Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Obsession With Castles - Dragsholm Castle

Last week I featured Bothwell Castle, so I thought it only fitting that this week's feature be Dragsholm Castle, located in Denmark.  Considered one of the most haunted castles in Europe, it reportedly boasts over 100 ghosts within the walls, including the ghost of James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell.  I have always been fascinated by this, and have always wanted to visit Denmark and the famous Dragsholm Castle.

History of Dragsholm Castle
Dragsholm Castle is one of the oldest castles in Denmark.  It was first built around 1215 by the Bishop of Roskilde, modified during the middle ages to a fortified castle and eventually was so strong that it was the only castle able to withstand the forces of Count Christoffer in the mid-sixteenth century.   Around 1536, it passed to the Crown during the Reformation and remained as Crown land for over 100 years; it was used during this time as a prison for noble and ecclesiastical prisoners.   Many famous people were held as prisoners for crimes and behaviours against the throne. 

For Visitors
Currently, the Castle is owned and run by the Bottger family as a hotel, restaurant, and attraction.   The hotel rooms have been refurbished and modernised.  The land surrounding the castle is full of lakes and meadows, a nature lover's paradise; it is an area much loved by artists and nature lovers for its undulating landscape and ever-changing appearance. 

Ghosts of Dragsholm Castle
Dragsholm Castle claims to be one of the most haunted castles in Denmark, with over 100 spirits living within its walls.  Amongst all these spirits, three seem to make the most appearances and to gather the most attention to its visitors.

1) The Grey Lady
While staying overnight, a visitor may awaken to find a ghostly lady keeping watch over them because this spirit still keeps an eye on things in order to make sure things are running smoothly.  Apparently, as the legend goes, this lady suffered from a toothache that was cured by someone in the castle.  This grateful spirit returns to check up on visitors ever since and to repay the kind deed of which she was once in need.

2) The White Lady
Unfortunately, this story is a little more tragic.  In the early 20th century, workers were dismantling a wall during a renovation and came across a skeleton dressed in a white gown.  As the story goes, the daughter of a former owner fell in love with a commoner who worked in the castle.  The girl's father eventually discovered them and in a rage, he ordered his daughter to be locked in a room in the castle.  This spirit still haunts the hallways at night.  There are so many stories like this one, aren't there?

3) The Earl of Bothwell
James Bothwell, the consort of Mary, Queen of Scots, is perhaps the most famous of the spirits to haunt Dragsholm Castle.   He was imprisoned in the cellars of Dragsholm Castle for murder of Lord Darnley for the remaining years of his life.  The story goes that he went mad and died in 1578.   Visitors can see the same pillar where the Earl was once chained and some of the artifacts that he had with him during his imprisonment. 

Hotel And Restaurant
Today, Dragsholm Castle is a beautiful place to visit and stay.  It is open during the spring and summer months on a daily basis for those interested in tours of the castle and to learn a bit about the local history and history of the castle.  For those who wish to stay, the castle is a fine establishment in which to stay the night, with all of the modern conveniences you'd expect.  It is also home to Denmark's oldes wine-cellar, originating to the 13th century.  All produce and ingredients used in the restaurant are locally grown, something the restaurant is imminently proud.

I, personally, would love to visit and learn more about the history of this amazing place.  And, maybe, just a little part of me, would love to see one of these spirits that haunt this amazing place.  Without getting scared and hiding under the covers, that is, and ruining the moment. 

Off to Denmark I go one day and I can't wait!!



  1. I love castles too. I have some post on European castle I visited if you are interested. They are labeled under vacation memories.

  2. Castles are so cool. Lot of history and dream worthy thoughts just looking at their architecture. Fun post!