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Gladstone Villa

My family and I lived at a large property called Gladstone Villa in the former mining town of Bargoed, in the Caerphilly county borough of the South Wales valleys in the UK. From 1969 to 1978 we experienced activity that defied rational explanation such as lights going off and on. We witnessed electrical cables being pulled and my grandfather Bill claimed to have had a glass bottle thrown towards him as he entered the main bedroom, missing him by inches. I didn’t personally see this myself, but I still recall the time he came from there with the broken bottle in his hands and he told us what happened.

There was the occasional sighting but this was a very rare indeed, so rare that in all the nine years I was there, I never once saw it, but I did hear it may times in the bedroom. It’s still worth mentioning that my mother, Caroline, saw it on at least two occasions. There were also regular footsteps heard in the main bedroom every evening. Sometimes during the day when we’d all be downstairs watching TV, one of us would turn the volume down to hear it more clearly and my grandfather Bill would point to the ceiling and say “He’s by here” and ”He’s by there now !!” Trying to make out where the footsteps were coming from exactly.

There were five members of the family that were living at Gladstone villa. My maternal grandfather William Higgs, known as Bill to family and friends, a retired minor who worked at the local colliery. He was a short bald man who liked nothing more than to listen to his country and Western LP’s, Johnny Cash and Glenn Campbell and so on. He also liked Westerns on TV that starred John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. My maternal grandmother was Rita Higgs, she was a short woman who was a house wife, she was completely tee total but liked a smoke. She also liked collecting garden gnomes and liked watching soap opera’s on TV.

My mother, Caroline Dexter, met my father at the local bake house in Baldwin street, she was day shift regularly and my father worked the night shift. He would stay behind to make her cup of tea and and chat. They dated for three years before they got married on Monday the 1st of April 1968. The Beatles were number one with ” Lady Madonna”, very apt. They did not get a place of their own, but they decided to live with my grandparents at Gladstone villa which was in Cardiff road. I was born in the 24th of August 1969 when everyone was listening to the latest number one in the charts, ” Honky tonk woman” by the Rolling Stones. It was soon after that my mother said that strange things started to happen.

I was just a baby when she said it all started off rather quietly, like small tapping here and there but nothing too noticeable, but in time, the activity gradually increased !!One time my mother said the family heard a noise a noise like someone jumping down from the attic and onto the landing. Naturally thinking that someone was trying to break in, they went to see what was going on. When they got there, they found nobody there, but the hatch to the attic was open!! What ever it was eventually occupied itself in the main bedroom, which incidentally was my grandparents room. It soon made its presence felt by walking around the bedroom and the sounds of dragging could be heard.

One day, my mother went upstairs to that bedroom to get my father up for work so he could get ready for his night shift. When she got to there, she was confronted by the sight of the ironing board placed on my fathers torso as he slept !! When he awoke, he was astonished to find the situation he was in. He suspected my grandfather Bill was playing pranks, but in time, he knew my grandfather was not responsible for it and he told his work friends what was going on there and it got around town that Gladstone villa was haunted.

My parents separated in 1972 and my father left Gladstone villa, but it wasn’t because of what was going on at Gladstone villa, it was just a break down of the marriage, They finally divorced in the 25 of April 1975, The British band ”The Bay city Rollers” were number one in the charts with ”Bye bye Bay”, again, very apt. It would’ve been amusing but for the fact of what was going on there. I was barely two years old so I have no memory of my father living at Gladstone villa, but he would come to see me every Saturday
to take me to see my paternal grandparents and to the local cinema – great times even though the paranormal activity still continued.

As I got older I too witnessed the activity for myself, I actually saw the poltergeist activity for myself. I saw the electrical cables being pulled by unseen forces. I saw the lights going off and on and when my grandfather Bill would play records on the Sunday, as the family did the dinner, it would turn the music off. It took exception to the British band Slade and any religious TV shows my grandmother Rita would watch.The local police were also involved. I remember them popping their heads into the attic, hesitating and not going in, but they suggested it was my father playing a prank on the family.

A family friend, Mrs Ivy France, she was more of a friend to my grandmother Rita, she was very skeptical when my grandmother told her that Gladstone villa was haunted. I can still remember Ivy going into the main bedroom, looking around and saying it was vibration from the traffic outside causing it, but she was soon to change her mind when she experienced it for herself. It was then she suggested the local press and a medium. The medium was John Matthews and when he came to Gladstone villa he started by asking the family questions. He then began by challenging the spirit to perform by knocking on the ceiling and sure enough it responded by knocking back at him !! At some point John went into a trance to try make contact with it but, he failed to get a name. He later confirmed the obvious that there was indeed a presence there and it was an earthbound spirit and that it has unfinished business.

A priest by the name of Graham Jones was called to Gladstone villa. He blessed the property and after a few prayers, he duly left and it was quiet for a few short months after that – no incidents, but it did return and with a vengeance and this time it decided to show itself !! One evening, my grandfather Bill, my mother Caroline and I, were watching television, my grandmother Rita was reading a book, when all of a sudden my mother just so happened to look to her left and she saw the full solid figure of a monk

standing by the doorway. We did not see this as we were otherwise occupied, but she later described it in detail as a monk in typical brown habit complete with hood over the head so she didn’t see the face. It sounded very much like a 16th century benedictine monk.

Fred Davies was a friend of my grandfather Bill, they worked together at the local colliery and he would visit most evenings !! Fred was a slim man who would wear a flat cap and glasses and smoked home made cigarettes that hung from his lips when he spoke. He would sit in his favorite chair by the open fire and talk to the family and watch TV with us. One day, Fred was with us, in his usual place by the open fire, I was quietly playing with my toys by the sideboard. It was quiet when all of a sudden there was a one very loud bang! It was so loud that Fred ducked his head and I ran to my mother for comfort. When it was quiet, we all went upstairs. My grandfather, Bill, would always be first and I would be last. When we go to that bedroom, we found nothing that could account for that noise. Fred later told us that he ducked his head as he thought it was going to come through the ceiling !!. Fred told us of another experience he had at Gladstone villa. My grandfather Bill liked to look out the landing window that overlooked Cardiff road and into Bargoed town centre. This time Fred joined him, he said he felt something brush pass him, when he looked there was nothing there !!.

The most frightening experience I had was when I was alone in that particular bedroom. I made sure the light was on, it was very quiet. I was lying on the bed facing the window that overlooked Cardiff road, when I suddenly felt something heavy pounce on the bottom of the bed. I heard the bed springs go just once, and I felt the bed bounce. I didn’t look straight away, but when I did there was nothing there. I went down stairs to tell my family and we all went back up. We saw distinctive paw marks on the bed, like that of an animal. I later found out that my grandfather Bill had a black Labrador dog called ‘Tovy’ who died before I was born.

My grandfather Bill and my mother Caroline claimed to have heard a baby crying there but as I didn’t hear that at the time I took very little notice of what they said. The activity got so bad that my mother, grandmother, and I slept downstairs with the lights on. It was only my grandfather Bill who was supposedly brave enough to sleep there. It was then that he himself had yet another experience in there. He told us that he was lying on the bed when all of a sudden, he couldn’t move. He couldn’t even shout
out to us to help him. This could well have been sleep paralysis, but he was said he heard something in the room with him.

My grandmother Rita had her own experiences, one day she went upstairs into that room to get my grandfather up, when she saw the boiler door open wide by itself. She didn’t stay there to see what it was, but she rushed out of that room. Another occasion she said she had the sensation of something pulling from under her foot, like she had stepped on his gown. We had the ghost for so long that my grandmother Rita gave it a pet name. She called him Johnny and my grandfather Bill would shout out
that name to provoke a reaction, but nothing would happen.

Ivy Frances son Charles got to hear about what was going on at Gladstone villa and he came along with some friends and with my family’s permission, they went into the bedroom. It frightened one of his friends and to this day one of his friends still says it was a spooky place.

My mother Caroline had an operation on her to and ended up on crutches to support her. The local nurse would tend to her foot. My mother was sat on the chair when the nurse came this day and the nurse knelt down to tend her to her and she told my mother not to hold her. My mother looked at my grandmother Rita in amazement as she was not holing the nurse at all. My Mother made her own conclusions that it was Johnny the ghost that was holding her so as not for the nurse to hurt her.

The only time I heard the ghost being vocal was the time we were all in the room. One of us wanted to use the bathroom and we couldn’t get in there. mMy grandfather Bill said ”He’s behind there!! ”. I heard quite distinctively the sound of Gregorian chant and that was it, nothing more. We left in the Summer of 1978 when two local businessmen bought the property and Gladstone villa was eventually converted into a small hotel and its name changed to Reds Parc hotel. On the night before we moved, there was one final incident we experienced, as if it knew we were going and that was its way of saying goodbye. My mother, grandmother and I got ready to go to sleep. The light was still on and then we heard the door knob turning, as if someone was trying to get in. At first, I naturally suspected my grandfather Bill as he was the only one who slept upstairs in that room and we thought it may have been him playing a prank. I called out to him, but there was no answer, no laugh that would give him away. We then heard our belongings that were packed in the hallway being thrown around. The next day we asked my grandfather Bill if it was him playing a joke on us. He insisted it wasn’t him and to this very day I believe him.

I had my 40th birthday at Redz Parc hotel in August 2009 for old times sake and it was the female staff that told me about the ghost and I told them about what happened to me there 30 years before. The staff told me of their own personal experiences, lights going off and on, the odd sighting in room five, a bride in white was seen, again as with the claims of the baby crying that made no sense to me at the time. I did a thorough research of the property and the Cardiff road area and I found out some very interesting things indeed. I found out from Bargoed library and local newspaper archives that Gladstone villa dates back to 1900 and it was named after the former British prime minister William Gladstone. I discovered the previous people that lived there.

The Kimmiett family in 1924, the new married couple Michael and Evelyn Kimmiett and a son named Elvin Kimmitt. He died at the property just four months old, according to the archives of Cardiff newspaper ”The Western mail ” of that year. This explained the baby my mother and grandfather heard in the bedroom. Mrs Evelyn Kimmiett died in 1970, soon after I was born !! Maybe this is why the activity all started. I also found that there was a monastery in Baldwin street, where my parents met and worked, and there is a property directly opposite the former Gladstone villa property in Cardiff road dating back to the 16th a century. It is now a public house called ‘The RAFA club” A priest hide is said to be there but it’s sealed up. This explains the monk my mother saw.

What I have said here is true, I wouldn’t share this if I couldn’t possibly back this up and I have used real names as I have nothing to hide and all I have said can be verified by the family of those people I mentioned. Sadly some of the people I have mentioned are no longer with us. I challenge any hardened skeptic and firm non believer and I can assure them that they will indeed most certainly question their
belief system, of this I have no doubt at all what so ever. In fact, I’m 100 % positive.

Submitted by Andrew Dexter

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