In the run-up to Halloween, you may be looking for activities and places to visit to get you into the spirit of the season.
You needn’t look far, as right on your doorstep is the pub often called the most haunted place in Wales - the Skirrid Inn, also known as the Skirrid Mountain Inn.
North of Abergavenny, in Llanvihangel Crucorney, the inn is potentially the oldest pub in Wales, with the current building dating back to the 17th century and folklore telling that it stands on the site of another former pub.
Reports of ghost sightings and paranormal phenomena at Skirrid Inn are many, based on stories of the building’s former guests and its past use as a courthouse.
The upper floors of the inn were where criminals were judged and sentenced, but many of the convicted weren’t sent to prison. Instead, they were executed - inside the inn.
On the staircase of the inn is where a rumoured 180 hangings took place, some of which were ordered by Lord George Jeffreys, better known as the Hanging Judge.
Jeffreys was sent to preside over the trials of those involved in the Monmouth Rebellion, which aimed to overthrow King James II.
The judge was harsh in his rulings, sentencing many to death before his own demise in 1689. Today, the inn features a noose on the staircase and a commemorative plaque on the ‘Hanging Beam’, the original beam which still bears grooves in the wood where the noose would have been secured.
But the judge’s death was not the end of his story. Rumours abound that Jeffries still walks the upper floors of the Skirrid Inn, looking for more ‘guilty parties’ to condemn to death.
He is accompanied by his former hangman, who would carry out the executions. The ghost of the hangman has been reported to be seen on the staircase of the inn, and is described as a “tall, black, shadow-like mass”.
Legend tells that many of the souls of the hanged at this site are still trapped in the building, doomed to relive their deaths forever.
One of the convicted who has reportedly been spotted several times over the years is John Crowther, a sheep rustler who did not agree with the outcome of his trial.
However, not all of the spirits rumoured to haunt the pub are connected to the hangings. In the 18th century, a woman named Fanny Price worked at the inn and died of consumption when she was just 35.
Fanny has been reported to have been seen in various areas throughout the building, but primarily in Room 3, where she is sometimes said to be accompanied by the smell of lavender.
Not all of the paranormal goings-on at the inn seem to be passive, with some suspecting that there may be a poltergeist in the pub.
Visitors to the pub have reported feeling like they were being strangled, with one woman even claiming that a spirit tried to drown her in the bathtub.
A former landlady claimed that she had seen glasses being thrown and smashed when she had tried to sell the pub.
For those interested in spotting spirits themselves or braving the poltergeist, the Skirrid Mountain Inn is open for overnight stays and even offers ghost hunts for its guests.
The inn’s owners say: “Located in the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park, the Skirrid Inn is steeped in history, overflowing with character and charm, from its roaring fires to its stone walls and wooden panelling.
“Stay a night or two – or take part in one of our thrilling ghost hunts – and you might even encounter a spooky surprise if the legends are to be believed.”