There is something built into the very architecture of the castles that gives them a look of haunted buildings. One does not experience this feeling even while on top of Burj-Khalifa in Dubai, the loftiest skyscraper, but everyone experiences the weird feeling of some ghostly presence as soon one enters even the smallest castle in the world. It is most likely due to the historical events relating to castles that are present in the memory of most people. These fortified buildings with huge walls and gates are almost invariably associated with fights, bloodshed, hanging, suicide, burning, imprisonment, or similar events that are a quite convincing explanation for the presence of ghosts therein. A haunted castle is the one that is considered to be frequented with ghosts.
1. The Tower of London
Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, better known as the Tower of London, is one of the most haunted historic castles. It was founded in 1066 and its White Tower was built in 1078. The castle has been used for various purposes such as a treasury, armory, Royal Mint, Public Record Office and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Since 1100 the castle has been used as a prison for high-ranking people including kings, queens and other members of the royal family. To the north of the castle is situated the notorious Tower Hill, known for more than 112 executions during four hundred years. Twelve people were executed on charges of espionage during the First and Second World Wars. This factor alone is enough to cause the presence of ghosts at any place. The castle also had different torture cells and some unimaginably cruel methods were used to extract the desired confessions from the prisoners.
2. Chillingham Castle
Chillingham Castle is situated in Northumberland, England. From the thirteenth century until 1980, it was the seat of the Earls of Tankervilles. It is a Grade 1 Listed building in England. It was a monastery in the late twelfth century. King Edward, on his way to Scotland to fight William Wallace, who was leading a Scottish army, stayed here. The castle is currently owned by a charity. It is considered haunted and has been investigated on various radio and television programs including, Most Haunted, Scariest Places On Earth, I’m Famous and Frightened!, Holiday Showdown, and Alan Robson’s Nightowls. Blue Boy is the most famous ghost of the castle, seen by guests in the pink room over their beds, in the form of a blue hallows that appears following a loud cry.
3. Dracula’s Castle
Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula’s Castle, is situated near Brasov in Romania. It is one of the few castles, like Poenari and Hunyad castles, which are associated with the legendary and horrid Dracula. It is considered Romania’s national landmark. On November 19, 1377, Louis I of Hungary issued an act that authorized the Saxons of Kronstadt Brasov to build a stone fortress. It was used as a defense against the Ottoman Empire in 1438-1442. Bram Stoker, the novelist who wrote Dracula, had in mind an empty mountain top as the abode of Dracula, and the Bran Castle, built on top of a mountain, matches the envisaged location very closely. Items collected by Queen Marie are at display at the museum of this castle. According to her will, Queen Marie’s heart was kept here in a gold casket. The castle is considered to be frequented by the ghost of Dracula and many of those victims.
4. Margam Castle
Margam Castle is located in Margam, Port Talbot in Wales. It was built by Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot in 1830-1840. Edward Haycock Sr. supervised the architecture of the castle and designed its interior, exterior, lodges, stables and terraces. Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot was keenly interested in the architecture of this castle and encouraged his architect to borrow elements from Melbury House in Dorset, an elegant building owned by his cousin William Henry Fox Talbot. A fire in 1977 damaged the building notably. Teams of Most Haunted and Ghost Hunters International visited the Margam Castle in 2006.
5. Charleville Forest Castle
Charleville Forest Castle is located near Shannon River in Co. Offaly, Ireland. The location is an ancient oak forest. It is an ancient monastic settlement. It was designed by the famous architect Francis Johnston. William Morris designed the ceiling of the dining room. It is said that the castle is haunted by a girl who ascended the highest tower and fell from it, breaking her neck. ABC enlisted it as the Scariest Place on Earth. It has also appeared on Ghost Hunters International. It has been investigated many paranormal groups.
6. Predjama Castle
Predjama Castle is built in a cave mouth in the Inner Carniola region of Slovenia. The idea of building it in a high rocky arch was to make it difficult to access. The castle was the seat of the renowned 15th century robber baron and Knight Erazem Lueger. He had killed Marshall Pappencheim, the commander of the Imperial Army, for insulting one of his deceased friends. He fled and sought refuge in the family fortress of Predjama Castle. A natural passage was used as secret entry for food supplies and as an exit during the siege. On account of its location, the castle is considered to be frequently visited by ghosts.
7. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a skyline fortress of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located at the top of Royal Mile. The volcanic rock makes the castle inaccessible to invaders. The castle is symbolic to Edinburgh and Scotland. It is considered a haunted castle and as such it is a great paid tourist attraction. It is in care of Historical Scotland and it partly in custody of the British Army. The castle is also home to the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland.
8. Dragsholm Castle
Dragsholm Castle is located in Zealand, Denmark. The castle derives its name from drag, which in the time of Vikings meant a peace of land where ships could be dragged to protect them from the disastrous waters. Whereas some original style is intact, most of the interior had been renovated and modernized. The castle is known for being haunted by many ghosts, particularly a grey lady, a white lady, and James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Bothwell. The Earl is said to ride through the courtyard with a full horse and carriage. It is said that the Earl is seen riding a horse carriage. A lady ghost is said to be that of a girl who fell in love with a commoner and was consequently imprisoned by her father in isolation till death.
9. Moosham Castle
Moosham Castle is located in Unternberg, Austria. The castle was built in the thirteenth century by the Mooshimmers. It is one of the most haunted castles and it is notoriously known for the witch trials conducted by the archbishop. Desired confessions were extracted from many innocent women through torture and then they were put to death by more torture. The castle is haunted by many ghosts, and the ghost of the man who used to imprison the unlucky women is often seen roaming about the Toni Room. The castle has witnessed some of the bloodiest witch trials in history.
10. Leap Castle
Leap Castle is situated at a distance of about four miles from the town of Roscrea in County Offlay in Ireland. It was built by the O’Bannon clan who originally named it Leim UÃƒ Bhanain, meaning leap of the Bannons. Since 1991, the castle has been owned by Sean Ryan who has tried to restore its original form. The castle has witnessed lots of bloodshed; notable among many fights was a rivalry between two brothers. One brother killed the other brother, who was a priest and was praying when he was killed with a sword. He died at the altar. The castle is haunted even today and it has appeared on the cover of the novel The Riders by the Australian novelist Tim Winton. It has been also visited by the Living TV’s Most Haunted team.
Superstition is a very creative faculty, and depending upon the environment, it can create all sorts of lifelike images when and wherever required. Ghosts are perhaps much easier to create, as they do not need a physical embodiment, and their vague imagery serves the purpose. More educated and sensitive people are more susceptible to encountering ghosts in castles, because they are more receptive to the stories about haunting. Even though there is no scientific evidence about the existence of ghosts, there seems to be some element of truth in the presence of ghosts, if the perpetuity of the tradition is taken into consideration.