Castles always capture our imaginations and have done since our childhood when they featured in fairytales and stories. They hold an air of mystery and are homes to royalty, protected by heroic knights from mythical creatures and there is always a lonely princess who has to be rescued by a charming prince. But that’s what we were led to believe as children. In reality castles are scary places and have grisly histories – from long, forgotten prisoners to impaled enemies…not to mention the spirits that roam the derelict corridors! Here is the list of the 10 creepiest castles around the world.
1. Bran Castle – Transylvania, Romania
Legend has it that Bram Stoker used this castle as the home for Dracula. There were actually several castles around Romania who claimed to be the rightful home of Dracula but Bran Castle gave themselves the nickname “Dracula’s Castle” first and have reaped the benefits since. Built in 1212 Bran Castle was definitely home to another legend – Vlad Tepes aka Vlad the Impaler, so-called for his fondness of impaling his enemies on stakes. Today visitors can tour the castles themselves or with a guide if they are not feeling brave enough.
2. Tamworth Castle – Staffordshire, England
The first of our haunted castles – Tamworth Castle is haunted by the Black Lady and the White Lady, both of whom are seen or heard regularly on the castle grounds. The Black Lady is believed to be the spirit of a nun called Editha, who was summoned from her grave by the angry prayers of nuns who had been expelled by a nearby convent. The White Lady is said to have thrown herself from the building after finding out her love had been killed in battle.
3. Berry Pomeroy – Devon, England
Berry Pomeroy is said to be the most haunted castle in the UK and has its very own White Lady. This one’s background though is a lot more depressing than that of Tamworth’s. The White Lady of Berry Pomeroy is believed to be the ghost of Lady Margaret Pomeroy who was starved to death by her evil sister Lady Eleanor. Rumours around the castle claimed that Lady Eleanor was jealous of her younger, prettier sister and locked her up in the dungeon for almost two decades! Her ghost is said to be completely white, from wild hair to her feet. She is often spotted in St. Margaret’s Tower. Whenever people have encountered her spirit they have always claimed that they were overcome with negative emotions such as anger, depression or fear.
4. Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle is situated in one of the most haunted cities in Europe and it is itself haunted by some rather interesting spirits. The faint sound of drums are often heard by visitors although not many people have seen the drummer for themselves. The drummer is believed to be the ghost of a headless boy who reveals himself before the castle is attacked. The dog cemetery on the castle grounds is also haunted by the spirit of a canine, while the dungeons are haunted by an unexplainable phenomenon that was even scientifically tested! The 900-year-old grounds were built on the remains of an ancient volcano as well.
5. Bodelwyddan Castle – Wales
In 1829 the then current owner of the castle, Sir John Hay Williams, discovered human bones near one of the chimneys. The castle was under restoration at the time but this creepy finding did not deter the man in anyway. He ordered the restoration to carry on and so it was rebuilt around the bones. Since then whispering ghosts have been heard, shadowy figures have been spotted and phantom soldiers have also been seen, all of which contributed to pushing Bodelwyddan Castle to the top of the most haunted castles in the world at one stage. In 2004 the castle was used for the television show Most Haunted.
6. Dunluce Castle – Northern Ireland
For some reason the castle was built dangerously close to the edge of the cliff on the north Antrim Coast. In 1586 there was an enormous family feud over the castle, which resulted in the hanging of the castle constable. His ghostly apparition has been seen since roaming the grounds wearing a purple cloak and with his distinguishable ponytail. In 1639 the kitchen collapsed into the sea below, taking several servants to their deaths. Today, visitors report of feeling cold chills in certains parts of the castle, while employees at the gift shop often report of books being moved and radios mysertiously turning themselves on.
7. Moosham Castle – Unternberg, Austria
Moosham Castle is now known as Witches Castle because of its bloody past. This castle saw the terrible deaths of thousands of young women who were accused of being witches, then tortured and killed. Gruesome torture chambers were used in the dungeons, located in the bowels of the castle. The deaths of so many young women became Austria’s bloodiest witch trials.
8. Predjama Castle – Slovenia
Dating back to 1274, Predjama also has quite a bloody history. Legend has it a notorious robber baron from the 15th century escaped the revenge of the Holy Roman Emperor with his family and they settled in this castle. When found the castle, along with the family, was destroyed. It was rebuilt though in 1511 but did not last long – it was destroyed by an earthquake. Again it was rebuilt a third time in 1567 and stands to this day within its cave. With a 700 year violent history the castle is extremely haunted.
9. Chillingham Castle – Northumberland, England
Another castle from England labelled as the most haunted in the UK. The main ghost that people have spotted seems to be the Blue Boy. He seems to like hanging out in the Pink Room the most as that’s where most sightings have happened. Guests who have stayed in the Pink Room have described a wailing sound followed by flashes of blue light across the room or a blue halo of light hanging above their bed. After some renovation work on the castle revealed the bodies of a man and boy entombed in the brickwork of a 10-foot wall the hauntings stopped and everyone thought the ghosts were laid to rest. The owners have recently claimed though that the hauntings have returned; genuine or are they trying to entice tourists back? Who knows?
10. Belcourt Castle – Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Construction began back in 1891 and was completed in 1894. It was the summer cottage home of Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont who designed the castle with a strong emphasis on the French Renaissance and Gothic decor giving it a unique yet creepy look. The castle was bought by the Tinney family in 1956 and it was adored by Harold Tinney. Nowadays his ghost is said to roam the building still unable to part with his beloved home. The castle is now back on the market and is for sale at a cool $7.2 million.