Located in Coolderry, County Offaly, Leap Castle is known as one of the most haunted locations in all of Ireland. And just recently a member of a group of paranormal investigators captured a video of what appears to be a ghost in one of the mirrors located inside of the castle.
On June 1st, a team of paranormal investigators were joined by 15 members of the public for a lockdown of the haunted castle. One of the public guests was recording a video of a mirror when they captured an eerie-looking figure. Lead investigator Siobhan McAuley told the Irish Mirror, “If you watch the mirror you will see the man coming back and forth on demand, we have named it ‘The Man in the Mirror’.”
The video was pretty shaky, as the person who was recording it didn’t have a steady hand. So was it really a ghostly man in the mirror or was it just a reflection or lens flare from the constant movement of the camera? You can see the video of the ghostly image here and decide for yourself.
Leap Castle does have an extensive history of paranormal activity. There are conflicting reports as to when it was first built – some say the 12th century, while others believe it was the 15th century. What is known, however, is that the castle was built on top of a site that was previously used by druids who conducted initiation ceremonies there.
The castle was originally called “Leim Ui Bhanain” which translates to “Leap of the O’Bannons”. The O’Bannons were a wealthy family, but they didn’t rule the castle for long, as the O’Carroll family seized the property and legend has it that many massacres took place there. After the chief of the O’Carroll clan passed away, his two sons fought over who would become the new ruler. When Thaddeus, who was a priest, was performing mass, he was killed by his brother Teighe at the “Bloody Chapel”. Thaddeus’ ghost can often be seen roaming around the chapel.
The McMahon family was at the castle for a celebration when the O’Carrolls poisoned them. The spirits of the McMahon family have been witnessed wandering around the grounds.
One of the most well-known spirits is the “red lady” who is a very tall woman wearing a fluttering red gown and holding onto a sharp blade. Legend has it that she was imprisoned by the O’Carrolls and was raped on numerous occasions. After she gave birth, the family murdered the baby and that’s when the distraught red lady took her own life.
One of the more gruesome discoveries was an oubliette that was found behind a wall inside of the chapel that had several human skeletons on wooden spikes. There were so many skeletons, that it took three cartloads to take away all of the remains. It is believed that the O’Carrolls’ guests would drop down through an unsuspecting trap door which had a spear at the bottom, ultimately killing them.
The daughter of the O’Carrolls later became the heiress of the castle and her husband would hide treasures around the property. However, after he was imprisoned, he returned to castle but forgot where he had hidden his treasures. His ghost – called the “wild captain” – is often seen searching the grounds, presumably for his lost treasure. One of the captain’s ancestors performed séances at the castle and allegedly awakened an evil elemental spirit.
In the 1970s, Peter Bartlett, who was an ancestor of the O’Bannons, purchased the property and did a lot of restoration work on the castle. He claimed to have experienced poltergeist activity and called on a white witch to help remove the spirits.
After Bartlett’s death, musician Sean Ryan and his wife Anne bought the castle in 1991. Unfortunately for them, they have been the victims of several accidents while living there, which included a broken kneecap and ankle. The Ryans still own the property to this day and people can take tours of the extremely haunted location.