There are varied accounts as to when exactly the main tower/keep was constructed; ranging anywhere from the 13th century to the late 15th century, but most likely around 1250 CE. It was built by the O’Bannon clan and was originally called “Léim Uí Bhanáin” (as was the fertile land around the castle which was associated with the Bannon clan), or “Leap of the O’Bannons”. The O’Bannons were the “secondary chieftains” of the territory and were subject to the ruling O’Carroll clan. There is evidence that it was constructed on the same site as another ancient stone structure perhaps ceremonial in nature, and that that area has been occupied consistently since at least the Iron Age (500 BCE) and possibly since Neolithic times.
Leap Castle is said to be the most haunted castle in Ireland. It has had a horrific history with each passing century being punctuated by ferocious acts of violence.
One of the most gruesome murders to take place in the castle occurred in a room above the main hall of the castle which is now know as ‘The Bloody Chapel’ where in 1532 ‘one-eyed Teige O’Carroll’ murdered his own brother as he celebrated Mass in for the rest of the family. The priest’s spirit is said to haunt the Bloody Chapel and is thought to be one of Leap’s earliest ghosts.
The Bloody Chapel is said to be the home of many a ghoul. People have said on passing the Castle at night they have seen a very bright light shooting out of the upper windows.This occurrence has been reported since the time of the Darbys. However neighbours have called the current owners the Ryan’s to report that the Chapel was in full Illumination. Strange smells of rubber have also been reported during peoples visit to the upper hall.
One of the more sinister features of the Bloody Chapel is the oubliette. The oubliette is a small chamber located in the North-Eastern corner of the Bloody Chapel. It is thought that the original use for these chambers was to store valuables. They were also used as a place to hide in the event of a siege. The O’Carrolls used this chamber for a more a deadly purpose. They adapted this chamber to serve as a small dungeon where the poor prisoners were thrown in, dead or dying. The entrance to the chamber is a narrow hole originally fitted with a form of trap door. The name is derived from the French “to forget”.
Since the burning of Leap Castle in 1922, the Priest’s House is still an empty shell so most of the accounts relate to the times of the Darbys. At present, shadowy forms are most seen wandering through the empty building.
Castle Ghosts of Ireland (HD) (1995) (COMPLETE EPISODE)
Leap was burnt out and destroyed in 1922 by the IRA while the Darbys were living in England. The castle lay in ruins until it was purchased by the current owners Sean and Anne Ryan in 1991. Sean has restored the castle and was a most gracious host when I called to visit Leap to take these photographs. Sean has frequent sightings of the numerous spirits of Leap but thankfully the Ryan’s have never encountered the Elemental who for now seems to have retreated. Despite some early skirmishes he has found that his family and the resident spirits have been able to coexist quite happily at Leap.
Here is a YouTube video of the current owner the very talented musician Sean Ryan talking of the Castles Ghosts and there are quite a few.
Fengdu Ghost City is a large complex of shrines, temples and monasteries dedicated to the afterlife located on the Ming mountain, in Fengdu County, Chongqing municipality, China.
It is situated about 170 kilometres (110 mi) downstream from Chongqing on the north bank of the Yangtze River.
The city consists of buildings, structures, dioramas, and statues related to Diyu and Naraka, concepts from Chinese mythology and Buddhism that signify the underworld or hell. It is modeled to resemble Youdu, the capital of Diyu.
After the building of the Three Gorges Dam and the rising of the water level of the river it became separated from the city of Fengdu, which was rebuilt higher up the mountainside on the south side of the river.
Photo by DDTai
In recent years, Fengdu Ghost City has become a tourist attraction. Cruise boats carrying tourists up or down the river stop at the docks and tourists are taken in vehicles halfway up the mountain. From there there is an open-air escalator up to the complex or the visitor can climb up on foot.
The site’s history goes back nearly two thousand years, at least in legends. It focuses on the afterlife and combines the beliefs of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. It is mentioned in several classic Chinese works of literature like Journey to the West, Apotheosis of Heroes, and Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio.
According to legend, Fengdu got its name of Ghost city during the Eastern Han Dynasty when two imperial officials, Yin Changsheng and Wang Fangping, came to Ming mountain to practice Taoism and in the process became immortals. The combination of their names, Yinwang, means “King of Hell” and that was the beginning of the site’s focus on the underworld. Many of the temples and shrines show paintings and sculptures of people being tortured for their sins.
A group of Italian archaeologists have found the legendary “Pluto’s Gate”, a portal filled with foul-smelling noxious fumes which inflicted a quick death on any person or beast that was driven into its embrace.
The ancient Plutonium, was believed in Greco-Roman mythology to be the portal to hell.
D’Andria has conducted extensive archaeological research at the World Heritage Site of Hierapolis.
The archaeologists uncovered the ruins of a circular temple near a cave entrance, surrounded by Ionic columns. One of them held a dedication to the gods of the underworld – Pluto and Kore.
The excavations have also revealed evidence of a nearby thermal pool and courtyard which was a gathering-place for priests and visitors seeking prophetic visions or to speak with dead loved ones.
“People could watch the sacred rites from these steps, but they could not get to the area near the opening. Only the priests could stand in front of the portal,” D’Andria said.
According to the archaeologist, there was a sort of touristic organization at the site. Small birds were given to pilgrims to test the deadly effects of the cave, while hallucinated priests sacrificed bulls to Pluto.
The ceremony included leading the animals into the cave, and dragging them out dead.
“We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes,” D’Andria said.
According to D’Andria, the site was a famous destination for rites of incubation. Pilgrims took the waters in the pool near the temple, slept not too far from the cave and received visions and prophecies, in a sort of oracle of Delphi effect. Indeed, the fumes coming from the depths of Hierapoli’s phreatic groundwater produced hallucinations.
Just south of Mexico City, between the canals of Xochimico you can find a small island with a sad background which never intended to be a tourist destination. The island is known as Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls).
It is dedicated to the lost soul of a poor girl who met her fate too soon in strange circumstances.
The area has thousands of people, but this small island is home to hundreds of terrifying dolls. Their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees.
Dolls are threatening, even in the bright light of midday, but in the dark, they are particularly disturbing.
It is said that a girl was found drowned in mysterious circumstances many years ago on this island and that the dolls are possessed by her spirit.
Local legend says that the dolls move their heads and arms and even opened their eyes.
Some witnesses claim they had heard the dolls whispering to each other, while others who were on a boat near the island said the dolls lured them to come down to the island.
Of course these witnesses are exaggerating and the island is in no way possessed but the truth is that the Isla de las Munecas is a very creepy place that marks the casual visitor.
Island of the Dolls – The truth behind the legend
Don Julian Santana Barrera was the caretaker of the island. The story goes that Julian found a little girl drowned in mysterious circumstances while he was not able to save her life.
Shortly thereafter, Julian saw a floating doll near the canals. Most probably, the doll belonged to the girl.
He picked up the doll and hung it to a tree, as a way of showing respect and support the spirit of the girl.
Others question even the existence of the drowned girl. Reports conclude that Julian has made up the story about the girl in his solitude.
Julian was apparently haunted by the spirit of the girl and started hanging more dolls in an attempt to please her spirit.
He soon realized the dolls themselves were possessed by the spirits of dead girls, and continued to collect creepy dolls hanging them over the entire island.
According to those close to him, it was as if Julian was driven by some unseen force that completely changed him.
Apparently he was very marked by the fact that he was not able to save the little girl’s life.
After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them on the island, Julian was found dead, drowned in the same spot where the girl did.
Many people on the island believe that Julian has joined the other spirits of the island.
The locals are very faithful that the Isla de las Munecas is a charmed place. After Julian’s death in 2001, it has become a tourist attraction, where visitors bring more dolls.
Since the death of Julian, the island has become very famous and has even been featured in many articles and even TV shows.
Although the action of Don Julian was innocent and even admirable, it ended up being portrayed as a real nightmarish destination.
Soulless eyes follow visitors as they visit the small island (which is actually a floating garden).
Probably the most famous and most authentic of all ghost pictures, the Brown Lady would be Lady Dorothy Townsend, living in Norfolk, England in the early 1700’s. It was taken in 1936, during a photo shoot for Country Life Magazine at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England by Captain Provand and Indre Shira. The photographer saw her coming down the stairs, and began yelling to Shira, who could not see anything, and thought he was delusional.
According to legend, the “Brown Lady of Raynham Hall” is the ghost of Lady Dorothy Walpole (1686–1726), the sister of Robert Walpole, generally regarded as the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. She was the second wife of Charles Townshend, who was notorious for his violent temper. The story says that when Townshend discovered that his wife had committed adultery with Lord Wharton he punished her by locking her in her rooms in the family home, Raynham Hall. According to Mary Wortley Montagu, Dorothy was in fact entrapped by the Countess of Wharton. She invited Dorothy over to stay for a few days knowing that her husband would never allow her to leave it, not even to see her children. She remained at Raynham Hall until her death in 1726 from smallpox.
The first recorded claim of a sighting of the ghost was by Lucia C. Stone concerning a gathering at Raynham Hall at Christmas 1835. Stone says that Lord Charles Townsend had invited various guests to the Hall, including a Colonel Loftus, to join in the Christmas festivities. Loftus and another guest named Hawkins said they had seen the “Brown Lady” one night as they approached their bedrooms, noting in particular the dated brown dress she wore. The following evening Loftus claimed to have seen the “Brown Lady” again, later reporting that on this occasion he was drawn to the spectre’s empty eye-sockets, dark in the glowing face. Loftus’ sightings led to some staff permanently leaving Raynham Hall.
The next reported sighting of the “Brown Lady” was made in 1836 by Captain Frederick Marryat, a friend of novelist Charles Dickens, and the author of a series of popular sea novels. It is said that Marryat requested that he spend the night in the haunted room at Raynham Hall to prove his theory that the haunting was caused by local smugglers anxious to keep people away from the area. Writing in 1891, Florence Marryat said of her father’s experience:
…he took possession of the room in which the portrait of the apparition hung, and in which she had been often seen, and slept each night with a loaded revolver under his pillow. For two days, however, he saw nothing, and the third was to be the limit of his stay. On the third night, however, two young men (nephews of the baronet), knocked at his door as he was undressing to go to bed, and asked him to step over to their room (which was at the other end of the corridor), and give them his opinion on a new gun just arrived from London. My father was in his shirt and trousers, but as the hour was late, and everybody had retired to rest except themselves, he prepared to accompany them as he was. As they were leaving the room, he caught up his revolver, “in case you meet the Brown Lady,” he said, laughing. When the inspection of the gun was over, the young men in the same spirit declared they would accompany my father back again, “in case you meet the Brown Lady,” they repeated, laughing also. The three gentlemen therefore returned in company.
The corridor was long and dark, for the lights had been extinguished, but as they reached the middle of it, they saw the glimmer of a lamp coming towards them from the other end. “One of the ladies going to visit the nurseries,” whispered the young Townshends to my father. Now the bedroom doors in that corridor faced each other, and each room had a double door with a space between, as is the case in many old-fashioned houses. My father, as I have said, was in shirt and trousers only, and his native modesty made him feel uncomfortable, so he slipped within one of the outer doors (his friends following his example), in order to conceal himself until the lady should have passed by.
I have heard him describe how he watched her approaching nearer and nearer, through the chink of the door, until, as she was close enough for him to distinguish the colors and style of her costume, he recognised the figure as the facsimile of the portrait of “The Brown Lady”. He had his finger on the trigger of his revolver, and was about to demand it to stop and give the reason for its presence there, when the figure halted of its own accord before the door behind which he stood, and holding the lighted lamp she carried to her features, grinned in a malicious and diabolical manner at him. This act so infuriated my father, who was anything but lamb-like in disposition, that he sprang into the corridor with a bound, and discharged the revolver right in her face. The figure instantly disappeared – the figure at which for several minutes three men had been looking together – and the bullet passed through the outer door of the room on the opposite side of the corridor, and lodged in the panel of the inner one. My father never attempted again to interfere with “The Brown Lady of Raynham”.
Lady Townsend reported that the “Brown Lady” was next seen in 1926, when her son and his friend claimed to have seen the ghost on the staircase, identifying the ghostly figure with the portrait of Lady Dorothy Walpole which then hung in the haunted room.
On September 19, 1936 Captain Hubert C. Provand, a London-based photographer working for Country Life magazine, and his assistant, Indre Shira, were taking photographs of Raynham Hall for an article. They claim that they had already taken a photograph of the Hall’s main staircase and were setting up to take a second when Shira saw “a vapoury form gradually assuming the appearance of a woman” moving down the stairs towards them. Under Shira’s direction Provand quickly took the cap off the lens while Shira pressed the trigger to activate the camera’s flash. Later, when the negative was developed, the famous image of the “Brown Lady” was revealed. The account of Provand and Shira’s ghostly experience at Raynham Hall was published in Country Life magazine on December 26, 1936 along with the photograph of the Brown Lady. The photograph and the account of its taking also appeared in the January 4, 1937 edition of Life magazine.
Shortly thereafter, the noted paranormal investigator Harry Price interviewed Provand and Shira and reported, “I will say at once I was impressed. I was told a perfectly simple story: Mr. Indre Shira saw the apparition descending the stairs at the precise moment when Captain Provand’s head was under the black cloth. A shout – and the cap was off and the flashbulb fired, with the results which we now see. I could not shake their story, and I had no right to disbelieve them. Only collusion between the two men would account for the ghost if it is a fake. The negative is entirely innocent of any faking.”