In the county of Denbighshire, North Wales – close to the town of Rhyl and nestling beneath the hill of Mynydd y Cwm – lies the picturesque village of Cwm. A central point of the village is the ancient pub, known as ‘The Blue Lion Inn’; a location steeped in paranormal history and legend.
While there are tales of several apparitions at the inn, a main character appears to be the spectral figure of a young man who was murdered in the 1640′s, called John Henry. According to the late local historian, R. O. Jones, in the 1600′s the inn was a working farm. Prior to this, the location was a religious site, housing monks who had built the local church. In 1646, the farm was owned by a family named Henry. One evening, a church worker called into the farm after hearing sounds of a heated argument; apparently between the father and one son, pitched against another son named John Henry. Although the argument died down, the church official (known as a ‘beadle’) had distinctly heard loud accusations and threats of violence aimed towards John Henry. When he called on the farm a few days later to check out the scene, the beadle was informed that John Henry had decided to leave the farm forever and emigrate to Australia, to seek his fame and fortune. Consequently, John Henry was never seen alive again.
Many years later, whilst building an extension for the church, some graves were moved as part of the building process. During the digging, a male skeleton was discovered, laying on top of a coffin, with clear signs of being attacked & murdered.
From 1966 until 1971, ‘The Blue Lion’ was run by a couple, Stan and Paddy Hughes. Both of them independently saw the clear apparition of a young man; along with other spectral visitors. While Stan claimed to see the ghost on at least two occasions, Paddy swore that she saw him many times – sometimes alone, but on other occasion stood with two other ghostly men – one around the same age and one much older.
Aside from seeing apparitions, witnesses have reported hearing odd sounds and voices in the inn, as well as some odd incidents. During the late 1960′s, Stan Hughes heard that a friend was having to close down a personal zoo and that the animals were in danger of being killed. Graciously, Stan agreed to house some of the animals in cages, so that their lives would be spared. While all the cages were tightly locked overnight, it became common for Stan to find some of them open in the morning, with several animals escaping back out into the wild. As the floor was pure sand, Stan decided to sweep it smooth it every evening in the hope of catching an intruder’s footsteps. In the morning, he would find plenty of animal tracks in the sand, but not one human footprint amongst them. Being a logical man, Stan tried various techniques to make the cage locks impossible to open, yet each morning at least one cage would be wide open and unlocked.
Meanwhile, the apparent apparition of John Henry remained in full view. Both Stan and Paddy mentioned that each time he appeared, he was visible for a short period and then disappeared completely; each time with an odd ducking motion, as if he was bending to avoid banging his head on something. Both Stan and Paddy saw similar clothing on the apparition – usually a thick, working shirt, although sometimes there was a glimpse of a waistcoat. Along with the sightings, both heard regular, heavy footsteps above the area of the bar; often around the place where a ladder used to connect to a trapdoor to gain access to the upper parts of the building.
Aside from John Henry, another ghost was viewed by their young son, Sean, but this time it was a clear vision of an old woman, perhaps not attached to the property but to Paddy Hughes. Stan had heard talking coming from Sean’s bedroom one evening and went in to investigate. Sean, aged about 3, told him that an old woman, dressed in blue with feathers in her hat, had appeared in his room and told him that she needed to lie down on a nearby bed. In the morning, Stan and Paddy asked their son to describe the woman, which Paddy immediately recognised as her late mother, who had died many years before and whom Sean had never seen. When Paddy found some old photographs, Sean easily picked out his grandmother as the woman who had visited him the night before.
While Stan and Paddy had many experiences at the inn, many others have commented over the years on seeing odd figures, especially a man who appears to be a solid visitor to ‘The Blue Lion Inn’, yet disappears quickly into nothingness.