Where Ghosts Still Walk; Strange Visions, Moving Pictures and Voices in the Dark. Robin Turner Traces the Ghost Map of Wales as a New DVD Is Released on the Subject

Article excerpt

Byline: Robin Turner

THE candle lights were blazing in Cardiff Castle in 1848 when the creator of modern Cardiff, the second Marquess of Bute, suddenly collapsed. His flowing cloak spread out beneath him, the 55-year-old marquess took his last breaths on the flagstones of the spectacular castle's library.

A gaudy castle ball which had attracted hundred of guests in horse-drawn carriages was stopped as news of the his desperate fight for life spread through the decorated halls. The talk of the day had been of the potato famine in Ireland and of the rush for gold in California, but that night one of Europe's richest men lay dying. Soon after his collapse the physicians of the day realised they could do nothing to save the marquess, John Crichton Stuart. He died in the castle in a room next to the building's chapel. Descended from King Robert II of Scotland, his branch of the Stuart family had been influential for centuries.

Whether the dynamism of the man has something to do with it, or whether the tall shadows in the corridors play tricks with the imagination, many believe the second marquess still inhabits the huge city-centre castle. What some believe to be the ghost of the great industrialist is the star of a new video and DVD, Ghosts of South Wales, which is being sold throughout the UK from t oday.

The film centres on people who say they have seen a cloaked figure looking remarkably like a painting of the second marquess walking through the castle library and nearby walkways.

He is said to appear by walking through a fireplace in the library itself. He apparently leaves this room by passing through a 6ft wall into a corridor and finally into the wall of the chapel into the room in which he died. The main dining hall of the castle is also said to be visited by the spectre.

Produced by Past in Pictures Videos, the South Wales film is anchored by Richard Felix, presenter of cable channel Living TV's Most Haunted series.

Mr Felix said, ``It could be that a historic figure as powerful as the Marquess of Bute could not give up his hold on the castle. A powerful man is likely to be full of energy, and he died very suddenly. Who knows?''

The Butes certainly had power and influence.

Initially granted lands on the Isle of Bute, through marriage the family gradually acquired much more property throughout Britain.

John, Lord Mountstuart, acquired vast estates in South Wales on his marriage to Charlotte Windsor and the family moved to Cardiff in 1766.

When coal became king in the late 18th Century the Butes built the Cardiff canal to Merthyr to aid industrialisation.

But the area's potential and prosperity was not fully realised until John Crichton Stuart, the second marquess and son of Lord Mountstuart, commissioned one of the first great docks on the Cardiff waterfront.

The Bute Dock opened in 1839, paving the way for Cardiff to become one of the biggest and most prosperous coal ports in the world. …