Sometime at the end of the 18th century, an exciseman travelling late was overtaken by a deep fog, and sought lodgings at a place called Ty Felin, in Llanynys parish. The owner, a gaunt, elderly man seemed reluctant to admit the man, despite the promise of generous remuneration. The reason given was that there were only two bedrooms available, one of which the owner slept in and the other haunted.
The exciseman assumed that this was a means to put him off, but he persisted in trying to persuade the owner to allow to him rent the room, assuring the old man that he did not scare easily. The promise of an even greater sum of cash finally persuaded the owner to allow him the use of the spare room.
On retiring for the night, and extinguishing the candle, the guest was astonished to find the ghost of a man, described in the sources as, ‘a travelling Jew’ in his room. The spirit is described as walking around the room, before the guest decided to take matters into his own hands and made to seize the ghost.
Immediately the spirit fled, but the exciseman followed, before losing the ghost in the yard. Breathless, he returned to his room, only to find the ghost waiting for him there. The exciseman gave chase again, but lost the spectre in exactly the same place.
At this point, the exciseman began to be suspicious. Was the ghost actually trying to lead him somewhere? He returned to his room, and sure enough, the ghost was waiting for him. This time, the face of the ghost was visible, though the guest wished otherwise. The spectre’s face was a rictus of a fixed scream, as if he had died at the moment of greatest fear and pain.
The ghost made to leave again, and this time the exciseman made no attempt to chase, but instead followed slowly, watching the ghost glide through the house, and through the front door, into the yard, before coming to a halt in exactly the same place from which he had earlier vanished. This time, however, he paused, turned and looked at the exciseman, before fading to nothing.
The exciseman was untroubled further, but rose early and was away before the owner woke. However, it was not long before the exciseman returned, accompanied by a constable. Despite the frantic protests of the owner, the yard was dug where the ghost had vanished, and beneath the flags a deep well was discovered, within which a corpse was found.
The owner swiftly confessed. A travelling Jew had arrived at his house and asked for lodging. On realising that the Jew was selling jewellery at markets, the owner had decided to kill the man and steal his goods. This he did in the room within which the exciseman had first encountered the ghost. The body had been cast down the well before being flagged over.
Needless to say, the owner was arrested on the spot and was hung at Denbigh within the month.
E. Owen, Welsh Folk-Lore, A Collection of the Folk-Tales and Legends of North Wales, Oswestry & Wrexham, (1896)