My Visit to the Haunted Craigdarroch Castle

20161115_123310Getting to this haunted castle was not easy. I’ve been meaning to check it out for years, and there always seems to be other things to do when I’m in its hometown. Long story short: I decided to make a point of seeing it this year. Just “it.” A whole trip devoted to being in a haunted castle.

Well that didn’t work either. At least not at first.

I planned to drive down with PJ on Saturday as part of my birthday weekend celebration, but–and I’m not fibbing here– a sliver of glass from a broken mirror stopped me. Instead of looking for ghosts I spent three hours in a medical clinic waiting for a doctor to dig the glass out of my foot. That only made me more determined to see the castle.

I decided Tuesday would be the day.

The History of Craigdarroch Castle

20161115_130101Craigdarroch castle, built by the late coal baron Robert Dunsmuir between 1887 and 1890, is in downtown Victoria (the capital of the province of British Columbia, Canada) on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Robert Dunsmuir did not live to see it completed, but his wife a few of his children and grandchildren moved into it. After Jane Dunsmuir’s death it was sold for less than forty thousand dollars and over the years has been used as a military hospital after the first world war for “long treatment cases and incurables,” Victoria College -the first home of what was to become the University of Victoria (where Pierre Burton studied), the Vancouver School Board office and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. It is now preserved as an historic site (i.e., the Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum).

Interesting Facts:

  • Craigdorrach means “rocky oak place” in Gaelic. Lord Dunsmuir was a Scottish immigrant.
  • the castle is 25,572 square feet
  • it has 17 fireplaces and seven chimney stacks
  • gas and electric lighting
  • central heating (originally coal fired furnaces, later electric)

 But is it haunted?

According to British Columbia Magazine:20161115_120259

“Welcome ever smiles and farewell goes out sighing” Shakespeare quote on hearth

“Although the current owners of the castle do not acknowledge that it is haunted, that doesn’t stop the rumours. Visitors report seeing a little girl, as well as the apparition of a maid; a woman’s feet have been seen running down the stairs, and strange music has been reported, as well. There’s also this very strange story about a man ascending stairs.”

What do I Think?

Quite possibly.

Pictures Courtesy of PJ

This gargoyle like figure is wrapped around a wooden bar, which hangs inside the turret.

PJ took some great pictures (60 actually). I’ll feature some of them

The stained glass windows are amazing.


The Smoking Room
Loved the tiny wooden blinds on the windows.
I’d love to use this dining room for a scene in a Gothic murder mystery
The beds were tiny and the ceilings low.


The entrance is gorgeous. Note the wooden ceiling. Apparently it was all prefabricated, which was a very modern idea back then.

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

6 thoughts on “My Visit to the Haunted Craigdarroch Castle”

      1. What a fascinating looking place. You were so lucky to tour it. Haunted I don’t know but sometimes it seems like you can feel former owner in old places. Such beautiful windows. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love Craigdarroch Castle. I’ve been there at least twice, once also for a birthday celebration, two year’s ago. You’re right the rooms are tiny but the details, especially the stained glass is exquisite. But I found note in the top of the tower the most interesting. It was a newspaper clipping from the 1800’s explaining the salaries of coal miners compared to the cost of heating with coal. I think it was a
    not very subtle dig at Robert Dunsmuir, nonetheless I’d love to live in the castle for a weekend – ghosts and all, as long as they put the fireplaces to good use for me.


    1. Hi Helena,
      The stained glass was gorgeous. It was a cloudy day so they actually look more stunning in the pictures taken with a flash. I’d love to see them on a sunny day.
      I didn’t see the newspaper clip, but that’s a cool thing for them to add to it all.
      I don’t think I could do a weekend, but I could definitely do tea. lol.
      Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation.
      all the best,


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