|Elemental of Leap Castle|
|Theories|| · Ghost|
· Demonic presence
The Elemental of Leap Castle is a frightening spirit said to haunt Leap Castle, a castle in Coolderry County Offaly, Ireland, about four miles north of the town of Roscrea on the R421.
- A short, skeletal monster
With sharp claw decayed face and smells of sulphur
- Said to resemble Golum from Lord of the rings
- A small hunched creature covered in long dirty hair
There are varied accounts as to when exactly the main tower/keep was constructed; ranging anywhere from the 13th century to the late 15th century, but most likely around 1250 AD. It was built by the O'Bannon clan and was originally called "Léim Uí Bhanáin" (as was the fertile land around the castle which was associated with the Bannon clan), or "Leap of the O'Bannons". The O'Bannons were the "secondary chieftains" of the territory and were subject to the ruling O'Carroll clan. There is evidence that it was constructed on the same site as another ancient stone structure perhaps ceremonial in nature, and that that area has been occupied consistently since at least the Iron Age (500 BC) and possibly since Neolithic times.
The Annals of the Four Masters record that the Earl of Kildare, Gerald FitzGerald, tried unsuccessfully to seize the castle in 1513. Three years later, he attacked the castle again and managed to partially demolish it. However, by 1557 the O'Carrolls had regained possession.
Following the death of Mulrooney O'Carroll in 1532, family struggles plagued the O'Carroll clan. A fierce rivalry for the leadership erupted within the family. The bitter fight for power turned brother against brother. One of the brothers was a priest. While he was holding mass for a group of his family (in what is now called the "Bloody Chapel"), his rival brother burst into the chapel, plunged his sword into him and fatally wounded him. The butchered priest fell across the altar and died in front of his family.
In 1659, the castle passed by marriage into the ownership of the Darby family, notable members of which included Vice-Admiral George Darby, Admiral Sir Henry D'Esterre Darby and John Nelson Darby. The central keep was later expanded with significant extensions. However, in order to pay for these extensions, rents were raised and much of the land accompanying the castle was sold. This is one theorised motivation for the burning of the castle during the Irish Civil War in 1922.
In 1974 the castle was bought by Australian historian Peter Bartlett, whose mother had been a Banon. Bartlett, together with builder Joe Sullivan, did extensive restoration work on the castle up to the time of his death in 1989.
Since 1991, the castle has been privately owned by musician Seán Ryan, who is continuing the restoration work.
- The castle has been visited by paranormal investigators from ABC Family's Scariest Places on Earth and Living TV's Most Haunted in its first season, as well as The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) from the of Syfy's Ghost Hunters. Most recently in August 2014, Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures filmed their tenth season Halloween special at the castle.
- Mildred Darby once described an encounter with the Elemental:
Suddenly, two hands were laid on my shoulders. I turned round sharply and saw, as clearly as Isee you now-a grey ‘Thing’, standing a couple of feet from me, with it’s bent arms raised as if it were cursing me. I cannot describe in words how utterly aweful the ‘Thing’ was, it’s very undefinableness rendering the horrible shadow more gruesome. Human in shape, a little shorter than I am, I could just make out the shape of big black holes like great eyes and sharp features, but the whole figure-head, face, hands and all-was grey-unclean, blueish grey, something of the colour and appearance of common cotton wool. But, oh! so sinister, repulsive and devilish. My friends who are clever about occult things say it is what they call an “Elemental”.
The thing was about the size of a sheep, thin, gaunt and shadowy in parts. It’s face was human, or to be more accurate, inhuman, in it’s vileness, with large holes of blackness for eyes, loose slobbery lips, and a thick saliva-dripping jaw, sloping back suddenly into its neck! Nose it had none, only spreading, cancerous cavities, the whole face being a uniform tint of grey. This too, was the colour of the dark coarse hair covering its head, neck and body. It’s forearms were thickly coated with the same hair, so were its paws, large, loose and hand-shaped; and it sat on it’s hind legs, one hand or paw was raised, and a claw-like finger was extended ready to scratch the paint. It’s lustreless eyes, which seemed half decomposed, and looked incredibly foul, stared into mine, and the horrible smell which had before offended my nostrils, only a hundred times intensified, came up to my face, filling me with a deadly nausea. I noticed the lower half of the creature was indefinite and seemed semi-transparent-at least, I could see the framework of the door that led into the gallery through its body. [sic] (leapcastle.net)
- Originally named Leim Ui Bhanain meaning ’Leap of the O’Bannons’. Legend has it that two O’Bannon brothers were contesting the chieftainship of their clan. The only way to settle this argument was a display of strength and bravery. They were to both jump off the rocky outcrop where the castle was to be built. The survivor won the honour and right to be Chieftain. Thus the castle was built, fueled by blood and death. (leapcastle.net)
- One early belief is that the Elemental was put there by druids long before the castle was built to protect the sacred site used for initiations and druidic magick.
- Another theory is that the Elemental was placed there by an invading force to burn the castle from the inside. The person responsible is thought to be Gerald Fitzgerald Earl of Kildare. He was a renowned magick practitioner and had attempted to take over the castle on several occasions.