Beware the Welsh Teggie, witches and more.
Wales' legendary monsters will be in the spotlight this week, in a new television programme. Beasts like 'Teggie' - the nation's answer to the Loch Ness Monster, and ghoulish phenomena such as 'corpse candles' will feature in a new ITV1 Wales programme Celtic Monsters.
But series producer Neville Hughes said the production was blighted by some mysterious happenings that challenged his own opinion of the unknown.
Among the unexplained events were those that occurred while working on the story of the Pontrhydfendigaid witch, Mari Berllan Biter.
'While I was editing the programme, a massive hornet appeared from nowhere and attacked me,' recalled Mr Hughes. 'It disappeared and I went to look for it thinking that it was very strange for the insect to be out during the winter, but it was nowhere to be seen.'
A sound technician had a similar experience.
'He could hear the buzzing of the hornet behind his head,' added Mr Hughes, 'But when he turned round there was nothing there.
'They say witches can transform themselves into all kinds of shapes and forms - so who knows what happened? 'I've certainly changed my views on the supernatural. Before I started working on this series I didn't believe in the paranormal - now I'm not that sure.'
He was also forced to think twice following a holy man's warning while shooting scenes across the Irish Sea. 'While we were filming in Ireland, a former Irish priest warned us not to meddle and to respect creatures of the unknown,' he said. 'Soon after that, strange things started to happen to us.' The footage the crew shot of an Irish woman telling the story of the horned witches of Sliabh na Mban, was found to be distorted. There was no technical reason for it, but they couldn't use the interview.
The series, which starts on Sunday, is presented by bard and singer Twm Morys. It aims to echo the ancient tradition of the storyteller with contributors from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany. Welsh storytellers include bards T James Jones and Ifor ap Glyn and singer Sien James.
People with first-hand experiences of mysterious happenings will also be sharing their stories.
These include Blodwen Griffiths from the Ystwyth Valley who saw the 'corpse candle' - a premonition of death - and Dewi Bowen from Bala who claims to have seen Wales' own Nessie - the Llyn Tegid (Lake Bala) monster. But despite the interest in Welsh myth and legend, we don't market this aspect of our heritage the way the Scots promote Nessie.
A spokesman for the Wales Tourist Board said they did use our legends in promotional literature targeted at Belgians, Germans and French people.
'We use it discreetly or in careful measure in those markets,' he said. Lionel Fanthorpe, Cardiff author, broadcaster, church minister, and an expert in paranormal phenomena, had his own view.
He said, 'We have a wealth of Welsh castles, Eisteddfodau, music, art and drama and the brilliance of guys like Dylan Thomas and among these things the monster is pretty low on our school of attractions to bring tourists and visitors into Wales. When you've got Snowdon and the Brecon Beacons, who needs them?' He added, 'I believe they may exist but would like to see evidence first - maybe a piece of fin or a tail lying on the beach at Barry Island.' Celtic Monsters starts on Sunday on ITV1Wales at 6pm.: Some of the Welsh myths and monsters featuring in the series:Dragons Wales' red dragon seems to have emerged from a combination of folklore and Arthurian legend. Ancient tales tell how wizard Merlin advised 5th-century King Vortigern of a dream of two ferocious dragons locked in battle, with the red dragon eventually triumphing over the white one. This was interpreted as a prophecy that the Welsh would overcome the Anglo-Saxon invaders of the time.
The beast of Llyn Tegid, or Bala Lake, has been reported since at least the 1920s and has been variously likened to a crocodile or a small dinosaur. Affectionately known as Teggie, this Welsh answer to the Loch Ness Monster prompted a three-day search by a Japanese film crew in 1995. But their mini submarine failed to find any sign of the elusive beast.
Mari Berllan Biter According to legend, Mari Berllan Biter roamed the farms of Cardiganshire in the 19th century with an empty basket on her arm. But woe betide any farmer who would not offer her any food - they would often find their milk curdled or their livestock dead the next day.