The Kingdom Underground

An engraving of Rushen Castle by William Miller, 1845.

Creepy History 63.  Happy Halloween, and welcome to another October of “creepy histories” on Windows into History.  The following quote is from Strange Pages from Family Papers by T. F. Thistleton-Dyer, published in 1895:

At Rushen Castle, Isle of Man, there is said to be a room which has never been opened in the memory of man. Various explanations have been assigned to account for this circumstance, one being that the old place was once inhabited by giants, who were dislodged by Merlin, and such as were not driven away remain spellbound beneath the castle. Waldron, in his “Description of the Isle of Man,” has given a curious tradition respecting this strange room, in which the supernatural element holds a prominent place, and which is a good sample of other stories of the same kind: “They say there are a great many fine apartments underground, exceeding in magnificence any of the upper rooms. Several men, of more than ordinary courage have, in former times, ventured down to explore the secrets of this subterranean dwelling-place, but as none of them ever returned to give an account of what they saw, the passages to it were kept continually shut that no more might suffer by their temerity. But about fifty years since, a person of uncommon courage obtained permission to explore the dark abode. He went down, and returned by the help of a clue of packthread, and made this report: ‘That after having passed through a great number of vaults he came into a long narrow place, along which having travelled, as far as he could guess, for the space of a mile, he saw a little gleam of light. Reaching at last the end of this lane of darkness, he perceived a very large and magnificent house, illuminated with a great many candles, whence proceeded the light just mentioned. After knocking at the door three times, it was opened by a servant, who asked him what he wanted. “I would go as far as I can,” he replied; “be so kind as to direct me, for I see no passage but the dark cavern through which I came hither.” The servant directed him to go through the house, and led him through a long entrance passage and out at the back door. After walking a considerable distance, he saw another house, more magnificent than the former, where he saw through the open windows lamps burning in every room. He was about to knock, but looking in at the window of a low parlour, he saw in the middle of the room a large table of black marble, on which lay extended a monster of at least fourteen feet long, and ten round the body, with a sword beside him. He therefore deemed it prudent to make his way back to the first house where the servant reconducted him, and informed him that if he had knocked at the second door he never would have returned. He then took his leave, and once more ascended to the light of the sun.’”

An engraving of Rushen Castle by William Miller, 1845.

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About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on Author of Editor of
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