Welsh rugby union players competing at the world cup have had more on their minds than just facing Australia in their last pool match on 10 October. One of the coaches reported that Wales captain Sam Warburton was unable to sleep after teammate Dan Lydiate said he had seen a ghost in room 1313 at their base at Oatlands Park in Surrey.
Lydiate was reported as waking up to see a huge figure with a massive beard standing at the end of his bed. The hotel states on its website that the building stands on the site of the royal palaces of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Also, a cedar tree at the front of the hotel is said to have been planted by Charles I to celebrate the birth of his son, Henry of Otelands.
Ghost stories associated with the hotel in the past include reported sightings of a "grey lady", with one explanation being the death in the 19th century of a maid when the building was a home. According to this theory, the woman had an argument with her fiancée, who was also working in the building. The distraught girl fled to the bell tower just above room 1313 and jumped to her death.
Asked at a news conference on 6 October about ghosts, Wales centre and medical doctor, Jamie Roberts said: "I haven't seen any. I've read up on it, supposedly they're in these rooms. Some lady has been seen in these rooms or one of the dining halls. But, yeah, a few of the boys are a bit worried about seeing ghosts, but I haven't seen any. I don't believe in ghosts until I see one."
Attack coach and former Wales and British and Irish Lions scrumhalf Rob Howley said he had not seen any ghosts either. "No, not yet, not yet. I think we were all equally surprised when we stayed here with the Lions in '97 I didn't know about that, I don't think I would have stayed here at the time. It's just one of those things and the players are having some jokes amongst themselves and thankfully I'm not in that room!" said Howley.
Elona Woods, who works as a psychic, clairvoyant and medium, visited the hotel and said: "It shouldn't take for an event [for ghosts to appear], but when they want you to know that they are there, they will let you know, in one way, shape or form. They seem to like male energy is what I would say to you and the ones that are more receptive to it. They'll slam doors, you know and move things in the room and they'll do things to make you know that they are there."
Wales play Australia at Twickenham on 10 Ocotober in a match that will decide who finishes top of Pool A.