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The Reverend Griffiths ~ Exorcist

During the early part of the 19th century, the Old Rectory at Llandegla was haunted by a particularly unpleasant poltergeist. Very troublesome it was, constantly causing a commotion with smashing plates and cups about the place, throwing cutlery and generally preventing anyone from getting any rest. Why the poltergeist had decided upon this course of action, no one knew. The Reverend Griffiths was summoned from Graianrhyd, famous for his ability to exorcise spirits, known for his work in the area.

Griffiths duly came to the Old Rectory, but the poltergeist was a canny thing and refused to engage with the minister, avoiding confrontation at all costs. Griffiths often saw the spirit, but never in a form he could approach. Many patient days were spent waiting for the poltergeist to make a mistake, until one day it did so.

One early evening, as Griffiths dozed in an armchair in the parlour, he heard the incessant, irritating buzzing of a fat bluebottle. He waited, listening, peeking through one half closed eye as the fly approached, and though it seemed to be nothing more than a fly, Griffith’s knew it to be the poltergeist. As it came closer, Griffith’s suddenly jerked forward, lithe for an old man, and snatched the fly in his fist, immediately popping it into a box he kept for the purpose of capturing of spirits.


Informing the occupants that the poltergeist was vanquished, Old Man Griffiths took the box down to the bridge over the River Alyn, near to where Llandegla Flour Mill used to stand. Beneath a small tree by this bridge, Griffiths buried the box, and there the spirit would remain, until such a time that the height of the tree reached the parapet of the bridge itself, when the spirit would be freed. To avoid this unfortunate occurrence, it became a tradition for the children of Llandegla to trim and nip the tree to prevent its upward growth. This tradition continued all through the 19th century, as Elias Owen testified. Today, however, the trees by the bridge are many and tall, and thus it is possible that the spirit has regained its liberty. No re-occurrence of the haunting at the Old Rectory has taken place, however, so it must be supposed the spirit has taken flight to find new victims to trouble.

Further Reading

Owen, E. (1896) Welsh Folk-Lore: A Collection of the Folk-Tales: A Collection of the Folk-Tales and Legends of North Wales. Woodhall, Minshull & Co. Oswestry & London 

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