Getting 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
Craigdarroch 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).
- 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:
“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?
Pictures Courtesy of PJ
PJ took some great pictures (60 actually). I’ll feature some of them