"There's a place, out in North Wales, where things have happened. Bad things, strange things. Dark things. At the heart of it there's a mountain, and they call it Mynydd Du: Black Mountain.
"A long time ago, I knew a guy called Rob Markland. He was a writer. He was, I suppose, a friend. Last year, I met him again; he was a patient in a psychiatric ward.
"The doctors wanted me to help them find out what had happened. I found a file of Rob's notes. It was about Mynydd Du and what surrounded it. I read it, and I found out about Maes Carnedd and Capel Teg, Britt Nordenstam and Russell Ware. And much, much more.
"And if I was really unlucky, I'd find out what drove Rob Markland insane.
"Now it's time to tell the tale. So turn the page. The dancers in the pines are waiting for you... on Black Mountain."
The opening chapter, in which I hear from Rob Markland for the first time in almost twenty years, and am drawn into the dark, secret history that surrounds Mynydd Du
On the shores of a quiet Welsh lake lie a huddle of strange-looking houses, monuments to greed and ambition that ended in ruin and death. No-one's ever lived in them, but they're inhabited all the same. There are lights, and there is movement behind the broken windows.
No bird sings here. No animal disturbs the undergrowth; no fish breaks the water's surface. There's only the stillness here, and the empty houses.
And something else:
The ghosts of Hafan Deg.
They've been waiting for you.
Continuing the chronicle of the strange events around the 'Bala Triangle' in North Wales. When an archaeology professor takes student volunteers on a dig around the lake’s shores, one of their number – a pretty young Swedish student called Britt Nordenstam – goes missing, vanishing without trace.
The disappearance is one of many recorded over the years, and one that will have tragic repercussions. Britt's death sets in motion a chain of events that will change a number of people’s lives forever.
Just what is going on in the shadow of Mynydd Du – and how many more victims will it claim?
Maes Carnedd lies in ruins now. It’s more than a hundred years since the Welsh mining village, in the shadow of Mynydd Du, was abandoned by its inhabitants.
In the summer of 1903, terror came to Maes Carnedd, and left a trail of corpses in its wake.
Something that killed with the strength and savagery of an animal, but the cruelty and sadism of a man. Something that brought death to its victims in the heart of the woods, in the tunnels of the mines, or behind the locked doors and windows of their own homes.
Only one man knows the truth of the events that doomed Maes Carnedd.
And now it’s time to tell.
Author and journalist Russell Ware was the man who’d coined the term ‘The Bala Triangle’, chronicling the phenomena that surrounded the North Welsh mountain Mynydd Du with ever-increasing obsession.
On the 2nd January, 1981, his career and marriage in ruins, he set off for Bala for the last time.
The following morning, Ware’s body was found in Llyn Daioni, the lake at the heart of so many of Mynydd Du’s mysteries. An accident, or suicide; either way, his torment, and that of his loved ones, was at an end.
But in the shadow of Black Mountain, nothing is as it seems. Rob Markland, following in Ware’s footsteps, finds one man willing to break a silence of thirty years, and tell the true story of the last of Russell Ware.
The watcher by the lake...
It began with a dream; it ended in obsession, insanity and death.
The fire in the woods...
The old farmhouse stood on high ground near the mountain of Mynydd Du. Long-abandoned though it was, Ronald Ashington still saw potential in it.
The dancers in the pines...
The Ashingtons had a vision: a luxury hotel, a hidden gem tucked away in the wilds of the Welsh countryside, a home away from home for couples looking to get away from it all. Yes, this house was perfect, except for the name: Ty Mynwent. The house by the cemetery.
1988: The farmhouse called Blas Gwynedd, standing in the very shadow of Mynydd Du, is the last human habitation within the 'Bala Triangle', home to a teenage boy, his downtrodden mother and his fanatical, tyrannical father.
Now, at last, the story of the farm's desertion can be told: a tale of strangeness, insanity, violence and death. The tale of one man's doomed attempt to prove himself the master of the house.
Beside the shores of Llyn Daioni, in the shadow of Mynydd Du, stood the village of Capel Teg.
For centuries, it hid a secret – an ancient and lethal one that reached out again and again to claim innocent lives.
Nothing remains of Capel Teg now; at least, not on the surface of things. But just as its ruins and ashes lie buried in the ground, its deadly secret lingers on.
Oscar Childwall, clergyman, faced Capel Teg’s terrible legacy and lived to tell of it. And through his papers, one of Mynydd Du’s darkest mysteries can at last be revealed…
North of Mynydd Du, lie the pine trees of Coed Dinas: 'the wood of the fort.' But which fort? Rob Markland, digging ever deeper into the secrets of the mysterious Bala Triangle, was determined to find out.
The answer finally surfaced in an obscure history book: the story of how the Romans tried to claim the land around Mynydd Du for their Empire, and the terror and bloodshed that resulted.
The Black Mountain cast its deadly shadow across the centuries, bringing insanity and death in its wake. Markland had been driven hopelessly insane in his quest to discover its true nature; now, at last, I might learn why...
For centuries the Bala Triangle has kept its secrets. But now Rob Markland, having investigated it from afar for so long, was determined to make it give them up at last.
Into the woods of Coed Capel and Coed Dinas, the ruins of Maes Carnedd and Blas Gwynedd, four people ventured. Only one would return, driven mad by what he'd witnessed.
By the presence that still haunted the empty farmhouse at Ty Mynwent.
That waited by the lake of Llyn Daioni, in the long-abandoned pod houses of Hafan Deg.
By the Watcher.
There was no counting the number of victims the Bala Triangle had claimed over the centuries. Rob Markland's attempts to investigate it had left him a hopeless madman.
But still some questions had to be answered. What had happened to his girlfriend, Laura Hines, or the scientists, Glenn and Angela Lane, who'd accompanied them on their doomed expedition to Mynydd Du? What had finally driven Rob over the edge?
Rob had the answers, and he was prepared to give them - but only to me. And so here I was, preparing to go in to meet him for one final interview.
When I'd got those answers, I'd never be the same again.
And nor will you.
The terrifying conclusion to the Black Mountain saga.