Tourists will flock to England, Scotland, and Ireland to see dramatic architecture hundreds of years old, that have stood the test of time. Magnificent castles boldly grace the countryside captivating the attention of all who gaze upon them. Yet, well let’s be frank, there are also many tourists who go to castles to also see, if possible, ghosts. While there are numerous centuries old fortresses throughout Europe; England, Scotland, and Ireland, seem to be the preferred destinations of American and Canadian tourists, who are especially fascinated by the colossal homes of Medieval royalty and the nobleman.
And castles, for dozens of generations, have a rather stupendous reputation for being haunted. This article will examine a small number of the such places in and around the United Kingdom. The most haunted castles are throughout Europe, but the greatest percentage of them seem to be in and around England. Unless otherwise noted, all the haunted castles listed here are in Great Britain.
Chillingham Castle-in Northumberland. The White Pantry Ghost- in a room called “The Inner Pantry” a very pale woman in a white dress appeared long ago to a footman. She begged him for some water to drink. When he went to get the water, he realized that he was locked in and no-one else could have gotten in. The White Pantry ghost is still seen today. The Ghost in the Chamber- invisible ghosts but at times give visitors the sensation of someone moving about; lurking about. Voices in the Chapel-ghostly voices of two men are heard talking at times, but the words are too faint to be understood; muffled. When serious efforts are made to listen in as much as possible, the conversation between the two men stops.
Ghosts in the Courtyard-when the moonlight casts shadows of the battlements across the old, worn flagstones, the shades and shadows mysteriously seem to come alive. Hampton Court Palace-people have claimed to see an apparition called “The Grey Lady” that certain individuals believe is the ghost of Dame Sybil Penn-a servant and nurse to Prince Edward and Queen Elizabeth I. She died of smallpox in 1562. Another famous ghost that is seen is King Henry VIII’s fifth wife Catherine Howard, who was executed for adultery by being cruelly yanked to her death. There are reports that her restless soul would run and scream along the haunted gallery. Various spirits have been encountered. There are tales of many ghosts of children, dressed in Tudor era clothes and shoes that roam the palace, including the Queen’s privy chamber.
Queen Anne Boleyn – still haunts the Berry Pomeroy Castle, in Devon. This castle was once the home of the powerful Seymour family. There are two ghosts connected with this castle: the White Lady and the Blue Lady. The White Lady is thought to be Margaret Pomeroy, who is said to roam the dungeons of Saint Margaret’s Tower where she died after being starved to death by her jealous sister Eleanor.
The Blue Lady is the daughter of one of the Norman castle lords, and she lures various people into certain sections of the castle to get them lost. Hever Castle-the former home of the famous Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry the Eighth, and she is reputedly still haunting the premises. The favorite area of the spirit of Anne Boleyn seems to be mostly in the gardens under the old wooden bridge over the River Eden, and at times on the old wooden bridge. She reputedly likes to visit on Christmas Evening. There is a phantom horse that gallops through the galleries at night as well as a groaning, banging, sorrowful spirit of unknown origins.
Dudley Castle, West Midlands-many ghostly stories have been reported. Two prominent ghosts include a drummer boy that was killed by a musket during the English Civil War, who drums at night, and the Grey Lady, believed to be the spirit of Dorothy Beaumont, who lived at the castle before dying after shortly giving birth. Her spirit is said to be living upon the castle because the requests she made on her deathbed were not fulfilled.
Tutbury Castle in Burton-on-Trent; the most famous ghostly encounter is reportedly of Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned in the castle for more than fourteen years before her beheading. She wrote that she hated the cold, damp castle. Her spirit was seen in the Great Hall, including one time in front of a forty persons tour group. Some of the crowd who saw her mistook her for a historical reenactor. There is also another castle spirit called “The Keeper”. He scares visitors by his loud command of “Get thee hence” in John the Gaunt’s Gateway North Tower Tutbury Castle.
Muncaster Castle-the ghost of “Tom the Fool”, a jester and trickster employed at the castle during the middle 1500’s; simply known as “The Fool ”, also known by his original name of Thomas Skelton, is said to tease visitors and gets blamed for curious; seemingly mischievous occurrences. There are also cases of the mysterious sounds of a singing woman and of a crying child in the Tapestry Room and the spectre of the “White Lady”, also known as the “Muncaster Boggle” near the Main Gate in which a young girl, named Mary Bragg, was murdered in the 1800’s. Muncaster Castle has luxurious, beautiful gardens. Carlisle Castle, Cumbria-various strange occurrences have been cited and certain accounts of ghostly manifestations. The most common ghostly tale involves the ghost of a sentry that sits on guard just inside the archway of the inner keep of the castle.
Stirling Castle, Stirling, Scotland-the castle was home to many Stuart monarchs, and had an important role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Some reports are of ghosts at the Castle. The most common ghost story is the sighting of the Highland Ghost, often dressed in full traditional attire. A large number of staff and visitors claimed to have seen the Highland Ghost and he is sometimes mistaken for a tour guide.
Leap Castle, Ireland-Ghosts have been allegedly sighted in certain rooms of the castle known as “The Bloody Chapel” and “The Murder Hole Room”. There is the spirit of “The Red Lady”, said to be carrying a dagger and coldness; callousness of mental temperament and a facial expression. Spirits of two young girls have been seen playing in the castle’s halls. These ghosts are “Emily and Charlotte”. Many other ghosts have been observed at the castle. Tulloch Castle Hotel, Dingwall, Scotland-legends abound of the castle being haunted by the ghost of “The Green Lady”. She is believed to be the spirit of the teenager Lady Elizabeth Davidson who died after rushing toward her room and then fell down, breaking her neck, and dying instantly. Other ghosts were seen. There are unexplained noises at night. An object has been seen mysteriously moving on its own accord. There is also the ghost of a maid witnessed in the Great Hall and in the Pink Room. She frantically paces as if under great anxiety.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland-this very famous castle is rumored to have ghosts of a phantom piper, a headless drummer, French prisoners from the Seven Years War, colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War, and the spirit of a dog that wanders the grounds of the dog’s cemetery. Castle Fraser, Scotland-There is a legend from long ago, of a young princess who once stayed at the castle, but got murdered during her sleep. Her corpse was dragged down the stone stairs, leaving a trail of blood. The castle occupants tried as hard as they could, but could not scrub away the blood soaked stains from the stairs. So, the castle personnel covered the stairs with wood paneling that even remains currently. There are reports of the ghost of that murdered young princess being restless and still roaming the castle halls at night.
Charleville Castle, County Offaly, Ireland-this castle stands on grounds that were once occupied by ancient Druids. At times, apparitions of strange, hooded figures, believed to be the spirits of Druids, are reputedly seen. The most prominent ghost at the castle is that of an eight year old girl called Harriet, who fell to her death while playing on the castle stairs in 1861. She is the daughter of the third Earl of Charleville. Harriet, the ghost child, is fond of screaming, laughing, and singing in the dead of the night. Saint Briavals Castle-some of the paranormal phenomena includes the hearing of the cries of a baby coming from King John’s Bedroom, visitors feeling their clothes by tugged upon by unseen hands, the ghost of a black dog that wanders the rooms, a mysterious grey lady at the top corridor, and a knight walking the castle’s grounds.
Glamis Castle, Scotland-the childhood home of the late Queen Mother. Glamis Castle has many ghost stories. A mysterious woman, with no tongue, has been seen on the grounds and staring from a barren window, gesturing at her horrible injuries. The spirit of “The Grey Lady”, is believed to be of Lady Glamis, who was burned at the stake in 1537 for being a witch. A strange young servant boy is occasionally seen, and the assumed ghost of Earl Beardie, is said to be in a secret room in the castle, gambling with the Devil for all eternity.
Dover Castle, Kent-ghostly sighting include seeing “the lower half of a man” walking through the doorway of the King’s bedchamber, a crying woman in a red dress in the west stairway of the keep, a strange figure in blue who eye-witnesses cannot tell if male or female, mysterious drumming sounds coming from the battlements, and the spectre of a headless boy, assumed to be the spirit of the young drummer boy Sean Flynn, who was attacked, then decapitated by two soldiers for the money he was carrying on doing an errand.
Ballygally Castle, County Antrim, Ulster, Ireland-the ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw has been seen many times and has a peculiar habit of knocking on bedroom doors in the dead of the night. She is believed to be a friendly spirit that goes about the halls looking for the baby that her husband, Lord James, cruelly took away from her. Once her husband took the female baby that would be heir to the castle, Lord James locked away his wife in a tower, where she fell or was pushed to her death shortly thereafter. Currently, visitors can climb a spiral staircase to see the “Ghost Room” where Lady Isabella met her tragic murder.
Loftus Hall, County Wexford, Ireland-In the 1700’s ,there is a legend that the mansion was actually visited by The Devil, Himself. The legend goes that a mysterious stranger came calling upon the Tottenham family, who occupied the castle. Anne Tottenham, the daughter, soon realized the mysterious stranger was the Devil because he had a cloven hoof in place of a regular human foot. Soon afterwards, the strange man disappeared when he flew through the roof. Anne was a girl who dishonored her family because at times he went into alleged hysterics and as punishment got locked away in her room where she died several years later. Today, the spirit of Anne is said to haunt the mansion. The Devil also left his mark on the roof, which sightseers can visit today by arrangement of a pre-booked guided toward the hall. There are a great, great more stories of haunted castles, mansions, abbeys, houses, forts, churches, and cathedrals over Europe.
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Britain’s Most haunted Castles: