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Lair of the Beasts: An Irish Monster
The Creature of the Castle
By Nick Redfern
February 04, 2012
Neil Arnold – the author of many acclaimed books, including Monster!; and The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: London, says: “There is nothing like a chilling ghost story,” adding that “one of my favourite ghoulish tales comes via Reverend Archdeacon St. John D. Seymour, and concerns a bizarre entity once said to have haunted an Irish castle.”
The story, Neil notes, “is mentioned in True Ghost Stories by Marchioness Townshend and Maude Ffoulkes, who comment that ‘the truth of this story was vouched for to Mr. Reginald Span by the Vicar of the Anglican Church, Arizona, as it happened to some friends of his when they once rented a picturesque castle in the South of Ireland.’”
So the weird saga went: a certain “Mrs. A” was sitting alone in one of the castle’s bedrooms, awaiting the return of her husband. Suddenly, there was the sound of one of the doors banging in the corridor outside the room. More disturbingly, the sound of footsteps could be heard. Someone or something – or, maybe even some thing – was creeping around the old castle. Grabbing a lit candle, Mrs. A carefully opened the door and, to her horror, saw a darkened, shadowy form heading towards the staircase.
Evidently, the entity realized it presence had been noticed, and it turned to face the by now fear stricken Mrs. A. It was at this point that her terror was elevated to stratospheric proportions: the thing was apparitional in nature, and had the head of a man, but the body of a mighty, hair-covered ape. For a moment it glared malevolently at Mrs. A, before vanishing into nothingness. The story is not over, however.
Several nights later, the woman’s husband also saw the animal-man, after his attention was drawn to the shadows of the landing, from where distinctly unsettling and creepy laughter was emanating. On looking up, Mr. A was confronted by a beast that – just as the man’s wife said – had the body of a large and hairy ape and the head of a man – and a most ugly man, too.
Interestingly, Mr. A evidently got a better look at the creature than did Mrs. A, and he could see that the hair of the monster appeared to be of a red-brown color. In what sounds like some bizarre nightmare, as the man headed up the stairs to confront the man-thing, the laughter got louder and echoed through the old halls of the castle. Not surprisingly, the man thought better of his actions and raced for the safety of the bedroom.
For a few days, things were mercifully quiet. It was a situation that was not destined to remain so. While arranging flowers one afternoon in the drawing-room, Mrs. A felt two hands on her shoulders, and, thinking it was her daughter, she spun around, only to be confronted by the cackling creature, looming over her at a height that easily exceeded six feet.
Mrs. A screamed for help, and, as a friend came running, the strange and unearthly entity vanished – just as before. And, for the family, enough was enough: They packed their bags and returned to the United States. And, after all that, who can really blame them? The beast, apparently, was not seen again.
Whatever the truth of the matter, the old legend of the ghostly ape-man of the castle continues to live on.
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, his most recent being Keep Out.