In the county of Offaly, Ireland, there is a castle that may look familiar to you. Proclaimed as Ireland's Most Haunted, it's been investigated by many a ghost hunter including the ghost hunter show on the Discovery channel. If you watch that show on a regular basis, this structure is part of the intro to the show. The castle has an inviting entrance which you can see up close HERE. The entrance is where the inviting look and feel ends.
This castle has a bloody and turbulent history dating back to the early 1500s when it was inhabited by a clan known as the O'Carrolls who were a brood of violence all their own. This generation started the stories of bloodshed as it was rumored that one of the O'Carrolls murdered a guest at the dining table, a servant was killed in the Guardroom and another O'Carroll killed his own brother in what is now known as the Bloody Chapel where it is said to have many spirits. In the mid 1600s the estate was passed on to another family known as the Darbys who cleaned out that Chapel including the most sinister area known as the Oubliette which was basically a dungeon used for prisoners when the O'Carrolls still lived there. It's said that there were three cart loads of skeletons taken out of the Oubliette which is French for "To forget" - which is apparently just exactly what they did with the people they put there.
In July of 1922, the castle was set aflame in the wee hours of the morning and the entire north side of the building was basically demolished. The structure has gone through many renovations and during an excavation by the Darbys, a wall that was being removed had a skeleton that had been walled up. That put that project to a prompt halt and the skeleton was cemented right back into the wall. It's also said that Captain Darby buried a crock of gold somewhere in the castle and killed the two servants who help him hide it - the crock has never been found.
There are many stories of hauntings and sightings of bright light coming out of windows of parts of the castle that are not lived in, particularly the wing that was set on fire and still remains in ruins and an uninhabited upper level. The spirits to have been seen include a Red Lady who is said to walk the house wearing a red cloak, rumored to have been raped and killed by an O'Carroll and two young girls named Emily and Charlotte who were said to have lived there in the 1600s, possibly part of the Darby family - one of the girls fell to her death from one of the windows and has been seen falling since but disappearing before she hits the ground. Other spirits including a governess and and old man have been said to be seen in the main room by the fireplace sitting peacefully.
Many visitors to Leap Castle have reported feeling something brush them or feeling hands on their shoulders. As late as 2006, a non-human entity described as animal like, known as the Elemental who has been experienced throughout the history with terror and horrific stories, was seen at the exit of the spiral staircase along with a strong smell of sulphur. While we did not have any similar physical experiences while we were there, it was definitely a place that you could feel was rich in horrific history. I was pretty excited just to be able to catch some active orbs on film - that was enough for me.
Definitely an interesting place to visit, you would not catch me staying a night in this castle for any amount of money. What do you think about stories of hauntings and spirits? My husband was a hard core skeptic until we left here.