From: Andrew Dexter
”Johnny: The Ghost of Gladstone villa”.
My Experience: What you are about to read is a true story, this really is a genuine case that really did happen to me and my family many years ago in Wales.
My family and I lived at a large property called Gladstone villa in the former mining town of Bargoed in the Caerphilly county borough of the South Wales valleys through out the 1970’s.
We experienced phenomena that simply defied any rational explanation, like footsteps that would be heard on a regular bases in the bedroom mainly in the evening, sometimes during the day when we’d all be sat down stairs watching television, one of us would turn the volume down to hear the footsteps more clearly.
We also had some minor poltergeist activity, lights going off and on, electrical cables being pulled by unseen forces from upstairs and my grandfather said he had a glass bottle thrown towards him as he entered the main bedroom, just missing him, I can still remember him coming into the living room with the broken bottle in his hands.
There was also the occasional sighting but this was very rare indeed, so rare in fact that in all the years I was living at Gladstone villa I didn’t see any manifestations or apparitions but my mother did, on three separate occasions.
There were four family members, my maternal grandparents William and Rita Higgs.
William was known as Bill to his family and friends, he was a pot bellied bald man with hair on the back of his head, a former miner that worked Bargoed colliery in the 1950’s.
In his spare time he liked nothing more than playing his records and LP’s on a Sunday, he liked Country and Western, Johnny Cash, Slim Whitman and Glen Campbell being a particular favourite of his but he did have the likes of Elvis and pink Floyd in his collection.
Rita was house wife, a short woman with long dark but graying hair who liked to smoked, she was a little dotty as she collected garden gnomes and enjoyed watching ”Songs of praise” on BBC one.
My parents were William Douglas Dexter and my mother is Caroline.
My father much preferred to be called by his middle name Douglas as he hated William.
He was a tall slim man who was a heavy smoker but he was very placid and he worked the regular night shift at the bake house in Baldwin street.
My mother Caroline, a short woman with short black hair, she grew up in the Bargoed area and attended the school nearby by, when she left she got a job at the bake house in Baldwin street on regular day shift, this is where my parents met.
They dated for three years before they married on Monday April 1st 1968 but it was 2 pm at Cardiff registry office ..so it wasn’t such a foolish thing to do after all, though it did rain that day from what is seen in the wedding photo’s, the Beatles were number one in the British charts with, ”Lady Madonna”, very apt !
They didn’t get a place of their own, they stayed with my grandparents Bill and Rita at Gladstone villa in Cardiff road, Bargoed.
I was born in the August of 1969 and it was soon after that my mother said that the paranormal activity began.
She said it all started off rather quietly with little tapping’s here and there, hardly noticeable and nothing to be too concerned about but the activity did increase in time.
She told me it really started in the attic, the family heard a noise upstairs like somebody jumping down from the attic and on to the landing floor.
Naturally thinking that someone was trying to break in, the family immediately went upstairs to investigate, they saw nobody there but the hatch to the attic was open.
What ever it was eventually occupied itself in the main bedroom, which incidentally belonged to my grandparents.
It didn’t take for the spirit to make its presents felt, it would be heard walking around the main bedroom when the family were downstairs.
Typical poltergeist activity would occur.
My mother said that one time she went to my cot and the pillow inside was torn right in half, I don’t think I was in it at the time.
Another time, the family went out for the day, when they returned to Gladstone villa they found that the furniture had been turned upside down.
There was no obvious signs of a break in, no forced entries and nothing was stolen after everything had been checked.
Another time my mother went to get my father up from bed ready for his night shift at the bake house, when got to the landing she found that his bedroom slippers had been thrown out the door.
More was to come, when she got in the bedroom she was confronted by the sight of the ironing board neatly placed over my fathers torso as he slept soundly.
She managed to wake him and as he came to he was astonished to find the situation that he was in.
My father was suspicious of my grandfather Bill, thinking that he may have been involved in playing tricks, but as time progressed he knew my grandfather wasn’t responsible.
My parents separated sometime in 1972, but it wasn’t because of what was going on at Gladstone villa, it was just a break down of the marriage.
They finally divorced on April 25th 1975, the big craze at the time was the Scottish band the Bay city Rollers were number one on this date with, ”Bye Bye Baby”, again very apt, it would be amusing if it wasn’t a sad situation.
I have no memory of my father living at Gladstone villa at all, I was only two years old when he left, but he would see me on weekend.
He would pick me up every Saturday from Gladstone villa to take me to the Cameo cinema in Bargoed, that was a treat, but the paranormal activity was still going on, occasionally interrupting our reasonably normal lives.
As I got older I experienced the phenomena for myself, I too heard all the footsteps in the main bedroom walking around the room and I can still remember my grandfather Bill looking up to the ceiling and pointing to it and saying, ”He’s by here” ”He’s by there now” He was trying to point out just exactly where the noises was coming from.
I too witnessed with my own eyes the poltergeist activity, I actually saw the electrical cables being pulled from the back of the television and my grandfather Bill would get angry in case it caused any damage.
It got so bad that my mother, grandmother and I slept on sofa’s downstairs with the lights on all night.
It was only my grandfather Bill who was supposedly brave enough to sleep in that room, but one time he told us of an unpleasant experience he had alone in there.
He told us of the time when he was in the room by himself, just lying on the bed, when he heard what sounded like a creak in the floorboards by the door, suddenly he was completely paralyzed, he couldn’t move at all, he couldn’t even shout to us to help him, that must have been a frightening experience for him.
I also had an unpleasant experience in there one night.
I was all alone in that bedroom, the light was on as I was scared of the dark as I was still a child at the time.
I was lying on the bed, on my left, facing the window that led to Cardiff road and directly in Bargoed town centre and it was quiet apart from the traffic outside.
All of a sudden I felt something pounce on the bed, like an animal, it was just once and I heard the bed springs move up and down.
Naturally I was too scared to look up straight away but when I did there was nothing there to be seen at all !
I went down stairs to tell my mother and my grandparents and of course they went up stairs and as we got to the bedroom, the light was still on and we clearly saw the distinctive paw marks embedded in the sheets !!
Mrs Ivy France was a family friend, more of a friend to my grandmother Rita, she was well into her 50’s when I knew her back in the 1970’s.
She had short white hair and always wore glasses, she smoked, liked a game of bingo at the local OAP hall near Gladstone villa and she liked reading the tea leaves from the cup but she didn’t believe my grandmother when she told her that Gladstone villa was haunted.
I can still recall Ivy France going into that bedroom and looking around, telling us it was the vibration from the traffic outside causing it.
Her opinion was soon to change when she finally experienced it for herself on night and it was then she suggested the local medium John Matthews that she knew.
When John arrived he started asking the family questions, then he began by challenging the entity to perform by knocking on the ceiling, the spirit Immediately knocked back at him.
At some point, the medium John went into a trance to try and make contact with it, he failed to get a name but he later confirmed the blatantly obvious that there was indeed a presence there and it was an earthbound spirit.
A priest by the name of Graham Jones was also called to Gladstone villa, he blessed the property and after prayers he duly left and all was quiet for a few short months, but the activity did return, the footsteps in the bedroom, as well as the noises, loud bangs and dragging sounds only this time it decided to show itself.
One night my mother, grandfather and I were watching television, my grandmother Rita was reading a book on the sofa.
My mother Caroline just so happened to look to her left where my grandmother was and she saw the full solid figure of a monk standing behind the sofa, where my grandmother was, near the doorway.
We didn’t see this as we were watching the television but my mother later described in detail what she saw.
She said she saw a monk, in typical brown habit, complete with hood over the head, so she didn’t see its face, she said it was there for a moment and it was gone !!
Another sighting took place during the day !
My mother and I were in the living room when she went over to the sofa to get something.
She looked to her left towards the hallway and I saw the look of shear confusion on her face.
She later told me that she saw the face of an elderly man looking into the room from the hallway that lead up to the bedrooms.
I didn’t see this as I was behind the door that was wide open, obscuring the hallway.
She described his as an old man in his 60’s with a shock of white wavy hair, a face she did not know.
Fred Davies was a friend of my grandfather Bill, they worked together at Bargoed colliery.
Fred was a slim man who always wore a flap cap, smoked his own home made cigarettes which hung from his mouth as he spoke.
He came to visit us one day, he sat in his favourite chair by the open fire, I was playing by the side board quite happily, it was quiet when all of a sudden there was this one huge loud bang, so loud that Fred actually ducked his head, it scared me so much that I ran to my mother !!
When it was all quiet again, we all went upstairs to see what had happened, my grandfather Bill would always be the first to go and I would be the last.
When we got to the bedroom we could not find anything to account for the loud bang we heard.
Fred later told us that he ducked his head because he thought it was going to come through the ceiling, it was like someone dropping a heavy trunk !!.
Fred told us of another experience he had.
My grandfather Bill always liked looking out the landing window, facing Cardiff road and the South of Bargoed town centre.
On this particular occasion Fred Davies joined him, as he was by the window Fred said he felt something gently brush pass him, as if Fred was in it’s way.
We had the ghost for so long that my grandmother Rita gave it a nick name, she called it ‘Johnny’, every now and then for amusement my grandfather Bill would mock it by shouting out that name to get a reaction but nothing would happen.
My grandfather Bill would play his records every Sunday and I recall one time when Johnny kept switching the electric off while Bill was playing the 70’s group, ‘slade’ their 1974 album, ‘Old new borrowed and blue”.
Similar thing would happen when my grandmother would watch the BBC show, ”Songs of praise” Johnny would start his nonsense and perform, as if it took exception to religious music.
Both my mother Caroline and my grandfather Bill claimed to have heard a baby crying in the bedroom, but as I didn’t hear this my self personally I took very little notice of this at the time.
We left Gladstone villa in the Summer of 1978 when two local business men bought the property and by the early 1980s it was eventually converted into a small hotel and its name was changed to ”Redz parc hotel”.
On our very last night at Gladstone villa we still had paranormal activity.
All our belongings were packed in black plastic bags and were in the hallway we were all getting ready to settle down for the night, ready for the busy day ahead.
The lights were on, grandfather Bill was upstairs in the bedroom, it was quiet when we heard that the bags were being thrown around the hall way, we heard the rustling.
Then the old fashioned rounded door knocked was turning, as if someone was trying to get in, this made my mother call to my grandmother in panic.
I actually suspected my grandfather Bill of playing a prank on us so I shouted out to him, but there was no answer and the door knob stopped moving.
The next day we asked my grandfather if he was the one responsible for the incident the night before, he insisted it wasn’t him !!
I had my 40th birthday at Redz parc hotel in the August of 2009 for old times sake and it was the staff who told me of their own personal experiences, particularly in room five, where they had an eerie feeling.
I did some research of my former childhood home and I discovered some very interesting things indeed.
I found out from newspaper archives and maps at Bargoed library that Gladstone villa dates back to the early 1900’s and it was named after the former liberal prime minister William Gladstone.
From the family notices of the South Wales echo I found that the Kimmett family lived there in 1924, Michael and Evelyn, and their four month old baby son Elvin Rowlands Kimmiett died at Gladstone villa, this explains the baby my mother and grandfather heard.
I also discovered that there was also a monastery in Baldwin street, where my parents met and worked at the bake house !
A priest hide is said to be at an old listed property called ”The RAFFA club” which is one of the oldest buildings in Bargoed, dating back to the 17th century, also tunnels are said to lead up two local villages, this explains the monk my mother saw.
I don’t know who the old man was, the man my mother saw, but I did learn that the Mills family also lived at Gladstone villa, and Edgar Mills said it was haunted, maybe the old man with white hair my mother saw was Edgar Mills.
As for the paw marks on the bed we saw, the night we left Gladstone villa the remains of a dog was found in the bed room, my grandfather Bill burnt those remains.
What I have said here is the truth, I wouldn’t share this if I couldn’t possibly back it up and I challenge any hardened skeptic to stay there a while, they will indeed most certainly question their belief system, of that I have no absolute doubt at all what so ever that they will come out believers, I am so deadly serious about that, and I’m quite sincere indeed.
Check it out, the property is still there in Cardiff road, bargoed, google map it.