Merry Meet All,
I look out my kitchen window to a sunny autumn morning. The blue sky is a welcome relief from the relentless rain we have had the last few days, and the sun shines on the trees. Leaves are turning and dew clings to the boughs. It is a beautiful autumn morning.
Word on the Street was wonderful. I arrived in the morning and signed in for my volunteer shift. I ushered the authors to their reading tents and helped people all day. I attended a reading, and talked to my friends and visited the Fierce Ink Press booth. I like the cover and title of the book The Night has Teeth by Kat Kruger, and once I have read that book, I plan to post a review of it on this blog. The setup of Word on the Street was wonderful. I found everything easy to find and the sun shone for the whole time of the festival. Volunteers were allowed to select a book for free for their efforts and time. I was tired at the end of the day, but I felt great.
I bought a book recently for research purposes and entertainment, we all love a ghost story. The book is entitled The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings by Theresa Cheung. I love this book. I like the cover of the book. The book does have one drawback and I have noticed this of other books about ghosts. It leaves out one of the scariest ghost stories I have ever heard of.
I will share the story then return to the book review. Leap Castle is a castle in Ireland with a bloody history. The castle was built by the O’Bannon family.
The O’Bannons were the “secondary chieftains” of the area, and were subject to the ruling O’Carroll clan. The Earl of Kildare tried to seize the castle but were unsuccessful and tried to seize it again within three years. By then, the O’Carrolls had regained possession of the castle.
Mulrooney O’Carroll died in 1532 and after that, the family was plagued with troubles. A rivalry for leadership broke out within the clan. The bitter fight tore the family apart. One of the brothers was a priest. The priest was holding massfor his family in what is now called The Bloody Chapel. While the priest was chanting the holy rites, his rival brother stormed into the chapel, and murdered him with a fatal blow from a sword. The butchered priest collapsed on the altar and perished in front of his family.
In 1659, ownership of the castle fell into the Darby family. But before that, there was another hidden source of true evil- an oubliette. That is the french word to forget. The ubliet (dungeon) was found near the bloody chapel. It is a room with a spike. You were put there to be forgotten about, pushed into the room, and die a slow agonizing death. A window let a person suffering in the ubliet to be able to see people walking merrily about below. That is torture. In 1900, workmen found the skeletons piled on top of each other. It took three cartloads to remove the bones. One of the workmen found a pocket watch from the 1840s but was unsure if the dungeon was in use then.
Due to its bloody history people avoided Leap Castle. It always had a reputation for being haunted. Most people avoided it at night. Leap Castle was boarded up and padlocked for seventy years. The gruesome dungeon discovery stirred a psychic disturbance. The elemental spirit emerged from the dungeon. In 1659 ownership of the castle passed to the Darby family. The Darby family renovated the castle and turned it into a family home. Mildred Darby was into the occult, and dabbled in it, unaware of the elemental’s ferocious velocity.
Mildred Darby wrote a story for the Journal Occult Review, which described her eerie encounter with the elemental. “I was standing in the Gallery looking down at the main floor, when I felt somebody put a hand on my shoulder. The thing was about the size of a sheep. Thin gaunting 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.” (Mildred Darby, for the Journal Occult Review.)
The elemental is believed to be a primitive ghost that attaches itself to a particular castle. It can be malevolent, terrifying, and unpredictable. After her experiments with the occult, which proves she was most unwise, things in the castle were never the same again. A sinister energy haunted the castle. The Darbys were driven out by the Irish struggle for independence. The castle was destroyed by bombs and was looted. A shell of the castle remained afterwards.
Leap Castle changed ownership again in the 1970s, as an Australian man purchased the castle, and had a white witch brought there to exorcise the castle. She explained that the spirits haunting the castle were no longer malevolent, but wanted to remain there. In the 1990s the castle was sold to the current owners. They knew about the castle’s dark troubled history.
In 1991 the restoration of the castle began. A ‘freak accident’ left the owner with a broken kneecap for a year, and one year later the owner was back at work to restore the castle. He was up on a ladder when the ladder he stood on tilted backwards. He fell several stories and broke his ankle. That same year the owner’s daughter was christened in The Bloody Chapel. The castle was full of happiness and love for the first time. Perhaps the sour spirits have finally found peace.
So my book may not include this macabre tale, but it is not a tale for the faint of heart. I would never live there but I would make a short visit. I hope the castle has found happiness, after its’ long dark bloodstained history. Do you dare to roam the halls of Leap Castle? I saw a video about the elemental that haunted the castle, and will never forget it.
The Element Encyclopedia is a great book otherwise. It does include a huge amount of other paranormal lore and phenomena. It includes stories of poltergeists, ghost hunts and famous mediums. I do find this book to be a reliable source for information, if I need to research or check something for my ghost story. The book is over 550 pages.