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One of the most haunted castles in the world is located in Ireland. Pronounced “Lep,” Leap Castle was built in the 15th century for the O’Carroll family.

The O’Carrolls took the term “sibling rivalry” to Cain-and-Abel levels. One of the brothers became a priest, and while he was trying to hold a nice mass for his family, another brother plunged a sword into him. The poor priest died, and the once-holy space is now appropriately known as The Bloody Chapel.

Lest you think the O’Carrolls kept their blood lust within the family, records show that numerous people were imprisoned and executed within the castle. While the building was undergoing renovations, workers found a charming dungeon with spikes at the bottom–talk about a homey touch! Three cartloads of human bones had to be removed (I don’t know how much a cartload is, but it sounds like a lot.) Those who think getting impaled on spikes could be the newest extreme sport will be disappointed–the dungeon has since been closed to the public.

The castle is home to many different spirits, but the most terrifying is called It. (I wonder if that’s where Stephen King got his inspiration? ) It has a lovely decaying face and black pools for eyes. Appropriately enough, It smells like rotting flesh and sulphur. Mmm…exactly what you want to smell when you’re on vacation.

Shadows have been seen wandering the Priest’s House. (Presumably with no people preceding them.) Visitors have described seeing a burly man pushing a heavy barrel up the stairs. When he gets to the top, the barrel rolls down and then both man and barrel disappear.

If a man with a barrel doesn’t frighten you, the so-called Red Lady will raise a dagger as if she wants to stab you. She is said to be the spirit of a woman who was captured and raped by the O’Carrolls. Of course this wonderful family also murdered the resulting infant. You can kind of understand why she’s pissed.

In the charmingly named Murder Hole Room, there is a blood stain on the floor, said to be that of the ill-fated priest. And, like any good haunted site, there are phantom children laughing and playing.

Have you ever visited Leap Castle or any other famously haunted site? Anything unusual happen?

If you like haunted castles, you’ll love this post too.

Photo credit: AFAR.com

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27 Comments

  1. I never got over to Ireland when I lived in London. I’ll track down that castle if I ever return to the area though.

    Reply
    • JH

      Oh, that’s a shame, Alex! Ireland and Scotland have been on my bucket list for a long time.

      Reply
  2. Thanks J.H. Charming family – truly took Cain and Abel to new levels. No, I haven’t heard of it prior to now …

    Reply
    • JH

      Glad to be spreading the word, Susan. 😉

      Reply
  3. Ugh. That sounds like it would be time to take the castle down and salt its place… What a horrible family. 😛 I wonder what went so wrong that they did all these things…

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    Reply
    • JH

      My guess is inbreeding. 😀

      Reply
  4. What a horrible sounding place. Fascinating history. You are making me want to take a tour of haunted places.

    Reply
    • JH

      Let’s go! I’d definitely be down for that.

      Reply
  5. I’m surprised any of the ghost shows I watch have been to that place. Or maybe they have and I haven’t seen the episodes yet. Either way, they can go and I’ll watch safely from home.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee’s Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

    Reply
    • JH

      A few ghost shows have, Patricia. I tried to watch one, but the intro was typical…a lot of “What was that?” and fast cuts to nothing, so I gave up.

      If you’ve actually found a decent ghost show, please let me know what it is so I can try it.

      Reply
    • JH

      That’s one word for it, John. 😉 Thanks for visiting my blog!

      Reply
  6. I’m off to Ireland in June, so you what’s on my itinerary if at all possible. If I were researching my ancestors and found any mention of an O’Carroll in my gene pool, I’d be sure to expunge the record. Naughty I know, but who wants that kind of ancestor?

    Reply
    • JH

      Ah, lucky lady! That trip will be amazing. If you get to Leap’s Castle, please make sure you tell me all about it.

      As for ancestors, I have Vikings in my background, so really no leg to stand on, if you know what I mean.

      Reply
  7. I’ve heard of Leap before. My mum is Irish and I’ve; over to Ireland a couple of times. Haven’t been to Leap though. It’s definitely on my list though. Ross castle in Killarney where my mum was born is haunted, but I was about 7 when we visited so we went in daylight and saw nothing but tourists.

    TD Harvey
    A to Z participant
    http://www.tdharveyauthor.com

    Reply
    • JH

      Hi TD! Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. Please let me know if you do make it to Leap. I’d love to hear about your experiences.

      The spirits I listed in this post are only a few of the ones that have been seen, apparently.

      Reply
  8. Spooky! There’s something about a haunted castle… When I read “It,” I remember being really freaked out by this indescribable creature he mentioned. Then they did the miniseries and “It” was just a big grandaddy long legs. Seeing it took away that mystique that made it so scary.

    Reply
    • JH

      YES! Exactly. One of the biggest mistakes horror films (or in this case, horror mini-series) make is showing the monster. I felt the same way about Babadook.

      Not only is an artist/prop person’s rendition of a monster less than scary, it’s something that will not pass the test of time. Within a year or two, we’ll be laughing at the special effects.

      Reply
  9. Wow, what a nasty family and creepy place. As far as hauntings go, sounds like the castle is the complete package. 😉 I haven’t stayed anywhere that’s haunted. I was convinced my mom’s house was haunted when growing up (I’m still not convinced it isn’t), so that was enough for one lifetime. 😉

    Reply
    • JH

      My sympathies, Sara. We have the odd thing happen in this house, but it’s pretty minor. I can’t imagine how distressing and terrifying it must have been to live in a house where the haunting is overt. If your home isn’t safe, where can you find sanctuary?

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  10. I watched a discovery channel or history channel that talked about some of the history of leap castle. It interviewed the owners at the time and their personal stories with the spookables there. I think there was mention of an elemental or imp that causes a horrendous stench and makes mischief.

    Reply
    • JH

      Yes, Elemental is one of their most famous spooks, right after It. But there were so many spirits that I had to pick and choose which to mention, or this post would have been as long as the Dyatlov one. I don’t want to torture people. 🙂

      Sounds like an interesting documentary.

      Reply
      • It was something along the lines of haunted history. It was a long time ago.

        Reply
  11. There was once a Ghost Hunters episode at Leap, early on before things started to seem staged.

    Creepy as hell.

    Reply
    • JH

      Hmm…I’ll have to check into that, Misha. I wonder if it’s on YouTube?

      Thanks for commenting, and welcome to my blog! Hope to see you back here.

      Reply
  12. My name is actually Kieran O’Carroll. I dont know if there is any link though!! Either way
    I wouldnt like to visit just in case I attract or anger any of the ghosts!!!

    Reply
    • JH

      Very cool! Might be worth doing a little genealogy. In any case, definitely check it out.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting! Hope to see you again.

      Reply

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