Saturday, April 14, 2012

Haunted Glenarm Castle

Located just forty miles from Belfast in Northern Ireland in County Antrim is the beautiful rural estate of Glenarm Castle. This castle has been in the McDonnell family since it was first built in 1636.

For the 400 years the estate has been owned by the McDonnell family there have been tales of the place being haunted. In the mid-1800s many guests of the family who stayed at the castle saw one particular ghost. In 1853 one male guest saw a figure standing at the doorway of his bedroom:

“She was tall with a careworn face and deep-set eyes. She wore what seemed, in the momentary sight I had, a short petticoat of blue and brown homespun. Her arms were extended, holding the strings of a cap with frills such as the Irish women used to wear.”

Two years later another guest at the castle saw the same figure who:

“Wore a cap, and was holding the strings out in a dazed manner with bare arms, ‘Well”, I cried sharply, and she was gone.”

Even in the 1990s, this same ghost has made appearances. She is always spotted near or in the guest bedrooms in the castle. Recent witnesses have described her as so “real” they thought she must be a servant dressed in the fashion of an earlier age.

Hector McDonnell, who grew up at Glenarm Castle told The Telegraph in the 1990s of a childhood encounter he had with a ghost that convinced him the castle is indeed haunted. 

According to McDonnell the paranormal activity at Glenarm was so pronounced that his mother decided to have every room in the castle “exorcized”—except for the attic. He feels that when this was done all the spirits must have fled to the attic.

After this McDonnell explained, there was a terrible stamping noise coming from the attic. He stated that at the age of 12 his sister’s maid, who he was more afraid of than ghosts, sent him to the attic to investigate. 

What happened next scared him so much he never went in the attic again. According to him, he turned on the lights to the attic at the bottom of the stairs and then headed up to the room—at which point the lights turned off, leaving him in the dark. 

To his horror, he sensed that whoever had turned off the lights was now behind him—he does not remember to this day how he got back down the stairs—but he did not encounter anyone living who could have turned the lights off.

McDonnell stated that the noises continued for the next fifteen years, but since he was the only family member who slept in that part of the castle he was the only one who was bothered by it. 

He mentioned that a skeleton was found buried outside the castle so he feels that people could have been murdered in the area in the past—there was a skeleton unearthed near one of the original castle walls in the 1970s.

Today Mr. McDonnell lives in the rectory just down the road from the castle. This structure is also haunted by a half-formed figure, which is seen most often in the dining room.

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