There are plenty of haunted places in Ireland, but none quite so haunted as Loftus Hall. The Loftus Hall haunting legend tells of a poor girl's imprisonment - as well as a visit from the Devil himself - and ends with hauntings so vivid that, according to lore, spirits appear vividly in photographs. Because the hall has cycled through numerous owners over its vast history, determining who may still roam its ancient corridors poses a particularly eerie challenge.
Loftus Hall, though it may be one of Ireland's many houses marked by the Devil, is still a lovely piece of architecture. Despite its dark history, the Hall elicits visitors from around the globe with its unique design and furnishings. Of course, ghost hunters have ventured there as well, many of whom have met with a seemingly paranormal welcome.
While the story behind Ireland's most haunted house may span hundreds of years - and may be touched by elements of crime, danger, and tragedy - the tale continues to be engrossing for those who love a few shivers up their spines.
The most infamous ghost story of Loftus Hall begins not with a tragic demise but with a visit from the Devil himself. The legend claims that, during the Tottenham family's residence in the 1700s, a terrible storm struck the coast. A ship washed up on the peninsula, and one young man who survived the ordeal found his way to the Hall, where he begged for shelter. The Tottenhams invited him in, and he remained as their guest for several weeks. During that time, he became quite close with the family's youngest daughter, Anne.
While playing cards one night with the young visitor and several other guests, Anne dropped some of her cards. Upon leaning down to pick them up, she saw that the stranger had cloven hooves in place of feet. When she screamed in fright, the stranger revealed that he was actually the Devil in disguise.
As if to prove his identity, he transformed into a ball of fire and blasted through the roof, leaving a hole in his wake. From that moment on, the house supposedly experienced many strange phenomena. Some suggest the Hall's eerie occurrences are due to a continued satanic presence.
Loftus Hall's most infamous legend goes on to claim that, following the Devil's departure, Anne was both traumatized and heartbroken, and her mental state soon collapsed. Her family, embarrassed by her erratic behavior, confined her to her chambers, where she remained until her passing around 1775.
Sadly, Anne was confined even after her ultimate end. Following her interment in a Wexford cemetery, locals were concerned she would somehow escape, and her tomb was soon sealed with cement to prevent this gruesome possibility. While these locals may have sought to prevent the Devil - or grave-robbers - from reaching her remains, they perhaps fretted Anne would somehow rise from the grave.
Mysteriously, the hole in Loftus Hall's roof through which the Devil allegedly made his fiery escape does not stay repaired. The Tottenhams attempted to patch the rift directly following the Devil's exit, but it simply fell through again.
The family conducted an exorcism meant to drive the Devil away, but as the hole persisted, his presence seemed to linger. Eventually, the family acquiesced the hole's presence, leading many modern-day visitors to photograph the gap. One owner of the Hall fully accepted the rift, claiming the Devil could come and go as he pleased.
Visitors to the Hall can still observe the anomalous section of the ceiling. One portion appears offset from the rest, as if it still strains to fall through again.
One alternative to the infamous Loftus Hall legend claims the shipwrecked visitor who fell in love with Anne intended to marry her; however, when he asked her father's permission, Tottenham turned the man away due to his low status. Anne allegedly never recovered from the heartbreak of the stranger's dismissal, leading her parents to lock her away and fabricate a devilish tale to save face.
Another theory proposes Anne became pregnant with the stranger's child. To hide the illegitimate pregnancy, the Tottenhams shut Anne away until she could deliver. According to this theory, Anne tragically passed during either pregnancy or childbirth. The tale of the Devil's visit was then invented to explain away the ordeal.