Leap Castle is considered to be Ireland’s most haunted castle. The restless spirits making their home in this castle bring dread to people and an irrational fear. There have been visitors to the castle that have come face to face with a most frightening being that seems to have human looking eyes but it smells awful.
The first owners to make their home in Leap Castle were the O’Bannon Clan and later on the O’Carroll’s. These people brought their brides to the castle as well as their captives. It became a strong fortress and invaders couldn’t overtake it. Many years down the line Leap Castle became home to the Darby family. The most famous family member was Admiral Henry Darby who fought at the Battle of the Nile and escorted Napoleon into exile.
The Evil Takes Over
It appears that the evil which overtook Leap Castle started in what is known as the “Bloody Chapel”. In 1953 O’Carroll Chieftain died in the chapel during rivalry for leadership that turned brother against brother. One of the brothers was a priest. Once while holding mass for family members the O’Carroll priest was killed by his rival brother. The brother burst into the chapel and plunged a sword into his brother. The priest fell across the altar and died right in front of his family.
The shadow of evil seemed to loom over Leap Castle. A hidden dungeon was discovered just off of the Bloody Chapel. The small room had a drop through the floor. Prisoners were locked up in this room then they would fall through the floor and land on spikes set up eight feet below them. Once they fell if the spikes didn’t kill them right away they stayed impaled upon them and slowly starved to death. Workmen who were assigned to clean out the dungeon in about 1900 discovered human skeletons piled one on top of the other.
Because of its bloody history and reputation of being haunted people won’t go near Leap Castle at night. After the castle was gutted by fire it was boarded up and the gate was padlocked for more than 70 years. Local residents noticed that the top windows of the castle would light up for just a few seconds. I looked as though someone brought candles into a room and lit them up late at night. The only problem with this was that no one was supposed to be home.
Writing an article for the Journal Occult Review in 1909 Mildred Darby had the scare of her life at Leap Castle. She was standing in the Gallery gazing down upon the main floor when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning about she saw a thing that was the size of a sheep. Its face was inhuman but somewhere from inside of this thing light glowed through the dark black cavities where the eyes should have been. It stared right into her eyes and mesmerized her. Then up wafted a smell like that of many decomposing corpses. It was thought to be a primitive ghost and it seemed to open up the door to other ghosts in the castle.
Leap Castle in Modern Times
An Australian bought Leap Castle in the 1970s and had a white witch brought from Mexico to exorcize the castle. The result of this seemed to be that now the spirits making their home in the castle were no longer evil but still wished to remain there. Once again Leap Castle was sold in the 1990s. The latest owner was doing restoration work on the castle when he had two unusual accidents. One accident resulted in a broken kneecap the other in a broken ankle. It was after this that the owners informed the spirits that they would be happy to share their home with them. No more incidents occurred and in 1991 they had their baby daughter christened in the Bloody Chapel and for the first time in a long time, the chapel was filled with love, joy, and laughter. Perhaps the troubled spirits feeling the love all around finally found peace as well.