June 27, 2024 | Sarah Ng

These Haunted Castles Have DARK Histories

Visit If You Dare

One of the best parts about visiting old castles is learning their wild histories. However, these four castles have reputations for being extremely haunted.

Buckle up, because if you're a fan of dark tourism, you might have to add these destinations to your bucket list.


Dragsholm Castle

Dragsholm Castle—or Dragsholm Slot—is a stunning white castle found only an hour outside Copenhagen. Built in 1215, it's one of Denmark's oldest buildings—and though it may be a fancy hotel today, it also has a dark and fascinating history that is not for the faint of heart.

Dragsholm CastleBococo, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: It Was A Prison

In 1536, Dragsholm Castle became the Danish Crown's official castle, and up until 1664, it was a prison used to lock up nobles and religious figures. 

Dragsholm CastleUnknown Author, PxHere

Dragsholm Castle: Opposing The King

Even the final Bishop of Roskilde was a famous prisoner, which was quite shocking because his predecessors had owned the castle—but of course, his opposition to the king doomed him.

Christian III of DenmarkOrf3us, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: Over 100 Ghosts

Despite having a very tumultuous history—and nearly being destroyed in times of war—Dragsholm Castle persevered. Considering its painful past, it's no wonder that there are many ghost stories. In fact, it's rumored that over 100 ghosts reside within the building's walls.

Dragsholm CastleToxophilus, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: A Famous Inmate

As one of the most famous prisoners, it makes sense that the very last Bishop of Roskilde would also be one of the castle's most famous ghosts.

Joachim RønnowLouis Moe, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: A Haunted Hotel

The Bishop of Roskilde is the reason the castle tower is haunted. After all, this was where he was locked up. Today, however, the rooms that once witnessed so much pain and isolation now host eager tourists looking for a good night's sleep... though it might be hard to come by.

Dragsholm CastleLipothymia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: Wailing And Moaning

Guests who have booked rooms in the castle have had some creepy supernatural experiences. Some claim that they've heard terrifying noises coming from the second floor hallways—spine-prickling wails and loud moaning. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Dragsholm CastleToxophilus, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: The Mad Squire

One of the ghosts is believed to be Ejler Brockenhuus, a man who had been close to the king. However, when Brockenhuus's relationship with the king imploded, he became one of the castle's unfortunate prisoners. His particular fate was downright devastating.

Portrait of Frederick II of Denmark and NorwayHans Knieper, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: He's Still Rambling

Tragically, Ejler Brockenhuus lost his mind in prison, earning himself the sad nickname, "the Mad Squire." His angry ramblings were almost impossible to decipher, but some guests have reported hearing his ghost blathering on close to the spot where his cell once was.

Ejler BrockenhuusAnders Thiset, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: He Stole Her Dowry

Another famous ghost at Dragholm Castle is none other than the 4th Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn. Hepburn messed up big time when he left his fiancée Anne Rustung to wed Mary, Queen of Scotts. Even worse? He ran off with Rustung's dowry. This betrayal would come back to haunt him.

James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, Third husband of Mary Queen of Scots in yellow clothesUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: A Murder Suspect

James Hepburn landed himself in even more trouble when he became a suspect for the murder of Lord Darnley. He tried to escape to Denmark, but that's when Anne Rustang's enraged father hunted him down. 

Lord DarnleyAnn Longmore-Etheridge, Flickr

Dragsholm Castle: Chained Up

Hepburn paid a terrible price for his betrayal of Rustang. Not only was he imprisoned in Dragsholm Castle, but he was also chained up and expected to perish. Though he died at the age of 44, it seems as though Hepburn's spirit still lingers. 

Dragsholm Castle's gourmet restaurantToxophilus, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: Taking The Carriage

There have been sightings of James Hepburn's ghost in the castle, and some have even said they've seen him in a horse-drawn carriage, arriving at the estate. 

However, there's an even sadder story than James Hepburn's.

Dragsholm CastleOlaf Meister, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: The Lady In White

Another ghost seen by visitors is known as The Lady in White. People have reportedly become overwhelmed by feelings of sorrow upon seeing her—and for good reason.

blurred women in the gardenŞeyda Hacıhasanoğlu, Pexels

Dragsholm Castle: Star-Crossed Lovers

Many assume that The Lady in White is Celina Bolves from the noble Bolves family. As the story goes, Celina fell head over heels for one of the castle's employees—a mere commoner. But this love story was doomed from the beginning.

woman outside a castleZayceva Tatiana, Pexels

Dragsholm Castle: Breaking The Rules

Celina's father did not approve the match and banned her from being with her true love. Unfortunately, Celina did not follow her father's rules and continued the dalliance. However, when she wound up pregnant, things took an even darker turn.

Dragsholm CastleNiels Elgaard Larsen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: They Trapped Her

Yes, Celina's own father imprisoned her in the castle. Similar to James Hepburn, she found herself shackled, but even worse, it's alleged that she was completely enclosed by a wall specifically built around her.

Dragsholm in Denmark.Morten Edvars, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: Finding Her Remains

It wasn't until the 1930s that Celina Bolves's remains were found... sealed in the walls of the castle's basement. Reportedly, she was wearing a white dress.

Dragsholm CastleToxophilus, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Dragsholm Castle: Stunning Gardens

Dragsholm Castle has countless stories of death and destruction, but as it is a lavish hotel today, tourists come to experience the estate's stunning gardens, golf course, and the lushness of the surrounding nature. Even foodies will have a blast here, as the castle is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Dragsholm castleNiels Elgaard Larsen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle

Located in Stirling, Scotland, Stirling Castle is one of the country's most famous castles. Nestled on Castle Hill and framed on three sides by precipitous cliffs, it was once an ideal defensive site. 

Stirling CastleAndrew Shiva Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: A Violent History

Stirling has a stormy history filled with wars and sieges, so it's no wonder that it also has some of the best ghost stories imaginable.

Stirling CastleJohn Slezer, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: A Mysterious Demise

Taking it back to 1820, this particular ghost story begins with a horrifying discovery: A sentry guard found the body of another deceased sentry—one he was supposed to relieve from his current duties. But that wasn't all.

Stirling CastleWknight94, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: Scared To Death

As the story goes, this dead sentry had a chilling expression on his face—his mouth hanging open in utter fear. Some claim he was scared to death. Since his strange passing, there have been three separate accounts of ghostly footsteps heard on the battlements.

Stirling Castle 2017DeFacto, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: Ghostly Footsteps

These eerie footsteps were first heard in 1946, and twice more down the road. The witnesses to this supernatural event have all been soldiers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. 

But this isn't even the most infamous ghost story of Stirling Castle.

Stirling Castlekim traynor, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: The Green Lady

Enter: The Green Lady. Superstition lingers around the story of the infamous Green Lady. Supposedly, if you are unlucky enough to see her, something bad is likely to happen.

Stirling CastleGary Todd, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: Two Origin Stories

The Green Lady has two possible origin stories—and both are equally tragic. One story is about a doomed romance between the daughter of a commander and a soldier. Because of the soldier's lowly status, the commander didn't approve of his daughter's romance. To nip it in the bud, he did the unthinkable.

Stirling CastleAlbert Henry Payne, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: She Took Her Own Life

To end his daughter's undesirable relationship, the commander ended up shooting the young soldier. The girl was so distraught by the loss of her lover, she jumped off of the Ephinstone Tower. 

Elphinstone towerInternet Archive Book Images, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: The Queen's Maid

The second possible story attached to The Green Lady involves Mary, Queen of Scots. Some think The Green Lady was one of the queen's maids who had a very superstitious personality.

Mary, Queen Of Scots in pink dressFrançois Clouet, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: A Self-Fulfilled Prophecy

On one fateful night, this maid was paranoid that something terrible was going to befall the queen. To keep her protected, she kept watch over the queen while she slumbered, forcing herself to stay alert. However, she inevitably grew too tired to keep her eyes open and fell asleep. That's when tragedy struck.

Stirling CastleUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: She Burned Herself

In the end, it was the maid herself who endangered the queen. When she fell asleep, she accidentally toppled a candle onto the queen's bedding. Though a soldier ended up saving both women, the maid had suffered extensive burns, and she later succumbed to her injuries.

Stirling CastleJulien.scavini, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: She's Stunning

There have been multiple sightings of The Green Lady. One soldier saw her on the castle stairs. Apparently, he was absolutely stunned by how beautiful she was. In this instance, she reportedly passed straight through him. But others weren't so lucky.

Stirling Castle, Stirling Castle MaidenKeown53, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: A Fainting Chef

One chef had been busy cooking a meal when he got a strange gut feeling that someone was behind him. He whipped around—and fainted on the spot after setting eyes on the infamous Green Lady. Even crazier? 

Stirling CastleE.Berlemont, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: Causing Fires

Reportedly, a sighting of The Green Lady is often accompanied by a minor fire breaking out somewhere in the castle. However, she isn't the only ghost named after a color at Stirling Castle.

King's Inner Hall, Stirling Castledun_deagh, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: The Pink Lady

The ghost of The Pink Lady is definitely more of a mystery as she was always seen exiting the castle. People have witnessed her walking in the direction of the Church of the Holy Rude at Ladies' Rock. 

In history, this was the location of dangerous jousting tournaments, where women watched their husbands put their lives on the line for the sake of sport.

Stirling CastleMalcolm Manners, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: She's A Mystery

However, the sad reality is that there's no knowing The Pink Lady's true origin story. Some claim that she's still looking for her deceased husband and that she perished from a broken heart, while others insist her name was Mary Witherspoon—a woman slain by grave robbers.

Sterling CastleSteve Collis, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: The Scent Of Roses

We'll never know the truth about The Pink Lady—but it is said that whenever she's sighted, a scent of rose blossoms permeates the air.

Stirling Castle Interior Of The Great HallHARTLEPOOLMARINA2014, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Stirling Castle: The Highlander Ghost

Finally, there is the Highlander ghost, who has been seen completely decked out in official regalia, as well as sporting a kilt. Many who have encountered him didn't even realize he was a ghost at first sight. He reportedly looks so realsome have even approached him, thinking he was a tour guide.

kiltZoe Litaker, Shutterstock

Stirling Castle: Moving Through Walls

Those who have gone up to him to ask a question have said that he just disappears without a trace. As well, the ghost of the Highlander has been known to move through walls, usually close to the dungeon.

Stirling Castle Royal PalaceDeFacto, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Berry Pomeroy Castle

The English are known for their many castles, but Berry Pomeroy Castle, located in South Devon, is one of the most haunted. Today, the ruins are owned by the English Heritage and anyone can visit. However, the site is made even more intriguing by its eerie reputation.

Berry Pomeroy CastleCharlieMansfield, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Berry Pomeroy Castle: A Long History

The land that the castle sits on dates all the way back to 1086; it was first owned by a Norman knight named Ralf de Pomaria. At first, only a manor house was constructed. However, by the end of the 15th century, the Pomaria—or Pomeroy—family had added the castle fortress.

Berry Pomeroy CastleAnthony Devis, Wikimedia Commons

Berry Pomeroy Castle: Gorgeous Ruins

After the Pomeroy family sold the castle due to financial struggle, it fell into the hands of the famed Seymour family. However, in 1694, it wound up abandoned—and over time, it crumbled into a beautiful, yet neglected, ruin, covered in ivy. 

Berry Pomeroy CastleGerry Labrijn, Flickr

Berry Pomeroy Castle: Two Sad Ladies

Today, Berry Pomeroy Castle has become a popular tourist destination, not only for its aesthetics but also because it is known to be haunted. There are two main ghosts: The White Lady and The Blue Lady.

The ghost of Margaret Pomeroy is said to be The White Lady—and she has a particularly twisted backstory. 

Berry Pomeroy Castle Shazz, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Berry Pomeroy Castle: The White Lady

Apparently, Margaret Pomeroy ended up under lock and key—imprisoned in the castle dungeons by her sister Eleanor. You see, Eleanor was allegedly extremely envious of Margaret's good looks and wanted to prevent her from getting married. The consequences were horrifying.

It is said that Margaret perished due to starvation in the dungeons. To this day, her ghost still haunts them. 

ghost dressThe Picture Hunter, Flickr

Berry Pomeroy Castle: The Blue Lady

The Blue Lady was first sighted in the 18th century, and is rumored to be an omen of death—for good reason. Stories about her have referenced her leading people toward the tower, causing them to get lost. On one occasion, someone even fell out of a window.

However, her story is unbelievably tragic.

blurred picture of woman moving, ghostAyşe İpek, Pexels

Berry Pomeroy Castle: A Real-Life Horror Story

The legend of The Blue Lady suggests that she was mistreated by her own father—a Norman Lord—and ended up pregnant with his child. Sadly, she either lost the baby or her father took its life. Roaming the castle, The Blue Lady's movements are attributed to her searching for her lost child.

Berry Pomeroy CastleRichard Croft, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle

Perhaps even more notorious than Berry Pomeroy Castle is Chillingham Castle. Originally built as a monastery in the late 12th century, it eventually became a castle. It can be found in Northumberland, and is said to have over 100 ghosts. Its history is utterly gruesome.

Chillingham CastleDavid Clay, Flickr

Chillingham Castle: The Butcher Of The Scots

Chillingham Castle has a pretty unsavory backstory. One of the most chilling figures to define the castle's history was a man named John Sage. His nicknames were "The Butcher of the Scots" or "John Dragfoot." As you can imagine, he was a pretty scary man.

Chillingham CastleDerek Voller, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: The Torture Chamber

John Sage's main domain was the castle's torture chamber. He was a twisted man who despised the Scottish. For three years, he reportedly brutalized over 50 people every week—and thousands are said to have perished at his hands.

Chillingham CastleGlen Bowman, Flickr

Chillingham Castle: Awful Devices

Today, visitors can visit a recreation of the castle's torture chamber, which displays some of Sage's nefarious devices. These include, "the wheel," "the iron Chair," "the rack," and "the iron maiden."

Chillingham CastleGlen Bowman, Flickr

Chillingham Castle: Popping Sounds

When it comes to the castle's supposed haunting, visitors have made some unnerving reports of hearing popping joints while standing close to the rack. But this wasn't the only part of the castle well-acquainted with death.

Chillingham CastleTSP, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: Lost To The Fire

When the Scottish-English War ended, the English decided to wipe out the prisoners in the most heartless way. They built a massive fire in the courtyard. Here, they sentenced the men, women, and older children to the flames. The younger children were not spared, meeting their own dark fates within the castle walls.

An English herald approaches Scottish soldiersUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: The End Of John Sage

Karma eventually came for the vicious John Sage, who was eventually hung. The public despised him so deeply, they made him suffer during his execution by cutting off different parts of his body.

Chillingham Castle 1718Samuel & Nathaniel Buck, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: The Courtyard Ghosts

Chillingham Castle has undoubtedly been the witness of countless atrocities, so its no real surprise that voices have been heard in the courtyard, and apparitions have been seen—including the ghost of John Sage himself.

Chillingham CastleGlen Bowman, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: The Blue Boy

Another reported haunting is that of The Blue Boy, who is said to haunt The Pink Room, which is not open to the public. According to this story, a renovation unearthed the remains of a boy. Tragically, it looked as though he had been enclosed in the wall while he was still alive.

Chillingham CastleThomas Quine, Flickr

Chillingham Castle: The Beloved Ghost

The Blue Boy's ghost is said to come from the wall—but before he comes into view, a blue halo is usually witnessed. However, he is not an angry spirit, but very friendly and beloved.

Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, Unsplash

Chillingham Castle: Lady Mary Berkely

Visitors claim to have experienced echoes of Lady Mary Berkely, whose cheating husband ran off with her sister. Apparently, the sound of her skirt sweeping the floor has been heard, as well as whispers and footsteps. There have also been reports of cold spots.

Lady Mary Berkeley chillingham castleElysium 73, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: The Chapel

The Chapel is another dark place in Chillingham Castle because the remains of three people were found there. Two were located beneath the stained glass window, while the skeleton of a little girl was found under the floorboards in the rear corner.

Tomb, St Peter's Parish Church, ChillinghamAndrew Curtis, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: A Sad Little Girl

Apparently, the ghost of this young girl still lingers. Women have reported that this ghost likes to toy with their hair. And those who seat themselves on the spot where her remains were found have claimed to be overwhelmed with feelings of sorrow.

Chillingham CastleDerek Voller, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: The Devil's Walk

Even the grounds of Chillingham Castle are haunted—from the idyllic gardens, where there were once three "hanging trees," to the Devil's Walk (the entrance of the grounds), where there were also many hangings. People have claimed to hear footsteps while following the Devil's Walk.

Chillingham Estate entranceLes Hull, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: Cold Spots

With its horrifying history, it's no surprise that Chillingham Castle is a hotspot for paranormal activity. There are said to be cold spots sprinkled around the castle—and oddly enough, batteries are known to deplete quite quickly. 

Chillingham Castle Derek Voller, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Chillingham Castle: The Unthinkable

From the unexplainable sounds and voices, as well as the apparitions, this is a castle that has witnessed so many unthinkable atrocities—we can still sense their echoes to this day.

Chillingham CastleDavidRBadger, Flickr


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