The historical castles around the UK have been venues for torture, suffering, executions and horrifying deaths over hundreds of years. So it’s no real surprise that they are said to be some of the most haunted places in the UK, if not the world....
10. Macabre Muncaster Castle, Cumbria
Paranormal investigators have been researching the ghosts of the castle since 1992 and are still unable to explain some of its extremely odd occurrences. Tales of a white lady and a spectral woman in black gliding through the corridors have been reported. And there’s also the most famous ghost there, Tom Fool. Said to be the last court jester in England, he tends to haunt the tapestry room muttering at visitors and trotting across bedrooms, startling sleeping guests.
9. Daunting Dover Castle, Kent
Situated at the shortest sea crossing of the English Channel, Dover Castle was the most important defensive sites in the UK. A castle has stood here since Anglo-Saxon times, so there’s plenty of ghosts from all manner of battles that have been waged around its ramparts. The King’s bedroom is particularly ghoulish – the lower half of a man has been seen wandering through the doorway before disappearing! At the west stairway of the keep, a ghostly woman sobbing to herself in a flowing red dress has been spotted and if you listen carefully you may be able to hear the drumming of a headless drummer boy near the castle battlements. More recently, ghostly WWII servicemen have been seen walking through its metal plate doors…
8. Loathsome Leap Castle, County Offaly
Built in 800 AD by the O’Bannon family, battles raged here for hundreds of years culminating in a massacre at a banquet held by the then owner Teige O’Carroll. He invited a branch of his clan to dinner to celebrate his succession to head of the family – and he killed the lot of ‘em! In 1909, a séance was held where a dark force arrived that was the size of a sheep with decomposed black eyes that smelt like a rotting corpse! After a fire in 1922, workmen found an oubliette, a very small dungeon, where unfortunate prisoners were either impaled by a spike on the floor or died of starvation. Three cartloads of human bones were removed.
Over the next 70 years it remained derelict, to mortal beings that is! Hundreds of flickering candles have been seen in the Bloody Chapel and a woman in a long red gown has been spotted on the ruins. Since the 1970s, it has been restored to a family home but the ghostly occupants haven’t left. Witnesses speak of two young spectral girls playing near the stairs, a priest’s ghost in the chapel and the spirit of an old man and his dog relaxing by the fire.
7. Creepy Chillingham Castle, Northumberland
On the same spot for 800 years, Chillingham Castle was once the first line of defence against the marauding Scots across the border! A hideous dungeon boasts yet another oubliette where unfortunate Scottish prisoners had their arms and legs broken, before being thrown down, to a torture chamber. So it’s no joke to say the place is full of tortured souls! John Sage, the chief torturer, wanders the castle dragging something behind him. The great hall with its stuffed elephant’s head has strange cold spots and odd noises emminating from nowhere. Beware when visiting the minstrels gallery. People have been pushed down the stairs here by invisible hands!
6. Eerie Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
In one of the most haunted cities in Europe lies Edinburgh Castle. Sat on an extinct volcano, it’s been a fortification for well over 2,000 years. Under the castle, there’s a maze of tunnels that leads all the way down to the Royal Mile where the ghost of a poor piper still plays to this day. When the tunnels where first discovered hundreds of years ago, the piper was sent down to navigate them playing his bagpipes so his progress could be tracked. Halfway down, the playing stopped so a rescue party was sent down to find him, but he’s vanished. Of course the dungeons are haunted and orbs are constantly photographed in the depths. Beware the knocking sounds of workmen who used to build the bonfires that burned traitors, which can be heard throughout the night…
5. Malevolent Margam Castle, West Glamorgan
The gothic castle was commissioned in 1830 and was home to the Talbot family. After the Second World War, it fell into disrepair, but the council took it over and now it’s well worth a spooky visit! The spirit of Robert Scott, a murdered gamekeeper, wanders the grounds and ascends the stairs leading to the castle. Psychic investigators have said he is still unhappy about being killed to this day! The sound of giggling children has been heard in the long corridors and they’ve even been seen wandering in and out of doors. There’s also a blacksmith who trots round the grounds startling gamekeepers, and running footsteps are heard with no living intruder present.
4. Frightful Fraser Castle, Aberdeenshire
Built in 1575, Fraser Castle has changed hands loads of times until 1976 when the National Trust took it over. The main hall is home to ghostly piano music with unusual whispering that seems to come from nowhere. The ghost of Lady Drummond, who died in 1874, loiters on the staircase in a long black gown, chilling visitors to the bone. Another resident ghost is a princess who, while staying in the green room, was murdered in her sleep. Her body was dragged down the stone staircase leaving a bloody trail, which couldn’t be scrubbed clean, even after numerous attempts. These days, the staircase is covered in wood panelling and her ghost is seen all over the castle…
3. Petrifying Portchester Castle, Portsmouth
Built on a Roman fort, it’s been there since the 12th century. From being a key military site for English kings over the years to a prisoner of war camp in the Napoleonic Wars, it’s not surprising the grounds are home to many ghostly occupants. The black monk is often seen in and out of the castle walls and disappears into the distance when spotted. The spectral horseman charges towards terrified visitors and has also been recorded on tape galloping through the grounds… Oh, and there’s a ghostly Roman centurion who often guards the outer gates of the castle, attenshun!
2. The Terrifying Tower of London
The oldest fortress, palace and prison of its type anywhere in Europe, The Tower of London is one of the most haunted castles in Britain. The first ghost reported was Thomas A. Beckett who smashed down a wall to show his displeasure at the construction! Two of Henry VIII’s wives haunt the tower – Lady Jane Grey appears on the date of her death, the 12 February, and Anne Boleyn who haunts the White Tower carrying her head. One of the most gruesome stories is the execution of Lady Salisbury in 1541. Refusing to place her head on the block to face her final blow, she ran away screaming. Unfortunately she was pursued by the executioner and was hacked to death on Tower Green where a ghostly re-enactment is played out to this day. The salt tower is also a spot where dogs refuse to enter and even Yeoman Warders don’t attempt to after dark after one warder was throttled by an unseen force. And keep your eye out for Sir Walter Rayleigh’s ghost who likes a stroll around the Byward Tower now and again!
1. Gruesome Glamis Castle, Strathmore
Of all the haunted castles in the UK, Glamis Castle is deserving of its No. 1 status. Twenty different spirits reside in the castle and in its grounds! Erected in the 14th century, it has a ‘secret room’ that supposedly contains a terrible secret. If you stand outside and count all the windows and compare them with the amount you’ve counted inside the building, you come up two short. There’s some speculation that they’re in the tower where strange thuds and bangs can be heard. Dark deeds took place in this terrible room – enemies were slaughtered and black magic and occult rituals were performed here. The ghost of Lady Janet Douglas, burnt at the stake in 1523, often appears by the chapel and even above the clock tower. Jack the runner, a poor slave who was ripped to pieces by hunting dogs in the 17th century, can be seen sprinting through the castle, screaming in agony! Even worse is the ghost of a woman with no tongue who runs around the grounds, blood splattering from her mouth. The most infamous ghost of all is Earl Crawford, a cruel man from the era of James II. His spirit wanders the castle terrifying guests young and old. Children have woken to find him looming over their beds…