Ancient or just simply old castles are some of the most interesting man-made places on Earth. They are often grand structures that are rich in history, but sometimes their history is dark and violent. This causes some people to look at these great historical sites in a different light. You can almost guarantee that if a person has been tortured, killed, or died of old age in a castle, that someone will claim it is haunted.
European castles have been the home to ruling monarchs, both bad and good. They have seen the hardship, pain, tragedy and triumph of mankind. They have also served as prisons and torture chambers and in some instances, even tombs.
Many believe this is why castles are so closely associated with ghosts and haunting's. With so much agony being born within, it makes sense that some of that might permeate into the very structure itself.
|Tower of London|
Perhaps no castle known to man holds the possibility of ghostly apparitions than that of the Tower of London. It was there that many of Henry VIII's wives awaited their execution along with the likes of Sir Thomas More. Many of England's most famous figures-Princes Elizabeth, Sir Thomas Beckett, Sir Walter Raleigh and Guy Fawkes-were imprisoned there.
Prisoners were tortured relentlessly, beaten, stretched and nearly drowned. Others were eventually beheaded, drawn and quartered, hung or impaled.
The figure of Anne Boleyn is but one of the many tower inhabitants that supposedly resurfaces to make her presence known from time to time. But she is not alone. Others that suffered the king's wrath such as the Countess of Salisbury also linger re-enacting with precise accuracy the events that led up to their deaths.
These ghostly apparitions have even been caught on film. In 2003, a photographer commissioned to do a photo shoot there, reported many different incidents. While some refused to believe him, he proved his claims with oddly blank pictures; pictures of apparitions and one of an eerie ball of light.
Windsor Castle has been home to many rulers and still is. Three of these rulers may still be heard and see in the castle. The infamously cruel ruler, King Henry VIII can supposedly be heard walking about and groaning. How people know it is he by his footsteps and groans is anyone's guess. King Charles I was beheaded before his death. Apparently some ghosts are given back their heads after their death because Charles has been seen with his in the library and in the canon's house at Windsor Castle.
Glamis Castle is supposedly haunted by two ghosts. One of these ghosts is that of the Second Lord of Glamis or the "Wicked Lord". He is said to have been a heavy drinker, a gambler and a violent guy. Legend has it that one night he was without a gambling opponent and so he sought to gamble with none other than the Devil. He supposedly got his wish and was predictably relieved of his soul. Makes you wonder why the Devil let his soul wander around a castle.
The other ghost that haunts Glamis Castle is that of the wife of the Sixth Lord of Glamis. She was found guilty of witchcraft and conspiracy to kill the king and was subsequently executed in 1537. She probably wasn't really a witch.
Germany's Trifels Castle causes many visitors to wonder if its most famous resident, Richard the Lionheart, left a piece of himself there during his imprisonment following the crusades. While there is no proof the castle is actually haunted, many people have reported discomfort or tenseness while inside the structure.
Eltz Castle in Germany supposedly houses the ghosts of medieval knights. Some say that Mad Ludwig still haunts his German castles.
In Ballygally Castle, it is said that Lady Isobel Shaw remains behind to torment the structure's annual visitors.
Kinnitty Castle in County Kildare is believed to carry the spirits of dead Druids who refuse to leave the only home they knew.
Leap Castle was home of the O'Carroll Clan, it was the battle for power among the patriarch's two sons that eventually led to the castle's outrageous history. One day, while mass was being said in the castle chapel, one of the brothers rushed in and slew the other while he worshipped at the altar. After that, the Bloody Chapel was born and became home to more than 400 years of tragedy.
In the 1800's renovation of the castle uncovered something of which no one was previously aware. Hidden behind the altar of worship was a hidden room with a trap door. When construction workers opened the door they discovered it fell several feet to a bed of spikes.
It seems that the O'Carrolls used the room to rid themselves of their enemies or anyone else who angered them. Most people died upon impact. Those who did not; however, eventually died of blood loss or starvation. Three carts of bones were removed from the room.
Charleville Castle is located in Northern Ireland and it has been verified that paranormal activity has taken place in the early morning hours. It has been said that the ghost of the former owner haunts the grounds every night. In addition, the ghost of a little girl who fell to her death from a high staircase. The girl is said to be about 6 years old and walks the corridors crying and asking for help.
Clonony Castle is located on Shannon Harbor and was built i the 16th century. A man has been seen in a hazy light standing at the top of the tower dressed in peasant type clothing. Locals are not sure as to why a spirit seems to be making its presence known. No story really exists concerning any tragic events taking place at this location.
Edinburgh Castle also fails to escape its bloody history. An unusual amount of violent deaths took place there over the centuries, leading some to believe the castle could never be free of its ghostly visitors. Others believe it goes back to the fact that the castle was built on top of a once active volcano that claimed the lives of thousands of people. Still others say it has to do with the plague known as the Black Death, which claimed untold lives.
Rather than remove the bodies, new structures were simply built on top of them; a new city covering the old but unable to erase its horrendous past. Uncovered in the early 90's, the subterranean city is believed to be home of hundreds of apparitions who simply cannot rest.