HEOL FANOG, CILWHYBERT MOTTE

BRECON BEACONS

Now more commonly known as Hellfire Farm, the stone structure of Heol Fanog (Road to the Peak) sits on the edge of the Brecon Beacons near Cilwhybert Motte in Sir Powys, Wales.

In 1989, Bill and Liz Rich moved to the remote farm with Bill's son from a previous relationship. As Liz was expecting their first child, the couple thought that the idyllic setting would be their little piece of heaven. A smallholding where they could keep livestock and raise their new family. The setting would also be a great source of inspiration for Bill, who was an artist by profession, with the studio being the perfect workspace. 

However, it wouldn't be long before things started to turn sour and the couple would live through a nightmare that would last for six years.

Within months of being at the property, Liz gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Ben. The first sign that something wasn't quite right was when Liz awoke one night to feed Ben. As she got up, Bill woke and went to use the bathroom, which was located on the ground floor. Thinking the footsteps pounding across the landing were too heavy for Liz, he quickly made his way back upstairs to investigate, he found that Liz hadn't moved from Ben's bedroom and there wasn't another soul around - there was no explanation as to who, or what, had been walking the corridor.

Although not entirely unusual, the couple were also concerned by the soaring electricity bills. Even when the lights were off, something was draining the power at an incredible rate and their monthly bills were four times the expected amount. Later, they would discover that the barn was a focal point of the electrical energy, as even with the lights off, they would flicker in the night with an almost laser-like brightness. 

It was becoming very apparent to the couple that all was not what it seemed in the property. The disembodied footsteps throughout the house were being heard more frequently, doors had begun to close by themselves and a putrid smell had begun to emanate from the kitchen sink. Despite bringing in professionals to look at the electrics and waste pipes, no conclusion could be reached for the extensive energy bills and the pungent smell. The mood in the house was changing.

Convinced that there was something otherworldly sharing their home, Liz decided to seek the help of another professional, the local Priest. The Priest visited and blessed the house and for a period, the air within the property felt less oppressive, but unfortunately, that was to be short-lived.

Upon returning to the empty house one day, Liz, who was now pregnant with their second child, looks up to see an elderly woman looking out at her from their bedroom window. As Liz stares in disbelief, the woman slowly melts away. Liz would later see the same old woman, sat in the corner of Ben's bedroom, where she would again vanish into thin air.

With the mounting pressure of the unexplained occurrences within the property, a second child on the way, and work starting to dry up for Bill, naturally, the couple consider moving. However, with a nationwide recession in full swing, they simply can not afford to move. With debts mounting, they get cut off by their telephone provider and are forced to sell the car.

In an attempt to understand what is going on in the house, they seek the help of a team of parapsychologists. After a thorough investigation, the team conclude that the family are sharing their home with four entities: the elderly woman, two young men, and one other - a much darker, ancient elemental that is attached to Bill, rather than the property.

Shortly after the couple's second child, Rebecca, is born in late 1990, for the first time, Liz sees a large shadow figure hovering in the doorway of the kitchen. This is the final straw and the family pack overnight bags and go to stay with Liz's parents.  

Hearing of the families troubles, a neighbour suggests that they contact, baptist minister, David Holmwood, who agrees to visit the couple. Following a longer conversation, David concludes that they are being stalked by a demon.

Two weeks later, David accompanies Liz and Bill in their return to Heol Fanog. Conducting a thorough search of the property, they gather everything that could be connecting the demon to the family. Having an interest in the unexplained, Bill's books on the subject are boxed up and loaded into the car. However, it is Bill's artwork that raises the greatest concern for the minister, especially those pieces which have a darker theme. The following morning, David stacks the book and paintings in his back garden, covers them in lighter fluid and puts a match to them. 

In the days that follow, the family move back to Heol Fanog and the more Liz leans on religion for support, the more Bill withdraws, often working through the night. Alone in his studio, Bill's work begins to take on a much darker, more disturbing aspect.

Still unable to move, the family have no other option than to live through the ordeal. The footsteps continue and the children regularly see the old woman in the corner of their bedrooms, intently staring at them. For Liz, this would become too much, and unable to persuade Bill to leave his studio she once again takes the children to live with her parents. 

Alone in the property, Bill's mental health declines. Liz becomes increasingly worried about him and one day returns to the house, only to find the power has been cut off, final demands for bill payments scatter the floor and strange drawings and scribbles adorning the walls. Bill stands there, almost comatose and whispering about dead bodies walking through the house. At her wit's end, Liz demands that they leave the property for good. Upon finally leaving the farm, their marriage never returns to what it was, and shortly after, Liz and Bill divorce. Finally their ordeal is at an end.

As for the spirits of Heol Fanog, the old woman was identified by Liz from a photograph that was found of the landlord's mother who had lived and died in the property. One of the two boys was identified by a renowned psychic as a teenager who had been a farmhand in the mid-19th century and murdered within a kilometre of the property. During the construction of Heol Fanog in the 1950s, the house was largely built from the stone remnants of the 16th-Century manor house that lay in the back garden. One of the builders confirmed that during the construction of the farmhouse, two old headstones were discovered in the rubble on which the house now stands.

And for the darkest of entity? There is some speculation that in his early 20s, Bill had begun the initiation ritual to a black arts coven in London, but due to second thoughts, he didn't complete the ceremony. Could it be that something unearthly attached itself to him from that point?... we will never know.

brecon-beacons (3).jpg