Today’s haunted journey takes us to the south eastern part of the Republic of Ireland's County Wexford. Here you will find what claims to be the most haunted house in all of Ireland, Loftus Hall.
Loftus Hall sits near the Hook Lighthouse on the Hook Peninsula. Hook Peninsula is picturesque, rough and rocky. This is where the saying, “By Hook or by crook” came. In general, the area feels like a place where the savage wind just might whip you off a cliff on to the jagged rocks below. One can be easily moved by the air of spirited danger mixed with salty sea breezes.
But is Loftus Hall truly haunted? Enough to be “The most haunted of all of Ireland?”
A Personal Encounter with the Most Haunted House in Ireland
From a distance, the ancient house looks the part. It looks wild and slightly unkept. Windows are boarded over. The landscape around the house is barren and not inviting. To get to the house, you must travel a long lane. (This will play a part later in the story.) But as you draw near to the house, you find a large parking lot, like one you might find at a small amusement park. There was room for several buses to park as well as plenty of parking for cars.
This made me feel skeptical to say the least.
Visitors enter through a backdoor past a climbing wall. (Yes, a climbing wall with a bell to ring when you reach the top.) The entry way is complete with a ticket booth, a gift shop and a snack cafe. Your ticket is a specially printed playing card. (Again, this ties into the story later.) We were guided by a gentleman dressed as an old-time gambler. And so, our tour began.
We were led to the parlor of the grand old house and told the story of Loftus Hall.
Loftus Hall’s Disturbing History
As with any good scary story, this one includes Satan and a game of cards. One stormy night, a devilishly good-looking man knocked at the front door of Loftus Hall. He explained that his horse had gotten spooked by a clap of thunder and thrown him down the road. Other versions of the story says the mysterious stranger claimed to have been aboard a ship, just recently docked. Supposedly he had walked from the road, down the long lane, during the storm... yet he was completely dry.
He begged the residing family for shelter from the cruel night. The kind hearted Lord Charles Tottenham, agreed, however challenged the stranger to a game of poker. The stakes were agreed upon that if the strange won, he could spend the night for free. However, if Lord Tottenham won, the stranger had to pay a large sum for his stay.
During the game Lord Tottenham’s daughter, Anne, served refreshments. The stranger was very taken with young Anne’s beauty and she was charmed by his good looks. The flirtation was not missed by Lord Tottenham. And though Lord Tottenham was kind-hearted, he did not plan on losing the bet. While the stranger was distracted with Anne, Lord Tottenham cheated at the card game and dealt himself the four aces. During the game, servants reported that the stranger had hooves instead of feet and smelled of sulfur.
Illustration: A Poker Game With Lucifer in Loftus Hall (Credit Aura)
Determined to win, Lord Tottenham triumphantly revealed his winning hand, knowing no one could beat four aces. This so angered the stranger that he transformed into his true self, the devil. He cursed the family and all who enter Loftus Hall.With this horrific and evil pledge, he turned into flames and shot through the ceiling. (Upon reaching this point of the spooky tale, our guide directed our gaze to a scorched section of the ceiling.)
Frightened by the spectral reaction from this ungodly monster, Anne locked herself in her room. Many believed she herself had been possessed by demons. She spoke in tongues and performed strange rituals. Some stories include that she was with child, perhaps that of the stranger. For the next 9 years she isolated herself completely. From her death in 1775 in that very room until this day, there is a corner of the room that is extremely cold. It is also said that she is sometime caught in pictures staring out at visitors.
Lord Charles Tottenham – Loftus Hall (Credit: Credit Aura)
Today’s Loftus Hall “Haunted House” Tour
Let’s be clear at this point: The house is rigged with moving pictures, special lighting, and cameras. The guides are all actors. It is clear that this is a theatrical production. A reenactment.
Haunted Theatrics of Loftus Hall (Credit: Independent.IE’s “Travel Ireland”)
However, the tour does also include Anne’s room. The Tapestry Room. It is said that there was a body of an infant or young child found in the walls of this room. It is a dark and lonely bedchamber. There were isolated pockets of cold especially in one corner which also seemed darker than the rest of the room, as if a dark fog filtered out the light. The energy and feelings in that room were not man-made funhouse illusions. It is one of those places where gravity changes and there is a heavy and disorienting feeling.
There was something dark, sad, and very confused lurking there. Perhaps a heart-broken Anne. Perhaps something more sinister.
Putting Lotus Hall and Its Dark Haunted Imprint Into Perspective
For the most part, Loftus Hall has been turned into a tourist stop, a funhouse, a place to go, especially near Halloween season. They even have a concert venue on the grounds. Because of all of the human activity, it is hard to tell how haunted the location is.
Actors in ghostly mode inside the haunted Loftus Hall in Co Wexford (Credit: Independent.IE’s “Travel Ireland”)
There is definite activity in Anne’s room. It is the residue of a troubled soul and a broken spirit. There is a darkness that can be found in places of madness and depression. Does that make it Ireland’s Most Haunted? Not in my book, but worth a visit should you find yourself on the Hook Peninsula of southern Ireland.
Phantom captured on a tourist’s Photo (Could this be Annie?) (Credit: History Goes Bump In the Night)
You can find out more about Loftus Hall and watch the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures as they investigate the building. Their findings were much more dramatic than mine, but they were there overnight. My visit was during the day.
Ghost Adventures in Loftus Hall (Credit: Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures)