A Man from Ysbyty Ystwyth sees a Corpse Candle

Mary Thomas (1905-83)


» Download the sound recording

The corpse, well, the corpse candle, went before the funeral. I was telling you about my grandfather, that he was very superstitious [and] saw such things. He and his daughter lived on a little smallholding not far away from here, and he'd see this corpse candle every time. And one day - one night -he and his daughter were outside the house. And he was saying to his daughter:

'Do you see that corpse candle down there by the hedge?'

'No, I don't,' said his daughter. 'I don't see anything there.'

'Do you see that light over there?' he said.

'Oh, not at all,' she said.

'Well, it's going down through the field,' he said, 'and through the gap in the hedge,' he said, ' and it's going to that house, over there, Tŷ Newydd,' he said.

And they thought nothing more of it. A couple of days later the Tŷ Newydd girl came here, to my grandfather's house, to visit. She went home the same day. By the time she got home her mother had had a stroke and had fallen near the fire, and had been burned a little near the fire. She'd died just there, had had a stroke by the fireside. And she ran back to my grandfather's house, and said:

'Come with me at once,' she said, 'Mam is dead.'

And my grandfather went, and my aunt went with him. And there it was, the corpse candle. They were going back with her, that day, to the house. He'd seen them going before then. He saw them, you see. He'd seen the corpse candle already.

Thomas -

Thomas Jones.

Your mother's father -

My mother's father, my grandfather, always saw the corpse candle...

Well, how did you feel when you heard that story?

Oh, well, I felt as if there were cold water trickling down my spine, when I heard about these spirits.

Had your grandfather had any other experiences himself?

He'd had many experiences of the corpse candle. My grandmother died when my mother was eight years old, my Uncle David six and Aunty Charlotte a baby, a young girl, twenty-eight years old. She died of the dicâd [tuberculosis], as they called it in those days, [and] there was no cure. And the night before she died he was by her bedside, and he saw a little lighted candle on the bed, and he saw it going out of the house. And then his wife died. And he saw his wife's corpse candle going out of the house. And she saw it too. She said:

'Do you see that light going out through the door, Tomos?' Both she and he saw the light, and she died the next day.

Well, well!

Oh, they certainly saw it.

  • National Museum Cardiff

    National Museum Cardiff

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    St Fagans

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    Big Pit

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    National Wool Museum

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    National Roman Legion Museum

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    National Slate Museum

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    National Waterfront Museum

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.