Inside world’s most haunted castle with bloody chapel, murder stories and ghosts

The “world’s most haunted castle” can be found in Ireland – and it’s apparently plagued with a variety of scary spirits.

Leap Castle was built in the early 13th century by the O’Bannon clan under the supervision of the powerful and warring O’Carroll clan.

Situated in County Offaly, Ireland, the castle has a turbulent and bloody history as it has been the centre of a variety of brutal atrocities.

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Used as a fortress, home and tomb, it is said that Leap Castle is home to many fascinating and sometimes horrific spirits.

Numerous people were imprisoned and executed inside – and it is said that it is one of the reasons why it is haunted.

The Bloody Chapel is reported to be home to many of the wandering spirits of the estate. People say that the rule of the O’Carrolls was plagued with family struggles, resulting in an awful murder.

One of the stories from the Bloody Chapel tells of the bloody murder of the O’Carroll priest by one of his brothers in a bid to gain power.

While the priest was holding mass for a group of his family, his brother burst into the chapel, plunged his sword into him and fatally wounded him. The butchered priest fell across the altar and died in front of his family.

For many generations, there have been reports of light streaming from its barren windows at nightfall. The smell of burning rubber and even the spirit of the murdered priest lurking in the stairwell is often reported.

This isn’t the only gruesome story attached to the castle, as there is also the tale of Emily and Charlotte. People have reported being able to see the ghosts of these two little girls playing in the Main Hall after having lived on the estate during the 1600s.

After falling from the castle's battlements, Emily perished at the age of 11. There are still reports of a young child falling from the high walls of the castle, only to vanish before hitting the earth.

According to reports, Charlotte is seen dragging a deformed leg in tow. You might even see the governess – also referred to as the nanny – alongside Emily and Charlotte.

It is believed that the ghost of a woman who was murdered by the brutal O’Carroll family back in the 1500s also still wanders the castle’s corridors.

Sightings usually account for a terrified woman who is spotted wearing little clothing. She screams twice before disappearing into thin air.

Another apparent ghostly apparition is known as The Red Lady, with sightings having been seen for centuries.

People say she roams in a long red dress, tall and lean with long flowing brown locks, all while holding a dagger menacingly.

It is believed by many that one of the O’Carroll clan captured the woman and raped her, resulting in her becoming pregnant. On delivering the baby, the O’Carrolls killed the child with a blade. In absolute despair, the woman grabbed the knife and ended her life, too.

Another account states that two O’Carroll family members were fighting over the woman, and when she tried to flee, they chased after her and stabbed her to death.

Without a doubt, its past is filled with unimaginable death and harm. It's hardly surprising that this castle is Ireland's most haunted because entire battalions have died here and family members have murdered family members.

The castle has even been featured in TV shows such as Scariest Places on Earth, Most Haunted, Ghost Hunters International and Ghost Adventures.

Even a former resident of Leap Castle – a woman by the name of Mildred Darby – cites paranormal activity.

“I was standing in the Gallery looking down at the main floor when I felt somebody put a hand on my shoulder,” she later recalled.

“The thing was about the size of a sheep. Thin, gaunt, shadowy … its face was human, to be more accurate, inhuman. Its lust in its eyes, which seemed half decomposed in black cavities, stared into mine. The horrible smell one hundred times intensified came up into my face, giving me a deadly nausea. It was the smell of a decomposing corpse."

She added: “There is something heavy that lies on people’s beds, and snores. They feel the weight of a great body pressing against them, in a room in the Priest’s House.”

Over the centuries the castle has moved into the hands of different families and revenge, rivalry, and power played pivotal roles in shaping its history.

While it was being renovated in the 70s and 80s, workers found a dungeon where people were locked away to die.

At the bottom of the shaft were spikes and three cartloads of human bones. It is believed that previous owners would drop guests through the trap door to be impaled on the spikes eight feet below. Today, the dungeon is covered to keep people away from it.

Since 1991, the castle has been privately owned by the musician Sean Ryan and his wife Anne who continue the restoration work.

Today, Sean and his family privately own the castle. They greatly confirm the supernatural presence residing in the home alongside them. However, they also express that they have experienced no sinister apparitions during their tenure.

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