About Us


JAMES COWAN: Founder of Cardiff History and Hauntings and tour leader

James set up Cardiff History and Hauntings in 2009 against a background of the sheer love and thrill of introducing people to the place he loves: Wales and its Capital City, Cardiff. This venture followed a long career as a Civil Servant in Wales, and a lifetime telling people wherever he went in the world that they need to visit his country!

His success in frightening people with his accounts of Welsh ghosts, and captivating them with his surprising tales of little known Welsh history, has seen him branching out into TV and radio. In addition to numerous appearances on local TV and radio news and magazine programmes, he presented a specially commissioned two-part feature on ghosts for Channel 5's "Live with Gabby" (2012), was interviewed by NHK (Tokyo) for its 2013 documentary on science and the paranormal, and in 2015 he was the guest guide on the Margam edition of BBC1 Wales's popular series "Weatherman Walking". In 2018 he was the guest historian on the hit TV show "Paranormal Lockdown UK", in its first ever episode from Wales, setting the ghost stories of Margam Castle in their historical context.

Also in 2015 he wrote and presented "Cardiff's Hidden Histories" for Made in Cardiff TV, and in 2016 he wrote and presented another history series "Streets of Cardiff" for the same channel.

So what is James's mission? To find out more, read on.... 

"I grew up with Cardiff on my doorstep. I have never forgotten the thrill of visiting as a small child - the sight of its sometimes majestic, sometimes downtrodden, and sometimes quirky buildings, the sound of its bustling shopping streets, the sight of its orange buses, and the smell of hops near Cardiff Central Station! After years of fleeting encounters with this city, as I flirted with cities and countries around the world, Cardiff became my permanent home in 1997 and, since then, discovering its incredible but as yet largely unknown history has been an ever growing and consuming passion!

"They add up to a story waiting to be told! The story of a settlement which has been here for 2000 years which has witnessed cycles of triumph and disaster, rise, fall and rise again.  Signs of Cardiff’s changing shape and fortunes over the centuries remain all around the city centre.  

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"The same is true for Wales: Western Europe's last undiscovered country which flourished in religion, law and learning during what was for the rest of Europe known as "The Dark Ages"; defeated and conquered in Medieval battle but not in spirit, with Europe's oldest living language still spoken every day by over half a million people, and giving England its most colourful Royal Dynasty - The Tudors; in the nineteenth century becoming the world's first industrial nation but still retaining a compact landscape brimming with mysteries, legends and ghost stories! 

"As for the ghosts, well, Wales is the most haunted country in the world - or so say countless writers and observers.  We are a spiritual, passionate people here in Wales and I grew up with that in my blood: listening to tales of ghosts and hauntings was part of my childhood in Wales, as it has been for so many children for generations.  Visits to relatives for Sunday tea always seemed to end with us children sitting both captivated and terrified as the grown ups exchanged their stories of their experiences, or shared stories passed down to them over the generations.

"Such memories have no doubt lingered and left me with a love of storytelling, of legends, and a curiosity about the unknown.  I hope you will enjoy some of those stories with Cardiff History and Hauntings. I am delighted that I and my growing team can lead you through the ghostly atmospheres of St Fagans, Cardiff Castle, Llandaff and Margam, with a growing list of ghost walks which have got people from all over the world looking over their shoulders!

"If you already live in Wales, I hope I can help you see this city and country in a new and different light.  If you are visiting Wales, I want you to remember your experience with Cardiff History and Hauntings as a highlight of your visit, for the welcome we extend to you, and hopefully for stories that will leave you fascinated, intrigued and wanting more."