I was given the date of October 10 for the History Press publication of my Haunted Wales: A Survey of Ghostlore but it appears to be on sale now. The book was originally published by Landmark in 2005 but that company went bust a couple of years later, so for me this is a very welcome reprint: I really worked hard on this book, trawling through hundreds of thousands of words not only in the important works on Welsh folklore but also in periodicals, Eisteddfod essay transactions and even unpublished manuscripts. I can safely say that no work on the ghosts of Wales is as thorough as Haunted Wales, although I should stress that I have focussed entirely on pre-War accounts; modern ghost sightings would have run to several volumes! Despite their age, many of these stories have not seen print for more than a century. Not only that but some fairly well-known stories took on a different aspect when the primary source was uncovered. The research enabled me to explore trends and tropes in Welsh ghost belief and I have highlighted these in the first section of the book. The second section is an extensive gazetteer of ghost stories tied to location. I have used the current Unitary Authorities so that readers can easily look up the haunted sites nearest their own homes.
I’m very pleased with the History Press edition. It’s a much chunkier book than its predecessor, with a much more readable layout. The index in particular is much easier to read and follow. Also, it has given me the opportunity to correct a few minor errors or inconsistencies. You can buy it directly from their website at: http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/products/Haunted-Wales.aspx
Here follows the offical blurb from the History Press:
‘Wales is a fearfully haunted place. Scattered with castles and mansions, lonely lanes, ancient churches and bare mountainsides, it has many locations that can lay claim to a resident spook or two. Way back in 1831, researcher William Howells wrote ‘more ghosts and goblins I think were prevalent in Wales than in England or any other country’. In this complete collection of pre-war ghost stories from Wales, Richard Holland uses his extensive knowledge on the subject to delve into the supernatural side of the country.
Including all manner of ghosts and spooks, from weird ladies and phantom carriages to the strange beasts that haunt welsh roadsides, this user friendly gazetteer of historical hauntings covers the length and breadth of Wales. From Neath Port Talbot and Swansea to Denbighshire and Conwy, Wales’ haunted heritage is explored in depth, comprising of the most detailed information ever compiled for a book about Welsh ghostlore.
• The culmination of over 20 years research into the subject of ghosts in Wales.
• A county-by-county tour of hundreds of ghostly encounters.
• The only fully referenced collection of ghost stories from Wales, all compiled from primary sources.
• A considerable amount of previously unpublished material, and material which sheds new light on fairly well-known ghost stories, the result of returning to original source material.’