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Elvis Presley's ghost and other ghostly encounters

Updated on February 16, 2016

The ghost of Elvis Presley seen in Gabalfa

A major reason that I am a believer in ghosts, UFOs and other phenomena that are classed as paranormal is because I have experienced these things myself. In the course of my life, especially when a lot younger, I had a lot of encounters with ghosts and spirits and thought I'd tell you about one of the most notable paranormal phenomena I witnessed.

Probably the most newsworthy of strange experiences I had was back in '78 when I spent the night in a haunted house in the Cardiff suburb of Gabalfa and the ghost of Elvis Presley was said to have been seen there.

The house in question looked just like all the other semi-detached council houses in the street but the difference was that the previous family that lived there were named Crowley and they had been holding seances.

What had happened was that a middle-aged couple had moved into the house and the man had seen a figure of a soldier on the stairs dressed in American GI uniform and that he said looked like Elvis Presley. So alarmed was he by this that he had ended up in hospital after suffering heart problems brought on by the shock. His wife had refused to spend another night there and the house had been abandoned with all their belongings left behind.

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Cardiff Council were not happy with the bad publicity this gave to one of their dwellings nor to the fact that they would be losing rent on the place if no one was willing to stay there and the story got reported in the local media. Llandaff Cathedral and the Roath Spiritualist Church were also contacted to perform exorcisms of the place.

How I got to be involved was because at that time I had a friend called Colin Sutton who was locally famous for having painted slogans across the City Hall in Cardiff Civic Centre protesting about lack of housing for people. Colin had seen the news story, which had said that Cardiff Council were looking for anyone brave enough to spend the night in the so-called haunted house. They wanted them to prove there were no ghosts.

Colin was looking for more publicity for his protest about lack of housing and jumped at the chance but he wasn't brave enough to do it alone and he called on me. Sure enough he had the keys and we went along to the house in question.

Inside it was all as it had been left with TV and furniture, and all the usual household items you would expect. I remember there was some form of tape around doorways and crosses hung, which had been used in the exorcisms, which were said to have failed, although one of the churches involved thought it was a soldier killed in the war and not Elvis that was haunting the place.

I didn't see any ghost and neither did Colin but we both experienced the room suddenly going very cold and a strange perfumed smell, which would fill the air and then go. When the room went cold it caused goose pimples to rise on my skin but that was all.

We had brought a bottle of wine for Dutch courage for Colin and we shared that and then chose bedrooms and went to bed. I had a great night's sleep probably aided by the drink and next thing I knew it was morning.

I went to find the local shops to get some breakfast and I remember a bunch of local kids came up as soon as I had closed the door and got into the street.

"Hey, mister, did you really stay the night in the haunted house?" and "did you see the ghost?" they wanted to know.

"Yes," I told them and "no, I didn't," I answered.

An hour or so after I got back the media arrived to talk to Colin and myself. The couple who had moved out were also out in the street and the wife was telling the reporters to stay away from the house and not to have anything to do with the Crowleys, who had also arrived in a car.

She was saying they were evil people and that her husband had nearly died because of their dabbling with the occult, and the reporters listened to her, because none of them would come inside the house, even though we assured them it was safe.

I remember saying that I thought there were some "astral disturbances" and had experienced "cold spots" but nothing to worry about, and in fact, I added that I had had a better night's sleep there than I had had where I lived.

This couldn't have been what the reporters wanted to hear though because the whole story died a death in the press after that. However, Colin and myself got talking to the Crowleys and they assured us that it was Elvis but that he had followed them to their new house where they had a huge collection of Presley memorabilia. Mr Crowley's mother who lived with them was a spirit medium we were told and she had been receiving messages from Elvis.

They invited us to go to their place to meet her and see what they were talking about. This we did and got to meet a charming old lady, two children and big collie dog. We were treated to tea and biscuits and got shown a room, which was filled with Elvis stuff.

They even had original records on the Sun label and handwritten letter from someone in Presley's personal circle. There were press cuttings and pictures, photos and all sorts of items to do with the singer. It reminded me of a shrine to Elvis.

Was it really Elvis? Was it the ghost of a soldier? Was it some thought form caused by the Crowleys' obsession with the star? I never found out and didn't think it mattered.

The aftermath of all that was that Colin got to stay on in the house until a young couple on the housing list said they were prepared to move in. He reported no further signs of the ghost and no more was heard about it.

Many years after all that I ended up in former presenter of Fortean TV, the Rev Lionel Fanthorpe's The World's Most Mysterious People book in which he tells of my ghostly experience.

For more info on Lionel Fanthorpe:


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