The Last Word On The Clackitt’s Wood Mysterious Light: About The Canwyll Corff: Tadhg’s Journal

20170130-canwyll-corff-tadhgs-journal-3You may remember that about a week and a half ago I wrote an article about three encounters one night in Clackitt’s Wood: one encounter was with a stout, aged, farmer-friend of mine; another with a super-fit friend, called Ben who was out jogging; and the third encounter was the oh-so mysterious bright light in the woods. <See here for details>.

Ofcourse, the light was the really mysterious encounter, or near encounter, as it disappeared as I got close. What was it?

I thought, and wrote, that it might have been Mallt-y-Nos (a mythological hag that, it was said, frequented deserted places and who carried a lantern, and rode a horse with the Cŵn Annwn, spectral hounds). I loved those stories as a child, but even as an adult the stories never quite go away – always remembered. In such myths, which many dismiss out of hand, there is always a truth to discern.

Now, after doing even more research and speaking to some older, and wise locals, I think that that mysterious light I witnessed on the night of 19 January could have been a Canwyll Corff.

Ah, the Canwyll Corff.  Only a myth?

‘Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there. Myth is nourished by silence…’ Italo Calvino

Canwyll Corff [pronounced can-noo-will-korf], is literally the ‘corpse candle’ (sometimes known as death candles) of Welsh legend. I’m told they don’t actually look like candles – more like glowing balls of light which hover above the ground. Today, many might call them orbs, and such mysterious appearances signified an impending death.

Ah, the Canwyll Corff. Only a myth? Consider these two old(er) stories:

In January 1872, it is said that a farm labourer returning home to his farm near Llangynidr saw a light coming towards him, and several yards behind it, a funeral procession. He moved to one side of the country lane to allow the procession past, only to notice that the bearers and mourners made no footprints in the snow. Several days later a neighbour of his died.

Some 80 years ago an elderly lady who had lived in that area all her life, made the claim that she had seen every Canwyll Corff  light going to the churchyard before every funeral procession in her lifetime.

Ah, the Canwyll Corff. Only a myth?

It is said, that one night in Pontfaen, a schoolmaster was walking home, when he saw a Canwyll Corff in the distance. He followed it quite some way, until it reached the graveyard in Llanferch-Llawddog. There, the light disappeared. The following day, he was in his classroom teaching, when an almighty noise from the attic above him, startled teacher and pupils alike. Upon inspection everything in the attic seemed in it’s place – nothing had fallen. Several hours later, sadly, the teacher received news that one of his pupils had died.

Ah, the Canwyll Corff. Only a myth?

There’s just one more story – my recent encounter – about the Canwyll Corff I witnessed – if indeed that is what is was, on 19 January 2017:

On that night I saw a brilliant yellow-green light some 200 feet away from me, through the dense forest of Clackitt’s Wood. I walked toward it. The air was colder than ever, the fog masked the exact location of the light until I got to within about fifty feet of it. At about forty feet from it – and the light source seemed about eight foot wide – it went out!

I’ve written about what it could have been, but I now wonder if it could have been a canwyll corff, a corpse candle apparition? I’ve since discovered that on 22 January, just three days after that mysterious-light encounter, sadly, a man fall to his death while climbing in Snowdonia – not too far away.

Ah, the Canwyll Corff. Only a myth? What do you think?


5 thoughts on “The Last Word On The Clackitt’s Wood Mysterious Light: About The Canwyll Corff: Tadhg’s Journal

  1. Pingback: Nights Of Fog And Clouds: Liminal-Numinous Encounters | Tadhg Talks…

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