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Spirits of Plas Newydd

In the wee hours I found myself watching an episode of Most Haunted, a series I dislike for numerous reasons, particularly the screeching, spoon-fed details, and absence of scientific methods. I watched the show, despite its flaws, because the episode featured Plas Newydd. The Welsh home is reportedly haunted by the “Ladies of Llangollen” and other spirits. 

In the late 1700s, Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby left Ireland for Wales. The eccentric ladies settled in Llangollen and transformed the cottage known as Pen-y-Maes into a gothic style home that incorporated stain glass and intricate oak carvings.  The ladies renamed their home Plas Newydd, or “new hall.”

Over the years, they hosted notable figures such as William Wordsworth, Sir Walter Scott, the Duke of Wellington, and Lady Caroline Lamb. (The lifestyle of the Ladies of Llangollen reminds me of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.) First-hand accounts of the Ladies’ lives can be accessed through the National Library of Wales.

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