Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle, of course, is located in Lancaster in the English county of Lancashire. It is one of the few medieval castles which still serve an official purpose these days. The Ministry of Justice operates a Crown court in one part of the building. Other parts of the castle are used as a prison which laid the groundwork for many paranormal phenomena to be found in the haunted Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle

Photo of Lancaster Castle - Courtesy of Iain Houghton

The precursor of the castle was a Roman fort built in 79 AD on a hill which was strategically situated to keep an eye on a crossing over the River Lune. Time passed and one building after another was constructed over each other. In the 1090s, Lancaster Castle formally took shape. For the most part of its history, the castle functioned more as a prison than as a fort. It was also the place where most of its prisoners were executed, usually by hanging. Between 1782 and 1865, about 265 persons were terminated here in this manner.

With such a large number of people who came to an untimely end in Lancaster Castle, it is a foregone conclusion that sightings of ghosts here are a common occurrence. There are four specters which have been sighted frequently.

The Ghosts of Lancaster Castle

One is just a child. This ghostly young girl can be heard and sometimes even seen running around parts of the castle. At times, she is sighted in the company of a ghostly middle-aged woman. At other times, she is accompanied by a haggard old woman. The other frequently-sighted ghost is that of a monk. This monk was said to have been hanged in the castle. This ghost is normally sighted on the ground floor followed by a sensation of icy chill.

The Pendle Witches Trials at Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle - Courtesy of Kevin McDonnell

Nearly four centuries ago, Lancaster Castle was the venue for the famous Pendle Hill Witches trials. Ten persons were accused of practicing witchcraft which had caused the death of ten other persons in the area. All the accused, two men and eight women, finished their lives on the business end of the hangman’s noose. Interestingly, their ghosts did not haunt Lancaster Castle. Instead their spectral forms have been sighted around the village of Newchurch which lies in the dark shadow of Pendle Hill where they used to live. Pendle Hill looms on the eastern horizon of Lancaster Castle.


In 2004, Living Channel presented a Halloween special with a live investigation of Pendle Hill. The show’s presenter, Yvette Fielding, said it was the scariest episode they had ever made. A local film crew also had an extraordinarily hair-raising experience. As part of Pendle’s Paranormal Road Map, presented by Clitheroe-based TV historian Simon Entwistle, they went up the hill to hold a séance in a barn at the top. Three members of the team became possessed. They turned distressed and violently ill.

Visitors to Lancaster Castle have had their share of paranormal encounters of the unexpected kind. Even on day-time tours, many people have experienced the sensation of being pushed or shoved when there were no other people near them at all. So far nothing untoward has happened yet.

If you are taking a stroll along the battlements of Lancaster Castle, be sure to keep a firm grip on the handrail so that you would not inadvertently end up on the other side of the great divide.

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