Castles are places of mystery, magic and oftentimes of torture and death. Although castles are often romanticized, they are structures known to have endured dark times and intense events. Considering the history so many castles throughout the world have endured, it comes as no surprise to learn that many of them are haunted by their pasts. Let’s delve into the gruesome and scary tales of the 5 most haunted castles in the world.
5. Corvin Castle
Corvin Castle is without a doubt the most visually magnificent location on this list. Do not let its fairytale appearance deceive you, however, as this picturesque medieval castle is said to be extremely haunted after suffering an especially sinister past.
Corvin Castle is situated upon a hill in Hunedoara, Romania. It has remained perched there since the fifteenth century, leaving it plenty of time to accumulate ghastly legends and history. Some of these legends spawn from the buildings use as both a prison and a place of torture. One method of execution that became popular at the castle was its use of a bear pit. This saw many prisoners thrown into an inescapable hole only to be eaten alive by hungry, wild animals.
Perhaps the best known of any prisoner to have spent time at Corvin Castle is that of Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler or the real-life inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Vlad was allegedly held captive for 7 long years during the 1400s by John Hunyadi, the then Hungarian Governor.
Legend has it that Vlad was slowly driven mad in the small, dark cell, being stored underneath the Hall of Knights. He was subjected to the constant noise of other prisoners’ torture and screams as they were thrown to wild animals. This traumatized him but also gave him time to develop his lust for blood. Supposedly, Vlad was able to survive in this cell for so long by eating and drinking the blood of filthy rats. However sensationalized these stories may be, many people still claim that Vlad has returned to this very dungeon and haunts his cell to this day.
In addition to Vlad’s ghost, that of a monk is also said to haunt a tower he was walled up alive inside of, after being caught spying on people of noble status. Some also say that three Turkish prisoners continue to haunt the castle after being murdered in a truly unjust way.
4. Leap Castle
The next destination on this list brings us to Offaly, Ireland to visit what is perhaps the most notorious castle featured in this article. The partially ruined Leap Castle continues to stand strong in the countryside and is well-known throughout the paranormal community. Although this date is questioned, many believe that this castle dates back to 1250 and was constructed by the O’Bannon clan. During its long life Leap Castle has endured seizes, battles and even mass murder.
One of the more interesting parts of this castle, where the paranormal is concerned, is that of the aptly named Bloody Chapel. This room contains a particular type of dungeon known as an Oubliette. This word translates from French ‘to forget,’ making it quite an appropriate name. The dungeon consists of a tall narrow room with a single entry at the top through a trap door. Here, prisoners would be dropped down into the dungeon, likely meeting with sharp spikes and oftentimes, their slow and painful deaths. One of the castle’s more recent excavations made the grim discovery of this dungeon and the remains of around 150 people within it.
The Bloody Chapel was also the site of a shocking murder. This saw a man kill his own brother, who was a priest, in front of onlookers. Ever since, this priest is said to haunt the chapel. One of the main paranormal occurrences reported here is that people will claim to see light emanating from the Bloody Chapel even when it is completely empty, late at night.
These are not the only dark stories to have transpired within Leap Castle. At one point in history, the O’Carrolls are said to have devised and executed a deadly plan of mass murder within the castle. After successfully working with a rival clan, they planned a feast to celebrate their new union. The feast, however, was poisoned and lead to around 40 deaths within the castle. Some say that the souls of those murdered during this feast now remain trapped within the stone walls of Leap Castle.
A number of other spirits are said to reside within the castle too. These include a red lady usually wielding a dagger, children and of course the fearsome Elemental spirit described as being hideous, horrible and thought to have been conjured up by black magic.
3. Houska Castle
This list now takes us to a remote part of the Czech Republic’s countryside and to an actual port to Hell. Houska Castle sits quietly, surrounded by forest, mystery and a whole lot of legend. This gothic castle dates back to the late 1200s, though the tales surrounding the land it is built upon span back even longer. For this castle is said to have been built right over the top of a gateway to Hell.
It is told that a huge hole once existed in the spot where Houska Castle is built. The local people feared this hole, believing it to be bottomless and lead straight down to Hell. Folklore states that monstrous beasts would crawl from this hole late at night, while some varieties even had wings to fly out. These monsters existed for the sole purpose of terrorizing anyone in close proximity to this ghastly hole.
The problem with this hole grew so intense that the locals devised a plan to experiment on it, lowering a condemned prisoner directly into its depths using a rope. At first, all seemed fine until the prisoner began to scream and cry out uncontrollably in pain. Upon being hoisted back up to the surface, it appeared the man had aged at least 30 years and his hair had turned completely white. The experience is said to have also turned him mad and lead to his death, just days later.
In order to conceal this gateway to Hell, Houska Castle was built. The castle’s chapel is said to strategically sit right on top of the hole itself, protecting and concealing the evil beneath it. This close proximity to Hell is said to have caused much of the paranormal activity that is reported within Houska Castle to this day.
It is said that late at night, cries and screams can be heard echoing through the chapel. These are believed to come from beneath its floors and the now covered Hell portal. People have also sighted a headless apparition, a beastlike entity and experienced poltergeist activity within Houska Castle.
2. Cachtice Castle
Now we move into the mountains of Slovakia to explore the ruins of Chactice Castle. This castle is quaint, though crumbling and boats much notoriety for its connections to one of histories darkest figures, the infamous Blood Countess. Cachtice castle dates back to the thirteenth century and had passed between many prominent families until it was gifted to Elizabeth Bathory, aka the Blood Countess, as a wedding gift in 1575.
Elizabeth is rumored to have tortured and killed hundreds of young girls at this castle, especially within its underground dungeon. The highest reporting of her murder toll stands at 650 and she has been quoted as being the most prolific female serial killer in history by the Guinness Book of Records. Legend has it that Elizabeth would drink and bathe in the blood of young, virgin women in order to retain her own beauty and youth.
These seriously sadistic acts are of course what earnt Elizabeth her nickname, the Blood Countess. It should be noted, however, that many people believe Elizabeth may have actually been innocent of these crimes, or that they were at least heavily sensationalized.
Whatever the truth may be, this castle is still considered to be insanely haunted. Some of the hauntings seem to support the murderous legends of the Blood Countess, with many people reporting to sight the apparitions of young girls, usually seen crouching over and crying.
The ghost of Elizabeth Bathory herself has even been reported to haunt her former castle. A lot of people have claimed to sight her apparition, which sometimes appears as being faceless. It seems plausible that her ghost would still hang around, as she was imprisoned at her castle in a tower for her supposed crimes. This personal prison cell would be where she spent her final days, before eventually dying.
1. Chillingham Castle
The top place of the world’s most haunted castle is reserved for a location with a fierce reputation within the paranormal community. Chillingham Castle was built sometime in the 1300s and acted as a stronghold for England, being extremely close to the Scottish border. For this reason, it certainly saw its fair share of war and battles.
Many areas of the castle, as well as its surrounding grounds, are said to be haunted. One place, which is said to contain a lot of paranormal energy is the castle’s former torture chamber. Supposedly, a sadistic ex-torturer by the name of John Sage continues to haunt the castle and is often present in this area. Sage was known as being the worst of the worst when it came to torture in England and remains a truly malevolent presence. It’s not uncommon to also hear the cries and screams of agony still echoing within the torture chamber to this day.
One of the castle’s more famous ghosts is that of the Blue Boy. This young ghost haunts one of the castle’s bedrooms known as the Pink Room. Sometime during the twentieth century the remains of a young boy, wearing blue clothing, were discovered walled up within this very room. This discovery led many to speculate that these remains could belong to the ghost of the Blue Boy.
The pantry area is also said to be haunted by a pale woman seeking water. She is believed to have died from being poisoned within the castle. This same room also leads to a dungeon, which also contains an Oubliette and is thought to be haunted by those who suffered there.
The ghost of Lady Mary Berkely also still remains at the castle, along with those who endured a mass execution, monks, and a little girl who frequents the chapel. This is all before even considering the hanging trees outside in the castle’s grounds, as well as the front driveway, known today as Devil’s Walk.
Thanks for reading!