Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, which is where the movie “Downton Abbey” was filmed, has quite a ghostly past. According to the current owner, Lady Fiona Carnarvon, the castle corridors were once haunted by a footman who committed suicide at the location.
She recalled a story from several years ago when she and her then 3-year-old son Edward were in the basement while a photographer was taking pictures for her book. She told RadioTimes.com that she saw an apparition of a man wearing dark clothes and a neck tie or cravat while they were all in the cellar.
“I turned and saw a man coming towards us out of the gloom,” she explained, “He seemed slightly undefined.” At that point, she told her son, who was driving a toy car, to go faster, and they ended up crashing through a door. The unexplained figure, however, just stayed at the doors watching them.
After their encounter, Lady Carnarvon contacted an Anglican monk named Father Peter to ask him if he’d come to the castle and bless it. After the monk blessed the property, she said that she never saw the ghost again. “I assume it worked,” she said in reference to the blessing, “But I don’t think the area is necessarily wholly without ghosts.”
She did, however, do some research on who the ghost could have been and she found out that during the 19th century, a nursery nurse was having a secret affair with a footman and one day when she left the nursery, the Countess’ baby died as a result of cot death. The footman apparently felt so guilty for luring the nurse away from the nursery, he ended up slitting his own throat inside of the castle – not far from where Lady Carnarvon saw his ghostly apparition.
The footman isn’t the only ghost that has been seen at the castle. Lady Carnarvon’s father claimed to have seen a “well-dressed lady” who greeted him by saying, “good evening”. Another ghost was allegedly banished to a yew tree on the grounds of the castle after six bishops visited the property in the 19th century.
During an interview with co-hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from This Morning, Lady Carnarvon commented on the castle’s ghostly past. “I don’t think it is haunted. It’s just there are a few other people sometimes living with me.” Well, that’s certainly a new way of saying “Yes I live in a haunted house”.