Haunted Chateaux

Halloween is approaching and I thought it would be fun to scare you a little with some Chateau ghost stories! So make sure you have a fortifying glass of claret to hand, sit back and enjoy!

Earlier this year Chateau Lagorce in Bordeaux was the site of a paranormal investigation by Ghost Hunters International – a spin-off series of Ghost Hunters that airs on Syfy. The Château Lagorce lies in Haux and dates back to the 15th century.

The vineyards there were planted with Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc in the 1800s as the chateau produced sweet wines made from botrytized grapes being near to Cerons. Lagorce also produced red wines and in 1868 Cocks and Ferret noted that the wines sold at twice the price of other wines in the commune, because of their high quality. The Holmes family bought the chateau in 2003 and it is now run as a hotel.

Lagorce is supposed to be haunted due to it being cursed when the Germans seized it during World War II and made it a Nazi post, housing prominent generals. Voices screaming “Fight” have been heard by those staying there, apparitions of soldiers and little girls accompany the shadow like figures and footsteps permeate the old hallways.

While investigating the team experienced many electrical issues with their equipment. Flash lights were going haywire, cameras not working, and battery drainage was rampant.

One investigator was awakened to some force pinning her down to the bed, something apparently experienced by former guests. Ghostly recordings revealed voices saying “This is Mine”, “Get Out”, and one lost soul calling out his name “Pierre”.

Chateau du Puymartin lies between Sarlat and Les Eyzies in the Dordogne and is a haven for ghost hunters hoping to see La Dame Blanche (the White Lady). The castle built in the 13th century (ca. 1270) was destroyed during the Hundred Years War, and rebuilt in 1450 by Radulphe Saint-Clar. Since the 16th century the legend of the White Lady has been causing a stir amongst the locals.

The White Lady is Thérèse de Saint-Clar, wife of Jean de Saint-Clar. On returning from battle he discovered his wife in the arms of her lover and imprisoned her in a room in the North Tower.

Thérèse was passed food through a hatch located in the ceiling but after fifteen years of incarceration, she died in her room. According to the legend her body is entombed still in the tower.

The most famous haunted chateau is actually within the grounds of a palace – that of Versailles. In 1901 two English women visited the gardens of the Petit Trianon (a small château located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles).

The controversy over exactly what these women saw there on that day would linger on for decades.

The chateau was constructed by the order of Louis XV for his long-term mistress, Madame de Pompadour, between 1762-1768. Upon his accession to the throne in 1774, the 20-year-old Louis XVI gave the château and its surrounding park to his 19-year-old Queen Marie Antoinette for her exclusive use and enjoyment.

The two women visiting Petit Trianon were Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain, both academics, principal and vice-principal respectively of St. Hugh’s College, Oxford. As they wandered lost through the grounds both began to feel strange.

They both had different encounters and it seems as if they had somehow slipped into the past. They talked to two men dressed in “long greyish-green coats with small three-cornered hats” and Anne saw a woman sitting on a stool, sketching. She wore an old-fashioned dress, covered with a pale green scarf.

Three months later, back in England, they realised that they had seen and experienced different phenomena so they decided to each write down a separate account of what they had seen and compare notes.

Investigating further, they discovered that the day on which they had visited the palace was the anniversary of the sacking of the Tuileries in 1792, when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had witnessed the massacre of their Swiss Guards and had been imprisoned in the Hall of the Assembly.

The two began to wonder if they had somehow seen the ghost of Marie Antoinette, or rather, if they had somehow telepathically entered into one of the Queen’s memories left behind in that location.

As if to confirm their suspicion, Moberly came across a picture of Marie Antoinette drawn by the artist Wertmüller.

To her astonishment it depicted the same sketching woman she had seen near the Petit Trianon. Even the clothes were the same.

The two women decided to conduct a full-scale investigation of their own to prove that they had seen the ghost of Marie Antoinette. The accounts of Versailles they wrote in 1901 were the corner-stone of this investigation.

The result of their investigation was the publication in 1911 of a book titled An Adventure – which provoked an outpouring of public interest, selling 11,000 copies by 1913!

Mmm spooky. . . told you to have a good glass of claret when you read this one . . . who are you going to call? Hee Hee!

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