ACCESS ALL AREAS – LOFTUS HALL

BEYOND CLOSED DOORS...

As a newbie in Loftus Hall, I’d never actually been around the whole building. I’ve taken the tour, of course, and the Legend of Loftus Hall was ingrained into me as a child as my family parked at the top of the driveway and peeked through the gates at the most haunted house in Ireland.

In the reception you’re surrounded by new surroundings, a fantastic view of the sea and the beautiful walled gardens. It’s easy to forget that beyond the bright Tour Start door there waits a dark and shadowy haunted mansion.

Tours currently don’t go upstairs, the weak floors can’t hold large groups and the constant flow of people that venture through the house in the busy seasons would be too much for the 666 year old house to handle. Our Paranormal Lockdowns do venture upstairs but a whole house walk around is a rare occurrence. However, for the benefit of our blog, I’ve been granted access around the house and will bring my findings to you, our loyal Loftus Hall fans and supernatural supporters.

Anne, one of Loftus Hall’s longest-standing members of staff, appointed herself as my personal guide. As she pulled open the doors the cool interior of the house wafted over me, I was immediately creeped out. As the windows are boarded up the house is very dark, even on the sunniest of days. This was a very different experience from the tour which had the security of a group and the buzz of friendly voices – today the silence of the house echoed throughout the corridors. Often silence can be a looming and foreboding sound.

Each of our footsteps rang around the house, a part of me feared that they were being listened to and the feeling of being watched had me constantly looking over my shoulder. I stuck close to Anne, if she was afraid she was hiding it well – I don’t know if I could ever get used to walking around this house, I practically sprint to the office at the end of the day, fumbling fearfully for lights, always expecting something to appear out of the darkness.

We started with the ground floor, walking along the old servants corridor where the servants would have been able to tend to their duties out of sight. The tattered wallpaper hung from the walls, curling down to reveal chipped paint and gathered cobwebs. A catacomb-style pantry hid behind one of the doors along the corridor, the walls whitewashed and cold to prevent bacteria spreading from the food that was once kept there.

We progressed further down the corridor, turning into another door that led to the main staircase, a wooden beauty that caused me to forget momentarily that I was afraid. These stairs seemed to ignore the dilapidation that the house went through. I remembered from the tour that this staircase had two sisters, one resided in the vatican and the other at the bottom of the ocean aboard the RMS Titanic. I could almost imagine Jack waiting for Rose and wished Leonardo Di Caprio was here now – perhaps these stairs could entice him to visit!

Anne beckoned me to follow her up the mahogany steps, pulling me out of my wishful thinking. We passed a crucifix that is reported to move from time to time and paused on the landing to look at the stained glass windows, the glass was one inch thick and hand painted, the impressive panes gleaned in the sunlight though it failed to warm the freezing house. At this stage my hands and feet were almost numb with the cold and as Anne was showing me the tapestries that hung from the landing I felt like wrapping myself up in them for warmth (despite the beauty of their finely woven cloth).
We went through another door, I noticed the intricate details on the door frame as we did so, the woodwork here is sublime and it saddened me to see the black tags of graffiti artists scrawled across the walls and doors. During the period when Loftus Hall was vacant the house saw a lot of trespassers, it is believed that rituals and seances were carried out by various intruders – more than likely heightening any existing spiritual activity that would have already been here.

A time forgotten.

A Forgotten Time.

Anne and I progressed through the upper floor which would have been the family quarters. There were no lights here, even torch lights seemed to be swallowed up by the darkness. I panicked as my torch refused to work for a moment – the first time I’ve ever experienced this with an iPhone! I decided to ignore this once it came back on and refused to listen to the part of me that wanted to cry like a child. Instead I focussed on the old items of furniture that remained, placed sparsely in various rooms. “Oh, that’s moved again”, Anne mused to herself, straightening a mirror without a fear in the world and continuing on her path – this seemed to be a regular thing at Loftus Hall. Things move of their own accord… I looked back at the mirror as we walked away, it remained still to my relief.

We continued on going from room to room, Anne talking me through the history and me listening with as much attention as I could muster. 50% of me was keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary which I was prepared to run from. Eventually we ended up at the back staircase which we had initially passed on the servant’s corridor. Anne unclasped the blue velvet rope that blocked the stairway. As we travelled up these steps I was hit with a completely different feeling from the other side of the house. Here it was narrow and darker somehow. The walls had a blackness to them beneath whatever wallpaper still clung to the walls. I stepped over a cross inlayed into the staircase floor, marking the death of a nun who fell here and shivered as I did so.

Upon reaching the top step a long and dark corridor waited before us, narrow and daunting. I remembered this corridor from the TV show, Ghost Adventures, and dreaded walking down it. Anne pointed out the rooms that had the most activity along the way. When we reached a room at the end of yet another narrow corridor, Anne told me the experiences of people who felt the presence of a child-like spirit that haunted the room that we stood in. As she was telling me stories of hair being tugged or legs being tickled I suddenly felt the back of my right knee being pushed causing my leg to bend and my balance to go. My heart dropped and pounded at the same time. I straightened my knee again and felt the same pushing – this happened 4 times in total. “Anne my knee is being pushed!” I stated in horror, Anne nodded, amused and interested but not shocked and horrified like I expected her to be. I’d have to get used to the unexpected and mysterious things that this eerie house has to offer.

As we made our way back to reception I thanked Anne and under my breath said a quick thank you to the house, wary of having the utmost respect when dealing with Loftus Hall.

 

R. Reddin