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Dragsholm Castle

Ghosts, light humour and serious beliefs, item 40

In 1536, King Christian III of Denmark decreed his kingdom a Lutheran state, renouncing Catholicism and forcing the imprisonment of the Catholic Bishop of Roskilde, Joachim Ronnow. Cells were built in the castle’s tower to house the ecclesiastical prisoner; where today, people report hearing chants and moans.

Joachim Ronnow is just one of more than 100 ghosts believed to be haunting Dragsholm Castle in Hørve, Sealand, Denmark.

Ronnow is in good company. The Fourth Earl of Bothwell, James Hepburn (who was also the third husband to Mary, Queens of Scots) died in the dungeon below the Drasgholm. After being captured in Norway, Hepburn was brought to Dragsholm, tied to a post in the dungeon and given just enough food and drink to allow him to continue to live. Driven mad by the inability to move and the conditions within the cells, Hepburn died five years later. Visitors to the castle continue to report the sound of hooves on the cobbled stones of the courtyard, as well as seeing Hepburn’s horse and carriage ride through the courtyard.

Then there is Ejler Brockenhuus, usually referred to as the “Mad Squire”, who was a Danish nobleman imprisoned within the castle. Like Hepburn, his confinement in the dank and filthy dungeon drove him mad. Many people have reported hearing his moans and groans floating from where he was imprisoned in the dungeon up to the main floor of the castle.

There are also women haunting Dragsholm. The White Lady, believed to be the ghost of Celestine Marianne de Bayonne Gyldenstierne (a Danish family of nobles). Though matches between commoners and nobles were forbidden, Celina fell in love with a young man working in the stables at the castle and became pregnant.

Her father killed the young man and, when the pregnancy was discovered, he had Celestine bricked into a wall in the dungeon, and then left her there to die. Since her death, her ghostly figure has been seen wandering Dragsholm’s hallways and her anguished cries heard throughout the building -- a story lent credence when a group of plumbers working in the castle in the 1910 discovered a female skeleton wearing a white dress bricked into one of the dungeon walls. Today an artificial skeleton wearing that same white dress can be viewed through a glass pane set into the wall where Celestine was found.

In contrast to The White Lady is The Gray Lady, a young woman who was working at Dragsholm Castle when she developed a debilitating toothache. The castle’s master gave the young woman a poultice which cured the ache…but she died from other causes shortly thereafter. However, to show gratitude to the castle’s master, The Gray Lady continues to return to the castle to check on the current visitors and confirm all is well.

Dragsholm Castle is not only one of the most haunted locations in the Denmark, it is also a working luxury hotel and restaurant which caters to tourists from all over the world with five star service from beyond the grave.

Ghost, Spiritual Or Historic Stories For Pubs And Restaurants