During some research this week I stumbled across the most enthralling story in Welsh newspaper archives of a haunting taking place in an old house named “Bank House” situated in the town of Lampeter during 1905.
The house was previously a Bank and an Inn and located on the High Street. In 1905 it was occupied by a tenant named Mr. H. W. Howells, who was a solicitor, the county court registrar, so undoubtedly a well respected local man.
The story reported was that it was Howells eleven-year-old son, Jacky who was the chief conduit to the spirit of a ghost that communicated using a series of taps on the wall next to his bed.
So terrifying was the extent of the haunting, that passers-by would stop and inquire as to the strange noises that were emanating from the house. A terrified housemaid by the name of Jane testified that she heard an unnerving humming noise in the corridors and knocking sounds coming from the walls, and so she refused to sleep in the garret after hearing "the tramping of feet and other sounds" coming from there. One old woman from the village claimed that the ghostly goings-on was nothing new as a previous occupant had experienced hauntings that could only be described as poltergeist activity in the past.
Jackie told of seeing an apparition of a woman dressed in black appearing in front of him and claimed that his bed would shake violently during the night. So petrified was the unfortunate child that his father was forced to sleep in the same room to keep him safe. At first, his father was reluctant to accept as real the stories, however, after one particularly active evening, he told the newspaper correspondent that he had managed to communicate with the spirit using tapping. Seemingly he had even got the ghost to tap out the tune of "Say, Au Revoir" and so was forced into believing his son after that!
On another instance, Mr. Howells said that his son's bed began to shake so violently that he could not hold the bed still and he could feel the force squirming to get loose as he attempted to restrain the bed. Wherever they moved Jacky, the haunting would follow.
Eventually, the family called in The Bishop of Swansea to investigate who arrived with Professor Harris of St Davids College and half a dozen other people. The party commenced a meeting in the dining room of Bank house and then were invited to go to Jacky's bedroom to witness the ghost. The scene was recreated with Jacky in his bed, and the blinds were drawn, and the light dimmed in the room. Jackie proceeded to demonstrate to the amazed onlookers how he communicated with the ghost by tapping on the walls and getting an intelligent response back. The manifestation did not happen instantly, the story tells how at first nothing happened, and it was decided that a "skeptic" must be present. The Bishop and a few others had to leave the room before the communication started.
It was eventually determined, via the use of this tapping yes and no answers that the ghost was trying to tell them of some hidden money, concealed within the chimney breast of the property. The Bishop was sadly unable to witness the phenomenon for himself and remained tight-lipped about the whole situation afterward. There are several reports around the early part of 1905 and suggestions that the tenant had attempted to gain permission from the landlord to knock out the chimney breast, but unfortunately, I could not find any further reports of the ghostly happenings!
I would love to know if anyone is aware of the conclusion to the story and indeed if "Bank House" still exists today, so Lampeter residents, please get in touch if you can shed any more light on the mystery that is the Lampeter Ghost!