Charleville Castle Investigation, January 2010
Charleville Castle is an impressive Gothic revival style castle located near Tullamore, Co. Offally. The castle is situated in Ireland’s most ancient primordial oak woods, believed once to be the ritual grounds of Ireland’s druids. The land on which Charleville Castle stands was part of the ancient monastic site of Lynally during the 6th century. Later, in the early days of Ireland’s colonization the lands became the focal point for the first Stuart, and later more violent Elizabethan, plantations. The lands, which were originally ruled by the O’Moore clan, were securely planted by the mid-fifteen hundreds and a dynasty was established which lasted into the late nineteenth century.
The castle itself was built by Charles William Bury, Earl of Charleville and was designed by Francis Johnston, one of the most esteemed architects of the day. It took fourteen years to complete this gothic fantasy fortress, whose outside appearance was designed as a celebration of victory over the third French revolutionary expedition to Ireland.
The castle had to be closed temporarily at times due to the owners living far beyond their means. However, upon each re-opening, new features were added in flamboyant celebration such as the ceiling within the dining room designed by William Morris. The castle owner was known as an eccentric character who hosted lavish parties. The castle played host to Lord Byron, who held many parties here, attracted to the castle due to the owner’s eccentricity.
The castle remained uninhabited from 1912 due to the economic hardship of these troubling times and by 1968 the roof had been removed. However, restoration was commenced by Michael McMullen in 1971 and later by Constance Heavey Seaquist and Bonnie Vance, the current owner.
Charleville Castle is said to be haunted and it has been visited by numerous paranormal investigators and psychics. Guests of the castle have reported unusual goings on at the castle as well. Reports have been made of clocks chiming where there are none; chairs rocking with no occupants; a child crying where there is no child; disembodied voices, footsteps heard in the dead of night and glowing fogs floating past. The dungeon is said to be the haunted by the entity of a sadistic torturer and the spirit of a child who slid to her death from the banister of a staircase is said to haunt the stairwell.
Myself and the Bumpz In The Nite team awaited the investigation with great anticipation and opened the investigation out to the public. After setting up equipment, such as a monitoring bay in the library and CCTV cameras in various places of interest, two groups were formed to investigate differing areas of the castle. One team began on the top floor, where the nursery was situated and the other began in the dungeon area. Both groups also contained ‘sensitives’.
My group first investigated the nursery, staircase and surrounding rooms. We experienced cold spots, but nothing more of interest. Another sensitive in the group did not pick up on anything, however I felt that something was ‘playing hide and seek’. On playing back a digital recording taken of me asking if any spirits were playing hide and seek an audible groan could be heard which was not heard by our group at the time. However, there were many cats loose in the building, so the sound of a cat cannot be discounted, although the EVP did not sound particularly feline. To me it seemed to be confirmation that a playful spirit had in fact been present.
The group in the basement and dungeon area reported unpleasant feelings and the sensitives in the group picked up on an unpleasant male entity which did not want them there.
The ballroom provided much more interesting results. One group experienced noticeable drops in temperature and cold spots. The room itself was not heated and extremely cold, but the drops in
temperature were extreme enough for the us to notice them despite this. The cold spots also seemed to move around the chairs we were sitting in. When I and the other sensitive called out we heard a few taps upon request. The other sensitive also picked up on several spirits in the room including a rather insistent female spirit who kept whispering a name and date. I myself felt that the spirits in the room were playful; giving us some signs of their presence initially and then ignoring the group for their own amusement. A later play back of digital recordings taken during the EVP session here yielded some remarkable results. Several times when I was calling out for signs of presence, such as knocks on walls and furniture, I was replied to by an unknown male voice answering in the affirmative.
The group who had previously been in the basement moved on to the staircase and nursery where the sensitives of the group picked up on the spirits of children. An individual who was manning the monitors also had an interesting experience to report as they saw a bright light pass by the door when they could clearly see that the teams were in rooms far away from the library. They also reported a large amount of orb phenomenon in the area of the corridor and stairway leading to the nursery when the groups had been gone from the area a long time.
Next we investigated the dungeon and basement which provided many knocks, bangs and moving of shadows which seemed to follow the us around. The area felt quite unpleasant, but this may have been more to do with its appearance rather than any unpleasant entities. The other sensitive in our group picked up on a man here who may have worked in the kitchen.
After each group had investigated all areas of the castle once, they once again separated off to investigate the places they wished most to return to. These were the ballroom and the dungeon. Following this it was decided to hold a séance in the library. This was decided as myself and two others who had been chatting and laughing in there during the break time had heard many taps and knocks, as if the energy of their laughter had drawn some spirits attention.
I led the séance which I found very difficult having only ever joined in a séance once as a spectator before. It felt like a baptism of fire somewhat. I was assisted by the other sensitive. Upon calling out there were several taps felt on the table, between my fingers and that of the person next to me. This alarmed us both, as the vibrations could be felt and yet there was nothing under the table that could have caused them. When asked to move to the other side of the table, the tapping sound complied. Eventually the tapping lessoned and petered out as if the spirits energy or attention had run out.
Following the investigation we found several interesting pieces of evidence such as strange voices on EVPs and also a photo which contained an unusual figure. The photo has been sent for further analysis. These pieces of evidence will be put up on the Bumpz In the Nite website in the future (http://www.bumpzinthenite.com/) Myself, the team and members of the public thoroughly enjoyed investigating this location and most who had attended were in agreement that this castle is most probably haunted and worthy of further investigation.