Thursday, October 11, 2012


Long considered the most haunted castle in Ireland, Leap Castle has one of the bloodiest histories of any castle in Europe. In one early instance of horror, a disgruntled man killed his brother (a priest, no less!) in cold blood inside the chapel where the priest was holding mass. Worse yet is the gruesome dungeon that was found full of human skeletons. Apparently prisoners were pushed into a pit onto spikes - if they survived the fall onto the spikes, they were left to die a horrific death by starvation.  In 1900 when this room was discovered, it took three cart-loads to rid the room of all the bones.  With all this bad karma, there have been countless ghost sightings and strange occurrences, leaving Leap Castle with the haunted, blood-soaked reputation it so deserves. ~CH

This medieval castle was built in 1068 by William the Conqueror and is still used to this day for many events - haunted tours notwithstanding.  But its ghosts are many, and it has a malicious history.  Most famous is the ghost of Sir Fulke Greville, murdered in cold blood by his manservant, Ralph Haywood. Apparently they had an argument that went too far and Haywood stabbed Greville then, feeling uncontrollable remorse, slit his own throat. The fight was said to be about money, because Haywood had not been mentioned in Greville's will - as servants generally were not.  However - rumor has it that Greville and Haywood may have been a little more than friends, and when a lover is not thought of in a certain manner, moods dampen and things go a little haywire. Weirdest part of this haunting is that Greville's portrait hangs in the castle and his ghost manifests from the image to frighten anyone who happens by.~CH

Located in Windsor, England, it is the oldest castle that is still occupied and has some very prestigious ghosts. Constructed in 1066, it was inhabited in the later 15th century by Henry VII who did some remodeling to the building. After his execution in 1513, he was buried in the castle's chapel and now is said to haunt the castle, seem mostly groaning and stumbling around in the courtyard. The ghosts of Elizabeth I, Charles I, and George III all are known to gather in the royal library and two suicides, Herne the Hunter and a royal guardsman can be found on the grounds. ~MR

This haunted beauty resides in Denmark, built in 1215. The first of their ghosts is called the grey lady, who simply remains to see that everything is in order. The second is the white lady, and was the daughter of the lord of the castle (there were many, many owners). She fell in love with a common man, and though they tried to keep their love secret, her father found out and sealed her up in the castle wall. Now she walks the halls at night and can be seen wearing a white dress. An interesting fact about this story is that in the 1930s, a skeleton wearing a white dress was found when the old castle walls were torn down. The final ghost is that of the Earl of Bothwell who was imprisoned in the cellar in the 1500s. We went on to lose his mind and die there, and now he is said to ride up to the castle in his horse and carriage. ~MR

Also known as "Witches Castle"
This 14th century castle was built for Austrian royalty but its reputation is less than happy. It is most famous for being the site of thousands of tortures and beheadings of young women during the infamous witch trials.  Stranger yet are the stories of Moosham being a haven for werewolves. When the area became overrun with cattle mutilations, there were many residents of the town were imprisoned as werewolves. Supposedly, male townsfolk conspired with the devil to turn them into wolves. ~CH

What is now known as the French Calvados castle was built on top of an older structure--a renovation that apparently stirred up some lost souls. The castle was occupied by a couple, their son and his tutor in 1875 who began to hear strange noises within their new home. The Monsieur began to record the occurrences. There was a great amount of activity on the staircase, which included heavy footsteps; he described the sound as, "two legs deprived of their feet and walking on their stumps". They also heard what sounded like a body rolling down the stairs and an array of shrieks and cries, a woman weeping and calling for help. After a failed excorcism, the family finally decided to just sell the castle and flee.~MR

Although this castle was never believed to be haunted, it does have a series tie to horror history. It was built by Horace Walpole, who is known for writing what is considered to be the first Gothic novel "The Castle of Otranto". Walpole started construction on the building in 1749 in the Gothic revival style. You may know that one of the reasons Gothic literature got his name was because the stories usually took place in castles of the Gothic architectural style. ~MR

Another horror monument, this Romanian castle is also known as Dracula's castle and is advertised as being the inspiration for Bram Stoker's vampire's home (even though it actually wasn't). ~MR
Nowadays, it is strictly used for tourist purposes to drive the economy of Romania and encourage the legend of Dracula to continue. There's no telling if this particular castle is haunted, but I'd sure like to think so. ~CH

Considered to be the most haunted castle in Scotland, Glamis was constructed in the 14th century. There is a legend from the 1820's that the man who resided there fathered a deformed son, said to resemble an egg with small extremities. He was locked away in a secret room and became known as the Monster of Glamis. In 1880 a workman knocked down a wall and discovered the secret chamber, vanishing soon after. One of the ghosts of Glamis is the wife of the sixth lord of Glamis who resided there in the 1500s. She was burned at the stake for witchcraft and can now be sighted peering down from the clock tower, surrounded by an orange, fiery glow. Seventeenth century's Earl Beardie was said to have played cards with the Devil and lost his soul, now yelling and stomping can be heard from the tower they played. Shakespeare  mentions Glamis in "Macbeth" and it is thought that Macbeth's ghost haunts the castle. There is a walk on the roof known as the Mad Earl's Walk were a man is said to feverishly pace, a woman runs through the garden tearing at her mouth because her tongue was cut out to keep the secrets of Glamis castle. A woman can appear clawing at the windows with desperate eyes, as if wishing for escape, a tall cloaked figure, and Jack the Runner, a young boy who sprints up to the castle. A vampire is said to be trapped within the castle walls, sleeping until she is freed. And if you dare to stay in the castle you may observe faces peering in the window or hovering over you as you sleep. ~MR

Long touted as the most haunted castle in England (if not the world), Chillingham has had many a ghost hunter wander its creepy halls and secret passageways to search for the spirits of the scores of people who met an untimely end here.  Its history is rife with blood and agony, with a torture chamber to rival the worst of the worst.  There were devices of every shape and size, in fact it's said that if you gaze down into the Oubliette (French for "to forget"), you can still see the bones of the last victim, which was a child. So gruesome was this castle's torture chamber, it was built on a slant, so the blood and guts would flow into a trench for easy disposal. Naturally, with a reputation like this, there should be no end to the unsettled spirits that can't rest. Unearthly moans and screams are heard within castle walls, strange lights are often seen in windows, and hallways are haunted by jilted lovers, a boy who was left to rot after being walled in, and ghosts that step out of pictures to frighten anyone nearby. Chillingham would certainly not be a place one would want to go after dark. I'm thinking daylight might not be much better.  ~CH
Home to the ghost of Queen Ann Boleyn among other tortured souls, The Tower of London is probably one of the most well-known fortresses in the world - and one of London's hottest tourist attractions. Besides Boleyn, the Countess of Salisbury was hacked to death with an ax on the premises, leaving her ghost to haunt the tower along side Boleyn and countless other victims from centuries or torture and death. A pair of pre-pubescent princes were reported missing but later their bones were found in a chest in what would later be known as the Bloody Tower. These are just a few of the stories of mayhem and murder. The tower's history speaks for itself, and anyone interested in ghosts and hauntings will be hard-pressed to find an more intriguing subject. ~CH


Doug Brunell said...

Excellent. I am getting the seeds of a new manuscript.

burunestetigi said...

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Marie said...

Thanks so much, burun!!!! And Doug we will need a copy of that manuscript!!

James Gracey said...

Fantastic stuff! I especially like the look of Glamis Castle in Scotland. And, as its here in my homeland, I reckon I should pay a visit to Leap Castle. A quick Google search tells me its in County Offaly, slap-bang in the centre of Ireland.

Keep up the great posts!!

Doug Brunell said...

Would you like a copy of my "Nothing Men"? It is only in eBook form at the moment. (The last publisher I sent it to found the end "too depressing.") If you do, my e-mail is Just e-mail me from an e-mail you want me to send it to. Would love to get it in your hands.

Christine Hadden said...

Doug: Sure, I'd love to take a look - though of course it would be into November before I get a chance, as this month-long feature is sucking up all my free time and then some. But yes, I'd like to read it. I will email you so you have my email addy.
And thanks for reading!

burun estetiği: As Marie said, thank you for reading!

James: You mean you haven't been to Leap Castle? What kind of a spooky Irishman are you? Just kidding! Seriously, you need to get yourself and your camera to Leap. I've watched a lot of ghost hunting shows and they seem to love that place!

And regarding the posts, thanks. I think I might need slapped about the face and head for taking this on again's killing me. Yikes.

Doug Brunell said...

I will definitely send once I get your e-mail. Put something in the subject line so I know it isn't spam. Danke!