An historic house in south east Ireland is now available to view in a virtual tour… it’s said to be the country’s most haunted!
Loftus Hall on the Hookhead Peninsula in County Wexford has an unsettling history. It even hosted the Devil himself, if stories are to be believed. With doors thrown open to internet users, the expression “ghost in the machine” has never been more appropriate.
The tour isn’t free. It’s part of a plan to sell the iconic property by owner Aidan Quigley. £8.97 (approx $12) is requested for a nose around the spooky corridors and period rooms. With the Hall on the market for just shy of $3 million, that’s small potatoes.
What do people get for their money? Aside from the building – erected in 1350 – and its fascinating features, there are 63 acres to stretch the legs around. Tired walkers can then go to sleep in one of the 22 bedrooms.
News of Loftus Hall going on the market broke months ago. But with travel stalled by Coronavirus, Aidan and co-owner Shane Quigley decided to put the property online in more ways than one. Virtual visitors are presented with green dots as they inspect the interior. These aren’t free-floating emanations but information points. Clicking on them delivers an audio commentary.
So what makes the place so darned creepy? It was a certain incident back in the late 18th century that really made the Hall’s name. On a typical dark and stormy night there came a knock at the door. A stranger was welcomed in from the cold by the Tottenham family. The warmest welcome is believed to have come from Lady Anne Tottenham, who was rather taken with the guest.
When the occupants sat down to play cards, a nasty surprise awaited. An unfortunate incident occurred when Anne dropped something, requiring her to dip her head under the table. That’s when things got really hairy. Instead of a pair of gentleman’s shoes, she saw the handsome visitor sported 2 cloven hooves.
Anne’s scream prompted the unholy card shuffler to shoot up into the ceiling, where he disappeared. All That’s Interesting writes, “A loud clap of thunder erupted right after and a cloud of smoke appeared, leaving the family engulfed by the scent of sulfur.” Either the man had a thing for matches or Lucifer had just been in the parlor.
Naturally disturbed, Anne reportedly lost her mind. The Tottenhams kept her in the tapestry room, another part of the tour. Does her restless spirit still reside on the premises? Loftus Hall’s website notes: “The family had the local catholic priest Fr. Broaders exorcise the Hall but he could not exorcise the tapestry room.”
Did the stranger hoof it out of there for entirely different reasons? Some reckon the truth is a lot more down to earth, though no less tragic. The chilling tale may have covered up a pregnancy out of wedlock between Anne and the stranger… one where the infant sadly passed away.
Cyber-explorers can get a look at the so-called “Devil’s door”, an access point for the Prince of Darkness. Also grabbing attention is the 120 ft corridor servants would travel down. The lengthy passage is referred to, somewhat graphically, as a backbone.
The Loftus family owned the Hall from the 17th century. It was previously Redmond Hall, changing hands during the upheavals of Oliver Cromwell’s time. Before the Quigleys took charge in 2011, it functioned as a refuge for nuns, a girls’ school and even a hotel.
Aidan and Shane are keen to connect visitors to the building’s history and haunted heritage. To that end, they’re running a spine-tingling streaming event called “Loftus Hall After Dark” between the 15th – 28th of this month. And they weren’t going to let Friday 13th go by without some serious ghost hunting, care of the Paranormal Researchers Ireland group.
The Hall is closed to the public at present. As well as being a tourist attraction, it’s also a work in progress. Constant renovations have taken their toll, with the Quigleys finally giving up the ghost. However they reportedly want a new owner to roll out the welcome mat for visitors.
It can feel like a lonely job for sure. Though Aidan believes he isn’t alone, in a strictly supernatural sense. Quoted by the Mail, he says: “there isn’t a day at Loftus Hall that I don’t feel that there is something or someone there with me”.
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Who will step forward to inherit this singular and spooky pile? The next prospective buyer is only a click away…