Most paranormal investigators consider it to be a job well done if they manage to find evidence of one spirit in a haunted building. A recent article in The Mirror revealed that while one may be enough for most, it is a far cry from the world record for the most ghosts in a single building. That title may belong to a castle in Denmark – we say ‘may’ because the esteemed record keepers at Guinness World Records don’t have a category for ‘Most Ghosts’ or ‘Most Haunted Building’. However, there are a couple of other paranormal world records worth noting, and the Danish castle has some serious paranormal investigators to back up its claim, so let’s take a look at the castle with the most ghosts and some other haunting records.
The original Dragsholm Castle was built around 1215 by the Bishop of Roskilde on Zealand, the largest and most populous island of Denmark. While it looks more like a building than a castle, it us strong and heavily fortified enough to be the country’s only castle to survive the so-called Count’s Feud (1534 – 1536) and became the official castle of the Danish Crown. It is now in the hands of a private owner who turned it into a luxurious hotel that caters to those looking to stay in a haunted castle with an alleged 100 ghosts, ranging from nobility to peasants, which is why it popped up in the news recently.
One of the oldest and more famous spirits is James Hepburn, also known as Lord Bothwell, who married Mary Queen of Scots, possibly murdered her former husband and definitely stole another woman’s dowry, for which he was imprisoned at Dragsholm for 10 years – mostly chained to a pillar where he was unable to fully stand up. His ghost has been reported in the courtyard and riding on horseback, and his mummified body in still on display in a nearby chapel. No longer there but responsible for another ghost were the skeletal remains of Celina Bovles, whose father had cemented her wearing a white dress behind a wall after discovering she had become pregnant with a boy working at the castle – the white lady seen roaming the castle's rooms and grounds is thought to be Celina.
While one Bishop of Roskilde is famous for building the castle, it is the last one who haunts it after being imprisoned there – his wails and moans are heard on the second floor. Competing with the White Lady is the Grey Lady who is thought to be the ghost of a maid who worked at the castle – the master of the castle gave her treatment for a terrible toothache and, after dying a short time later, showed her gratitude by returning as a ghost who seems to guard the castle rather than haunting it. King’s confidant Ejler Brockenhuus ended up in prison and became the Mad Squire who now roams the hall where his cell was. If you’re keeping count, that’s five ghosts at Dragsholm Castle. While mediums and investigators have counted 95 more, there is little record of them, which could be why the Guinness World Record people stay away from verifying it.
One paranormal record Guinness does recognize also popped up in the news recently – the World’s Largest Quija Board at the haunted Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania. Owner Blair Murphy and then-girlfriend Camille Zamboni were playing with a Ouija board in 2016 and suddenly the paranormal activity at the 1880s hotel kicked up a notch – guests felt presences, the owners saw floating people and pets acted freaked out. That inspired them to build the 1,302.54 square foot (121.01 square meter) Ouija board, which is now on the roof of the third floor of the hotel and officially certified by Guinness. That inspired another person to build a bigger Ouija board in Salem, Massachusetts, that is 15.5 feet long, 10 feet wide and weighs about 400 pounds, but it hasn’t been verified by Guinness. Blair Murphy isn’t too upset because he hold another Guinness paranormal world record – hanging in the Grand Midway Hotel is the World’s Largest Tarot Card – it measures 6.42 m (21 ft 1 in) long and 4.87 m (16 ft 0 in) wide and was certified in 2017.
Another ghostly Guinness record is for the world’s oldest ghost – that title belongs to a spirit at the Ghost Ranch in north-central New Mexico's Rio Arriba County. Many visitors to the area claim to have seen a huge, ghostly reptile of serpentine form measuring 20 to 30 feet in length – locals have even given it a name … Vivaron, the snake-demon. In 1947, paleontologist Edwin H. Colbert discovered a huge cache of fossil skeletons in this area, including one from an elongated 30-foot-long crocodile-like creature known as a phytosaur – the ghost now had another name. If true, that means the ghost was of a creature that lived 220 million years agon in the Triassic Period, making it the world's oldest ghost and qualifying it for a mention in the Guinness World Records.
How can a ghost earn the title “World’s Most Expensive Ghost”? Guinness bestowed that title, actually a tie between two ghosts, to two vials which allegedly contain the exorcised spirits of an old man and a young girl after they were sold in 2010 in an online auction for $1,990. Avie Woodbury of New Zealand claimed they had been captured in the vials after an exorcism in her Christchurch house – the older spirit allegedly belonged to Les Graham, who died in the house in the 1920's, while the younger was a girl conjured up by a Ouija board. After being exorcised, the spirits were placed in vials of holy water, which Avie claimed “dulls the spirits’ energy.” They may be dull, but they’re now world record holders.
Finally, not listed in the Guinness records but considered by many to be one is the world’s oldest depiction of a ghost. Found on a tablet made in ancient Babylon around 1500 BCE, Irving Finkel, a curator in the British Museum’s Middle Eastern department which owns the tablet, says the image is only visible when viewed from above under a light and it depicts instructions for exorcising a ghost. According to the directions, the exorcist should make figurines of a man and woman, prepare two vessels of beer, and at sunrise speak ritual words to the Mesopotamian god Shamash, who would transfer the ghost into one of the figurines. Half of the tablet is missing, so it is not clear if the beer is to tempt the ghost or to celebrate when the exorcism is over.
Most ghosts, oldest ghost, most expensive ghost, largest Ouija board, largest Tarot card … those are impressive paranormal records but there are obviously more. Grab your spirit tool kit and start hunting – the Guinness people are anxiously awaiting your call.