would cross the bridge that spanned the stream.
One brave local, full of alcohol after an evening session at a tavern, decided to ride his horse full pelt across the bridge in defiance of the story. Just to be certain of not seeing the beast he kept his eyes closed and his head down as he galloped towards the crossing. Unfortunately the horse missed the bridge completely and fell into the river, throwing him into the icy waters.
When he surfaced, spluttering and gasping, there was the beast on the opposite bank, glaring straight at him. Terrified, he fled on foot back to the safety of the tavern, his screams waking people in every house he passed. It took him many months to recover from the shock and he never again ventured out during at night.
The ape of Carew Castle
Carew Castle is said to be haunted by several people, but it’s famous for being spooked by an animal - a Barbary ape from North Africa.
It was kept by Sir Roland Rees in the 17th century when one day his son eloped with the daughter of a local merchant.
Sir Roland was so angry he set his ape on the father of the woman. Miraculously, he survived - and cursed Sir Roland to suffer the same fate.
The next Sir Roland was found dead, his throat ripped out, and no sign of the ape. The animal was never found but to this day there have been many reports of terrible sounds emanating from Sir Roland’s old chamber in the north-west tower.
The legend of Catherine’s Island
Visitors to Tenby will quickly become familiar with St Catherine’s Island, the crag of rock at the eastern end of South Beach, its dramatic outline topped by a massive Victorian fort. Very few people know the ancient legend of the lonely soul who once lived there long before the building of the fort.
The story begins in a violent storm that blew up without warning one summer early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Many Tenby fishing vessels had left port that morning, and as the skies darkened and the waves began to rise, their crews hauled in their nets and headed back for the shelter of the harbour. Their families had gathered on Castle Hill, watching for their safe return and as the boats were counted in one by one, the watchers noticed that, far out across the bay, another, larger ship was struggling to reach shelter. Nobody recognised it as a local vessel, but it was noticeable that strange lights played across its decks and ghostly shapes seemed to be clinging to the rigging and the masts.
There was no one at the helm of the strange ship, but something or someone seemed to be guiding it in to the sands near St Catherine’s Island. As night fell, the vessel grounded with a sound like thunder, and though the watchers on Castle Hill rushed down to the beach to offer what help they could to the shipwrecked mariners, they could find no trace of the ship or its crew. Terrified, the people of Tenby fled back to their homes, but all through the night strange sounds were heard coming from the shore and disembodied voices wailed in the wind.
By morning, the storm had died down and the day was bright and clear. In groups of two or three, people came down to the sands to see what might be left of the ghostly ship. There was no trace of the wreck, but they were astonished to find a man wearing strange clothes, lying in a deep sleep near the top of the beach.
He was taken into the nearest house where he was cared for, but when he awoke he would tell them little of his background. He refused all offers of hospitality and retreated to St Catherine’s Island, where he made his home.
The only person to whom he would speak was a local shepherd, who each day brought him food and who, over many months, learned something of his life. The man had made a living as a pirate, leading a murderous band that attacked and robbed ships along the coasts of Wales. The stranger wept as he recounted how in a jealous rage he had slain the person who had loved him most and how, as a punishment, his ship had been taken over by the spirits of those innocent sailors he had killed during his time as a pirate. It was these ghostly forms who had been visible as his ship approached the beach and who had caused the wreck.
The stranger explained that now he was tormented by sea maidens, who rose from the waves with messages from his dead lover, assuring him that she was now happy and wanted him to join her. As he related this story, he suddenly sprang to his feet, shouting, “I come, I come. Let me be with her, let me be at rest.” Before the startled shepherd could do anything, the stranger leapt from the cliffs of St Catherine’s Island, and was drowned.
The Mermaid of St Dogmael’s
One day during the 18th century, a young fisherman named Peregrine was casting his nets into the waters off Cemaes Head, in north Pembrokeshire, when he saw a movement amongst the rocks of the nearby cliff face.
Steering his boat a little closer, he saw a mermaid perched on a crag, combing her hair. She was so absorbed in her task that she did not sense his approach until it was too late. Peregrine swiftly cast his net over her and pulled her from the crag into his boat.
His triumph was short lived as the mermaid wept bitterly at being captured and begged him to let her go. He was reluctant to do so, but agreed only when she promised to give him three warning shouts at the hour of his greatest danger.
Pulling her free from the net, he placed her back into the sea and watched sadly as she disappeared beneath the waves.
Many weeks passed by and there was no sign of the mermaid. Then, one still summer day, he was fishing again off Cemaes Head when the mermaid suddenly appeared beside his boat. “Peregrine! Peregrine! Peregrine!” she called. “Take up your nets and go. Take up your nets. Take up your nets!”
Peregrine immediately did as he was bid and headed back to shore. Within minutes the sky darkened and a violent storm arose. Many other fishermen were drowned that day, but Peregrine was saved by the mermaid’s warning.