The Bloody Chapel is the home to many of the spirits of Leap Castle. People passing the Castle at night have reported bright light streaming out of the upper windows. This occurrence has been reported since the time of the Darbys. When the castle was left a burnt out shell after the 1922 burning, this event was also reported by passers by. Even now, neighbours have telephoned the Ryans and informed them of the Chapels illumination. Strange smells of rubber have also been reported during peoples visit to the upper hall.
One of the most well known is referred to as the O’Carroll priest. After the death of Mulrooney O’Carroll in 1532, a fierce power struggle developed within the remaining O’Carroll family. Brother fought against brother to gain Chieftainship. Legend has it that an O’Carroll murdered his brother, a priest whilst performing a mass in the upper hall of the Castle. It is believed that the priest started the mass before the arrival of his brother and this was considered to be a great insult. The angered O’Carroll then flew into a rage a slaughtered his brother where he stood. The Priest has been seen on many occasions in the Bloody Chapel. This spirit has also been seen lurking on the stairway below and also leaving the chapel via the western door to the bartizan and down the northern stairs.
One of the more sinister features of the Bloody Chapel is the oubliette. The oubliette is a small chamber located in the North-Eastern corner of the Bloody Chapel. It is thought that the original use for these chambers was to store valuables. They were also used as a place to hide in the event of a siege. The O’Carrolls however, used this chamber for a more sinister purpose. They modified this chamber to serve as a small dungeon where prisoners were thrown in, dead or dying. The entrance to the chamber is a narrow hole originally fitted with a form of trap door. The name is derived from the French “to forget”.
Once someone was thrown into the oubliette, they were simply forgotten about. The O’Carrolls were said to be an extremely cunning and brutal clan, stopping at nothing to achieve domination. Legends tell of several occasions where the O’Carrolls would employ other clans as mercenaries to kill off nearby threats. Upon completion of the job the mercenaries were invited back to Leap Castle for a celebratory feast. Unfortunately for the mercenaries, the feast was poisoned and their throats were cut. The corpses were then thrown into the oubliette. 39 of the O’Neil clan are said to be disposed of in this fashion. In 1599, another deadly deed occurred at Leap Castle. Charles O’Carroll, the last chieftain at Leap, was at war with the Earl of Tyrone and hired the MacMahon clan, from Monaghan as mercenaries. After they had fought for him, the O’Carrolls held a feast for the mercenaries. They were then murdered in their sleep. The MacMahon clan are said to haunt the great hall at Leap Castle.
During the occupation of Leap Castle by the Darbys, the oubliette was cleaned and the contents removed during some of the renovations carried out. It is said that three cartloads of skeletons were removed from the oubliette during this period. Some believe that since this gruesome discovery, an emotional shockwave was sent through the castle and the many spirits including the Elemental were woken from their dormancy.
Sean Ryan speaks of a man who seems to live in the oubliette. He leaves the Bloody Chapel on occasion and wanders down to the lower levels of the castle.