Ireland’s Haunted Leap Castle
Built somewhere between the 13th and late 15th century, this Irish castle has seen more gruesome deaths than a Game of Thrones wedding. As legend has it, during a struggle for power within the O’Carroll clan (which had a fondness for poisoning dinner guests), one brother plunged a sword into another, a priest, as he was holding mass in the castle’s chapel. The room is now called “The Bloody Chapel,” and the priest is said to haunt the church at night. And the horror doesn’t end there. During castle renovations in the early 1900s, workmen found a secret dungeon in the Bloody Chapel with so many human skeletons, they filled three cartloads when hauled away. The dungeon was designed so that prisoners would fall through a trap door, have their lungs punctured by wooded spikes on the ground, and die a slow, horrific death within earshot of the sinister clan members above.
The Lady Ghost of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA
Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion
Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion was originally designed to be The Museum of the Weird, a museum of strange and haunted items from throughout the world. The concept then morphed into a haunted walk through a wax museum. Announcements were made as early as 1961, six years after Disneyland had opened, but then the Haunted Mansion was put on hold for Disney to devote all attention to the 1964 World’s Fair. Look for the monsters in the wood work, the iron work and the wallpaper, all kept from early concepts for the Museum of the Weird.
You get to ride in a Doom Buggy—-the carts that take guests to the otherly world. They were first dubbed Omnimovers and created at the 1964 World’s Fair. The new technology allowed storytellers to control what guests see and allows for a controlled line of sight similar to a movie experience. The Omnimover technology was originally used for Adventures Through Inner Space, but continues to be used for attractions like The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Disney California Adventure and Spaceship Earth at EPCOT.
The bride found in the attic is named Constance Hatchaway. The attic scene has changed over the years, but has always featured a bride. Hatchaway appears twice on the ride: once in the stretching room when she is sitting on the tombstone that reads “Rest in Peace – Dear Beloved George” and once in the attic when she raises her ax on many of her past relationship. And the connections continue. The owner of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, aka, the Tower of Terror, is George Hightower, aka, poor Beloved George …
Read many more interesting facts at Get Away Today’s 20 Scary Facts About the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland by Chris Dallin.
And if you have the opportunity, visit the Haunted Mansion yourself!
Famous Witch: Marie Laveau
Marie Laveau (1794–1881) was a Louisiana Creole: descended from the colonial white settlers, black slaves and free people of color of southern Louisiana. For several decades this ‘Voodoo Queen’ held New Orleans spellbound. She staged ceremonies in which participants became possessed by loas (Voodoo spirits); she dispensed charms and potions, even saving several condemned men from the gallows; told fortunes and healed the sick.
She became a hairdresser to create economic stability for herself and her family. Through interaction with her Black clients who were house servants, she was exposed to personal information about her wealthy White clients, who often sought her counsel. Laveau used this information to give informed counsel to the people who sought advice from her concerning their personal affairs. Many wealthy and politically affluent individuals, both White and Black, paid Laveau for personal advice, intervention in some situations, and protection against any evil energy that might have been placed against them.
She allegedly lived at 1020 St. Ann Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The original home was demolished in 1903, but the new home was built on the original foundation. The location is registered as a historical landmark.
Learn more about the life and times of Marie Laveau at History of American Women and Britannica.com.
Interested in other locations you can visit where famous witches lived or were accused? Check out Owlocation’s 6 Real Witches’ Houses and Cottages You Can Visit.
White Lady of Worstead Church
In 1975, Diane and Peter Berthelot along with their 12-year-old son visited the Worstead Church in north Norfolk, U.K. Peter took a photo of his wife sitting and praying on one of the church benches, and when they reviewed the developed photos some months later, a friend of Mrs. Berthelot asked, “Who’s that sitting behind you, Di?”
The figure in the photo behind Mrs. Berthelot appears to be wearing light-colored, old-fashioned clothes and a bonnet.
The Berthelots returned to Worstead Church the next summer with the photo and showed it to Reverend Pettit, the church vicar. He explained to Diane the legend of the White Lady, of whom she had never heard. It is said that the ghost is a healer who appears when someone near is in need of healing. When she visited the church at the time of the photo, Diane was in ill health and was taking antibiotics.
Reports of the ghost date back well over 100 years. According to one story, on Christmas Eve of 1830, a man boasted a challenge to the White Lady. He said he would climb to the top of the church’s belfry and kiss her if she would appear. So up he went. When he failed to reappear after a time, friends went to search for him. They found him in the belfry, cowering in a corner, terrified. “I’ve seen her,” he told them, “I’ve seen her….” And then he died.
For a time, Mrs. Berthelot said she felt a calming tingling sensation whenever she looked at the photo, but that feeling has since subsided. Today, the church has been remodeled into a pub.
See more images of ghosts with spooky backstories at liveabout.com: Best Real Ghost Pictures Ever Taken.
Famous Witch: Mother Shipton
Mother Shipton was a feared and highly regarded English prophetess of the 16th century. Born to a mother who was also suspected to be a witch, Mother Shipton was described as hideously ugly and disfigured—so much so that the locals called her “Hag Face” and believed her father to be the Devil.
Despite her unfortunate appearance, she was said to have been England’s greatest clairvoyant and was often compared to her male contemporary Nostradamus. According to legend, she had predicted the Spanish Armada, the Great Plague of London, the Great Fire of London, the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and some even speculate, the Internet: “around the world thoughts shall fly in the twinkling of an eye.”
Mother Shipton did not die by fire or sword like so many accused witches before and after her. Instead, she died a peaceful death and is said to have been buried on unholy ground on the outer edges of York around 1561.
You can visit Mother Shipton’s Cave in North Yorkshire, England.
Learn about four other real witches from history at Biography.com — Bewitched: 5 Real Witches in History.
Haunted UK: Chillingham Castle
The Addams Family Mansion
A 19th century Victorian home in Los Angeles’ West Adams District provided the basis for the Addams Family Mansion. The Addams house, located at 21 Chester Place, was built in 1888. Oddly enough, the actual house is only shown in the first episode of the first season and is visible during an opening exterior shot, and during the show’s intro reel. Unlike the Addams Mansion, the real house at 21 Chester Place only had two floors! To add the third floor and the gothic tower, the show’s production crew took a 30 x 40 inch photo of the house and had a painter create the missing details.
During its existence, the Victorian house went through a number of ownership changes, eventually winding up in the hands of Mount St. Mary’s College. The house has subsequently been demolished to make way for a recreational track.
Learn about more the real landmarks behind recognizable houses from pop culture at 5 Fictional Homes That Exist in Real Life.