A woman who spent seven years plagued by supernatural events in a farmhouse dubbed 'Britain's most exorcised home' has revealed how she was confronted by a menacing hooded figure and was left fearing for her life.
Liz Rich and husband Bill moved into Heol Fanog, an isolated farmhouse near the Brecon Beacons, back in 1989 to bring up a family.
However, the couple and their young children were quickly confronted by a series of sinister paranormal oddities including energy surges, dead farm animals, and sightings of two spirits – an old woman who would watch the children play and a terrifying hooded figure without a face.
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Seeking solace in the church, the house, nicknamed Hellfire Farm, was exorcised repeatedly – Liz reckons "hundreds of times" – but still the problems lingered. Liz herself was even possessed in the kitchen of the property.
Liz has now spoken exclusively to the Daily Star about her experiences, which featured in both a 1996 book by Mark Chadbourn named Testimony and a new BBC podcast, The Witch Farm.
"If you've never experienced anything like this, it must sound like we're making it up – but none of it was made up, none of it," Liz, now 63, said.
Before the spooky sightings and possessions began, there were some early signs that not everything was right. A huge electricity bill arrived at the home, far beyond the amount the family could have used, and despite repeated trips to the house, experts were unable to pinpoint a reason.
Heol Fanog is cut off and isolated in the Brecon Beacons, an area long associated with witchcraft and magic. Liz described living there as like "being in a bubble" and said that right from the start, the family felt uneasy.
"There was a feeling that built up," she said.
"It was so insidious and so gradual that we adapted to it.
"You could sense something before the real horrors came. Sometimes the house would level out but then something would happen and it would become more claustrophobic and more oppressive like an energy building up.
"We were living in an unreality. When you came home, you didn't know what was going to happen."
It wasn't long before things began to ramp up – footsteps were heard on the stairs, farm animals died suddenly with no explanation and physical phenomena began to plague the house.
Liz said: "I would always try to look for answers. But the problem is when something happens that you can't find a logical explanation for.
"How can you be standing looking at a door with your eyes and it closes and makes a slamming noise? How can an oil radiator heat itself up when there's no oil in the tank? That's when I thought there was a serious problem."
Liz and Bill's young children, Ben and Becca, began to see an old woman sitting in the corner of their nursery, watching them play. And it wasn't just the children who were affected. Liz also saw the woman through a window in the house, before she began to feel a second, more sinister presence in Heol Fanog.
One passageway in the home became the focal point for the problems and it was there that Liz was confronted by a faceless shadowy seven-foot figure.
"It was menacing, strong and sure of itself," Liz said.
"It didn't have a face but it was in the form of a kind of human. I don't think it was a ghost but it was something evil, something that had been around for a long, long time."
And it was artist Bill who struggled the most with life in Heol Fanog.
Bill, who separated from Liz and sadly died before the release of The Witch Farm, cut himself off and spent hours locked away in his studio.
Liz said: "Bill was obsessed – or possessed. He was so involved and fascinated by this stuff. It got to his brain, he got so involved and enthralled with it. He went from being a really alive, good-looking guy to being a depressive alcoholic submerged in darkness.
"The house ate away at his soul, it took away his self-respect. He was drinking more, he was grumpy and he became someone who was rotten from the inside out. It eventually destroyed him."
The longer the family stayed in Heol Fanog, the more things began to spiral out of control, seeking Liz and Bill to approach baptist minister David Holmwood for help.
What followed was a series of exorcisms in an attempt to rid the home of whatever was lurking.
Liz herself even fell foul of a suspected possession at the property. Though she admits she can't remember anything about it, listeners to The Witch Farm heard how her face "transformed" and she spoke with a different voice.
She told host Danny Robins: "I felt violated, the thought of something, some energy, having the audacity to take your body even for a short period of time."
The family eventually left Heol Fanog – which is still occupied decades on – and Liz moved her and the kids to nearby Cowbridge.
Looking back at her experiences, she said: "I know people will just think we're weird people and we're making it up all but you'd have to have one hell of an imagination to make all this up.
"It felt dangerous in that house. The kids always slept with me, I wouldn't let them sleep on their own. I definitely felt very threatened there.
"When you've met evil, you know it. Ghosts don't scare me now because I've come up against such evil in my life. That's the truth."
Danny Robins, who created The Witch Farm after the success of his previous podcasts Uncanny and The Battersea Poltergeist, added: "I think ghost stories are detective stories and they're equally satisfying whether you're a believer or a sceptic. If you're a sceptic, it's a how-done-it and if you're a believer, it's a who-done-it.
"Human beings love mysteries and ghost stories are the ones that keep on giving.
"With Bill and Liz's story, it's about the realness. I get scared by things that feel real. Bill and Liz are this ordinary couple that move somewhere more remote and then mad stuff happens to them. You think 'if it can happen to them, it can happen to me'."
The Witch Farm is available to listen to on BBC Sounds. New episodes are released on Mondays and are broadcast on Radio 4 at 11pm
Mark Chadbourn's book about Heol Fanog, Testimony, is available to buy. For more information, visit his website here
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