Most of the Chillingham Castle ghosts are not the literally, 'tortured souls', that one might expect to find given the atrocities that went on there. Built over 800 years ago to stop the Scots from invading England. Anyone captured would find themselves in the Dungeon with its Torture chamber, the floor of which slopes to allow the blood to drain away.
There was no escape except death and prisoners made marks on the walls, which can still be seen, counting off the days until this merciful release from their unendurable suffering. If a prisoner was really unlucky then he came in for the attention of John Sage.
This cruel and sadistic torturer, who died about 1200, has often been seen wandering around the castle. He used to take great pleasure in his grisly work, even devising new and 'improved' methods of inflicting pain on his victims. During the three years he held the job, he is said to have tortured to death over 7,500 people and killed several hundred others in various ways.
At the end of the war with the Scots, wanting to rid the castle of the prisoners, he rounded up the Scottish adults and older children being held and burnt them to death in the court-yard. He then took an axe, which can still be seen, and hacked to death the smaller children in the Edward room. The chandelier in that room sometimes swings by itself and people report a foul smell and strange atmosphere.
John Sage's undoing was when he accidentally strangling his girlfriend as they made love on the 'torture rack' in the castle dungeon. Unfortunately for John Sage, his girlfriend's father was a Border Reiver who said that he would gather a great army and attack the castle if Sage was not put to death. John Sage was publicly hanged from a tree in the castle grounds in front of a very large and enthusiastic crowd. And as he slowly died, people cut off pieces of him as 'souvenirs'. So ended the life of a truly detestable man.
Radiant Boy or Blue Boy
The most famous of the Chillingham Castle ghosts was the 'Radiant Boy' or 'Blue Boy'. The sound of a young child in absolute terror or fear would be heard at the stroke of midnight in the Pink Bedroom coming from a point where a passage had been cut through the 10 foot thick walls. The sound would suddenly cease and the wraith of a young boy, dressed in blue and surrounded by a bright aura would approach the old four-poster bed.
In the 1920's, building work was being carried out and the bones of a child were discovered along with scraps of blue bones were discovered. These were interred in the local graveyard and the Radiant Boy ceased making his appearances.
However, people who sleep in the bed in the Pink Room, report that one wall of the room still lights up with bright flashes of blue light.
Two lady ghosts
A Chillingham Castle ghost who can be seen today haunts the 'Inner pantry'. She is very frail and dressed in white, hence the name by which she is known. A watchman who slept in the room to guard the silver that used to be store there, saw the woman whom he assumed to be a guest. She asked him for water and as he turned to get her some, she disappeared. It has been suggested that the reason the spectre was so thirsty was that she had been poisoned.
Lady Mary Berkeley is another Chillingham Castle ghost. She is not seen but the rustle of her dress is heard by visitors or they feel a sudden cold chill as she endlessly searches for her husband. He scandalised the area when, in the 1600's, he seduced and ran off with his wife's younger sister. Poor Lady Mary was left all alone in the castle with just her small baby girl for company.
Visit or stay!
As can be seen, the ghosts at Chillingham are not frightening but are quite 'ordinary' spectres. Probably a very good thing as Chillingham Castle Ghost tours can be arranged by prior arrangement with the castle management.
Return from Chillingham Castle Ghosts to Haunted Castles