Located in County
Offaly in Ireland is the famous Leap Castle. Over 400 years ago in what
is now known as the "Bloody Chapel" a shocking murder occurred.
Leap Castle was then a stronghold of the O'Carroll family, powerful
Irish Princes, Chieftains of the area.
In 1532, on the death of the O'Carroll Chieftain, a fierce rivalry for
the leadership erupted within the family. The bitter fight for
power turned brother against brother. One of the brothers was a
The O'Carroll priest was holding mass for a group of his family (in
what is now called the "Bloody Chapel"). While chanting the holy
rites, his rival brother burst into the chapel plunging his sword into
his brother. Fatally wounding him, the butchered priest fell
across the altar and died in front of his family.
The heinous act of brother killing brother and the blasphemy of a
sacred mass cut short by such an evil event sent an echo of misery
ringing throughout the castle.
Another source of evil was found at Leap Castle that may have
compounded and nurtured the spirit of the elemental. A hidden
oubliette (a dungeon) was found off the bloody chapel. It was a
small room with a drop floor. Those who were forgotten within this room
suffered unimaginable pain and misery until their death.
Prisoners would be pushed into the room to fall through the floor and
land on a spike eight feet below. If you were not lucky enough to
die quickly on the spike, you died of starvation in a door less room
while the aroma of food and the sounds of merriment drifted up from the
rooms below. A narrow window would let you watch those who came
and went in freedom from the castle. Around c.1900 workmen who
where hired to clean out the oubliette made a hideous
discovery, human skeletons laid piled on top of each other. It
took three full cart loads to remove all of the bones. Among the
bones workmen found a pocket watch made in the 1840's. It is not
certain if the dungeon was still in use then.
Because of its extremely bloody history Leap Castle has always had a
reputation of being haunted, a reputation so strong local people
avoided it at night. Completely gutted by fire, Leap Castle was boarded
up and it's gates were pad locked for over 70 years.
Locals have described seeing the windows at the top of the castle
"light up for a few seconds as if many candles were brought into the
room" late at night. The castle laid in ruin for years.
Shortly after Leap's dungeons gruesome discovery, a psychic disturbance
may have caused the emergence of the elemental spirit. In 1659
ownership of Leap Castle passed in marriage from the O'Carroll family
to an English family, the Darbys. The Darby family turned Leap
into their family home, with improvements and additions and landscaped
gardens . In the late 19th century descendants Johnathan and Mildred
Darby were looking forward to raising their family here.
The occult was the fashion of the day, and Mildred Darby did some
innocent dabbling, despite the castle's history and reputation for
being haunted. Mildred's dabbling with magic awakened the
elemental with ferocious velocity.
In 1909, Mildred Darby wrote an article for the Journal Occult Review,
describing her terrifying ordeal. "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..., it's 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.
The elemental is thought to be a primitive ghost that attaches itself
to a particular place. It is often malevolent, terrifying and
unpredictable. After Mrs.
Darby's experiments in the black arts, Leap Castle has never been the
same. Hauntings plague Leap leaving a sinister air throughout the
castle. The Darbys remained at Leap until 1922. Being the
home of an English family, it became the target of the Irish struggle
for independence. Destroyed by bombs, completely looted, nothing
but a burned out shell remained. The Darby's were driven
In the 1970's Leap Castle was purchased by an Australian, who had a
white witch brought in from Mexico to exorcise the castle. She
spent many hours in the bloody chapel, when she emerged she explained
that the spirits at Leap Castle were no longer malevolent, but they
wished to remain.
In the 1990's the castle was sold to the current owners. They
were aware of the castle's troubled history. Shortly after moving
in they began restoration of the castle. During which time a
"freak accident" left the owner with a broken kneecap delaying
restoration work on the castle for nearly a year. One year after his
"accident" the owner was back at work restoring his castle when the
ladder he was standing on suddenly tilted backwards away from the wall
causing him to jump several stories resulting in a broken ankle. Both
were strange accidents.