LOFTUS HALL 666 – CELEBRATING THE 666th ANNIVERSARY OF IRELAND’S MOST HAUNTED HOUSE

Loftus Hall 2

Standing majestically on the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, Loftus Hall is an imposing structure, ominously shadowing the isolated and sea whipped landscape for hundreds of years.  This building on the Hook Peninsula has worldwide recognition as Ireland’s most haunted house, with paranormal investigations from local teams to TV’s the Ghost Adventures for a ‘Halloween Special’.

This weekend marks the 666th birthday of the heritage of Loftus Hall, complete with a paranormal investigation held by Tina Barcoe and Paranormal Researchers Ireland.  Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be asked to take part in a unique lockdown on Friday 13th and this intrepid writer was not going to let this amazing opportunity pass her by!

Let’s look into the history of Loftus Hall, the stories and reports of paranormal activity and what I experienced first-hand in Ireland’s most Haunted House!

LOFTUS HALL – HISTORY

There has been a family residence on the grounds of Loftus since The Black Death reached its peak in 1350.  Originally constructed by the Redmond family, they maintained ownership until they were ejected during the Cromwellian confiscations during the seventeenth century.

As the Loftus family were already residing in Wexford, they were given ownership of the entire estate once Charles II regained power.  Henry Loftus took official residence in 1666, perhaps a sign of demonic events and tragedies in the years ahead.

Fast forward to the early 20th Century and the empty Loftus Hall was purchased by a religious order and adapted into a convent school for girls wishing to take Holy Vows.  It continued under religious ownership until it was purchased in 1983 by a man called Michael Deveraux who was intent in turning the historical local landmark into a hotel, using most of the financial resources at his disposal.  Just a few years later, doomed to failure, the Loftus Hall Hotel closed its doors.

Loftus Hall remained under ownership of the Deveraux family until 2011, at which point it was purchased as an abandoned building by the current proprietor Aidan Quigley.

A STRANGER, A CARD GAME AND THE DEVIL.

Devil card

While under the ownership of the Loftus family, Charles Tottenham, his second wife and daughter from his first marriage, Anne, arrived at Loftus Hall.  They were effectively house sitting for the absent landowners towards the end of the eighteenth century.

During their residency, an unusually wild tempest covered the Hook Peninsula in fog and an unfamiliar ship set anchor.  A stranger arrived by horse to Loftus Hall seeking refuge from the angry storm and was brought in and given shelter.

The charismatic young man soon charmed his way into the affections of Anne Tottenham and the couple began relations under the roof of Loftus Hall.

One night the family were sat around the table playing cards with the mysterious visitor dealing each hand.  As Anne seemed to only have been dealt two cards as opposed to the usual three, she glanced to the floor in case she had dropped one, only to see a third lying beneath the table.

Anne stooped down to retrieve the fallen card and as she did so, screamed out in terror, as the man she had given her heart to had revealed cloven hooves for feet.

Upon his secret being discovered, the creature shot upwards, crashing through the roof of Loftus Hall and out into the night sky.

Anne Tottenham became crazed with grief over her lost love and an embarrassment to her family.  Their embarrassment may will have been increased as the young woman was said to have been with child.  The circumstances of the birth and subsequent death of the infant remain a mystery, however the skeletal remains of a new-born were found in the wall of the Tapestry Room in recent years.

Anne remained locked away, a prisoner in the Tapestry Room, where she sat stooped and lifeless, not taking any food -just staring out of the window pining and hoping for the return of the ship to Dunmore East until she died.  So badly was her body contorted the poor woman had to be buried the way she sat.  Was her fatal grief for her lost love, lost child or both?

EXORCISM

exorcising

It was believed that the presence of the Dark Lord lingered and poltergeist activity became rife in the house, escalating to such a point that the Protestant clergy were powerless to abate it.

In desperation the Loftus family called upon Father Thomas Broaders, a Catholic priest residing on the townland also known as Loftus.  He performed an exorcism and appeared to banish the demons within.

Broaders rose to the position of Parish Priest and remained as Canon until his death in 1773.  He is buried in the old Horetown Cemetery and his gravestone reads:

“Here lies the body of Thomas Broaders,

Who did good and prayed for all.

And banished the Devil from Loftus Hall.”

HAUNTINGS AND MY OWN PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION AT LOFTUS HALL

Loftus Hall

 

For all his good work, the priest had failed to drive the supernatural from Loftus Hall and to this day supernatural occurrences, physical, visual and audible have been reported time and time again.  This year, on Friday 13th I decided to investigate these claims for myself.  Under the instruction and supervision of Tina Barcoe, the watchful eye of owner Aidan Quigley, and with horror writer and paranormal investigator Chris Rush as our guide, our lockdown at Loftus Hall began.

The first thing you must realise, is that these investigations take place in total darkness.  It takes a while for your eyes to adjust and make the most of any light seeping in, whilst being mindful of tricks of the light, Pareidolia and your own vivid imagination!

The second thing to be aware of are the underlying sounds.  The wind outside, the sound of the sea, other people in the room, the house itself.  Once you get a ‘feel’ for the location, you can pick out the abnormal or indeed paranormal for yourself and not get swept up in the perceptions and opinions of others.

Thirdly and most importantly I believe you should be respectful, logical and grounded.  Unless you are taunting and disrespectful there is nothing to fear.  Most sounds and imagery will have a logical explanation, which should be considered first.  Once the reasonable has been discounted, it makes the things we cannot explain all the more significant and exciting.

THE CHAPEL

The chapel at first inspection seemed peaceful and in a way, comforting, even though strange noises were coming from behind me and I felt someone or something sit along the pew from me.  The longer I sat there the less afraid and more at peace I felt, until a ‘psychic’ entered the room as a late arrival.

At this point things changed.  She began crying and screaming and was convinced she could see a dark figure coming towards her as her skin crawled.  My personal opinion was that she was hysterical, maybe even acting, however what was clear was that her behaviour was drawing in something of a supernatural persuasion and it was not pleasant.

The room became colder, considerably colder and unbelievably it became darker.  While others said they too could see a dark image before them in humanoid shape, I myself could not.  It was at this point that the room brightened and the temperature rose once more.

For someone who considers themselves objective and logical, it was an interesting start to the night!

THE MORNING ROOM

In this room Chris our guide told us that other groups had experienced loud noises, banging shutters and other phenomena.  We spread out and began asking questions.  One of our group stood in front of the shutters and asked more demanding questions, at which point a shadowy figure seemed to appear at his side as the shutters banged behind him.  Mind tricks sparked by preconceptions? Perhaps.  What was not a trick however, was the disembodied voice coming through the dormant communication unit carried by Chris.  A voice that cried out ‘Attention’, a voice that was heard throughout Loftus Hall.

THE UPPER ROOMS

These rooms are not accessible by the general public so we were privileged to be granted access.  The first room contained a couch and we just began to chill and talk about writing as we were the writers and readers group.  At this point there was the sound of singing, faint but definitely there.  Once acknowledged we continued our conversation where I was stopped mid-sentence as I felt a distinctive tug on my hair.  My first thought was to check I wasn’t caught on anything and Chris used his torch to check behind me and nothing was there. As soon as I felt the tug, a young woman with us at the other end of the room began sobbing uncontrollably.  Once she regained composure she explained she had felt something or someone touching her and holding her neck!

The second room we entered was stifling.  This was strange as the rest of the house was not this way and the door to the room had been open.  As the door was closed behind us, there was less air.  We began asking questions and it appeared that when I asked such questions as ‘Do you want the door left closed?’ and ‘are you enjoying trying to scare us?’, that sharp, deliberate taps were occurring as if in response on the shutter right behind me.  It should be noted that at this point the temperature dropped and there was a release of cool air, even though the door was shut.

THE TAPESTRY ROOM

Fully aware of the tragic circumstances relating to this room, we spread out and once again began trying to communicate.  Despite the heart-breaking history, I could not feel anything out of place.  At one point Chris was convinced I was stood beside him by the fireplace, however when he switched on his torch, it became clear I was on the other side of the room.  We moved places and similarly I became sure that another member of the group was beside me by the mantle so I asked a question only for him to answer me from the window! Were Chris and I sensing a presence that was not a part of our team? Possibly.  What definitely did happen, is that no one was standing were they had started when the lights came on and everyone had gravitated towards the centre of the room.

THE CARD ROOM

We seated ourselves at the card table and I was sat directly beneath the infamous hole in the ceiling.  There were cards strewn on the table and a group member picked up two in the darkness to use as tools to assist in communication.  Chris gathered up the rest of the cards so there would be no confusion or misidentification of sounds if anyone were to brush against them.

The first thing I became aware of was a burning sensation on my leg after I had jokingly asked was the stranger or devil under the table.  I thought nothing of it, assuming it was my jeans chafing my knee until Chris opposite me announced the very same sensation.

I began to feel a sense of unease, hairs on the back of neck standing up and then a definitive yank of my chair! I was startled rather than afraid and suggested I was not welcome in that seat so a member of the group swapped with me.

Interestingly, our team member was still firmly clutching the cards in his fingers, not allowing them to move or slip.  After some questioning, the team member stopped mid-sentence as I heard the sound of something land on the table.  A card had been forcibly pulled from his hand and dropped onto the playing surface.  At that very moment, the signal for the finish of the investigation was given and the lights were turned on as we all vacated our chairs.  We turned and looked back at the table to see a solitary card with the face of the Devil staring back at us.

LUCIFER AND LOFTUS HALL

beast

If the account of the Devil reminds you of another tale you may have heard, it should.  An identical story was told of a card game being held at the notorious Hellfire Club of Dublin on Montpelier Hill, where a stranger with cloven hooves for feet sat at the table.

As well as the Hellfire Club, Montpelier Hill was the site of a hunting lodge known as Dolly Mount.  This lodge was owned by Henry Loftus.

So the question must be asked, with Henry Loftus taking residence in 1666 and the second visit by a cloven hooved stranger to the Hellfire Club on the very land in Dublin previously owned by the Loftus family, was Anne Tottenham an unfortunate victim in the wrong place at the wrong time?

What is the meaning of the Loftus association with signs of the Devil and was a pact made with Lucifer for the Redmond Estate?

We will never know for sure, however this year marks the 666th anniversary of the founding of the mansion house and this weekend the birthday of Loftus Hall is celebrated – will Satan return again and will you dare to be there if he does?

My opinion is there is definitely something more than stone and mortar at Loftus Hall.  There is history that you can feel in every corner, there is atmosphere, welcoming and foreboding in equal measure.  Is there a supernatural presence? Definitely and more than one.

Ongoing investigations and indeed public lockdowns at Loftus Hall solidify the consensus that the place is undoubtedly haunted.  The continued gathering of evidence and reports of activity on such a high profile location maintain the validity of claims, as well as giving the general public an opportunity they would not ordinarily get to experience.

There are undoubtedly many more chilling experiences awaiting those who dare to take part in future investigations, both this weekend and further into the year.  These daring individuals, under the watchful eye of Tina Barcoe and her team will hear the main doors bang shut behind them as they begin their lockdown at Loftus Hall and their own journey into the world of the inexplicable and supernatural.  Will I be one of them? Most definitely!

 

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NEVER HOSTAGE TO THE DEVIL OR THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH – WHO WAS FATHER MALACHI MARTIN?

Malachi-Martin

Perhaps one of the most famous names to come out of the Vatican, the former Jesuit priest, best-selling author and professional Exorcist was as well-known as a scholar as he was for his outspoken writings and speeches against certain teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.

A writer of both novels and non-fiction and the subject of many rumours himself, sometimes the lines between fact and fiction were blurred – so just who was Malachi Martin and what role did he play in the Vatican’s battle against evil and satanic influence?

THE FORMATIVE YEARS

Malachi Martin was born into a fairly well to do family in the village of Ballylongford just outside of Listowel in County Kerry, Ireland in 1921. Despite claims in later years that Malachi was of Jewish descent, his parents were in fact English and Irish.  There were four boys in total and all of them went on to join the priesthood.

The young Malachi entered the Jesuit Order at the age of eighteen after completing his senior education in Dublin. Although further travels and studies were preferred, the outbreak of the Second World War put paid to that and Malachi remained in Ireland, obtaining degrees in Semitic Languages and Oriental Studies.

Once it became safe to travel, the scholar continued his education in Europe with post graduate studies in several areas including Intertestamentary Studies and education in Hebrew and Arabic Manuscripts. By 1954 Malachi Martin was a fully ordained Jesuit priest.

Always wanting to learn more, Malachi continued to research in the Middle East, including emphasis on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Semitic Palaeography, a study of the methods and context of ancient Middle Eastern writings and scripts.

It was at this time that the young priest found himself assisting on his very first Exorcism in Egypt in the mid nineteen fifties.

SATANISM IN THE VATICAN

Inside Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome

Inside Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Father Martin long believed and had studied and witnessed evidence of the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement on a covert level with satanic worship and was not shy to publish his findings, both in non-fiction and loosely veiled fiction writing.

Of course general knowledge of the dark side of the church goes back to Pope Benedict IX from the 11th century and his notorious papacy – known to have embraced satanic worship and the black arts, this pope committed atrocities that led to his temporary banishment from Rome. It may well be that he was possessed by the very demons that our 20th Century Exorcist feared.

Despite the fact that being a Freemason is forbidden in the Roman Catholic Church, Malachi gave credence to the belief that there were at least two popes involved in the secret sect and that the Illuminati had infiltrated the Vatican. He also believed that nuns were partaking in rituals associated with dark witchcraft.

THE CALL TO ROME

The young man from a small village in Ireland had come to the attention of the Pope and the Vatican with his prolific studies, dedication and involvement in exorcisms. In 1958 he was called to Rome and took up the position of private secretary to Cardinal Bea, a biblical scholar and a mediator for Catholic-Jewish relations – a mantel Malachi would also take on.

With apartments in the Vatican, the scholarly Father Martin also took the position of Professor of Aramaic, Palaeography, Hebrew and Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute.

Malachi’s vast knowledge and diplomacy brought him into contact with many other faiths as an interpreter, from relationships formed with prominent Rabbis to work behind the Iron Curtain with the Russian Orthodox Church.

By 1964 Malachi Martin was on a different path and his traditional approach caused him to be at odds with the outlines laid out by the Second Vatican council. In February of 1965 Father Malachi Martin was released from his vows of poverty and finally released from the Jesuit Order in June of the same year.

Brian Doran released an audio account of the life of Malachi Martin told through second hand accounts by those who knew the man called ‘God’s Messenger’ – according to Doran, Pope Paul VI had “given the priest a general commission for exercising an apostolate in media and communications.”

THE USA AND GUGGENHEIM

hostage

Once Malachi Martin arrived in the United States, he turned his hand to writing and applied for the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967. This was a grant awarded to the successful applicant for “demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

Malachi was awarded the grant and this lead to the launch of his first successful book in 1969, ‘The Encounter: Religion in Crisis.’ This was Martin’s views on why Christianity, Judaism and Islam were in crisis and had failed the modern man.

Following this success, Malachi Martin was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for a second time which enabled the priest to write his most famous published work, which went to press in 1975. That book was ‘Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans.’

Malachi Martin became a U.S Citizen in 1970 and by the end of his life has published some sixty times including thinly veiled insights into the satanic rites of the Vatican with novels such as ‘Windswept House: A Vatican Novel’ and a description of the ‘Enthronement of the Fallen Angel of Lucifer.’ When asked in an interview with ‘The New American’ Martin stated these things had happened but could only be published in a novel.

In 1981 Malachi published ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church’, which was a historical volume that focused on the changes through the years and the shifts between progressive supremacy and spiritualism.

Despite having spent more than a quarter of a century as an ordained priest of the Jesuit Order, in 1987 Martin published ‘Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church.’ This was an inflammatory and extremely critical view of his former brethren and how he believed they destabilised the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church methodically and deliberately.

WHISPERS

Children of Fatima

Children of Fatima

With so much controversy and celebrity status (Martin was a regular on radio shows and published interviews along with his books) the rumour mill surrounding both him and his own opinions was in overdrive.

Malachi Martin had publicly stated that he believed at least two popes of the 20th century, Pope Pius XI and Pope John Paul 1 were murdered.

Several mysteries surrounded Malachi himself, including whether or not he was actually ordained a bishop. He was also accused among other things of being a spy for the Israelis due to his Jewish sympathising and a story was given of him having Jewish heritage which was proved to be false.

He was a staunch advocate of the Three Secrets of Fatima. These were three secrets allegedly revealed to three cousins in Portugal over six visits between May and October of 1917.  The secrets were:

  1. The admission of the existence and description of Hell.
  2. Information regarding the First and Second World Wars.
  3. The attempted assassination of Pope John Paul 11.

These secrets have been disputed for decades and it is believed they were never revealed in full.

Malachi Martin also discredited the religious site of Medjugorje, claiming his previous accreditation was given after being misled.

There were also rumours regarding books he may have written under pseudonyms, with at least one being proven.

In a strange twist the notorious serial killer David Berkowitz, known as the Son of Sam, initially claimed on arrest to have been possessed by a demon, however revealed this to be false during meetings with a court psychiatrist. Later while in prison, the convicted Son of Sam actually made approaches to Malachi Martin to assist in writing his autobiography which Martin declined.

EXORCISM

Exorcism

According to Malachi Martin, he had performed thousands of what he referred to as minor exorcisms and participated in a few hundred major exorcisms in his lifetime. As well as private exorcisms, he had worked with renowned Demonologist, Dave Considine and paranormal researcher, John Zaffis.

Perhaps one of the most forthright and knowledgeable authorities on exorcism, Malachi Martin stated that a person cannot unknowingly be possessed or taken against their will, they must actively allow a possession. He believed it to be a systematic and gradual deception by the entity.

Malachi described the process of exorcism as a confrontation between the wills of the exorcist and the demon. In order to succeed, the exorcist has to be empowered by God, through the Church, and have a cleansed soul by way of confession.  The process would usually involve the Exorcist and an assisting priest, with lay people used for restraining purposes when required.

Father Martin was adamant there were different levels of possession from partial or normal to total where “…a veil is drawn aside, and you realise you don’t know this person. They have a truly evil look.”

He also made it clear that the retelling in film of Exorcisms was not as dramatic but there would be temperature drops, bad odours and occasional manifestations. He revealed to Donna Anderson of the Examiner, the worst part was:

“…at a certain moment, if it’s really in the possession of a threatening spirit, a demon, everyone will know there’s something in the room that wants you dead. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that unless something happens you are going to die now.  It’s like an invisible animal with claws and it want you dead.”

LATER LIFE AND DEATH

Malachi continued to be vocal in his opposition to the Jesuit teachings and aspects of the Vatican as well as insisting that Black Masses and Satanism and sacrifice were happening even within a stone’s throw from his residence in New York.

In July 1999, Martin had an alleged fall at his apartment in Manhattan which led to a cerebral haemorrhage and his death at the age of seventy eight. Even now conspiracy theorists believe his fall was not accidental and he was in fact killed by the Vatican to silence his outspoken opposition.

Indeed when questioned during an interview if he feared for his life, he stated he was however, he was too old to change.

LEGACY

It has been sixteen years since the death of this remarkable man and his books continue to be of major interest among scholars, conspiracy theorists and paranormal researchers to name a few.

His legacy will continue as Marty Stalker, a filmmaker from Northern Ireland has taken Martin Malachi’s most famous book, ‘Hostage to the Devil’ and made it into a film of the same title, which includes the use of archive footage.  With new media attention and continuing paranormal interest, Malachi Martin will continue to be studied and remembered for decades to come.

I shall leave you with a final word from Malachi Martin:

“Anybody who is acquainted with the state of affairs in the Vatican in the last 35 years is well aware that the prince of darkness has had and still has his surrogates in the court of St. Peter in Rome.”

I shall leave you with a final word from Malachi Martin:

“Anybody who is acquainted with the state of affairs in the Vatican in the last 35 years is well aware that the prince of darkness has had and still has his surrogates in the court of St. Peter in Rome.”