Ghosts of Chillingham Castle

General Article

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, UK is said to be the most haunted castle in the UK and not surprisingly since the castle houses dark dungeons and macabre torture chambers. This ancient fortress dates back to 1246, when the Earl Grey lords built this remarkable building and where the Earl Grey ancestors have resided for centuries.

The castle is presently the home of Sir Humphry Wakefield Bt., his wife The Hon. Lady Wakefield and their family. The family claim it is the most haunted castle because of the many ghosts which frequently haunt their home.

The most notable ghostly apparition is the ‘blue boy’ (or ‘radiant boy’) who is said to haunt the castle’s Pink Room. Many guests, whilst occupying the room, have heard terrifying wailing sounds soon to be followed by a halo of blue light appearing above their bed.

Although that particular haunting ended when a gruesome discovery during renovation work revealed the bones of a young boy and a man who had been bricked inside a wall. It was intended that no one should ever hear their piteous cries for help, as the wall was built 10 feet thick.

This was not the end to the hauntings in Chillingham Castle. The owners have also witnessed a much more sinister energy which wanders the halls…the terryfying spectre of the once evil torturer – John Sage.

JOHN SAGE – A GHOST OF EVIL PAST

When nighttime falls around Chillingham Castle, one of the most feared sounds to be heard on occasions is that of ‘something’ slowly dragging its foot as it wanders the corridors. It is believed to be the spirit of former Lieutenant, John Sage who earned the nickname ‘dragfoot’, when in life, his leg was injured by a spear during his final battle in the ongoing wars with his Scottish neighbours.

After his injury he was desperate for a position of work and was proud to be given the title of Chillingham Castle torturer by the castle owner Edward Longshanks (1200 AD). Sage was a monster of a man and his gruesome work would give him immense satisfaction for the next 3 years, where he would go on to torture at least 50 of his Scottish enemies per week.

Sage would revel as the Scots were captured and tossed into the castle’s dungeons. These poor souls would wish they had perished on the battlefield, as Sage was renowned for carrying out the most hideous tortures in history. One torture device came to be known as one of the most feared…’the cage’. This apparatus would trap its victim and then be placed over a blazing fire – roasting the captive for hours, whilst Sage sat studying his enemy – writhing and screaming for their death.

Sage’s insatiable thirst for torture would eventually lead to his downfall, when one day his lover Elizabeth Charlton paid him a visit. During their sexual liaison, Sage decided to place Elizabeth on one of his other torture devices – ‘the rack’. Sage then began strangling her during the height of her sexual pleasure, but he went too far and accidentally killed her.

Elizabeth’s father (a Border Reiver, clan leader and outlaw), upon hearing of his daughter’s death, warned the now almost penniless Longshanks, if he did not have Sage killed he would join in an allied attack with the Scots against the Castle.

Longshanks’ dwindling resources due to the war and the fact that the Border Reiver’s were a powerful force gave him little choice but to put Sage to death. He was hanged on the grounds of the castle on ‘Devil’s Mile’ (aka, Devil’s Walk) before a crowd of jeering onlookers.

As Sage’s body still twitched with life, the crowd set about him – slicing pieces from his body, including his nose, toes, and testicles. A rather ‘cutting’ fate, some may say, for one who’s greatest rapture was the sight of an ungodly end.